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You have to speek the language.


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#41 oldscool

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:24 AM

"The future ain't what it used to be."

Let me guess...Yogi Berra?

#42 Monty

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 06:38 AM

Many people lament the fact that English is difficult to learn as a second or third language. They complain that although English forces learners to learn so many rules for its grammar, semantics, and structure, these rules are in practice more often violated than followed.


Here's what I will never understand: we have members from Europe and South America for whom English is definitely a second language, yet most of them don't seem to struggle with it like some of our American-born members. I've never seen a foreigner use "through" as a verb, as in "I through the kit away."; most recognize that "alot" is not a word, despite what you see on the internet, and the vast majority are also aware that apostrophes are almost never used to make plurals. It truly makes me wonder what American grade schools have been teaching kids all these years.

#43 Craig Irwin

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:04 AM

It truly makes me wonder what American grade schools have been teaching kids all these years.


Social indoctrination.

#44 Danno

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:33 AM

Why are buildings called 'buildings?' Shouldn't it be 'builts?'

This brings me to a point I would like to make about English, one that especially many learners of English as a second language often overlook. It is that logic and language are not necessarily always congruent.

“Half of this game is ninety percent mental.” (Baseball coach Danny Ozark)

This is perfectly good English. Its grammar and semantics are unimpeachable, and as to its logic and arithmetic, what’s wrong with saying that baseball games are 0.5 x 0.9 = 0.45 mental? We surely can’t fault the logic of such a precise conclusion made by a highly experienced baseball coach.

“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” (Former US president Bill Clinton)

This sentence is contextually faulty, of course, because a politician said it. Yet it is definitely aboveboard in its English grammar and structure. The problem is not in its English, but in its logic. It is a “malapropism,” which the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines as “the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase.” Another is this one by the 1940s movie mogul Sam Goldwyn: “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Your English may be grammatically, semantically, and structurally perfect but your ideas may be contextually or logically wrong. Therefore this doesn’t qualify malapropisms as instructive examples of supposedly bad English. On the other hand, English may sound bizarre or strangely illogical on close scrutiny, like, say, the expression “Please keep an eye on your valuables” that we often see in airports, yet make complete sense to you.

Many people lament the fact that English is difficult to learn as a second or third language. They complain that although English forces learners to learn so many rules for its grammar, semantics, and structure, these rules are in practice more often violated than followed. How come, they ask, that the verb “turn” (to move around an axis or centre) can mean so many things when paired off with different prepositions, such as “turn on” (excite), “turn in” (submit), “turn over” (return or flip over), “turn out” (happen), and “turn off” (lose interest or switch off)? And why do native English speakers say peculiar things that seem to have no logic or sense at all, like “We are all ears about what happened to you” or “The top city official made no bones about being...”?

English is, of course, hardly unique in being idiomatic. Like most of the world’s major languages, it unpredictably ignores its own grammar and semantics in actual usage. But the sheer richness and complexity of English idioms —or the way native English speakers actually communicate with one another— makes it much more difficult for nonnative speakers to learn English than most languages. With scant knowledge of the English idioms, nonnative speakers may be able to master the relatively simpler grammar, semantics, and structure of English, yet sound like robots when speaking or writing in English.

I may be biased because I learned my English predominantly in American environments, but to this day I feel more at home in the version spoken in America, than the one spoken in England. I also find, American English has much less deteriorated over time and the Americans are generally in better command of the language, than the English are. Foreigners, who come to England today to improve their English language skills, are often appalled by what they have to listen to.




It is what it is. But that depends on what your definition of 'is' is.


:blink:

#45 Junkman

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:34 AM

Here's what I will never understand: we have members from Europe and South America for whom English is definitely a second language, yet most of them don't seem to struggle with it like some of our American-born members. I've never seen a foreigner use "through" as a verb, as in "I through the kit away."; most recognize that "alot" is not a word, despite what you see on the internet, and the vast majority are also aware that apostrophes are almost never used to make plurals. It truly makes me wonder what American grade schools have been teaching kids all these years.


Welcome to England then.

During a stay in America, one will likely hear a sentence like " Ah aint no pay no fi Dahlars fur no cuawfee". The same message conveyed in England would likely sound like this: Nyuk, nyuk, hudderfifmoflath, init?

I ask you, which of the two would you rather hear as a foreigner?

When it comes to written English, look no further than Ebay.co.uk for a healthy dose of what is bordering analphabetism.

http://www.ebay.co.u...=item460a4cd5ee

This is still one of the better examples, believe it or not. The guy is inapt to write one single correct English sentence.
In addition, "alot", "brought" instead of "bought", not knowing the difference between "there" and "their", "of" and "off", is so commonplace, that nobody recognises them as mistakes anymore. Don't get me started on punctuation.

You are right, people learning English as a second language are less likely to make mistakes like this, because they don't learn them, if this makes sense. Let me try to explain. These mistakes one Englishman learns from another. People learning English abroad are not exposed to them on a daily basis, so they likely don't even know they exist.

England is a small island next to a polyglott continent, yet, its language became the common denominator for all peoples on this continent. The way the English themselves treat this language is nothing short of a bloody disgrace.

#46 Danno

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:53 AM

Social indoctrination.




VERY true.

Ever since the education system and the - - - [self-edited] discarded their attention to education ...

Edited by Danno, 24 November 2012 - 07:55 AM.


#47 Greg Myers

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:56 AM

Social indoctrination.

Social indoctrination.

"No child left behind."

#48 Danno

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

"No child left behind."



Children were left behind way before that phrase was crafted, Greg.

Edited by Danno, 24 November 2012 - 07:58 AM.


#49 Greg Myers

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:01 AM

Children were left behind way before that phrase was crafted, Greg.

Children were left behind way before that phrase was crafted, Greg.

But now it's a federal mandate, and special ed students that used to be in a self contained classroom are now infused ( at a one in five ratio) into the regular classrooms of more than 35 students.

#50 Junkman

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:10 AM

But now it's a federal mandate, and special ed students that used to be in a self contained classroom are now infused ( at a one in five ratio) into the regular classrooms of more than 35 students.


Just having classrooms with more than 35 students is nothing else but social engineering.