Best English speakers on tour (besides native speakers)

Mainad

Bionic Poster
That's just an assumption.
My wife and me have Serbo-Croatian as the first language, but we speak English to each other too. Actually too much, as out son refuses to speak what should be his native language, except when we are in Serbia or Croatia...
I'm curious. Why would you do that?
 

octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
That's just an assumption.
My wife and me have Serbo-Croatian as the first language, but we speak English to each other too. Actually too much, as out son refuses to speak what should be his native language, except when we are in Serbia or Croatia...

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Hmm. I wonder what's the reason you are embarrassed to speak in your native language?
Rafa is proud of his roots & his home island.
 

octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
If we're including former players I would add Wilander. He's the only former Swedish player I know who speaks English without a Swedish accent.
M.Wilander has lived in the United States since 1987. Do you know any other former Swedish player who has lived in the US for a long time?
 

BlueB

Legend
Who said we are embarrassed? I'm very proud of my language, it's probably the only fully phonetic system of writing.

Simply, we've been abroad for about 27 years. We can speak about professional things (and few other topics) easier in English. I personaly interchangeably think in English and Serbian. We even start a sentence in one and finish in other language, sometimes.
I guess it's hard to understand for people who didn't live in a completely different language environment for very long time...

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octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
Who said we are embarrassed? I'm very proud of my language, it's probably the only fully phonetic system of writing.

Simply, we've been abroad for about 27 years. We can speak about professional things (and few other topics) easier in English. I personaly interchangeably think in English and Serbian. We even start a sentence in one and finish in other language.
I guess it's hard to understand for people who didn't live in a completely different language environment for very long time...

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So, you are making assumptions about Rafa & his family, based on your own life experiences! But Rafa has lived his whole life in the native/first language environment. His family has lived in Mallorca and he has travelled with people who have spoken his native language. His mother once said that they avoid talking about tennis (i.e. about Rafa's "professional things") at home, because they want Rafa to relax at home. So, nothing forces Rafa's family members to talk to each other in a non-native language.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Nadal actually speaks several languages fluently, including English, but he is too humble to show off too much.
 

Azure

Legend
Who said we are embarrassed? I'm very proud of my language, it's probably the only fully phonetic system of writing.

Simply, we've been abroad for about 27 years. We can speak about professional things (and few other topics) easier in English. I personaly interchangeably think in English and Serbian. We even start a sentence in one and finish in other language, sometimes.
I guess it's hard to understand for people who didn't live in a completely different language environment for very long time...

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This is very common now especially with all this globalisation.
 

chicagodude

Professional
You brought up some good points (A-D), which I agree, however I'm going by my own experience in traveling there outside of the large cities. Many times I'd be lost and I'm asking around for assistance, even young school teen kids, but none knew a word of English, not even a "yes" or "no". Even when going to restaurants and retail shops...nothing! Also having met many Japanese in Australia, many of whom lived here for a couple years and still could barely speak English.
Oh I am not contradicting your assertion that they barely speak English outside the big cities, I actually agree with you on that. It just doesn't have much to do with them not wanting to learn how to speak English.
 

onehandbh

Legend
That's true but also a bit of a low bar, don't you think? :D I mean, many native Americans speak pretty horrendous English...
Ha. I never said the bar was high.

English and precise language and grammar is becoming obsolete.

The future in communication is memes and emojis. Soon we will just be grunting and making gutteral sounds to communicate.
 

Pmasterfunk

Semi-Pro
I've been to Montreal and most people in Montreal and the surrounding area speaks English and a mix of French. However if you leave and go to rural or small towns in Quebec they speak more french then english.
Is your first language french? If not, you might get the feeling that Montreal is a bit more English. Downtown is definitely more anglicized to cater to tourists and business.

And if your accent is not perfect in French, people in Montreal are notorious for switching to English to accomodate, even if they don't speak that well. It irritates my wife, who speaks French quite well but, alas, with an accent.

