Discussion » Chinese Language & Culture » How many Chinese can actually speak English?, How

  • SoulCreative Web Studios
    SoulCreative Web Studios wrote:

    Hey everyone,

    So I was wondering how many Chinese can actually speak English? I know that most Chinese learn English in their high school, and I've met some who can speak to me in English. I've asked them if they major English, and some say no. This means that it is possible to speak English simply from learning in high school.

    The problem is-- that Chinese are always trying to be so modest that regardless if they speak English or not, all they ever say is "no", or "a little". It's impossible to get someone to admit that they can actually speak fluent or decent English.

    Now, I'm going to Hainan University in the fall, and believe it or not, I'm really not that interested in finding friends who want to practice their English with me. Why, you ask? Because I want to make friends with people who have similar interests, not people who want to practice their English on me. As a result of this, I know that I'm going to have to study Chinese for a year or two before I make my preferred friends.

    So my question is this. Out of all the Chinese at Hainan University (including teachers), how many will speak conversational Chinese? Is there an easy way to tell if someone speaks Chinese? Perhaps a question better than "Do you speak Chinese"? Since they all lie in their answer?

    Maybe a side point, is there a way to get around Chinese modesty and just get them to answer bluntly, AND will I be considered rude when I am not so modest, and answer bluntly?

  • Simen Wangberg

    "Out of all the Chinese at Hainan University (including teachers), how many will speak conversational Chinese? Is there an easy way to tell if someone speaks Chinese?"

    Look for the short people with the black hair and the squinty eyes. There are a few of them here.

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    I presume you meant to ask how you know who speaks English, rather than Chinese, but they are both relevant questions if you want to learn Chinese. At your uni, I doubt there will be many students who speak proper Chinese. If they did they probably would have tested into a Beijing or Shanghai school. There will not be any students who speak proper English. The ones that do go to Ivy League Schools, not Hainan. If you are serious about learning Chinese, learn this phrase: 不好意思,我是法国人,我不会说英语。我虽然倒是有点点听得懂,但是我真的不会说。 Do not expect to make too many Chinese friends for the first six months. Chat with similarly minded foreigners.

  • Saint - Spartacus

    everyone will chose the language which can express thier humor , if not , life is no fun , that's why people will absolutly speak chinese and force the foreigner speak chinese to understand the humor in our culture ... and the reason to refuse speak english : why in our country we should adapt another mood , no way compromised or adaptation. it's you to make forces to do an adaptation , clear dude ? !!!! .... ....

    you can make Chinese friends in the first 3 month if you are a realy out going and go toward chinese people .

  • Simen Wangberg


    This is cute and probably works really well. French people. Their English usually blows anyway.

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