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How do you gauge good language skills?


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I've come across situations where people in England have told me someone speaks bad English, yet when I've actually spoken to them that couldn't have been further from the truth. I noticed that some of the people whose English was considered bad had particularly broad accents, but very good English. 

How do you gauge good language skills? How big of a role does someone's accent play in you deciding on the quality of their language skills? Do you think it's a fair assessment to make?


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I don't think that an accent has anything to do with grammar skills.  I think maybe they could be misunderstood.  I am the one in my house who has always had to order the Chinese food because no one else can understand what people with heavy accents are saying.  I'm not sure why, but it's difficult for them.  Maybe that is why they think the people speak English poorly: they can't understand what is being said. 

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