-Bonjouwr, j'aimerais un crwoissant s'il vous plaît.
-Uh yes euh, rite awé, we 'ave uh toaster (toaster is pronounced correctly) rite 'ere four youuu.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
M.Wilander has lived in the United States since 1987. Do you know any other former Swedish player who has lived in the US for a long time?
So what? Virginia Wade has lived in the US since the 1970s but still retains her English accent. Some players never lose their native accents no matter how long they have lived elsewhere. Wilander is an obvious exception (to me anyway).
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Is your first language french? If not, you might get the feeling that Montreal is a bit more English. Downtown is definitely more anglicized to cater to tourists and business.

And if your accent is not perfect in French, people in Montreal are notorious for switching to English to accomodate, even if they don't speak that well. It irritates my wife, who speaks French quite well but, alas, with an accent.

-Bonjouwr, j'aimerais un crwoissant s'il vous plaît.
-Uh yes euh, rite awé, we 'ave uh toaster (toaster is pronounced correctly) rite 'ere four youuu.
Evidently the citizens of Montreal have switched to Franglais as their language of choice. ;)
 

mightyrick

Legend
Most educated people in India have great English so it's basically like a native language for them. Shouldn't really be counted in this question.
I understand what you mean, but your perspective seems weird to me. So we shouldn't include anybody educated? We should only include people who aren't educated and learned it directly from their parents? I disagree. I think Indians should definitely be included.

Someone in a post above said Sharapova... but there is no way. Indian speakers are far and away the best English speakers outside of the US/UK. Some of my best friends are Indian and told me because of the caste system in place... speaking English with a large vocabulary is considered to make you a more important person. Someone like Sharapova doesn't have near the English vocabulary of an average-educated Indian. Hell, I'd argue that your average-educated Indian could speak English better than half of the people in the US and UK.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
I understand what you mean, but your perspective seems weird to me. So we shouldn't include anybody educated? We should only include people who aren't educated and learned it directly from their parents? I disagree. I think Indians should definitely be included.

Someone in a post above said Sharapova... but there is no way. Indian speakers are far and away the best English speakers outside of the US/UK. Some of my best friends are Indian and told me because of the caste system in place... speaking English with a large vocabulary is considered to make you a more important person. Someone like Sharapova doesn't have near the English vocabulary of an average-educated Indian. Hell, I'd argue that your average-educated Indian could speak English better than half of the people in the US and UK.
No what I mean is English is almost like a second language to many Indians since they learn it from childhood. I think what the OP wants to know who speak good English without having any formal training or great exposure to it.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
I understand what you mean, but your perspective seems weird to me. So we shouldn't include anybody educated? We should only include people who aren't educated and learned it directly from their parents? I disagree. I think Indians should definitely be included.

Someone in a post above said Sharapova... but there is no way. Indian speakers are far and away the best English speakers outside of the US/UK. Some of my best friends are Indian and told me because of the caste system in place... speaking English with a large vocabulary is considered to make you a more important person. Someone like Sharapova doesn't have near the English vocabulary of an average-educated Indian. Hell, I'd argue that your average-educated Indian could speak English better than half of the people in the US and UK.
I still think that most Indians approach English as a second language though and speakers of second languages often speak them better than native speakers (larger vocabulary, better grammar etc.) because they have taken the time to study them properly whereas native speakers take their language for granted and are often lazy and careless with it.
 

octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
So what? Virginia Wade has lived in the US since the 1970s but still retains her English accent. Some players never lose their native accents no matter how long they have lived elsewhere. Wilander is an obvious exception (to me anyway).
You compared Wilander with other former Swedish players. But the language environments in which they have lived have been different.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
You compared Wilander with other former Swedish players. But the language environments in which they have lived have been different.
I've just explained to you why that is not necessarily so. If you don't believe me then that is your problem. Wilander does not speak English with an American accent, just a neutral one and in my opinion he is the most fluent and natural in that language of all the Swedish players, active or former.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
Federer is almost a native speaker because his mother speaks English and he grew up speaking English with his mom. Federer's language skills are largely overrated. He obviously speaks Swiss German which is his native language, English is his close second language and he spent many years in a French speaking region of Switzerland. So all three languages came naturally to him.
Two corrections:

a)Fed never spoke any French until he was 14 years old and was sent to Genf to an academy. He never spent "many years" there, he spent less than a year there. Fed speaks fluent French because his physio speaks only French.

b) Fed's mother tongue is indeed Swiss-German AND English. Lynnette spoke only English to him as a baby and boy, Robbie spoke Swiss-German.

