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  1. #1
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Chinese native speakers' English

    This afternoon I received a phone call by a Chinese man who was trying to call China. I wanted to tell him he had dialed the wrong number. When I asked him if he could speak English, he answered he could. However when I tried to explain what happened I realized he didn't understand a word of what I was saying.
    Now I was wondering whether this man just doesn't speak English very well or Chinese native speakers' English may sound so different from mine to create those comprehension problems.

    Please correct my errors if you find some.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    The first paragraph seems fine to me.

    "Now I was wondering whether this man just doesn't speak English very well or Chinese native speakers' English may sound so different from mine to create those comprehension problems."

    This sentence might be better : "Now, I was wondering whether this man just doesn't speak English very well or whether a native Chinese speaker's English would sound so different from mine as to create those comprehension problems."

  3. #3
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    The first paragraph seems fine to me.

    "Now I was wondering whether this man just doesn't speak English very well or Chinese native speakers' English may sound so different from mine to create those comprehension problems."

    This sentence might be better : "Now, I was wondering whether this man just doesn't speak English very well or whether a native Chinese speaker's English would sound so different from mine as to create those comprehension problems."
    Now, you have probably understood the reason why I posted that question on the "Ask a teacher" section. Thank you very much. You've been very helpful.
    I would be glad to know your opinion about the matter. Do you believe pronunciation can be so different to create those problems?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    This can happen; I am learning Khmer, but work on the internet and don't hear that much spoken langauge, so my spoken Khmer is way ahead of my comprehension skills. If your person has not actually heard or listened to many native speakers, they may have a similar problem.

  5. #5
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    This can happen; I am learning Khmer, but work on the internet and don't hear that much spoken langauge, so my spoken Khmer is way ahead of my comprehension skills. If your person has not actually heard or listened to many native speakers, they may have a similar problem.
    I've been thinking about this. But after this man realized we couldn't undestand each other, he hailed another person to talk to me. This person told me they were in an Italian office and wanted to make a call to China but they had dialed the wrong number. What really struck me was that this man probably makes phone calls all the day. How could he do such a work if he didn't speak English nor Italian?
    Since he didn't speak Italian at all, I suppose he communicates in English with his colleagues.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Maybe he uses emails- there are plenty of people who can write well, but not speak much. If he's senior, he could use a translator.

  7. #7
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Maybe he uses emails- there are plenty of people who can write well, but not speak much. If he's senior, he could use a translator.
    I'd go for the first one. If he used a translator there would be no need for the company he works for to have him. The translator could make phone calls to China and they would pay one wage (or should I say one salary?) instead of two.
    Anyway, how he communicates with his Italian colleagues remains a mistery (Is there any better expression than this I used?).

    P.s: please correct my errors.

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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Additionally,

    Ex: This afternoon I received a call from ...
    Ex: This afternoon I received a call made by ...

    __________
    Note, what kind of company was it and how do you know the man was an employee? If an employee, why assume he has to know how to speak English or Italian to work there? In most companies, even international ones, experience and talent are more important than foreign language skills.Translators are hired, and staff are given language lessons. Could it be that the man you spoke to was in the process of learning English and/or Italian, or maybe that he knew English but was under a lot of stress at the time--maybe there was a business emergency he was dealing with, or (c)... ? There are so many variables to take into consideration here.

  9. #9
    Englishlanguage is offline Member
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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    You're right. Actually it doesn't even make any sense to investigate into this man's work life. As you said, there are too many variables.
    Anyway it's been a curious experience.

    P.s: can you find any mistake in my previous post? If you can, please help me with those question in brackets. Thank you.

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    Default Re: Chinese native speakers' English

    Correction
    I'd go for the first one. If he used a translator, there would be no need for the company he works for to have him. The translator could make phone calls to China, and the company would pay one wage/salary instead of two. (Note, but is the translator able to do the man's job?) Anyway, how he communicates with his Italian colleagues remains a mystery to me.
    Does that help?

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