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BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators

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BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators [#permalink]

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New post 31 Dec 2017, 19:03
Fun article from the BBC, ripping on the habits of native English speakers: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/201610 ... municators

I pretty much agree with everything in here... and I'm a native speaker. We're pretty terrible, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that a relatively small number of native English speakers bother to learn other languages. Most of us have no idea what it feels like to suffer through communication struggles in a second language.

This is all totally irrelevant to the GMAT, but I have a feeling that the article will feel familiar to quite a few GMAT Club members. :)
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Re: BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2018, 09:14
As someone who typically communicates daily through written English with non-native English speakers, I find this very interesting and true in this day and age. I would, however, like to know if something like this would have been accurate 40 years ago. I personally feel like natives have become worse with their communication skills due to "internet-speak" and business in general becoming much more fast-paced and demanding. Attention to detail falls by the wayside in other facets of life, so why not this, too?
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Re: BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2018, 20:16
SandiiG wrote:
As someone who typically communicates daily through written English with non-native English speakers, I find this very interesting and true in this day and age. I would, however, like to know if something like this would have been accurate 40 years ago. I personally feel like natives have become worse with their communication skills due to "internet-speak" and business in general becoming much more fast-paced and demanding. Attention to detail falls by the wayside in other facets of life, so why not this, too?

I suspect that you're right about all of that, SandiiG. I could be wrong, but I also think that it's much easier for native English speakers to get away with monolingualism now than 40 years ago. When we travel overseas, we don't necessarily need anything other than English, and a lot of us never really understand what it feels like to suffer in another language. And then we just aren't sensitive or aware when we communicate with non-native speakers of our own language.

I'm not old enough to know what traveling was like 40 years ago, but when I think about trips I took 15-20 years ago to Eastern Europe and Latin America, English was basically useless outside of maybe airports. Now? I'm not sure, but it seems like millennials in Eastern Europe -- at least the parts I've visited recently -- often speak English well, and I wouldn't be surprised if the same is increasingly true in parts of Latin America.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if our lack of awareness of what it's like to suffer in another language plays a role on the GMAT, too. I think that the test is a little bit unfair in the way that it handles idioms on SC: unless you're a native speaker, there's no reason why you would know some of those idioms, and it's impractical for most people to study them, since there are around 25,000 idioms in English. I think it's fine if the GMAT insists that non-native speakers have a command of grammar rules and an ability to figure out the nuances of meaning between sentences, but the idioms are ridiculous. My bet is that the question-writers are often monolingual, and don't recognize that those questions unfairly hurt non-native speakers... :|
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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

Re: BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2018, 20:16
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BBC: native English speakers are the world's worst communicators

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