And of course it's beyond belief that you speak of a man who speaks four languages flawlessly as having "overrated" language skills. Truly cringe worthy. I'm sure is 20 slams is also "largely overrated." How about getting off the hate train?
 

Elektra

Professional
Is your first language french? If not, you might get the feeling that Montreal is a bit more English. Downtown is definitely more anglicized to cater to tourists and business.

And if your accent is not perfect in French, people in Montreal are notorious for switching to English to accomodate, even if they don't speak that well. It irritates my wife, who speaks French quite well but, alas, with an accent.

-Bonjouwr, j'aimerais un crwoissant s'il vous plaît.
-Uh yes euh, rite awé, we 'ave uh toaster (toaster is pronounced correctly) rite 'ere four youuu.
Yup they do mix French and English,

Quebec is trying hard to preserve their French roots but they are in competition with rest of English Canada.
 

zep

Hall of Fame
Two corrections:

a)Fed never spoke any French until he was 14 years old and was sent to Genf to an academy. He never spent "many years" there, he spent less than a year there. Fed speaks fluent French because his physio speaks only French.

b) Fed's mother tongue is indeed Swiss-German AND English. Lynnette spoke only English to him as a baby and boy, Robbie spoke Swiss-German.

And of course it's beyond belief that you speak of a man who speaks four languages flawlessly as having "overrated" language skills. Truly cringe worthy. I'm sure is 20 slams is also "largely overrated." How about getting off the hate train?
Basel is right at the border of France and a bilingual city, anyone who's from Basel is exposed to French right from the childhood. So it's hard to believe that French was completely alien to him, or anyone from Basel for that matter. Although most people there speak Swiss German as their first language, many understand/speak French too. Federer too probably had a decent understanding of it. His language skills are overrated because commentators always go gaga over how he speaks so many languages as if he's some kind of a genius polyglot. The truth is anyone with an above average IQ would have been able to do exactly what Federer did in his position, language wise of course. This is not hate, this is a fact.

And 4 languages? I thought he only spoke Swiss German, French and English? What's the 4th one? Are you counting German as the 4th one?
 
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Fabresque

Professional
Basel is right at the border of France and a bilingual city, anyone who's from Basel is exposed to French right from the childhood. So it's hard to believe that French was completely alien to him, or anyone from Basel for that matter. Although most people there speak Swiss German as their first language, many understand/speak French too. Federer too probably had a decent understanding of it. His language skills are overrated because commentators always go gaga over how he speaks so many languages as if he's some kind of a genius polyglot. The truth is anyone with an above average IQ would have been able to do exactly what Federer did in his position, language wise of course. This is not hate, this is a fact.

And 4 languages? I thought he only spoke Swiss German, French and English? What's the 4th one? Are you counting German as the 4th one?
No I think he included Spanish cuz Federer spoke Spanish once in some random commercial with Nadal and now thinks he’s fluent in it.
 

BlueB

Legend
So, you are making assumptions about Rafa & his family, based on your own life experiences! But Rafa has lived his whole life in the native/first language environment. His family has lived in Mallorca and he has travelled with people who have spoken his native language. His mother once said that they avoid talking about tennis (i.e. about Rafa's "professional things") at home, because they want Rafa to relax at home. So, nothing forces Rafa's family members to talk to each other in a non-native language.
No, you made assumptions about Rafa's family. I only gave an example of my own family, I didn't even speak about Rafa's.

