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Where in Asia do people speak English?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

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ComingSoon
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Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by ComingSoon » October 28th, 2016, 3:19 am

In January I will be in Asia for three months starting in the Philippines. This will be my fourth time in the Philippines and I always go back because I like it but also because English is widely spoken all over the islands. I have heard that In Pattaya they speak a good bit of English. Is that true? I really want to explore more of Asia but am concerned about being able to communicate. I went to Ukraine and was told all the girls under 40 spoke English. Bad recon. Almost no one spoke English and it was practically impossible to approach women because they did not understand a damn word I was saying. I was thinking of going to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, China or Vietnam.

Is English spoken in any of these places? Is it possible to approach women on the street in any of these places. If so where in these countries would be good to visit. I'm looking for short term, month or more, girlfriends. Getting serious is not our of the question either.

Its looking like the Philippines might not be friendly to Americans too much longer.

Jonny Law
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by Jonny Law » October 28th, 2016, 5:45 am

I am in Thailand.

Almost EVERYWHERE in Asia people speak English!!!

Thanks and Enjoy :)

MrMan
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by MrMan » October 28th, 2016, 10:27 am

English is spoken by some people throughout much of Asia. But let's say you are in Indonesia. Many well-educated people speak English. People who went to middle school may speak just a little, enough to ask you to buy something. Girls from well-to-do families who went to international schools and other high-end schools in Jakarta may speak English. Most people aren't fluent.

I've only spent about 24 hours in Malaysia, this year, in fact. I hear most people in Kuala Lumpur speak English. The taxi driver seemed to speak it, but I asked him to speak in Malaysian to see how much of it I could understand. We could kind of communicate, but about up to 20% of words are different from Indonesian. The accent is different and hard to get used to.

English is a national language in Singapore, too. I've been there plenty of times. English seems to be the main language there. I'm not sure if Chinese is tied or a close second. I've never had any real problems communication in stores and with people on the street. You may encounter immigrants who don't speak English, there. Most people don't seem to speak Malay there unless they are Malaysian.

Citizen
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by Citizen » October 28th, 2016, 3:36 pm

The people of America's two closest allies in Asia both don't speak English.
Japanese don't speak English. Many Koreans don't speak English. Lots of young Koreans are now learning Chinese as well as English. Most Chinese also don't speak English.

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Yohan
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by Yohan » October 28th, 2016, 4:19 pm

ComingSoon wrote:
.....I was thinking of going to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, China or Vietnam.

.....Is English spoken in any of these places?

.....Its looking like the Philippines might not be friendly to Americans too much longer.
In Thailand where are tourists are always locals who can speak some English, however not really fluent, you need some patience.

I found Cambodian people to be very talented and children very eager to learn English and other languages, now only old people prefer French, all younger people are into English.

No problem almost everywhere in Malaysia and Singapore and of course Hong Kong too, English is widely understood.

About Philippines, nothing to worry if you are from USA, there is a difference between an US-tourist and an US-politician,
for example China has a lot of angry political discussions with Japan, but all Japanese tourists are traveling into China visa free...
Avoid any political discussion, just be a foreign tourist and all will be OK for you.

In Japan/South Korea most people are NOT good in foreign languages until they undergo special training on the job.


Educated Chinese in major cities like Shanghai are often very good in English, but do not expect rural people or the factory workers to be able to communicate with you in even very basic English.

Personally I found educated people in India as the best Asian English speakers, like a native - and never mixing up local words from his native language Hindi etc. into English as some Chinese often do.

IraqVet2003
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by IraqVet2003 » October 31st, 2016, 12:38 am

ComingSoon wrote:In January I will be in Asia for three months starting in the Philippines. This will be my fourth time in the Philippines and I always go back because I like it but also because English is widely spoken all over the islands. I have heard that In Pattaya they speak a good bit of English. Is that true? I really want to explore more of Asia but am concerned about being able to communicate. I went to Ukraine and was told all the girls under 40 spoke English. Bad recon. Almost no one spoke English and it was practically impossible to approach women because they did not understand a damn word I was saying. I was thinking of going to Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, China or Vietnam.

Is English spoken in any of these places? Is it possible to approach women on the street in any of these places. If so where in these countries would be good to visit. I'm looking for short term, month or more, girlfriends. Getting serious is not our of the question either.

Its looking like the Philippines might not be friendly to Americans too much longer.
Hello, ComingSoon my name is Iraqvet2003. The areas of Asia where English is either one of the official languages and/or widely spoken for either business purposes or for tourists, it is usually in countries which had gained their independence from the U.K. because they were former British colonies. Here are the Following nations:

1.) India (While Hindi is the main language, English enjoys associate status used for national, political, and commercial communication)

2.) Pakistan

3.) Bangladesh

4.) Sri Lanka

5.) Malaysia

6.) Singapore

7.) Hong Kong (Both Cantonese and English are official languages)

8.) Brunei

9.) The Philippines (While Tagalog is the main language, English is widely spoken due to past American influence and rule)

Then this next category of Asian countries that have far fewer English speakers which are mainly among the highly educated elite as well as in the international business districts, tourist areas, and large communities of expats (particularly Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, etc.) Examples of such well known places include Bangkok and Shanghai.The following list of Asian countries are:

10.) Thailand (English is the second language of the elite)

11.) Cambodia

12.) Vietnam (Increasingly English is being favored as a second language)

13.) Indonesia

ComingSoon
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by ComingSoon » November 2nd, 2016, 11:31 pm

Thank you everyone for taking the time to educate me on this.

