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Which nation has stronger English skills, China or India?

A recent online survey claims that China has better English verbal skills than neighboring India, but just barely. EF Education ranked the world’s English proficiency through an online survey between 2007 and 2008. The highest-ranking nation in the survey was Norway, China ranked 29th, and India 30th, while Kazakhstan was last at number 44. The survey was admittedly not scientific (see for yourself), but it did reveal the level and breadth of interest in studying and improving English skills across broad swathes of the globe.

In the case of India, the ranking came as a bit of a surprise: English is a national language and widely used in government and media. India’s historic use of English, first as a byproduct of colonization by England, then as a neutral communication choice among rivaling local languages and dialects, has made it a first choice for outsourcing call centers and IT services.

However a 2009 British Council report revealed a dearth of English teachers and high quality learning institutions across India. According to the Indian National Knowledge Committee, less than 1% of Indians speak English as a second language (with a population of over 1 billion people, that’s still 10 million English speakers). However recent statistics vary widely with some outsourcing specialists claiming English proficiency of up to 19% or 90 million people.

In contrast, China has made learning English part of its economic strengthening strategy. In 2010, there were estimated to be over 100,000 native English-speaking teachers in China, workers in a market worth three billion dollars annually.

In your experience, which country has the greatest command of the English language? Please restrict your comments to language-related topics; any remarks lacking civility may result in your banishment from the Hot Word commenting community.

No brown skins. (Hispanic Americans and the 1986 Immigration Reform Act)

The Economist (US) February 3, 1990 No brown skins SAN FRANCISCO HISPANIC Americans were against the 1986 Immigration Reform Act; they feared it would give employers an excuse not to hire people who looked or sounded Hispanic. They were right, it seems. The California Fair Employment and Housing Commission reports that the law, which is supposed to deter illegal immigration, has created “a widespread pattern and practice of discrimination” against legal immigrants.

The law fines or imprisons those employers who are caught hiring illegal immigrants. Nervous employers are playing safe by brushing aside official work permits and declining to hire people with brown skins and Latin names and accents. The law, which was supposed to protect people against this happening, created a special counsel to hear complaints and to act on them. But there is just one special-counsel office, and that is in Washington, DC. Few immigrants even learn of its existence, let alone approach it with complaints. go to website illegal immigration statistics

In addition, reports the Californian commission (an independent agency established 30 years ago to protect civil rights in jobs and housing), the Immigration and Nationalisation Service (INS) issues such a variety of different immigrant classifications that employers cannot be familiar with what is official and what is not. The confusion is compounded by the amnesty that the law gave to illegal immigrants who could prove that they had lived in the United States since 1981, plus the special rules for agricultural workers. The sorting-out of all this leaves the immigration service snowed under with forms and letters of work-approval.

Although the INS claims to have spent $2m on educational material explaining the law, the explanation, the commission says sternly, is “inadequate…incomplete and confusing”. As remedy, the commission proposes a temporary moratorium on employer sanctions until the backlog of appeals for work authorisation is cleared, the educational material is rewritten and special counsel offices are opened around the country. go to website illegal immigration statistics

The California report is important since about half the immigrants who come to the United States seeking work authorisation come to California. But it is only one in a series of reports on the effect of the 1986 law. A New York task force is due to report to Governor Mario Cuomo soon. And in a month or two, the General Accounting Office (GAO), which was officially charged to monitor the consequences of the immigration controls, will be issuing its findings. Last year the GAO reported that about 16% of some 3.3m employers who were aware of the new rules did discriminate against foreign-looking applicants. The report called for a more co-ordinated effort to educate the public but, unlike the California commission, it did not declare that a “pattern” of discrimination had resulted from the act.

If the GAO now finds such a pattern, it would trigger changes in the law. Congress would have 30 days to consider lifting sanctions against employers. But if the GAO reports that it has found no serious discrimination, the provisions in the law that are supposed to protect workers against bias would be removed. In any event, the GAO report will set off a fiery debate in Congress.

Part of the debate is whether the law’s strictness has in fact cut down illegal immigration. Statistics from the INS suggest that it has. In 1986 1.6m people were caught trying to enter from Mexico; in 1989, with more border guards, the total had shrunk to 850,000 people. Either they are getting cleverer at evading the guards, or the law, despite its unfair side-effects, is working.

166 Comments

  1. san -  April 14, 2014 - 7:58 am

    What a f? who post that Chinese can speak English?i m living in China since 2004 ,its nearly 10 years. Now I speak fluent Mandarin here .OMG who post that Chinese can speak better English than Indians? Please see the truth ,Chinese can never speak English and even they graduate in English they cannot understand even few words of your 1 sentence ,I have met graduates from USA,Chinese national ,They even cannot speak English .They are dumb people ,no creativity at all .The truth is they know few words in English in American accent and that’s it .

    Reply
  2. Hobson Jobson -  February 6, 2014 - 9:48 am

    I wonder whether Hong Kong has better English skills than does Mainland China. On the one hand, one would think that a former colony of Britain would have fair-to-good English skills. On the other, I’ve read on a few online forums that this is not the case in Hong Kong, where, despite the usage of English for official and public information purposes, the levels of fluency remain questionable.

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  3. Sweet Suspense Should Not Have Been Kicked Off The X Factor -  November 21, 2013 - 5:14 am

    In my opinion, Great Britain speaks English most fluently. :-P

    Am I the only one who watches the X Factor here? I can’t believe Sweet Suspense was in last place. Guess we’ll see who else leaves tomorrow. :-( I just hope it’s not Jeff Gutt. I think I want him to win. He is awesome. :-)

    (I am also known as “wolf tamer and tree puncher”.)

    Reply
  4. sabysmith -  September 3, 2013 - 4:08 am

    been delivering learning solutions to a large number of global clients. Axis-v’s activities range from custom content development, Learning Management System, language training, life skills training to complete end-to-end learning solutions. During the decade of our service, we have developed innumerable hours of content on various domains including technology, processes, management, HR, culture, human efficiency, soft skills, school education, higher education and so on.

    Reply
  5. carnis -  December 13, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    why south asian should never speak english in front of chinese people ?
    ans:- 1 . poor english accent 2. limited vocabulary 3. chinese students have been to english medium school 4. chinese students are good at copycat 5. chinese students are wealthy than south asians.

    chinese students mentality : if u buy ford car from usa means the original one but if u buy the same car from china or germany and so on means duplicate. it’s very hard to explain something to some people.

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  6. Sharon -  July 25, 2012 - 12:16 am

    Indian speaks much much better english rather than China. In china chinese people pronounce alphabet wrongly like A as AO, B as BO. I am living in china, its very hard for english speakers to live here as everything is in chinese and if i ask for help they will disappear like i am gonna kill them.

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  7. James -  April 15, 2012 - 7:03 am

    INDIA:

    English is considered as one of the official language of India apart from Hindi, India a former British colony.

    CHINA:

    Mandarin is the official language of China.

    Infact, this is not even a debatable topic, by all means I would highly recommend to delete this topic whoever is responsible for this crap.

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  8. Corporate Boy -  April 14, 2012 - 5:10 pm

    According to the latest wikipedia official report, obtained results of the figures, charts and statistics of each country have been carefully examined based on many factors. The link to this information had been provided below, incase you may want to check out!

    1. USA
    2. INDIA
    3. (etc)….
    18. China.

    Besides, this is incredibly shambolic to compare India and China in terms of “English Speaking…..”, the answer is obvious! Chinese are doing pretty good with their Mandarin/Cantonese/English (minor), whereas, Indians are well equiped with their Hindi/English (major). [Accent is secondary unless you are a noob and......we'll talk about that later :D ]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population

    Word of caution for the wise ones, please don’t post the next topic like “China And India, which country is more/most corrupted ?”, The whole world knows the answer! again, it is India ahead of China in terms of corruption : ) bummer!……eh ? Chillax folks….have a nice weekend!

