Originally Posted by Colebatch
There are some nationalities that as an entire nation are fluent in English as non native speakers.
The Dutch are number 1. Best non native english speakers in the world ... Prutser and Beamster were obviously totally fluent.
Followed by Swedes and Norwegians. Older Swedes and Norwegians dont speak much english, the younger ones are almost all fluent. Our boys here are middle aged Nordmenn but all very good with their English.
In Holland everyone leans FOUR languages in school ... Dutch (of course), English, German and French.
These days in Europe, everyone learns English in schools. When a Swede talks to a Norwegian, they will probably speak in English (sometimes Swedish if the Norwegian isnt ashamed to admit he speaks Svensk). When a Italian checks into a hotel in Czech Republic, he will talk in English. When a Dutchman talks to anyone anywhere outside of Holland or Flanders, he will speak English.
I know loads of mixed language couples (like a Frenchman married to Russian living in Poland) and they speak English to each other.
English is just like the common language of Europe.
We native speakers are spoiled ... thats why we are lazy.
There is another reason for learning english, too: Hollywood
Due to economics most movies get not translated to czech, greek, and even svensk, whereas every movie is synchronized to german, spanish,... So if you live in a small country (exactly: small population) you will see every blockbuster in english. When you are just 4 years old, you cannot read your own language, but you can follow to english movies.
so there is no wondering that people from eastern Europe a often speaking english much better then Germans or Austrians, like me: Although I learned it in school, I was not forced to speak or understand it in real life, apart from holidays in other countries. but this forum is my best training now