I don't know why there's a common notion in China that only folks from native English speaking countries can speak good English.
However, it is not true. People from many other countries of the world can speak and write good english, some times better than the native people.
I come from India and,as long as I remember, I have been speaking and communicating in English with my employers, school authorities, government officials and other important organizations, in English.
Speaking english is not a novelty in India. In fact people from the southern part of India can communicate well in English and not in Hindi, which is the national language of the country.
I had never known that the country of my origin, and not talent and experience, would be the key factor to get a job in China. Whatever job listings that I go through, the first requirement that's mentioned is "only native English speakers".
I think the employers in China need to broaden their horizons and understand that English is not only spoken by the Americans, Australians and British.
Wikipedia says that English is an official language of almost 60 sovereign states and it is the third-most common native language spoken in the world. (for more check the list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_where_English_is_an_official_language)
Having an accent is another thing and understanding the language another. My mother, who's never studied English in her life, can also understand the language. If you ask her a question in english, she'll definitely understand it and, in many cases, might also come up with an answer.
Even people in the villages of India understand the common english words like water, food, paper, good, bad, bye, hello, come, go etc. It is so common a language there.
Even Hindi-medium schools teach English as a secondary language up to standard 5, if I'm correct.
It would be good if employers change their mindset and put talent and skills above everything else before hiring the right people. Wouldn't that be better for all.
Tags:General Teaching & Learning Language & Culture Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales Lifestyle
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"People from many other countries of the world can speak and write good english, some times better than the native people." So...an uneducated African American from the ghetto in Compton, LA cant speak or write as good as an educated Indian from India. Wow, I didnt know that ! Thanks for enlightening me.
Jun 17, 2014 14:15 Report Abuse
I think you are right! The only problem here is the "accent". Even the "native" speakers have accent too, depending where they come from. In the USA you may find different accents. Canadians have an accent, British peoples have an Accent too, etc...
Jul 04, 2014 22:16 Report Abuse
Hello everyone.While its true Indian and Pakistanis do speak English well,they still do not speak Native English.There is an accent which is to be expected for all non native English speakers .The main issue is this :that Native English whether from Britain,America or Canada has evolved in different way to that spoken anywhere else in the world be it socially,academically or in business. Certain sentences spoken differently. Certain words used more often than they normally would be .Indian English is in a time warp and has adopted slang from rap media/MTV which is not current or mainstream at all.Chinese English has a strong accent,probably due to the fact they are unfamiliar with Indo-European languages(English belongs in this group)You need to live within an native English setting to learn the best English .It is in your interest to do so,as it is the joint first most spoken language in the world .North American English is also the most coveted.Take care and have a nice day.
Jun 15, 2014 23:55 Report Abuse
I am going to put some of my observations(recorded during my research as a linguist in South Asia)over the issue while I agree with your thought to an extent. Both India and Pakistan were under British rule for a hundred years until 1947 thus people from both the countries have a tendency to acquire English as a second second language more easily if compared to East Asia. In the accent game, the articulators play an important role where as in India and Pakistan the regional languages are spoken with different accents. It is more likely the accents of Enlgish spoken in the native countries i.e the UK and the US etc. In the northern part of Pakistan, people can acquire the standard English due to the soft articulators as you mentioned about Southern part of India. Remember, knowing English is totally different to that of speaking English. Thus many people can speak English in the region but may sound difficult to the native speakers. That is the point Chinese employers may know or not but follow. Aboout English in India and Pakistan, this is true that it is the official language of both the countries and is taught upto Matriculation as a compulsory subject in Pakistan and regarding India; as you mentioned its taught up to grade 5. While in Pakistan, all the subjects(even Math, Physics and Biology etc) are taught in English language once the student get into college/F.Sc. I believe it goes the same in India. Thus the students graduating from colleges have vast knowledge of English including spoken but the dilemma of accent remains attached. My conclusion is that; no doubt all the people from native English speaking countries cannot be teachers of the language but if someone has a proper qualification to teach can be a good teacher as compared to non natives. I would also point out the modern fashion of becoming teachers in native speaking countries where you just pay 1000$ and get a TEFL certificate over night. On the other hand the employers anywhere in the world having the right to choose the qulified candidate should also not ignore qualified non-native English speakers who can prove their worth in the field. A languae is not a property of a specific race or region rather can be learnt by anyone with untiring struggle. Do not be disoppointed rather try harder to prove yourself to the employer.
Jun 11, 2014 18:20 Report Abuse
Ava, I had written a similar sort of blog, for some reason it has not been posted, I am trying to repost it. Whatever you have written is absolutely true, there is this myth that native speakers are better than non-native, but i guess they want to pick up the American accent.
Jun 09, 2014 14:55 Report Abuse
no offence, but the accent people from India have is quite difficult for Chinese people to understand. My students were in dread of getting the Indian IELTS examiner because to them her accent was incomprehensible. However, i agree that students should be exposed to the range of accents English is spoken with as it reflects the reality of the world outside of China. Not everyone, myself included, speaks with a standard British or American accent (I am neither British or American). But employers here are quite narrow minded when it comes to employing foreign teachers. Good luck and i hope you are successful
Jun 09, 2014 03:12 Report Abuse