    Regards
    JXXXX

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  9. April -  April 11, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    I call BS on this one. Anyone who has had to deal with Tech Support that outsources to places such as China and India will learn that while you can teach them English, that does not mean that they will make any sense to you over the phone or online. And don’t forget the foreign products that come to the US only to have poor grasp of grammar if any.

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  10. Jessica -  April 9, 2012 - 7:12 am

    Well, as a native Chinese i have to say that, at least in my opinion, Indian get a higher level English, especially in speaking and writing. English in China is not that practical. Only students and those american/british soap opera fans will learn English and work hard on it, and i bet, to most students English is not that one for them, they learn English just to pass the exam and get into a better high school or uni(btw, not all american/british soap opera fans will learn English hard, since many of them tend to understand the context not by listening but by staring at subtitles in Chinese…). In daily lives have we almost no chance using it. Only trade companies need those employees with moderate-level English, and i believe, most of them cannot understand american jokes.

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  11. Vicaari -  April 7, 2012 - 9:12 am

    Not to worry guys/gals. If & when a Chinese takes up a name like Kevin, Kelvin or John, Paul George (4 a guy); or Christine, Diana & such … they better know how to speak English well

    Thanks 4 the info

    PS: such a topic makes Dictionary.com blog travsety

    Reply
  12. Helga -  March 23, 2012 - 9:06 am

    Anyway, since India had long been an English colony, there people have historically more opportunities to speak English better. But though accents commonly are off in both.

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  13. octavia -  March 20, 2012 - 9:25 am

    I work for EF and am part of the English teaching staff. There are a lot of people from China who learn English through us. However, they find it hard to speak and form sentences correctly. I have been to India and I found them to be able to speak much better English than the Chinese. I have had amazing conversations even with the ‘auto rickshaw drivers’ and they are not the most educated lot.

    That being said, I believe that most high ranking Government officials in China speak fluent English (though they wouldn’t really want you to know that if you are a westerner trying to expand your business into China).

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  14. jackisback -  March 19, 2012 - 1:28 pm

    i am indian . and now a days . most of the education we do in english medium . except in rural areas ; where they prefer regional language . but when any student going for higher university education . he had to face english . coz there is only one medium left to study.so every student do his entire studies in english , but may not use english as communication during those period . in those circumstances if the survey had taken then the worst results will be appeared .. the best point for indians is they had learned everything in english but never communicated , which make them cease . but i know any indian can communicate fluently like others in just 3 months . as i am one of them . :P lol .the best example is many 10 stundents or 12 th students . works in BPO / call center . they ware nill at beginning , but after 3 months i found they were transformed , even they are failed in english subject during school days . well i hate english grammer and i am PG MBA . lolz .

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  15. manali -  March 13, 2012 - 3:42 am

    I have heard that Chinese are really hard working,,,, must tell you Indians are hard working too…but if we talk about English then of course India is far better than china at least when it comes to speaking….That is the reason UK US deal with us.

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  16. Tia -  March 11, 2012 - 5:20 pm

    Hey! im from india and i speak FLUENT english!…. but thats just me… i guess ur rite. LOL(not) >:(

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  17. Aniruddha -  January 31, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    I’m from India and I’m currently studying in France. I’d consider English my first language. I started speaking my mother tongue only when I was 10. On the contrary, I have been speaking English since I was 3. I speak to my parents, my grandparents and my friends in English. It would be absurd at best and inconsistent at the very least to suggest that any country on the planet has better English language fluency than India. But I do agree with you, a lot has to do with where you take the survey and whom you conduct the experiment. I personally feel that compared to European and other Asian countries, Indians live and breathe English. At least I do. But that’s because I am from Bombay. I have studied in International schools and so forth. 99% of India doesn’t speak English very well but the 1% that does would put the rest of the world to shame, not because we’ve worked hard for it, but because it is as natural to us to speak English as it is to breathe, smile and laugh. Even if the Chinese work very hard to learn English, they’ll at the very best be competent in it. On the contrary, the 1% of India that does speak English speaks it not out of hard-work and long hours of study, but out of habit.

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  18. Anupam -  January 3, 2012 - 2:19 am

    Definitely,indians are far better english speakers in comparison to the china’s persons.As far as their english is concerned,fear and anxiety does manifest themselves during their speeches.In accordance to the tv shows inteviewing chinese people,their voices seem to be inarticulate and shrill.for improving their english,i would suggest them to amalgamate 5 words at least and to practise those words facing a mirror.this’ll enhance their speaking skills.

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  19. paul -  January 1, 2012 - 3:01 am

    By the way, if India really wants to be a force to be reckoned with, and taken seriously in international arena, you need to have your own indigenous common language spoken among you. Not English, which is a foreign language, a colonial one to boot. Learn it for international trade and acquiring of scientific knowledge since USA is still ahead in many fields. But that’s about it. You need to have your own language which you regulary speak among your people to have national pride and self-esteem among your race. English or any other foreign language just won’t cut it. Ask any Japanese, Korean, French, German, Chinese, Israelist or Middle Eastern national, he/she will tell you the same thing.

    So don’t be so hyped up over speaking good English; have your own indigenous common language and be excellent in it. I guess presently that’s the difference between Indian and Chinese, and all other successful nations.

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  20. paul -  January 1, 2012 - 1:24 am

    Why so much hype for being able to speak English well, as if the Japanese are fantastic English speakers. Yet they are one of the richest people, and most advanced technologically. I am from South East Asia, and I speak and write English at native speakers’level, and i speak and write another two major languages. I guess that’s only because I am linguistically inclined. people of non-English speaking countries try to speak better English generally because their own economy and science are not as developed. I don’t think Germans speak better English than Dutch or Belgians, and again the reason is obvious.

    In time to come, The world has to speak Mandarin, not Chinese speaking English.

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  21. Smit Sharma -  November 1, 2011 - 2:51 pm

    India is much ahead of China in terms of English speaking and writing skills. I’m working for an outsourcing company for more than a year now, we outsource for an American company. I never had any problems while interacting with the people in America, neither did they. English is taught in almost all the private schools here and government schools as well. However, English is one of the most commonly spoken language in India. We love English as any other regional language spoken within the country.
    China on the other side is not as good as India in this aspect.

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  22. N7xMartinx666 -  October 26, 2011 - 2:24 pm

    wheres mexico in all of this?

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  23. Brad Shawn -  October 16, 2011 - 11:17 am

    ooops. by 6 months is what I mean

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  24. Brad Shawn -  October 16, 2011 - 11:15 am

    Hey fellows! I’ve been travelling a lot for 5 years since I’m kinda adventurous person. My 2 years of travel settle in European countries (I found the continent interesting mostly the ‘state of the art buildings’) then my next stop would be Asia. 3 years of travelling in this region made me fall in love. I’ve been observing and actually learning their culture but hey, it’s out of the topic and I am sorry! I divided my stops for 6 months perhaps less) and proceed to the next. In order to where I’d been: Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur is the best), China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Japan, Philippines and Thailand. Not opposing the facts, the surveys and co-opinions, I would like to share my own for the sake of this thread. My vote goes for the Philippines. I believe that I don’t have to explain why it has to be through elaborating myself regarding these quarrels since this is just a mere observation of myself. Okay, give you some hints though: You can actually communicate to the street children who are selling flowers. Front office clerks at the hotel are the most fluent among the hotels I’ve been each country. People, especially in Manila, speak English (with almost prefect accent) as if it’s their notwithstanding how busy they are. It’s kinda expensive to travel but it’s worth it. Anyway, you guys might wanna come here in NYC and explore ours. Cheers!

