View Poll Results: Which Germanic Group Speaks the Best English?

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  • the Scandinavians

    4 36.36%
  • the Icelandics

    0 0%
  • the Germans

    0 0%
  • the Dutch

    6 54.55%
  • the Afrikaners

    1 9.09%
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Thread: Which Germanic Group Speaks the Best English?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Wyrd's Avatar
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    Which Germanic Group Speaks the Best English?

    I was wondering, which Germanic nationality do you think speaks English as a foreign language best, and why? By best I mean grammatically and pronunciation/accent-wise as well.

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  3. #2
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    I'd be inclined to say that the Scandinavians do. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.

    I've always encountered nice German people who made an effort to communicate with me every time I've been to Germany. But the older generations, especially those who used to live on the Eastern side can't always speak English (or good English). However, in my own personal experience, these older ladies and gentlemen compensated by trying to be extra helpful and friendly. The younger generations can speak a good English in general.

    But one thing that I've noticed is that the Internet is creating a bunch of younger people who can't properly spell their own beautiful languages. I'm not talking about abbreviations or slang words. Many youngsters can't write properly.

    I don't know any Afrikaners in real life, but I'd assume they can speak very good English.

    What's your own opinion, Wyrd?

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    In my view, it would be either the Dutch or the Scandinavians (Swedes in particular). According to the article below, the Dutch are the best English speakers in Europe. I voted for them with Scandinavians in close second. Between the two, I think the Dutch sound more American English-like. But the Swedes also speak relatively accent free, compared to other peoples.I've heard about the German stereotype with English however here on the forum also many German users write very good English. Germans on the other hand have a thicker native accent when they speak English. Here what the article states about the best English speakers in Europe:

    1) Netherlands
    Congratulations to the Dutch, not only on their ability to invent hilarious surnames, but also on their ability to speak the English language. Their linguistically gifted population has knocked the Swedes off the number one position...for now.

    2) Sweden
    Sweden was knocked off the top spot in 2016 but moves up this time into second place. However, their reputation for about as near-native English as you can get, remains strong and I“m sure they’ll be back with a vengeance. But who takes top spot from the Swedes? ...

    3) Denmark
    As we approach the grand finale, the countries are becoming less and less surprising. Denmark, yet another Scandinavian country, comes in at number three. Danish is also one of the most in demand languages in Europe, but who could possibly have beaten them in terms of English proficiency?!

    4) Norway
    In Norway they truly see English as a second language, so the country is far from a surprise entry in at number four. The Norse languages also have had a huge influence on the English language after the occupation of the Vikings over a thousand years ago.

    6) Luxembourg
    For the very same reasons as Austria, it is hardly a shock to see this tiny landlocked country so high on the list. With heavy influences from both East and West, the country has three official languages: French, German and Luxembourgish – and on top of that, well over half of the adult population having a proficient level of English!

    7) Germany
    The Germans, with their industrial efficiency, have always had a firm grip of the English language. The modern language of the business world is English and, as German businesses are dominating the European market, the pressure on professionals to speak English to a proficient level is higher than ever.

    8) Austria
    Slipping down one place and losing 7th place to its geographical and linguistic neighbours in the English as a second language ranking, is Austria. Sharing its borders with a whopping eight countries, it’s little wonder that the people of Austria have an aptitude for languages.

    10) Belgium
    The Belgian people have increased their overall English level since the 2015 figures and their hard work has bumped them up into the top 10 countries who speak English as a second language best! Welcome to the list Belgium!
    The source:
    https://www.europelanguagejobs.com/b...ks-it-best.php

    As we can see, the poll is dominated by Germanic nations (except for positions 5 Finland and 9 Poland). It's not at all surprising in my view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    As we can see, the poll is dominated by Germanic nations (except for positions 5 Finland and 9 Poland). It's not at all surprising in my view.
    I seriously have to question the validity of those positions. Most Poles I've come across, usually in the construction business, have absolutely no grasp of English whatsoever. They mostly know Polish, and only a few words in Russian and English. Lots of construction sites (and other places where Polish foreign workers often may find themselves) have set up information and signs in both Norwegian, English and Polish.

    In more academically inclined layers of society, it might be a different story.

    As for the Finns, they all seem to know English fairly well, but many speak with such a thick accent, it can make it hard to understand. Also, their mother tongue is not even Indo-European, with completely different manners of conjugation and sentence structure, which I suspect makes it difficult to construct sentences of their own in the English language. Not to mention that they already have to learn Swedish in elementary school, so there's less time and effort devoted to English than what is the case for strictly bilingual schools.
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  9. #5
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    As for the poll, I voted for the Dutch. But it could just as well be Scandinavians. I believe English proficiency is slightly higher among older people in the Netherlands than in Scandinavia. Here, one can come across pensioners and middle-aged people whom only know a few words and phrases in English (like my maternal grandfather). But I've yet to come across an older Dutchman whom wasn't more or less fluent in English.
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  11. #6
    Senior Member Sigurdsson's Avatar
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    Scandinavians. The ones I’ve met have had perfect or near perfect English skills.

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    Question Spreaking or Writing skills

    I voted 'Scandinavians' , since my writing skills might be much better , than my speaking skills .
    Mk 10:18 What do you call me a good master, no-one is good .

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  14. #8
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    Ech ben a Elassser, Ech redd Ditsch wue min Schnawel gewachse es.
    Years ago I met many Germans that could not speak "Hochdeutsch." My Father in law could not speak it very well.
    I was a liaison Translator/Interpreter for the French Government stationed in different parts of Germany. I spoke fluently German without an accent but had an accent speaking French. People always thought I was from the Netherlands.

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  16. #9
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    I think too Scandinavians. They are almost on native english speaking level.

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  18. #10
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    I watch a lot of sport and have never seen a Dutchman yet who can't speak English.

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