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English as Global language #388
03/17/00 12:32 AM
03/17/00 12:32 AM
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npd Offline OP
stranger
npd  Offline OP
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One of the messages we recently received discussed our language as being a "global language." The article included a short discussion of a sense of frustration when trying to understand English as it has been transmongrelized--as opposed to transmogrified--into other dialects or languages. However, it is not necessary to attempt to deal with companies or government agencies in other countries to develop a sense of frustration with a lack of understanding of the English language. One need only attempt to teach English in a business college where recent high school graduates are unable to write sentences without creating fragments or runons. And spell check could not begin to correct the problems with spelling!

Somehow we need to return to the basics of learning to read and write. Instead, we now find our educators concerned with zero tolerance. If an educator/parent can instill appreciation for reading and writing in a child, we might have to build more libraries instead of more prisons. Then we would be able to initiate an exchange program--dictionaries for guns, maybe. A good Stephen King novel for a stiletto sounds fair, don't you think. It's just a thought.


Re: English as Global language #389
04/04/00 12:52 PM
04/04/00 12:52 PM
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Philip Davis Offline
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Philip Davis  Offline
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Personally I would like teachers to concentrate on enabling people to think logically and morally and to be creative.

The most important base for this is a comprehensible language, but comprehensibility does not require standardised spelling or grammar (or is this sentence incomprehensible to US english readers because of lack of a zed {zee}) Mainly comprehensibility requires good listening and reading skills.

However I fear that it is much easier to assess spelling, than to assess comprehensibilty or creativity. Therefore, lazy politicians and teachers set schools targets for spelling. Comprehensibilty and creativity suffer as a consequence.

Or perhaps I'm alone in thinking it would be better to read an inconsistently spelt play by Shakespeare than a correctly spelt essay which mearly repeats what others have previously said.


Re: English as Global language #390
04/04/00 11:12 PM
04/04/00 11:12 PM
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jmh Offline
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I find the diversity of the English language rich and interesting. Although I react to the glitches we come across where words seem to change meaning without any obvious benefit (see discussion on momentarily) I do think that a language should evolve.

I am happy to co-exist with US English spellings as long as those in the US are happy for us to continue with our UK spellings and meanings. I am also happy to accept that in some instances (eg "gotten") US English is actually using an older form of expression. I suspect that Australians & New Zealanders and those from India, Africa the Caribbean ... and all those who have their own evolved form of English would like to keep their differences too.

I do have problems with software which makes incorrect assumptions about defaulting to US spellings (there is often a "preference" but not always) and I discover (when using other people's machines) that many people don't bother to change the settings. The trickle down effect is that we accept the -ize endings and the colors instead of colours until we don't really notice anymore. Perhaps that's how English (in all its forms) evolved to today's language.

As computers and the Internet becomes a major communication tool, isn't it likely that we will just end up taking the path of least resistance to standardise everything to American English. Most of the world already watches US television and cinema as at least part of the viewing mix, many young people in the UK, for example, watch "Friends" and can make a reasonable attempt at the accent. They might have more chance of coming across a New York accent than, say, an accent from Cornwall in the South of England or Dunedin in New Zealand.

I wonder if we shouldn't give us and call the language "American" and drop the "English".

Answers on a postcard.


Re: English as Global language #391
04/04/00 11:51 PM
04/04/00 11:51 PM
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Philip Davis Offline
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Philip Davis  Offline
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Posts: 81
The future of English is an interesting thing to consider. Will English become a range of different languages (As Latin developed into the various Romance languages) or will the various electronic media have the effect of standarising English into one language with little variation in spelling, grammar, accent &c. Both of these outcomes could be considered as a globalisation of English.

Oh I agree about the spell checkers, although I tend to click the skip button on mine a lot. However, I do find that the spell checking proceedure allows me to consider the sense of what I've written. I also play the game of defeating the spell checker both to improve my spelling and, more importantly, my typing. I get bonus points if the spell checkers come up with a clean report!


Re: English as Global language #392
05/15/00 03:31 PM
05/15/00 03:31 PM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 4
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vonkajay Offline
stranger
vonkajay  Offline
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Joined: May 2000
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Hi All:
Have been a great fan of this site for a long time and have been subscribing for 2 yrs. Speaking of Multilingual schools and learning various foreign languages, I have found a great new web site WWW.DAILYLINGUIST.COM. I have started learning Spanish and French. Its a great web site and they make it easy and gradual for you to learn the languages.
You get an e-mail everyday with a new phrase, word and related grammar. I suggest that every one check this web site
WWW.DAILYLINGUIST.COM
Thanks




Re: English as Global language #393
06/21/00 03:55 PM
06/21/00 03:55 PM
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 2
Germany
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woodbeez Offline
stranger
woodbeez  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 2
Germany
I think that it is a matter of quantity changing into quality. If someone's spelling doesn't follow any recognized standards and conventions, their writing becomes incomprehensible to the general public irrespective of whether the thoughts they are trying to convey are deep and logical or total nonsense. I do believe that it is necessary to instill a sense of the importance of spelling in students, that it does have a function and that it's not just some form of tyranny by the teacher. But it is even more important to encourage people to express themselves regardless of their competence, especially people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or aphasia and learners of English as a 2nd language such as... myself! :)



Re: English as Global language #394
06/21/00 08:44 PM
06/21/00 08:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Louisville, Kentucky
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Jackie  Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 11,613
Louisville, Kentucky
>>I do believe that it is necessary to instill a sense of the importance of spelling in students, that it does have a function and that it's not just some form of tyranny by the teacher. But it is even more important to encourage people to express themselves regardless of their competence, especially people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or aphasia and learners of English as a 2nd language such as... myself! :) <<
Woodbeez,
I totally agree. My children's elementary school did a good
job of this, I think: starting in kindergarten, kids were
encouraged to write stories, and it wasn't for another two years that teachers started working on spelling and grammar.
If you hadn't said that English is your second language, I
couldn't have told it, incidentally.





Re: English as Global language #395
06/22/00 05:02 AM
06/22/00 05:02 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
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Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
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Jakarta
Where did this dichotomy come from? Who came up with the idea that correct spelling and grammar are somehow inimical to self-expression? Who are all these poor souls whose creativity has been forever blighted by having to use its and it's properly? Granted there are some special cases who need to have allowances made, as Woodbeez mentions, but for most people, surely this is a false dichotomy and they can manage both.

Is it a sign of my increasing age or what, that people only seem to be happy at the extremes and all issues become polarised so that we have to choose either/or rather than have both?

Bingley


Bingley
Re: English as Global language #396
08/31/00 05:04 PM
08/31/00 05:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 46
Canada
A
apples + oranges Offline
newbie
apples + oranges  Offline
newbie
A
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 46
Canada
Hm. I'm wondering, does the majority of English speaking countries use British spelling or US spelling? I live in Canada and I've always been taught to use the British spelling. Of course the US media does influence the expressions we use, but spelling and grammar stays purely British. Is US alone in their linguistic ways? Has anyone ever thought that it might be because US fought for their freedom from the British while other countries (or at least Canada) had their freedom granted?



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