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  25. Jai -  October 3, 2011 - 10:24 pm

    I would say India ranks far better than China in English proficiency… Yesterday I was watching an English news channel in which the News reporter was questioning a Chinese strategic affairs person, he is not in anyway a government servant, but like a free lancer…. His English was really strange… What he was trying to convey couldn’t be understood because his vocabulary and accent was not at all comfortable for the listeners, with all respect to the individual… Indians are now too good in English that even they have started using it as their way of communication at their houses which they think is the basic need to improve their personal standards… Even kids fair better than adults in this… I would say more than 50% of Indians can speak English now, of which 25% speak very well…. China is too behind India at least in this regard…

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  26. Jai -  October 3, 2011 - 10:11 pm

    vaada en machi … vaalaika bajji

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  27. Ishrael Garcia -  September 12, 2011 - 10:29 pm

    The EF English Proficiency Index only included 44 countries. Philippines unfortunately is not included.

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  28. BrownTiger -  July 22, 2011 - 9:13 am

    I don’t understand why we are so hung up on being so strong in English.
    Infact I too am part of the shameless group that prided itself on making itself so proficient in English, while forgetting to learn the languages of our ancestors. Yes as a Global language it is required , but to justify ourselves based on the language is turning out to be ridiculous.
    Ex: Look at the French. Learning French gives a celebrity status, whereas learning English is like being another statistic in a crowd.
    One of the Indian prime ministers spoke in Hindi when he addressed the UN and he is still remembered for it whereas all others spoke in English and we just refer to them.
    Be proud my fellow humans around the world. When all else fails we still have our hands and face to communicate .
    Be proud of what you are and you don’t have to learn anything for the sake of being in the crowd. You will still stand out if you love the way you are and stand with your head tall. And remember it is easy to follow but difficult to be be yourself.

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  29. Viraj -  May 27, 2011 - 7:11 pm

    God, what aren’t the Norweigans good at :)

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  30. jyoti verma -  May 27, 2011 - 2:08 am

    actually if we will learn spanish then we will not able 2 communicate with japan , sri lanka, china, russia, africa, australia and the list is very big so english is the better way john rhea :D

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  31. jyoti verma -  May 27, 2011 - 2:01 am

    it is a better rank for india because it is a developing country and results are good bcoz during the period of england no1 knows english in india and english peoples had to learn hindi to communicate with us and it is the the story of just 63 years back but i m sure that india will b always better than china and not today but tommorow we youngsters of india will not only beat china but also other big countries!!!! :D

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  32. aatish -  May 16, 2011 - 8:38 pm

    i am not convienced that india is lacking behind b’coz now speaking in english represent the status and your background. In India it has become a cult in the yougsters. Now we speak english like we speak hindi in the normal life.

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  33. Ashu -  May 14, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    If you are talking about Indian’s English than it is far better than Chinese English. I’ll tell you why because I have a lot of online friend’s from China and I have been chatting with them for a long time what i have found that they are very keen to learn the English language. However,they are not as good as the Indian’s are in english.
    You can go anywhere in India blindly i’ll make sure you will not feel regret that you have come into a strange country becaue people from India are really good at comunicating in English.

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  34. rainfalls -  May 7, 2011 - 11:08 am

    I know native speakers who are not good in the language especially in their writing skills so spare Chinese and Indians or the like. It’s not their native tongue anyway but being good at it is really an advantage.

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  35. Pais -  May 4, 2011 - 9:54 am

    I have encountered a number of Chinese academics. Their PhD’s don’t seem to mean that they have acquired adequate English skills. On the other hand, I’ve known a number of Indian academics whose English, although reflective of the 19th century in some ways, is both elegant and correct. Their English is certainly better than that of most of the “Americans” I’ve met in Northeast Ohio!

    That’s not to say that the “English-speaking” customer service person in India is capable of interpreting American idioms or even of parsing what one says correctly. For any problem more difficult than accepting an online payment, I request immediate connection to North America. I used to say “Western Hemisphere,” but then I began to fantasize about a call center in Colombia with people who talk like Sofia Vergara’s character in “Modern Family”!

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  36. Prue -  April 29, 2011 - 12:42 am

    What?! Are you kidding me??!! Japan ranks 14th?!..Totally unbelievable..You need to learn the Japanese language itself to be able to communicate with them…

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  37. RulXx -  April 28, 2011 - 12:36 pm

    Subtitles people! :D The best way to lear… A dubbed movie or tv-show isn’t the same if it’s dubbed. Hearing, hearing, hearing!

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  38. Elia Meneses -  April 27, 2011 - 12:10 pm

    i just spelt although wrong. my bad. lol
    RLA is an awesome school

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  39. Molly -  April 26, 2011 - 8:31 pm

    The Netherlands!! Quite impressive.

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  40. Kuya Jobert -  April 26, 2011 - 6:12 pm

    I think we Filipinos are best in the English language because we have a better accent than chinese and indians isn’t it? waha :D

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  41. K.C. -  April 26, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    *any

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  42. K.C. -  April 26, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    I think the findings are accurate about China having stronger English skills. I have a Chinese friend (dare I say I have a crush on him) and his English is really good eventhough he began learning it when he was 12. He’s 19 now, he still has a few slip-ups here and there but I dont have eny trouble understanding him.

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  43. bal -  April 26, 2011 - 10:55 am

    This finding is totally absurd and baseless. I can say its unscientific and biased. I m a foreign student reading at a University in Us. Chinese students have problem in understanding English where as student from Indian sub-continent are eloquent. I think this research can be the joke of the century.
    Only investment does not count. There should be something known as ” RESULT” at the end.

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  44. john rhea -  April 26, 2011 - 8:57 am

    I ride the “a” train from Queens to my job in Manhattan, 5 days a week. I find that only 30% of the people speak english. The rest speak spanish. The advertisements within the train are mostly spanish. Perhaps India and China need to learn spanish instead of english, so they can better communicate with the USA.

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  45. Nick -  April 26, 2011 - 6:09 am

    I taught English for a year in India. There is a huge discrepancy between public school education and private school education. Private school receives sufficient funding from the students’ families to hire excellent english teachers. The government does not give public school English teachers enough money, so anyone who can actually speak/teach English go to private schools, leaving no good English teachers in the public schools. The majority of India, the 99% that go to public schools, do not learn functional English. The 1% that go to private schools get a wonderful education and can speak fluently at a young age.

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  46. GossipX -  April 26, 2011 - 6:03 am

    Indian are good in english, pronunciation, grammar and in communication perhaps but the accent is heavy, if they grow up in a native engslih speaking counry like my Boss, thats a given, they can speak really good english.
    Chinese, yes, there are alot of chinese who can speak english because of one main reason… THERE’S ALOT OF CHINESESESESESSS, 30% is like how many millions??? i think its even bigger population to some small countries.
    Filipinos can read, speak, write english but when it comes to communication, average to excellent because they have neutral accent, they can even imitate other English accents like English accent, Texas accent, Australian accent, etc.
    Still, Philippines and India have the most good english speakers in Asia, although Philippines is a small country so I guess the count is less compared to other countries.

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  47. GossipX -  April 26, 2011 - 5:59 am

    Indian are good in english, pronunciation, grammar and in communication perhaps but the accent is heavy, if they grow up in a native engslih speaking counry like my Boss, thats a given, they can speak really good english.
    Chinese, yes, there are alot of chinese who can speak english because of one main reason… THERE’S ALOT OF CHINESESESESESSS, 30% is like how many millions??? i think its even bigger population to some small countries.
    Filipinos can read, speak, write english but when it comes to communication, average to excellent because they have neutral accent, they can even imitate other English accents like English accent, Texas accent, Australian accent, etc.
    Still, Philippines and India have the most good english speakers in Asia, although Philippines is a small country so I guess the count is less compared to othe countries.

