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More Poles speak English than French or Spanish!


PennBoy 76 | 2,437
17 Nov 2012 #1
In a survey done by EF Education First which checked the knowledge of the English language on 1.7 million people in over 50 countries Poland came in tenth place.

economist/blogs/johnson/2012/10/language-skills
Wulkan - | 3,251
17 Nov 2012 #2
Don't tell me that it's suprising you that more Poles speak English then Spaniards lol

You could argue about the French though as they are reluctant to speak it and maybe admit to be able to aswel.
TommyG 1 | 361
17 Nov 2012 #3
I find it hilarious that Poland ranks higher than India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and yet we seem to get a lot of posts in broken English from people claiming to be from these countries offering to teach English to Poles. Some even have had the audacity to claim to be a 'native-speaker'! It's even more hilarious to me as most English teachers on this forum would agree that many of their students speak better English in a lot of cases:D
berni23 7 | 379
17 Nov 2012 #4
Now that would be a headline:
A survey done by EF Education First which checked the knowledge of foreign languages on 315 million Americans found that only 0.643% could communicate enough to get by.

Out of the 0.643% 0.534% were immigrants or direct decedents of immigrants.
Wulkan - | 3,251
17 Nov 2012 #5
yep, aji was funny :-)
4 eigner 2 | 831
17 Nov 2012 #6
More Poles speak English than French

Who cares what they speak as long as they do French, right? (LOL)
polonius 54 | 420
17 Nov 2012 #7
That surely doesn't include Spanish?!
4 eigner 2 | 831
17 Nov 2012 #8
it does include the Spanish Fly though, LOL
Wulkan - | 3,251
17 Nov 2012 #9
That surely doesn't include Spanish?!

don't worry, it doesn't :-)
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
17 Nov 2012 #10
Yawn...

"This was not a statistically controlled study: the subjects took a free test online and of their own accord. They were by definition connected to the internet and interested in testing their English...

Majority of Poles still speak litle or no English.
jon357 63 | 14,151
18 Nov 2012 #11
No surprises here - there are 300 language schools in Warsaw alone and the government invest a lot of time and money in English teaching in the state sector.
Warszawette - | 128
18 Nov 2012 #12
Hi!
There may be like you say 300 language schools in Warsaw but most of them are no more than BS and operated from the owner's kitchen. As to the financing of languages (not only English) in Polish state institutions and in huge international corporations, it is done by U.E. funds so it costs close to 0 zl to Polish state (I'm in the field so I do know about such UE programs)

In Poland a lot of people butcher English (and other languages) and only a tiny minority can properly speak any foreign language.
Such report is another crap.
Why in the world are PF members so obsessed by the French and Spaniards! It's a pathology.
Have a nice Sunday!
1jola 14 | 1,879
18 Nov 2012 #13
it is done by U.E. funds so it costs close to 0 zl to Polish state

So, Poland contributes close to 0% to EU funds and gets 100%. Not bad. Who said we are not clever, and the rest of Europe are daft?
jon357 63 | 14,151
18 Nov 2012 #14
t is done by U.E. funds so it costs close to 0 zl to Polish state

Actually the initiatives pre-date EU entry (and I'm in the field too, both now and pre-2004).

in huge international corporations,

In 95% of cases it isn't.

Why in the world are PF members so obsessed by the French and Spaniards!

They aren't. Those places are just second-rank European countries.
Warszawette - | 128
18 Nov 2012 #15
Jon!
Trust me, I know several big Western firms getting money from the UE ;)

As to "second rank" nations? France? It's the 2nd richest country in Europe (second to Germany) and the 5th richest country in the world (after the US, China, Japan and Germany) so much ahead of Britain and of Poland for instance ;). As to Spain, it got ruined (but nevertheless still richer than Poland) because of the subprimes and also because since 2004 UE funds go to Eastern Europe (mostly to Poland) instead of to Southern Europe. Spain has nevertheless valuable assets and shall recover. Viva Espana! :)
jon357 63 | 14,151
18 Nov 2012 #16
Most large companies don't use the EU subsidy for language lessons. The conditions are rarely suitable to operational needs.

And no, France isn't the '2nd' country in Europe. It hasn't even got a AAA credit rating!
berni23 7 | 379
18 Nov 2012 #17
According to the 2011 stats it is:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_European_Union
jon357 63 | 14,151
18 Nov 2012 #18
Unfortunately Moody's and S&P, who matter a bit more than wikipedia, don't agree with you.

Nor do the figures for nominal GDP per capita, nor do the unemployment figures, nor do the NUTS-2 regions.
berni23 7 | 379
18 Nov 2012 #19
Unfortunately Moody's and S&P

Well, what do you say? I am happily proven wrong.
BTW: Those stats are from here: europa.eu
I think that they are a bit more trustworthy than some rating agencies, that make a living solely by rating countries up and down.

Nor do the figures for nominal GDP per capita, nor do the unemployment figures, nor do the NUTS-2 regions.

Are you serious? So Luxembourg is the "wealthiest" country in Europe?
jon357 63 | 14,151
18 Nov 2012 #20
I think that they are a bit more trustworthy than some rating agencies,

I would disagree - the decisions of the ratings agencies have an enormous effect - especially on cost of a country's borrowing.

