Why does it seem foreigners speak English better?

The Stranger

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You're right, it can be said about the whole thread. This whole thread is a negative judgement passed upon thousands, millions, of others and it's wrong. Besides, the topic was on speaking English, not writing it. No one says they're, their, and there because they all sound the same.
 

Hyouryuu-Na

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I didn't notice that. I considered writing to be an equivalent skill to speaking. Hence the question. Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That was not my intention. Also sorry for possibly derailing the discussion.
 

PixeLockeT

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That really sucks I'm sorry to hear that. I can't work and have to live off of 700 dollars a month I hope you find a new job tho!

Same. They do nottt pay us enough to really live on here. >:

On topic, it's not that they speak English better, they just speak a more academic version of English because they haven't been saturated enough to speak "real" English (all the slang, etc.) as a native speaker would. This goes for anyone learning any second language - I'd speak "better" and more proper Japanese than a native if I were to be taught, because they'd have lived in Japan enough to know where to cut the corners and use the slang/shorten things whereas I'd be speaking as if straight from a textbook and dictionary.
 

Drakkonis

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I've wondered about this before too. Specially after visiting the r/BoneAppleTea subreddit, a subreddit that's about typos, spelling mistakes and terrible English. Why do so many native English speakers not know the difference between their and they're? It's so simple but I still see so many instances of people messing them up. I mean, there are many slangs in a language and styles of speaking can be different. But, shouldn't people at least know the grammar well?
Btw, I'm genuinely curious. I'm not trying to be rude. Like, it's your language. You know it better than anyone else. Just saying to avoid any kind of misunderstandings.
I chalk it up to one simple thing: they don't care. I prefer decent grammar, and tend to associate a lack of care in speaking coherently with a lack of intelligence, so people that don't care enough to learn to speak their own language properly annoy the crap out of me. Sadly, that's 90% of the people in my local area.

It's actually become bad enough that, where I work, workplace documents, created by people who do nothing but sit in front of a computer with word processing programs all day, contain a myriad of spelling, grammar, and even punctuation mistakes. SIMPLE mistakes that no one that graduated high school should be making.

I care to learn and use English properly. I fudge here and there on stuff that's not likely to impair my ability to get my point across, but I do have a minimum standard. But a lot of people simply don't care. School is just a place they're forced to be for 8 hours a day. It's the same with math. They don't see a point in learning it since "they won't need it in the REAL world". And it's a mindset they never really get out of... if its use is not immediately clear and valuable to them personally, it's not worth the effort for them.
 

The Stranger

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I chalk it up to one simple thing: they don't care. I prefer decent grammar, and tend to associate a lack of care in speaking coherently with a lack of intelligence, so people that don't care enough to learn to speak their own language properly annoy the crap out of me.
It's a harsh judgement to pass upon complete strangers. What would be speaking incoherently to you?

Most folk speak using a dialect they grew up hearing, but this doesn't mean they have low intelligence, just as using the Queen's English (speaking like a right toff) doesn't make one any smarter.
 

ElCheffe

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In fact i'm not sure if non-native speakers like myself speak a "better" English. I guess the main difference is that when we learn English at school it is free of any dialect.
But in fact there is not "one English" but a lot of variations from country to country and region to region. I think that's only natural with language, same is true for most other languages.
I for example really struggle with guys from Tennessee. For me it always sound like they have a stuffed potatoe in their mouth when talking. Oh, and Scots...also very challenging for me... But thats more based on the regional dialect and not because they speak "bad English".
 

Punamaagi

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One reason why non-native speakers might seem to speak English "better" is that they tend to be more aware of the grammatical rules and the way formal language works. Native speakers of a language don't usually have to spend conscious effort to communicate in the language in question: they grow up hearing, reading etc. the language, so they know how it works kind of intuitively. They might not be able to identify or name all the grammatical rules and whatnot, but they don't have to; they know what they need to say or write to get their message across.

I also doubt that non-natives/foreigners speak English "better" than the natives. Sure, we might look like we're better at writing formal/academic-style text, but the education system in a lot of countries puts much more emphasis on written communication. I consider myself fairly good at English, but if I have to speak in English, the result tends to be a garbled mixture of British and American accents plus some good ol' "Finglish".
 

Finnuval

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I don't have much of a life because I live off of SSI because I'm disabled (mentally) according to the state
Eh arent we all xD

As for the OP :

I think most of the explanations given explain it well enough. Dialect, cutting corners, more academic VS more natural etc.

The whole lazy and/or intelligent judgement is just elitist nonsense tho.
 

Tiamat-86

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about the whole typing correct english rant.
i have 1 word for you, but ill write it twice and both are correct.
Color
Colour

clearly this forum is american, but i'm not
this is just 1 out of hundreds of examples.

now to eat some fish and chips while watch football on my fone.
 

Willibab

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I learned from playing video games on PS1 and Gameboy, I wanted to know why Barret in FF7 had no chill :p I also learned that literally none of the dialogue in Pokémon was essential. But I eventually ''mastered'' it from playing MMORPG's after being constantly assaulted by viscous grammar Nazis day in and day out (Because I basically played 24/7, Vanilla WoW was my heroin) for the slightest error. Harsh....But effective. I still struggle with capitalized I's though, we don't do that here :p And in all honesty, even though the English languages has its flaws, its still my favorite. Norwegian is kind of lame tbh, its almost impossible to sound cool with it xD Those that try only make me laugh ^^
 

Tiamat-86

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now i cant stop thinking about that "i before e except after c" meme
theres less then 50 words that actually follow that rule while theres over 900 words that break the rule.
whatever english teacher came was with that mnemonic saying should've been fired instantly.

lets just face it,
there's more flaws in the english language then there is wrinkles on a 100 year old neked grandma.
 