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  48. BrokenEnglish -  April 26, 2011 - 5:56 am

    Indian are good in english, pronunciation, grammar and in communication perhaps but the accent is heavy, if they grow up in a native engslih speaking counry like my Boss, thats a given, they can speak really good english.
    Chinese, yes, there are alot of chinese who can speak english because of one main reason… THERE’S ALOT OF CHINESESESESESSS, 30% is like how many millions??? i think its even bigger population to some small countries.
    Filipinos can read, speak, write english but when it comes to communication, average to excellent because they have neutral accent, they can even imitate other English accents like English accent, Texas accent, Australian accent, etc.
    Still, Philippines and India have the most good english speakers in Asia.

    Reply
  49. jitendra -  April 26, 2011 - 1:27 am

    i dont agree with the findings – indians have far better skills than chinese in written and spoken english – chinese accent would be an ordeal compared to indian and indianism,

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  50. No matter who I am -  April 26, 2011 - 1:19 am

    We are Indonesian people learning English but We are really proud to our own langguage. We dont really concern about the ranking. Is it important ?

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  51. Ashish -  April 26, 2011 - 12:36 am

    In recent times it is very important that the scope, number of people included and factors considered in the study should be mentioned and studied prior to concluding or publishing an article. Another point that i would like to put forth is, commenting that India has some sort of rivalry between local languages is inappropriate as pride for ones mother tongue is a very common emotion. If that wasnt so Scotland being a part of UK would not have Scottish English as their official language, they could have simply called it English. Making comments on a country in a matter of fact tone just reduces the quality of the article apart from the part that although the study wasnt scientific it has made these conclusions. Having a language as a first or second language does not speak of the proficiency in using the language.

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  52. franco -  April 26, 2011 - 12:05 am

    I’m a traveler, and I have experienced to travel to most south east asian countries, and really I find the ranking really, really absurd… I’ve been to malaysia, indonesia, singapore, and philippines and to rank them based on my street conversational experience, thailand and indonesia are really almost hopeless, people here would even almost become rude due to they cannot converse in english. For malaysia and singapore, the experience is almost the same, except that there are more people in malaysia that doesn’t converse in english, but the accent and comprehension is almost the same. Also, I work in a bank and we have a support that is based in malaysia and they are a bit awful in the conversational english, that conversing with them would often be just enough for us to understand each other… In the philippines, I wonder why they are not in the list considering that they have overthrown india as the bpo capital of the world. As in the country with the highest output in terms of operating business outsource operations – you can search that in the web if you are in doubt of this claim. Also, most of the people here can understand and converse in english, maybe for some not really in perfect grammar, but most are…

    In comparing china and india, I’m aware that india is more involved in bpo than china, providing online services to western countries through the english language. I am also one of their client in their customer support services, and I have experienced working with some of them in my projects. For china, I have friends working in the bpo services who were sent to china to train chinese so that they can also offer the service, and the feedback was, that the enterprise was “hopeless”, I’m not sure why. But they were actually training uneducated chinese and mostly from rural areas, so possibly, I might have better conversational english in china in the urban areas with the educated ones…

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  53. MAX -  April 25, 2011 - 11:56 pm

    Fact; China is on the 5th to the last and Korea is 2nd to the last.

    Reply
  54. MAX5000 -  April 25, 2011 - 11:54 pm

    Fact; China is on the 5th to the last and Korea is 2nd to the last.

    Reply
  55. Jacob -  April 25, 2011 - 11:44 pm

    I think this is the biggest joke of the day! World knows that India is far ahead of china in this matter… I’ve been to both the countries n truth is that I felt more comfortable in India than China, where I struggled with local broken english..

    Reply
  56. Skavajuvia -  April 25, 2011 - 11:36 pm

    and norway too

    Reply
  57. Skavajuvia -  April 25, 2011 - 11:35 pm

    India definitely has better speaking skills than China…i think.

    Reply
  58. 15bubbles -  April 25, 2011 - 11:28 pm

    @ kewlkiwi:
    I personally disagree. “Amount” appears as if it could understandably fit in the sentence. I wouldn’t have to be “number”. But don’t ask me. I’m one of those weirdo American teenagers who is hopeless at chatspeak, is clueless at slang and loathes cuss words. Yep. Don’t mind me.

    @ tweet: Agreed.

    About the Singapore-Malaysian comments, I believe it was mentioned to me once before that Singaporeans did have learn English in schools. My favorite cousin (who lives in Singapore) speaks English very fluently. That’s why she’s my favorite. I can understand her! If Singapore was bundled up with Malaysia in the scorings, that would be wrong. Singpore is, admittedly, a small country, but it is a SEPARATE country.

    @sluggo: What does your religion have to do with this discussion? It’s really quite irksome to find at least one post per disscussion, it seems, dedicated towards preaching their word. It has nothing to do with this. If you’d like to do what you deem as your good deed for the day, please do it where it will not be off topic. Thank you if you read this message. Everyone else, my sincere apologies from disrupting this invigorating conversation.

    Reply
  59. Lisa -  April 25, 2011 - 10:12 pm

    I traveled throughout Fiji and 99% of the people I met spoke English, – young and old, and even those outside of tourist areas. They’re super friendly people who want to shake your hand and say, “Hello!” without any desire to sell you anything. So refreshing!

    I’ve met Norwegians I thought were American or British. Most Scandinavians speak fantastic English and I think it’s because they learn at a young age and many TV programs are not dubbed but left in English.

    Like most people on this blog, I agree that the reason China scored better than India is because people there are excellent at wrote learning but verbalizing is very difficult for them. There are sounds made in Chinese that don’t exist in English and vice versa so it’s understandable.

    I do find the Indian accent very charming. They often speak in quite polite and archaic terms.

    The Philippines, especially Manila, has a huge proportion of English speakers. I sat in a cafe in Manila and listened to a group of locals over 50 speak English together as if they preferred it to their own language. It thins out when you visit the outer islands but it’s still quite prevalent.

    I also find it odd that Africa was left out. I visited E. Africa and was surprised to learn that English is often the common language for intra-tribal communication because there are so many different languages and dialects. Often even poor people speak English comfortably. They’re also often soft spoken which is endearing. At the risk of sounding stereotypical, I’d say that people of African descent seem to have a natural affinity for language. For example, my husband and I visited the Caribbean coast of Guatemala and met many people called Garifuna. They are believed to be the descendants of slaves who escaped from a ship wreck off the coast of Guatemala well over 100 years ago. They live in a country where very few people speak English yet this small population largely spoke English. The same was true of a large population of black people living off of Panama’s east coast.

    Eventually, everyone on the planet will speak English. It’s a bit embarrassing to be American and speak just a smattering of other languages but nothing fluently while others speak multiple languages. We’re spoiled which is the case in so many things. :)

    Reply
  60. Nitya -  April 25, 2011 - 9:29 pm

    I think most respondants are missing the point! The difference between China and India is 47.62 to 47.35 respectively. That’s miniscule in relationship to Norway’s 69.09!!!

    Reply
  61. Mohit -  April 25, 2011 - 8:40 pm

    “According to the Indian National Knowledge Committee, less than 1% of Indians speak English as a second language (with a population of over 1 billion people, that’s still 10 million English speakers). However recent statistics vary widely with some outsourcing specialists claiming English proficiency of up to 19% or 90 million people.”

    The two statistics are not mutually exclusive. This is because India has a really high number of active languages, and as a result, it is not uncommon to grow up speaking three languages. Hindi is a lingua franca used everywhere from your local grocery store to Bollywood movies. However, most people grow up in households that speak another Indian language. For example, my parents speak Sindhi at home, another one of the national languages. Another household might speak Gujarati, while another might converse in Bengali. As a result, a child grows up exposed to two Indian languages and then goes to school to learn English. So even if this child is fluent in English, it will still be his third language.