And of course, only one of the countries mentioned has to spend millions to promote its language and even have language quotas for music on the radio and have an Academie to discourage its citizens from using English words!
berni23 7 | 379
18 Nov 2012 #21
So what is the "2nd" in Europe in your opinion?
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
22 Nov 2012 #22
My experience in Wrocław is that many are shy to speak English, but will if you are friendly and use the phrase "can you speak a little English?"

In recent weeks, much to my surprise I found the following people to speak a level good enough to be communicative or better -- I don't mean to sound patronising when I say that btw:-

my postman, 20s (good)
my loud neighbour who I now regularly tell off, 20s (good)
lady who works at Społem on the deli counter, late 20s (good enough to understand and measure what I wanted)
girl who dropped her money in the street when I chased after her - teen (almost fluent)
man on customer service desk at the supermarket, 20s (lived in the UK for 3 years, quite good to almost fluent)
market stall greengrocer, 30s (basic phrases)
the above greengrocer's daughter - teen (very good)
market stall hardware man, 60s (very basic phrases)
market stall food product vendor man, 50s (good, he lived in the UK for a year as a student)
elderly neighbour, late 60s (basic phrases)
friend of mine's yob brother of about 40 (good)
the above's ladette-type daughter - teen (very good)
yob with scarf around his head at the bus stop asking me if the bus had already been - teen (very good)
3 different random police officers, 20s (very good, basic phrases, almost fluent)
girl in street I asked directions to Wrocław council office - teen (very basic phrases)
man in street - I asked the same, late 30s (very good)
man in street who overheard me and tried to help with directions, 20s (very basic phrases)

What's clear is that Poles understand more English than they can speak, or feel confident to speak.

Seems to me the schools/unis/language schools here are doing a great job of teaching communicative English to people. Hats off to them, I am seriously impressed. More seem to speak at least some English here than in Paris.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582
22 Nov 2012 #23
That's clearly amazing! Far different from the times when I was the only teen or person within a 20 km radius who could speak some decent English.

Why in the world are PF members so obsessed by the French and Spaniards! It's a pathology.

French or Spanish are local languages in Europe plus they are "continental" in one of the continents of the world (Africa or South America). But the are indespensable in their countries of origin. My recent experience in Cannes in France has shown that it is impossible to use an automatic toilet if you don't read French; an English only speaking lady was unable to open it with her coin, and then was even unable to receive instructions in English I was giving her, such great was her distress resulting from not knowing French in Cannes. Hélas, c'est la vie !
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
25 Nov 2012 #24
I was in a busy supermarket yesterday and an electrical retailer.

In both places, in-store demonstrators were selling products.

In response to their sudden approach to me and introduction in Polish, I merely responded in English with something witty in English along with the usual phrase said in Polish that means I don't speak Polish.

In the instance of the beer sales girl (aged about 18) she switched into English without hesitation and picked up on the wit and politely laughed. She seemed completely bilingual. I then told her something about the film and beer she was promoting, and she understood exactly what I meant and even asked me where I was from and how I knew. I was able to chat to her as if she was from Croydon or Queens.

With the coffee machine demonstrator, again she picked up on what I said from the moment I spoke English although I observed her looking to the left after I spoke as she translated the English into Polish in her brain. From that point, she conversed with me fairly naturally and I only saw the occasional look of bewilderment at some words I used. She maintained eye contact and comprehended almost everything I said and I was speaking at a normal pace.

All I can say is, the schools/universities/language schools and perhaps some of the readers of this forum who are teachers, have done a great job with the younger generation here. Of course their English is not perfect and if tested they would make errors and need revision, but on an everyday communicative level, it's hard to not be taken aback at how well they can already speak - and in the case of the two above without any thick Polish accent or anything. Some of the tutors here in Wrocław (or the towns these people originally come from) really know what they're doing, for sure.
zetigrek
25 Nov 2012 #25
InWroclaw

I think it's more to do with the media and abundance of English all over the place. Just to give an example, my English competence has risen greatly since my activity on this forum.

and in the case of the two above without any thick Polish accent or anything.

Probably they sing a lot of Rihanna songs :)
Wulkan - | 3,251
25 Nov 2012 #26
do they speak with Caribbean accent?
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
25 Nov 2012 #27
yeh but inwroclaw don't forget that many of those people esp the younger ones might have spent at least a year or two in the UK
zetigrek
25 Nov 2012 #28
do they speak with carribean accent?

Alright, any other youth's idol's song... I'm a bad singer that's why I have a thick accent. Those who sing English songs are more likely to catch better accent. And kids like to sing their idol's songs, aren't they?
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
26 Nov 2012 #29
What's clear is that Poles understand more English than they can speak, or feel confident to speak.

I'm sure this is the case in many countries; it's certainly the case in Hong Kong, for example - while English is an official language there (unlike in Poland), many people are not confident to reply in English, but often understand the basics (and can reply by typing a price into a calculator, as one example, lol).

Personally, I have no idea how well English is spoken in Poland, because I've never spoken English in Poland, except to a few lost foreigners who needed directions. On the few occasions where passport control have opened my UK passport and asked me a question in English, I've always replied in Polish. Few of my relatives in Poland know much English, though - those who stayed, never felt the need to learn. Those who left, seemed to have learned so they could leave :D
beckski 12 | 1,617
26 Nov 2012 #30
Most of my younger relatives in Poland speak English quite well. They speak properly, with very little slang vocabulary.


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