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ChaelAZ

Legend
U fortunate for Nadal is he is often misinterpreted for what he says in English with poor choices of phrases and words, but also for really bad translations of his well spoken Spanish. Definitely something always seems lost in translation for the guy.


Probably posting from the court between sets.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Some people will take any opportunity to engage in their love of Nadal.

No, you made assumptions about Rafa's family. I only gave an example of my own family, I didn't even speak about Rafa's.

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Rabin

Semi-Pro
I don't get why some Rafa fans get so defensive about his language skills. He speaks English well enough to be understood in his specific professional environment, that's all that anyone can ask of him really. I personally find his Rafaisms pretty charming. Plus, I think it's pretty commendable that he basically learned while already having to give speeches and press conferences with very limited vocabulary. I know I hate having to speak in another language when just starting out. If you need your favorite tennis player to speak three languages fluently go ahead and stan Federer.
 

Sport

Legend
I'm not surprised about Nishikori's English. Most Japanese do not speak English and are neither interested in learning it. Yes even the younger generation (15-25)! There is a very small percentage, I'm guessing 1-4% that speak it, and that is only coming from those that live in the large cities and have some connection to (or have an interest in) Western countries. Outside the large cities, you'd be extremely hard pressed in finding someone that can speak some English (even remotely).
Still, Japanese talk in English better than Americans speak Japanese. :p
 

Sport

Legend
I think it's simply because English is the language of the United States, the world's most powerful country and most powerful economy. If the Americans spoke French then that would be the international language today, certainly not English.
Yeah, most Americans and British don't learn any second language simply because they don't need it.

But probably most Chinese or Japanese people don't speak English either. Why? Because a lot of Asians don't need English at all.
 

octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
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BlueB

Legend
Hmm. I wonder what was your purpose of giving the example of your family when replying to my comment about Rafa:
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/best-english-speakers-on-tour-besides-native-speakers.624227/page-3#post-12610423
You made an assumption about Rafa's family speaking only Catalan at home. I gave you an example of my family being bilingual at home, without making any assumptions about Rafa, or anyone else. It was just to show that we can not really guess what people speak at home.
Then you went ahead to accuse me of your own "sin".

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Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
On the woman's side I think Genie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova's English is pretty good! Bouchard is from Montreal which is French speaking and Sharapova is Russian.

Juan Del Proto speaks English is decent too!
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
My guess would be that Bouchard is bilingual, as is Nadal (see above), so she probably doesn't qualify.

On the woman's side I think Genie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova's English is pretty good! Bouchard is from Montreal which is French speaking and Sharapova is Russian.

Juan Del Proto speaks English is decent too!
 

octobrina10

G.O.A.T.
You made an assumption about Rafa's family speaking only Catalan at home. I gave you an example of my family being bilingual at home, without making any assumptions about Rafa, or anyone else. It was just to show that we can not really guess what people speak at home.
Then you went ahead to accuse me of your own "sin".

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Yes, you can't guess what others are doing based on your own life.
 

vernonbc

Legend
On the woman's side I think Genie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova's English is pretty good! Bouchard is from Montreal which is French speaking and Sharapova is Russian.

Juan Del Proto speaks English is decent too!
Depends on which part of Montreal you're from. Genie's native language is English. She learned French in school like so many other Canadians do but her family is definitely very English from the rich English speaking area of Montreal. Her French was basic until she started training at the Tennis Training Centre where she was exposed to many native French speaking players and she picked up enough of the language there to speak it well enough to conduct interviews but she's not what you would qualify as really fluent in French.
 

BlueB

Legend
Yes, you can't guess what others are doing based on your own life.
Which I never did.
Again, you make unjustified conlusions, then when you get exposed, you try to acuse the other party of your own mistake.

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D

Deleted member 754093

Guest
Octobrina speculates about the likely language Nadal’s family used at home. BlueB offers an anecdote showing that not all families only speak in their native language at home.

Octobrina doubles down and thinks BlueB has personally wronged Rafa? What?
 
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