    Reply
  62. Snow white -  April 25, 2011 - 8:25 pm

    Franche:: You are tottaly right!! :-)

    Reply
  63. some random guy -  April 25, 2011 - 8:00 pm

    most the chinese i know speak english fluently about 30% of the chinese i know dont, and im chinese/vietnamese

    Reply
  64. Anlo -  April 25, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    i guess the population speaks much.. China and India both have great number of people…

    Reply
  65. Anlo -  April 25, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    I go for Philippines because even those who are not that educated in english or schools can speak little if not much English.. those on the streets and sidewalks.. those out of school youths.. how much more the educated ones..

    Reply
  66. tweet -  April 25, 2011 - 6:56 pm

    @poedunkjoe: with that kind of written language skill, should you really be teaching English?

    Reply
  67. Malaysians highest in Asia o.O -  April 25, 2011 - 6:42 pm

    It is surprising that Malaysia has the highest proficiency in English in Asia. What happened to Singapore? It’s not even on the list! It is known that Singaporeans speak English better than their own mother tongues. Speak to a chinese youngster in Singapore in Chinese and you are likely to get a ‘Huh?’ or a reply in English!!! When you talk to people in M’sia, chances are, the English would be somewhat broken. This survey is quite inaccurate!

    Reply
  68. Veronica -  April 25, 2011 - 6:41 pm

    I totally don’t agree. I found lots of Indian people speak English well and way better than Chinese. Especially Chinese from mainland China, they simply have no English. But Chinese from Hong Kong are different since they were under the rulings of British and they learn English since kindergarten.

    Reply
  69. Yipedo -  April 25, 2011 - 6:40 pm

    The more interesting question is….how many, among native English speakers, can speak another language? =P

    Reply
  70. Bryan -  April 25, 2011 - 6:36 pm

    I highly doubt these results as they definitely don’t reflect my experience. I’ve been living in China for more than 10 years and while I’ve seen improvements all around, I still think these results are unbelievable. I talk to and correspond with both Chinese and Indian nationals every day and while I’ve had difficulties with both from time to time, there is a considerable difference in the level of English ability (and I’m talking about the ability to actually communicate) between the two.

    Reply
  71. raj -  April 25, 2011 - 5:45 pm

    i agree a lot of people in India speak English but not to well even though i am from there. But Indians are hard workers so i think if they read this they will work harder.

    Reply
  72. Geoffrey -  April 25, 2011 - 5:32 pm

    It is very difficult to understand outsourced calls to India, so it makes sense that India is low on the list. I believe that most European countries should be high on the list. I had a German foreign exchange student who spoke English perfectly, whereas my friend who was learning German in the United States was still fumbling with basic grammar. It makes sense that Norway is at the top. Isn’t Norway at the top for schooling in general?

    The claim was not based on grammar. It was based on “verbal skills.” I took that to mean the ability to be understood by other English speaking people.

    Reply
  73. Jumman Surender -  April 25, 2011 - 5:22 pm

    Hmmm!!! Congrats to China and alarm to India!!!! We must do better than that but my experience with Chinese and their English put me in grave dissent everyday :-( (I work in BPO)

    Reply
  74. M3RL1N -  April 25, 2011 - 5:06 pm

    WALES OR VIKINGS

    Reply
  75. kewlkiwi -  April 25, 2011 - 4:18 pm

    Buck said, on April 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    “As an experienced ESL instructor in the US and one with a substantial amount of native Chinese speakers in classes…”

    That doesn’t sound right to me Buck! (I’m English born)

    I think it is incorrect to say ‘amount’ when referring to people: it should be ‘substantial number of native Chinese speakers…’

    Reply
  76. Book Beater -  April 25, 2011 - 4:05 pm

    While listening to the radio one day, an Indian woman probably a civil servant went on for at least 15 mins. , and she was the most well spoken person I have ever heard regardless of race.

    Reply
  77. JJ Rousseau -  April 25, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    Mind Control to Major Major Sam.

    Reply
  78. Unmi Chung -  April 25, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    What rank is South Korea’s English skill?

    Reply
  79. silverkorde -  April 25, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    i dont agree with the findings – indians have far better skills than chinese in written and spoken english – chinese accent would be an ordeal compared to indian and indianism

    Reply
  80. Klutszy -  April 25, 2011 - 2:58 pm

    very surprising…………. I am from India and most people there know English……. even people who haven’t been to any courses for the language.

    My school is dominated by the Chinese community and 75 percent cannot speak in English. They live in Canada…. have been living for a good 2 years yet they cannot say a fluent sentence. This has to be incorrect, and if it is correct…. it is highly doubtable.

    Reply
  81. Franche -  April 25, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    I don’t trust these findings at all. Having spent a year in China and several months in India, I can safely say that there is no contest between the two countries as far as English goes. In any medium to large city in India, I didn’t even have to ask people if they spoke English before addressing them. It is understood that they speak English, except the very poor people and the residents of small villages. The news is in English. Public information is in English (in addition to Hindi and local languages). English is used in schools and at work. Even the woman shilling bobby pins on the metro speaks a reasonable amount of English. Most Indian anglophones have a wide vocabulary and speak fluently without halting and stumbling for words, unlike in China.

    In China, it was such a struggle to find anyone who spoke even a basic level of English that I ended up having to use my very rudimentary Chinese to get by on a daily basis, even in Beijing and Shanghai. I’m not saying I was opposed to doing that — I enjoyed learning Chinese. My point is that these findings are inaccurate. Never in a year in China did I see any two Chinese people using English to communicate, while that is a norm in India.

    Reply
  82. Liping Wei -  April 25, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    I’m Chinese and taught English in a university in China for three years. Now I’m a doctoral student in America and have lots of Inidian people around me either in school or in my community. My personal experience says Indians usually have native-like fluency, though with some accent. The spoken ability of Chinese is not even comparable with Indians’.
    By the way, the second posting under my name was not made by me. Somebody else posted under my name? It’s weird!

    Reply
  83. Daria -  April 25, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    I don’t know what criteria was used but it’s hard for me to imagine that Chinese would be better in English that people from India. However, I have to congratulate Chinese on their determination.

    Reply
  84. William Xu -  April 25, 2011 - 2:03 pm

    I think China deserved to have better english skills than India. My cousin who lives in China studies english everyday! Plus, in China they put learning english as part of their learning curriculum. China won fair and square.

    Reply
  85. Ram -  April 25, 2011 - 2:01 pm

    I believe the survey should have been more comprehensive. When you say 19% profieciency , it is 228 Million english speakers ( 19 % times 1.2 Billion). Almost all of the villages have access to English Medium schools where the medium of communication is english.Small cities to the metro cities have numerous english medium schools where almost all of the students learn their subjects in english.Even in regional language schools , they have a english subject also. That means lot of students. The official medium of communication is english. There are english newspapers in all the states of India and there are lot English channels in India. There are lot of spoken english training institutes in India. Added to this , call center boom has added lot of english speakers. So I believe India has got stronger english language skills next only to USA.

    Reply
  86. peter -  April 25, 2011 - 1:59 pm

    INDIA we won the worldcup! woohooo!

    Reply
  87. Bogdan -  April 25, 2011 - 12:50 pm

    i like reese

    Reply
  88. Aini -  April 25, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    Singapore is not even in the list and, as another commenter has remarked above, there are no african nations as well. I think the report is very unreliable. No point in propagating nonsense.

    Reply
  89. genny -  April 25, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    Malaysia ranks higher than (and just where is) Singapore? Hard to believe, did they conflate the two?

