A lot of Chinese people are speaking Chinglish when they try to speak English.


A lot of Chinese people speak Chinglish when they try to speak English.

When I was in high school years ago, I would definitely consider the latter to be the right one. Since the action, speaking Chinglish, is something people do on a regular basis, not at a specific point in time. However, after I'm exposed to a lot of youtube videos made by native English speakers, I somehow have a tendency to favor the first one. The first one seems to instantly come out of my mind. But I can't convince myself to accept the former when it comes to conscious reasoning. So is it technically incorrect to say the former?

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    Personally, I'd go with the latter as well if you're just making a generalization. However, you mention that you've watched a lot YouTube videos, so perhaps, because of the context, the former is OK as well. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 18 '17 at 10:30
  • I'd also go with the latter. But I'd like to refer you to a youtube video which might serve as a good indication as to where my sense for the present progressive tense comes from. youtu.be/_mw9-uk_QFk Notice when the video is played till 34s, the speaker says "You're coming to a new country, ...". It seems that the present progressive tense is vastly used in casual speaking context. Tbh, I don't quite get it why he's saying "You're coming ...". – Zhengquan Bai Jan 18 '17 at 12:51

The present-progressive focuses attention on the act-in-progress. To use your example:

If you listen to Chinese speakers who are trying to speak English, you will hear that they are actually speaking Chinglish.

In the example above, the context licenses the present-progressive: "If you listen...you will hear..."

If you wish to make a statement of general truth, or make a statement emphasizing that something tends to be true or tends to happen, use the simple present:

When Chinese speakers speak English, they often speak Chinglish.

P.S. The primary problem with the way these tenses are taught to non-native speakers is that the example sentences tend to be very simplified and bland, lacking precisely those contextual cues that would lead a native speaker to choose the one tense over the other.

  • How do you explain why the speaker says "You're coming to a new country, ..." when the video is played till 34s? youtu.be/_mw9-uk_QFk – Zhengquan Bai Jan 18 '17 at 13:37
  • Having read what I've written above, how do you think I will explain it? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 18 '17 at 13:39
  • What you said and your examples make sense to me. I do feel that I need to be more exposed to how native speakers would say something in the authentic scenario. – Zhengquan Bai Jan 18 '17 at 13:44
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    We often focus on the act-in-progress when we are trying to present a real-world "concrete" or "dramatic" scenario to the listener, as distinct from a general truth: "You're coming to a new country, and you want...." (The explanation I've just given in this comment shows that very principle in action.) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 18 '17 at 13:46

Just for your reference, here is a sentence from https://www.safaribooksonline.com/register/.

Notice the first comment:

I’m really liking Safari for quick, focused learning.

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