My follow up question would be where are the best cities in Asia to approach women (with success) that speak reasonable English. Now I know about Cebu and Pattaya. I read allot of mixed reviews on other places such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Jakarta, etc. Also affordability would be big on my decision to visit. For example, it looks like Singapore is very expensive and therefore I would not go there.

davewe
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by davewe » November 14th, 2016, 5:34 pm

There's not a lot of English in Vietnam, though don't let that stop you. I loved my week there. When I say not much English I mean often zero. A taxi driver in Ho Chi Minh city cannot even get you back to your hotel unless you show him the name and address in Vietnamese. In restaurants they often won't be able to answer any of your questions.

Yet the food is fantastic and I always managed to get back to the hotel. The women are beautiful but I am not sure how available they are to an American.

ComingSoon
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by ComingSoon » November 20th, 2016, 9:35 pm

Maybe one day I will change but if the women are not available then I'm not interested in going there.

I wanted to go to some other countries and still experience some Asian women.

MrMan
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by MrMan » November 21st, 2016, 6:41 am

I don't know if English is any kind of official language in Indonesia. Most people who go to middle or high school learn study it in school. Most people can't really speak it fluently. Some people will say 'Hello, how are you?' A lot of them know 'I love you.'

When I was about 25 or so, I was walking through a little housing neighborhood with no driveway, accessible by foot, in the city. I heard a girl saying, "I love you" when I walked by one house. Finally, I saw her. She was in a school uniform. I think she was 17. She was rather dark-skinned, but had a pretty face. I didn't speak Indonesian, and she didn't seem to know much beyond, "I love you." Her dad tried to have a friendly conversation with me, but I couldn't communicate at that time.

But there are plenty of people who went to college in Jakarta who speak English. Lots of people speak it, but percentage-wise I'd say the number of reasonably fluent speakers are small. College students are more likely to speak it, and may lose it after they get out of school.

English is a working language in Timor Leste. I doubt the average person there would be able to speak English. It has a small population, too.

El_Caudillo
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by El_Caudillo » November 21st, 2016, 11:14 am

I found the English level in Jakarta to be pretty good. In Bali and Java there are lots of English speakers about. In fact some people who apparently had little formal education impressed me with their English.

Once you get to some of the outer islands things drop off though. Recently I was in a place where every one yelled at me 'my name, my name', it took me a while to click that what they meant was 'what is your name?'

But as far as the OP goes, quit slacking, make a decision and start learning a new language - it will give you a rewarding experience beyond just going to Asia to meet girls...and if you do happen to meet a girl it'll put you at a great advantage when it comes to understanding how she ticks.
Even Billy knows that, just ask Mr S!

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xiongmao
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by xiongmao » November 26th, 2016, 12:17 pm

When I lived in China, nobody spoke English. Yes of course there were English speakers, but no taxi drivers, hairdressers, phone shop sales people, landlords, real estate brokers, train assistants or any other people I needed to speak to day to day spoke English.

Thailand was much easier with English widely spoken in Bangkok and Pattaya.

As El_Caudillo says, stop slacking and start learning a language. My Mandarin is still pretty terrible but I manned up and earlier in the year achieved my HSK 2 certificate. Yes it's a modest step but it means I know ~300 characters and can understand quite a bit of spoken Mandarin. Incidentally my Mandarin got much better from studying in England - the teachers here are very good and the key is to find a class above elementary level because then your fellow students will be keen to talk in Chinese as much as possible. Found this when I was teaching on my CELTA as well.

Side benefit of learning Mandarin: it's been a great thing to add to my resume.
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Do YOU want to date beautiful foreign women? Find out which country's women are best for you, and which dating site to look for them on!
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Falcon
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by Falcon » November 29th, 2016, 11:22 am

In SE Asia, in order of fluency, from most to least:

- Singapore
- Malaysia
- Philippines
- Thailand
- Indonesia
- Cambodia
- Vietnam
- Laos
- Myanmar

I don't need to use a single word of English in any of those countries, except Myanmar and Cambodia. Working on my Burmese language skills at the moment, since northern Thailand has a lot of immigrants from Myanmar.

Bao3niang
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Re: Where in Asia do people speak English?

Post by Bao3niang » November 29th, 2016, 9:24 pm

In terms of English level, I would say Malaysia and Singapore have the highest level of English proficiency. I would not live in either one of those places. One is a shithole trapped between East and West, workaholic and feminist and without soul. The other is also a shithole that openly discriminates against my own people and is also soulless. The Philippines has an OK level of English proficiency but nowhere near fluent. Thailand, you should not have issues in the tourist areas or in major cities like Bangkok. Hong Kong and Taiwan are maybe slightly better than the mainland due to Western influence but overall there aren't many who have a decent command of the English language.
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