    Reply
  90. Salman Ahmed -  April 25, 2011 - 11:45 am

    I never been in China, I cannot say about that. but In India, people are busying in making a new language, say HINGLISH (the very much influence of Hindi over English). I agree with the finding of British Council report which revealed about the dearth of professors of English but the quality of institution is good. Hinglish could be the major issue which restricts to be good on skill at international level.

    Reply
  91. mahi_royal -  April 25, 2011 - 11:44 am

    I think India is developing the english speaking.when it comes to pronouncing english words words, India is better than china……

    Reply
  92. Andrew -  April 25, 2011 - 11:36 am

    The level of proficiency you find in 0.1 % of the Indian population ( about 1,000,000 people!) is quite substantial. Many people from Bomaby speak English as not a second language, but a first. This includes particularly the younger generation brought up in high-profile schools and the Roman Catholic Community from the City and Southern Suburbs. Admittedly , the English is Indian English and differs from received pronunciation in several ways and often uses localized phrases which are grammatically , slightly incorrect. The population in China with this level of command over the language is positively minuscule. On the other hand , India is not really a country – but a country of countries , a mixture of race, culture and language so varied that there are people British in culture and taste, Greek/Italian , Chinese/Mongolian, Iranian and even African in look. Each set of people sees their defining factor as an identity – often this factor is language. (there are over a hundred languages spoken in India) They cling on to this , and are not eager to learn the firang(a common word for English/American) culture. Hence the disinclination towards English and the possible reason for the findings of this study.

    Reply
  93. Joseph -  April 25, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Some languages have no long and short syllables. These speakers will ever mistake for instance long “sheet” with the short form. However, that would not make much harm to the actual situation.
    “Globalese” is the new language emerging nowadays. That is plain English, no phrases, no joking, little grammar.
    Sooner or later the British won’t be able to communicate in their own native tongue. I have been teaching and practicing English for 30 years now, but I still have difficulties in understanding a British – let’s say – pool cleaner.

    Reply
  94. Book Beater -  April 25, 2011 - 11:22 am

    @ Pinki
    The only American english speakers I’ve known who were actually fluent were english teachers, and even then it’s kind of iffy.
    Native tounge speakers will always be rabid offenders. That’s the price we pay in a living language. ( Foo don wan no hep, foo don get no hep. )

    Reply
  95. KansasRoots -  April 25, 2011 - 11:11 am

    wow, just wow. how absurd. the testing can only be done with same amount of people from all areas that were tested.

    Reply
  96. Eyewitness -  April 25, 2011 - 11:03 am

    As an entertaining english-language related factoid, I want to mention that while I was in Denmark, where english is prevalent–absolutely any native Dane you meet speaks english fluently–I noticed that all Danes speak english with a British accent. When I asked one of my hosts why this should be, they said it is because Denmark imports its english language teachers from England, which is only an overnight ferry ride away.

    I find this an interesting object lesson that language and inflexion can be acquired, not just language itself, and that inflection can occur independently of geography, to which it is customarily attributed. I wonder which “English” the Chinese are learning–American, because the trade route in english language teachers is shorter from America to China than from England to China?

    Reply
  97. Aaliya Khan -  April 25, 2011 - 10:55 am

    Tehehehe, I’m from India and I think Indians always manage to convey their point, even if they speak ungrammatical sentences, they may go to the florist and say, “Flowers, please, give me some”, and the chap knows what they’re saying!
    So, that may vary according to the part of the country they’re from, the four extreme parts of India are EXTREMELY different from each other! Hear a Kashmiri and hear a South Indian, YouTube if you have the time and you’ll know how the English dialect and pronunciation varies.
    I think grammar must have played an important role in the survey. While you hear strange pronunciations from a South Indian, barely comprehensible, you’ll be surprised when you come across prose written by these people!
    So when it comes to the diverse India, I think judging would be a very tough job!

    Reply
  98. Book Beater -  April 25, 2011 - 10:47 am

    @ wordjunkie
    Here here !!!
    If you ask they will i.m. with you, it can make it alot easier.

    Reply
  99. Dieter Simon -  April 25, 2011 - 10:13 am

    Sorry Gary Chow,
    I misspelled you name, forgive me. It is old age, I am afraid

    Reply
  100. Dieter Simon -  April 25, 2011 - 10:10 am

    @ Gary CGow
    @ Book Beater
    Yes, it is one of those “caucasian” things, as you said. It is or was certainly used in UK English, “to be in the pink” is an oldish expression, but then I am eighty, what can you expect?

    Reply
  101. Pinki -  April 25, 2011 - 10:00 am

    I wonder how many people in America or Britain speak fluently in English??

    Reply
  102. Nimish -  April 25, 2011 - 9:58 am

    This is completely BS.. I am an Indian and I know that english literacy levels in India are pretty good..I recently spent a month in Beijing.. English literacy is as low as non existent there.. Beijing being the capital city of you would expect at least few people to speak english.. wonder if all the research/surveys are so misleading!

    Reply
  103. Pinki -  April 25, 2011 - 9:57 am

    I agree with the fourth comment. China won pretty fair and square. And yes, it does depend on the population.

    @Eline: LOL

    My cousins lives in China, and they are very fluent in English (they’re not English themselves, btw). Chinese people are very hard-working (my opinion; at least most of them are), and most do very well in school.

    Reply
  104. Luck in W -  April 25, 2011 - 9:55 am

    I’m wondering if the fact that people in India speak English of a lesser quality than those in China is perhaps due to the fact that English in India has been there for so long that it has been adapted rather than adopted over the last 300 years or so.

    China has been closed to most English speakers for close to 60 years and I’m quite sure that it wasn’t taught much during those years. Or maybe it’s due to those “tiger mamas” who make sure that their children learn everything properly.

    I also believe that a lot of the Chinese speak better English than a lot of us do. It seems to be ingrained in their culture that you learn everything properly. I often cringe when I listen to people speaking or read newspapers, books and articles on the Internet. Just today I was reading a book. Several times an expression meaning “to focus on or zero in on something” was used as “to hone in on something.” That is absolutely incorrect. The expression is to “home in on something” like a homing pigeon going to a target: its home. There is a verb “to hone.” However, you hone a craft, a skill, an art, etc. That is, you improve or perfect it. Constantly reading the word in the context does not help people use it correctly.

    Reply
  105. pam g -  April 25, 2011 - 9:48 am

    I took 8 years of spanish (6th grade through a year in college) and I speak spanish like a two year old :)

    But I can read and comprehend at a much higher level.

    Reply
  106. wordjunkie -  April 25, 2011 - 9:07 am

    I was unable to follow the link to see the study, but I am curious to know how, exactly, the study was judged. I do know that every time I have to call India, I can’t ever understand a word they are saying!

    Reply
  107. Logan -  April 25, 2011 - 8:49 am

    Actually, I’ve been to foreign countries like China, and more people there speak English than here!

    Reply
  108. Kim Gordon -  April 25, 2011 - 8:42 am

    Unbelievable – no mention of Africa, not even to explain why an entire continent has been excluded from their study. It would probably have scattered all the bogus trends they hoped to establish.

    Reply
  109. bella lin -  April 25, 2011 - 8:38 am

    i think at least the chinese speak better english than some of the japanese and most of the india people have strong accent when they speak english.

    Reply
  110. rsh -  April 25, 2011 - 8:35 am

    I think India has a better command over English.

    Reply
  111. Ben -  April 25, 2011 - 8:16 am

    China has a better English learning system cause they are mor structured and have more mony toward school systems that India does. Also India is in poverty so they don’t have a better education program.

    Reply
  112. aziemat -  April 25, 2011 - 8:15 am

    As much as I find this survey somewhat questionable, I’ve got no complains as Malaysia is leading the list of Asian countries. Like India, Malaysia was once a British colony and it is true that English has long been a required subject from primary school.

    Time to review those outsourcing contracts? Bear us in mind! Cheers!