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ATT_Turan

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From my viewpoint, I largely attribute it to two things: technology and schooling.

I can attest that the public school system (at least in my area of the country) has gone pretty far away from "teaching English" as I learned it. I frequently experience that kids in middle school do not know the parts of speech, and are not taught to construct grammatically-accurate sentences. I've given assignments for 8th graders to write me a paragraph on a subject, and their tone is completely casual and stream-of-thought.

Then you add in technology, where so much of the reading (and writing) any given youth does is via text message or over the Internet, where standards are continually loosening and efforts to maintain any proper language usage are often met with derision and insults.

Compare that to many other countries where, as described above, learning English is considered an important part of schooling, and it's no wonder you might see a difference.
 

The Stranger

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@ATT_Turan Learning English is important in English speaking countries, too. It's a core subject in the UK. However, taught English and practiced English, how one uses a language from day to day, are two very different things.

Things weren't any better in the past, what with countless people being illiterate; you can still find a lot of adults today who can't read or write. If anything, literacy and the general learning of English has steadily improved in recent years, it hasn't gotten worse.
 

BK-tdm

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I know 4 languages so far, i gotta pick up japanese seriously someday :kaoswt2:

In the english case: i learned out of necessity to be honest, little me only spoke spanish and all these brand new entertainment systems came only in english (or chinese knock offs) and little me had the greatest idea ever: to buy this game called "pokemon silver".

Little me had no idea what an rpg was and how many lines of foreign language dialogue had to be read to actually know what to do, how to play and where to go next, little me had no help whatsoever as dad was the only english speaking person in the house back then and he had no time to sit through the playtrough reading every detail for me.

HOW did i actually learned it, i honestly have no idea, i just kept at it, associating words, finding meanings and playing other games (a lot of other games), then advent of MMOs created the necessity to comunicate and not be part of the "only speak my native language in a foreign game" which i guess polished the acquired knowledge of the language itself.

I deal with english on a daily basis and probably use it more than my native language, the only bad thing is that i cant understand spanish if im thinking or writing in english, which ticks off my family, friends and SO a lot :kaoswt:
 
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The Stranger

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I deal with english on a daily basis and probably use it more than my native language, the only bad thing is that i cant understand spanish if im thinking or writing in english, which ticks off my family, friends and SO a lot
Lol! I can only imagine you focusing so hard on understanding English that you forget your mother tongue.

Mother: "Cómo estás?"
You: "...Yes"
 

ATT_Turan

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@ATT_Turan Learning English is important in English speaking countries, too. It's a core subject in the UK. However, taught English and practiced English, how one uses a language from day to day, are two very different things.
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at, here. I assume this thread is discussing typed English online - I don't think the OP is encountering a great number of foreign people in person and finding their spoken English to be superior.

Therefore, given that assumption, there is not a difference because typing into a text box on a forum requires forethought and engages "taught English" skills. However, as I described in my post, I have first-hand experience in schools that what's being taught for English is not sufficiently what one needs to be composing sentences correctly.

Note that I live in the U.S.A. and can't speak to the state of any schooling in the U.K. Nor outside of my immediate region of this country.
 

The Stranger

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@ATT_Turan The thread is, or rather was, about spoken English, "Why does it seem foreigners speak English better?"

I'm guessing it's just an observation made by the OP on how many foreigners speak English well, which they do, but it's often not how natives use the language.
 

ATT_Turan

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@ATT_Turan The thread is, or rather was, about spoken English, "Why does it seem foreigners speak English better?"

I'm guessing it's just an observation made by the OP on how many foreigners speak English well, which they do, but it's often not how natives use the language.
I saw the word used, but I presumed the OP was using "speak" to reference general communication. If that's the literal case, then I would generally disagree with the original premise and my previous comments would be off-topic.

As a parting gift:
 

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Drakkonis

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It's a harsh judgement to pass upon complete strangers. What would be speaking incoherently to you?

Most folk speak using a dialect they grew up hearing, but this doesn't mean they have low intelligence, just as using the Queen's English (speaking like a right toff) doesn't make one any smarter.
For most of my frame of reference, I interact with people who grew up in the same area I did, attended the same school I did, sometimes even at the same time I did. I learned to speak English just fine. So my conclusion is that someone who also learned in that environment who can't manage to use English correctly either lacked the intelligence to get it down, or is intentionally misusing it. The former doesn't actually bother me if I know or suspect it to be the case, it's the latter that annoys me, whether it's because they don't care to use it correctly, or the misuse is the point.

For complete strangers, I don't often pass such judgment, BECAUSE of the dialect thing. It's a regional difference, and part of how a language evolves. Unless my interaction with such an individual involves a medium that requires good communication. Prime example is reading, say, a fanfiction. If someone is writing something with the intent to post it online, they usually have access to even basic forms of spell check, possibly even grammar check. To ignore anything flagged by those checks implies a lack of care, and in an author scenario, that's a quick way to drive off anyone trying to read your work.... which is counterproductive. And deliberately not using those features when you know they're available(and in this day and age, there's little excuse for not knowing about them) is practically unforgivable. I can tolerate various mistakes here and there, English can be unnecessarily complex at times and various checks aren't going to find EVERYTHING.
 

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