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?