    Reply
  113. kiks -  April 25, 2011 - 8:14 am

    Chinese students have a tendency to learn through memorization (reading chinese characters requires memory) so written tests might indicate a greater knowledge of english but im sure if there was an oral test it would show very different results. Even in HK spoken english amongst the local students is at a pretty poor standard, despite a large volume of expats living there.

    philippines should be higher up :)

    Reply
  114. Dan -  April 25, 2011 - 8:12 am

    I find the quirky way Indians speak English to be amusing. The other day one came to my desk and said -

    Sometime today in your freedom can you look at something for me?

    Reply
  115. Varun Bhargav -  April 25, 2011 - 8:05 am

    Well, what can be said about such sundry studies and findings?The fact is, in India English is taught as a medium of instruction in private English medium schools.So the ratio as compared to the general population is low, but fairly high internationally.In India you will find signages and banners in English, on the roadsides, or shops or malls.Whatever proficiency India has attained in English, is because of the private sector.As I’m an Indian, I would like to say, complacency in this issue could be fatal.

    Reply
  116. Ryanne05 -  April 25, 2011 - 8:03 am

    I must agree that India is good in English however, they have a thick accent compared to Filipinos who has more neutral accent maybe that is why Technical Support Call centers were based in India and Customer Support call centers are based in Philippines. For Chinese people, I’m not so sure if they’re good but accourding to my friend who is working as an english professor in a big university in China who is also a native from california, he said chinese is really having problems with the subject, there tongue is having problems adopting to it, he even added that when he let his students make an english name it turn out to be a disaster because his students translated their chinese names to english e.g, Chinese word for a particular bird and they can’t find an English name for that bird so they name themselves “Bird”, but non the less they’re very patient and eager to learn the language. I have to do some research about this.

    Reply
  117. louis paiz -  April 25, 2011 - 7:10 am

    how could someone say that india does not speack english well if i read in a business magasine that many american companies do business with them here and abroad iclusive sometimes you call a company or receive a call and you think that the person with whom you are dealing with is here in the usa but never occured to you that the one that is answering your questions is not here in the usa but in an office desk as close as india;and in a well spoken english. thanks

    Reply
  118. Peline -  April 25, 2011 - 6:57 am

    Just had a look at the survey and I must say that naturally Norway came first. Generally Scandinavian people’s English is very good, but the reason that Norway came first is most likely that the Faroe Islands weren’t included in it. We would have come first ;) Not trying to sound completely arrogant, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if that would be the case :o)

    Reply
  119. Book Beater -  April 25, 2011 - 6:47 am

    @ Gary Chow
    In the pink is not a phrase someone under 30 would be familiar with. It probably refers to our rosey cheeked good health. More of a caucasian thing, but I know it as an Americanism. Gday.

    Reply
  120. Preston -  April 25, 2011 - 6:40 am

    One would think it would be England or America but that is probably a biased opinion as America does predominantly speak “English” it is a mixing pot of various languages and is often filled with slang. Most people see China as a rigorous country in everything educational, however I say a more exact survey would be to send a proficient English speakers to certain countries and ask them to say “toy boat” five times as fast as they can without slurring their words or messing up in any other way. This task would put the “English” language to the test.

    Reply
  121. Brandon -  April 25, 2011 - 6:38 am

    I tend to agree with the commenters who say that most Chinese (in China) have relatively good grammar on paper, but horrible grammar when they try to speak. I taught English in China for two years and I found that on the exams I gave I would have to come up with ways for them to demonstrate their knowledge of grammar in a way that they weren’t used to doing. I completely cut out any multiple-choice style questions on the exams. In fact, most exams were given orally. Once I made the switch from standard multiple-choice to oral, the percentage of students who got As and Bs on the exam went way down. With the oral exam, most students got Cs — some got Ds and a few even failed (they couldn’t even say a word to me). In each class, between 1-4 students got As on the oral exam. The reason for this, of course, is how they are taught to learn — by rote memorization. They can’t really be blamed though, since in order to learn how to write in Chinese they spend hours every day as children just repeating strokes to learn the characters. But really they learn that way in every other subject too. So I guess my ultimate point here is that China does have some strong English speakers, but MOST are not. Most are only strong on paper.

    Reply
  122. inviting a handlename -  April 25, 2011 - 6:26 am

    What is more interesting than which nation, China or India has better command of English is that Scanginavians tops a list. Speaking a dominant foreign language denotes more or less “colonization” so to speak in spite of means of financials. Do they show anyways allergic reaction to it or not at all?
    For example, French is known to refuse to speak English although some do in the toursim. Like Japanese, there are so much enthusiasm in learning English, however, their poor English despite of time and money they spend on it shows that at the back of their mind some resistence lies against it.

    I would like to know some other perspectives on it.

    Reply
  123. joe -  April 25, 2011 - 6:24 am

    id say U.S would be the largest area of english speakers wouldnt you say?
    i noticed that foreighn people speak with their own accent so english people cant understand them so well. This is what i think.

    Reply
  124. KW -  April 25, 2011 - 6:18 am

    Wait, 19% of one billion is 190 million, not 90 million as you mentioned. Or did I miss something?

    Reply
  125. clark -  April 25, 2011 - 6:17 am

    I do agree that india is better than China for when we go to Hong Kong and tried to dine in small restaurant nobody form any restaurant is able to understand us. We still need to pinpoint foods in Photos just for us to get our orders. We spent a whole week in hongkong eating fried rice for they can not understand English. Poor Country.

    Reply
  126. sluggo -  April 25, 2011 - 6:03 am

    The million-dollar question: Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. God, who the Bible says is “rich in mercy,” sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for guilty sinners. We broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid our fine. That means He can legally dismiss our case. He can commute our death sentence: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then He rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin) today and God will grant everlasting life to all who trust in Jesus. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.

    Reply
  127. An English person -  April 25, 2011 - 5:48 am

    I do think it’s interesting, looking at the chart on the website, that if you look across northern and western Europe, the proficiency is highest in the north and steadily declines the further south you go.

    Reply
  128. Science4God -  April 25, 2011 - 5:37 am

    I’m a Visayan Filipino and I think Philippines is the country in asia who can “read” and write english but majority has problem in communicating in english and grammar because for example, we don’t have this “HE” and “SHE”, however, our tongue is more flexible to the accents that we can even imitate other accents but we speak more neutral english accent. India, YES! they can speak English per word(because if they speak they have a very strong accent) way better than us Filipinos because we Filipino has Spanish influence in our tongue. China, I’m not so sure but my friend whos an American Professor in a university in China said, Chinese has problem with verbal communication and grammar, I have to research more about this. Call centers in India and more into IT service because they’re very technical but Filipino call centers are more into Customer Service because of our neutral accents.

    Reply
  129. Hemant Walia -  April 25, 2011 - 5:01 am

    Whatever this survey be, it sure has lost its credibility. I mean have you guys ever heard a Chinese speak; you’ll be enunciated with the definition of “gibber” when you do. I’m an Indian and in love with the English language, I’m sure I do represent quite a sect of my country i.e. educated with an open mind.

    Reply
  130. Caleb -  April 25, 2011 - 4:59 am

    question is… do they speak the language very well..?

    Reply
  131. poedunkjoe -  April 25, 2011 - 3:31 am

    i live in china as an english teacher for the most part the business world in china of translation is sickly an poor because they only hire people through connections on what someone else said they can speak so hire them to translate for the most part english spoken in china is lacking i know chinese people with great verbal skills but is few and far between my friend if you take off taiwan and hong kong off that list of studies im sure mainland china would far very short and in india i know they are much stronger in english then china im an american with no asian blood in my viens i been here for 3 years teaching english all over china

    Reply
  132. Roshan -  April 25, 2011 - 2:50 am

    outsourcing Chinese is better!

    Reply
  133. Nikhil -  April 25, 2011 - 12:14 am

    Going for an unbiased opinion, I truly believe that India is the better English speaking country. I live in China and I often travel to India and most people there definitely know how to communicate in English weather it’s a couple sentences or full – blooming conversations! However here in China many of the people I come across everyday hear nothing but gibberish when I talk to them. Some others know how to speak fairly good English but the language is only prominent amongst younger to middle aged groups.

    Reply
  134. Snow white -  April 24, 2011 - 11:23 pm

    Well, there are people proficient in english in both China and India.I have come across many Chinese people in english learning websites who are obsessed to learn english..They have a strong will and obviously they are hardworking.About India, about 80% of people are already fluent in english.Our english teachers are highly skilled and english is taught in every schools.Moreover,in most of the schools speaking in english has been made strict since time immemorial.Majority of the Indian population have excellent english skills.

    Reply
  135. englishph -  April 24, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    Actually, Philippines is where most people from South Korea and some other Asian countries go to study as it is cheap to study there, at the same time the quality is the same with English speaking countries like the US. Though few Filipinos, who cannot afford to go to school cannot speak straight English but at least they still understand.

    Reply
  136. Cyberquill -  April 24, 2011 - 10:51 pm

    “Please restrict your comments to language-related topics; any remarks lacking civility may result in your banishment from the Hot Word commenting community.”

    I don’t understand what one has to do with the other.

    Reply
  137. tincan -  April 24, 2011 - 10:24 pm

    ^Bill, did you just pasted something from an online translator? I thought my Chinese is pretty proficient but I have no clue what you just said there.

    I do admit though, my grammar and written English are pretty good (heck when I was in ESL level 2 back in grade 6 I scored higher on a grammar quiz than the Americans in my class), but my verbal still needs improvement that’s for sure…

    Reply
  138. norz905 -  April 24, 2011 - 9:41 pm

    Philippines ranks 5th on the most english language speakers.
    1st US, 2nd India, 3rd Nigeria & 4th United Kingdom.
    China is not on the list. But striving hard to speak english,
    I could say yes! Cheers!

    Reply
  139. pei wei -  April 24, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    English is not the national language of India. It is one of the many official languages.

    Reply
  140. Jaseydalts -  April 24, 2011 - 9:05 pm

    Ive been a Native English Teacher in China for 7 years now. The general standard is improving, but i still consider it at quite a low level generally. That said, the sheer number of students studying English will undoubtedly skew the statistics.
    I recently moved to Hong Kong, and daily exposure to English in this more cosmopolitan society means English learners are at a far higher level at an earlier age. Whereas in China there are relatively few opportunities for students to practice their skills outside of the classroom.

    Reply
  141. Xu Lu -  April 24, 2011 - 8:38 pm

    Well, actually Chinese students really have relatively good skills in tests relating to grammar, and do perform poorly in spoken and written English. The “student” mentioned before is to indicate that not all the Chinese people could utilize English, no matter spoken or written, for students are required to pass English exams all through their years in schools and universities/colleges. Generally those students are taught by Chinese teachers—some are taught by foreign teachers, but not too many—and are not strictly required in practicing their spoken and written English—listening comprehension and writing count a small part in the exam papers—and in some remote areas in China, students even don’t have any resources like MP3, CD players or even teachers of average levels to practice their English. As for the writing, I have to say that most Chinese students are learning Chinglish, or English with Chinese characteristics, which determines their performance in writing English.
    BTW: I’m a Chinese student who has learnt English for so many years.

    Reply
  142. Bill -  April 24, 2011 - 7:58 pm

    井拼寫檢查和翻譯它不是那麼重要,因為它曾經是。

    Reply
  143. ... -  April 24, 2011 - 7:33 pm

    i think they are just say how they write english coz my cousin in china is pretty good in wirting/typing english but when i try talking to her in english she is just like: what the heck are you talking about???? but now im back in australia i try writing to her in english and she is good

    Reply
  144. Arnel -  April 24, 2011 - 7:31 pm

    The study itself is absurd and baseless. Malaysia is leading among the list of asian countries? There you can find South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, but where is Philippines? Out of 44 countries in the list, you can’t find Philippines? How did it happen? Anyone, please enlightened me about this.

    Reply
  145. Romel -  April 24, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Well,, Philippines is not in the list i don’t know why but I believe it is one of the nations that has a moderate level , if not high, because there are too many call center and english teacher here..

    Reply
  146. Gary Chow -  April 24, 2011 - 5:38 pm

    Hard to believe this. I meet Chinese students here (Australia) all the time and their English is not of a very high standard. On the other hand, I get email (spam) from India every day and the English is pretty good in most of them. Mind you, the other day I got one that opened with the line: ‘I hope this finds you in the PINK of health…’ Who knows, maybe this is an old English phrase. I’ve never heard it before but it tickles my fancy so now I use it all the time.

    Reply
  147. Kitty -  April 24, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    That’s so weird, but it would depend on the population of the country. won’t it?

    Reply
  148. Eline -  April 24, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    @Liping Wei

    Hrmm…? Really? I’d say this is quite intriguing; seeing how I’ve always had the impression of English in India standing strong, granted, as stated, for the deep roots of the British colonization.

    More importantly – YOU didn’t follow the rules.

    Reply
  149. Pamela Breedlove -  April 24, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    I agree with the previous comment. In my limited experience that would be a joke. I was in China about a year ago and 2 of our 3 translators spoke broken English.They were not proficient. These people were hired as a premier group that dealt with the Chambers of Commerce tour groups across the U.S. that wanted to do business with China. They mostly were a front for the government owned businesses that we were routinely taken to buy souvenirs and other Chinese products. We did speak to a few ordinary people when they would let us out of their sight. Almost no one spoke English in a way other than the words they knew to try and sell us their wares. I have not been to India yet but am extremely surprised by this finding.

    Reply
  150. Liping Wei -  April 24, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    Just kidding! I’m Chinese, I don’t speak English!!

    Reply
  151. Nitya -  April 24, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    I’m not surprised that a Scandinavian country is yet again at the top of the table! Was it ever thus!
    Why do we not look at these countries to see just what it is they’re doing right? Instead, we tend to look for our inspiration in places with fairly mediocre outcomes, whatever the area.

    Reply
  152. the epicness that is me -  April 24, 2011 - 2:35 pm

    that’s why i can never figure out what they’re saying in the outsourced calls.

    Reply
  153. Wu Shiwen -  April 24, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    The fact that the study is not carried out in a scientific manner seems to dull the reliability of any findings.

    Reply
  154. Buck -  April 24, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    As an experienced ESL instructor in the US and one with a substantial amount of native Chinese speakers in classes, I notice that the Chinese have relatively high skills in determining the answers to multiple choice, fill-in and T/F questions related to grammar, and they have a fairly large vocabulary compared to other (usually non-European language speaking) students. However, their ability actually to PRODUCE language (spoken or written) is relatively limited compared to their classmates at the same level.

    Reply
  155. Grace Shoemaker -  April 24, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    It depends on how the test was administered and what they mean by “verbal skills”?

    Many people know better English grammar than native English speakers while they cannot say a word in English!

    China might have gotten the best test results if the test didn’t include a speaking part. (China is just an example here.)

    Reply
  156. Victoria -  April 24, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    Definitely not America! BTW how do you rank English verbal skills?

    Reply
  157. Francis -  April 24, 2011 - 1:20 pm

    Interesting article. Besides, where is my earlier comment?

    Reply
  158. Liping Wei -  April 24, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    This is the most ridiculous finding I have ever read. I would rank it the greatest joke of the year!

    Reply
  159. Francis -  April 24, 2011 - 12:55 pm

    I think that India should do better

    Reply

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