Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 27
  1. #11
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,903
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Initialism, though I have always felt it a distinction not worth making.

  2. #12
    sarah sasy is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Egypt
      • Current Location:
      • Egypt
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Nature of english is flexible there is already standard form which we use it in schools and formal organizatios but we still use the variation and dialects in our daily life and this is because the flexible nature of english language.

  3. #13
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Although many languages are named for their country of origin, (even if, like English, they can be seen as a 'mashup' of other languages), they are only ever truly 'owned' by those who use them, regardless of their location or background/culture.

    As to the nature of the language itself, I have some information to add, though it may not be currently accepted, perceived or understood in such a manner.

    What makes the English language what it is, or what it has been able to become, (the good, the bad and the ugly - including all of it's variants), is that it is built upon a very basic philosophy, leading to one basic rule, above and beyond the actual sounds, (and associated symbols) it uses:

    WHAT (information) it represents (or words represent), determines and defines HOW it is used (or how they are used).

    (Unfortunately, the reverse of that (which is used to study the language, after it has already been used), is currently institutionalised for the teaching and understanding of the language instead - which is leading to a number of issues, though that probably needs a thread of its own.)

    What does this mean?

    It means that the individual words don't really matter, so long as they fit within the system of basic grammar, and so their context then matters for what they will be perceived as representing.

    This is why so many different words can be added to the language so easily, just so long as they're used in a consistent manner for the type of concept they represent. It is also why some forms of slang (rhyming etc.) are not just easy to add, but also tend to be consistent with grammar too.

    (Unfortunately, at this time, we don't fully recognise or understand all the concepts the language is used to represent, nor do we describe them in a fully consistent manner, either - (again, mainly due to the wrong philosophy/rule above).)

    One of the effects, and benefits, of the (correct) rule, however, is that the same word can be used in different ways, as representing different concepts, that can be easily seen, recognised and understood to be related, since it's the same word, or similar. This again, makes the language easier to learn and expand.

    (E.g. a hammer (thing - (noun)), and I hammer (behaviour (verb))).

    So this is the nature of the English language - a language with a very basic and simple foundation, that is flexible and powerful enough to be added to by any number of words that we can represent with the symbols we use, just so long as they ultimately obey the basic rule, (and its logical extrapolation within the basic rules of (English) grammar - even if they're not fully recognised atm.).

    And that is one of the reasons why it's used as widely as it is, without any real 'problems' (per se).
    Last edited by Tdol; 12-Apr-2012 at 14:01. Reason: Link removed

  4. #14
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post
    And that is one of the reasons why it's used as widely as it is, without any real 'problems' (per se).
    I would suggest that one important reason that English is so widely used is that it was the language of one of the most widespread and powerful empires in the world at the time, and is the language of the most powerful country in the world. For nearly two centuries, the lives of many people have been affected by English-speaking nations, and a knowledge of English is frequently seen as necessary to achieve success.

    There is no guarantee that this will last into the future.

    I also feel that many learners would disagree with the idea that there are no real problems with English.

  5. #15
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,903
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Many languages that aren't world languages share those features- words tend to obey rules of grammar in any language and most languages have mechanisms to deal with the need for new meanings. I wouldn't give this as one of the reasons for the position of English.
    Last edited by Tdol; 13-Apr-2012 at 09:42. Reason: Typo

  6. #16
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Geez - I didn't say it was the main reason, only one of, though I wouldn't underestimate its impact, even today with the large amount of people still learning it as a second language. Of course, it's always possible it may split or splinter into smaller groups, (if it hasn't already), but that's always going to be the case for a language used on this sort of scale.

    The thing about the English language, is that it's ultimately all about the rules of grammar, and nothing else. The sounds/spelling and individual words are almost completely arbitrary, and don't really matter so long as they obey the basic rule(s). To my knowledge, this isn't the case for every language. Now, of course, there is a core of words within the language that is pretty stable, because of the nature of what they represent, but even if that should change, the language will still exist, even if it's not quite the same anymore.

    (Either way - that's why having problems with the basic rules of grammar (at least as currently perceived and taught/informed) is such a problem.)

  7. #17
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post
    The thing about the English language, is that it's ultimately all about the rules of grammar, and nothing else.
    On what evidence do you base that statement? There are a lot of people around, including some native speakers, who ignore many of the 'rules of grammar' and yet speak a perfectly comprehensible English.
    The sounds/spelling and individual words are almost completely arbitrary, and don't really matter so long as they obey the basic rule(s).
    I don't see how they are supposed to be completely arbitrary if they follow some 'basic rule(s)'.

    I must admit that I am having a little trouble in understanding exatly what you mean by:
    What makes the English language what it is, or what it has been able to become, (the good, the bad and the ugly - including all of it's variants), is that it is built upon a very basic philosophy, leading to one basic rule, above and beyond the actual sounds, (and associated symbols) it uses:

    WHAT (information) it represents (or words represent), determines and defines HOW it is used (or how they are used).
    Perhaps you could explain this in another way - and say how English is different from other languages?

  8. #18
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    @5jj

    My apologies for not specifically saying the basic rules of grammar. Yes, some of the more specific rules of grammar that are ultimately based upon those can often be ignored by many people, but so long as the basic rules are obeyed, the language itself doesn't seem to care so much - (though, of course, individual people might).

    The problems I've been running into are specifically caused by the basic rules not being recognised, taught and then followed.

    It's all about the relationship between three things:

    1) The actual word (sounds/symbols used).
    2) What type of concept the word is used to represent - (and of course, ultimately the specific meaning/piece of information within that).
    3) How the word is then used because of 2).

    The relationship between 1 and 2/3 is pretty arbitrary as far as the basic rules are concerned. There are some more specific rules built upon those, (plurals/tense etc.), but these can depend on the individual words themselves, (including spelling/pronunciation etc.), which can also depend on where and how the word entered the language - there isn't merely one fixed method for how such rules are applied for the language as a whole. Such general inconsistencies can, of course, cause problems for its use - (making it trickier to teach/understand (and spell)) - but the language can cope, so long as the basic rule itself is obeyed.

    Of course, although the relationship CAN be arbitrary, since we do have quite a sizeable amount of words already, there are many situations when it doesn't appear to be the case. The only reason it CAN be arbitrary, is because the basic rules of the language are only concerned with 2&3, leaving 1 as completely subjective based on the user's preference - (which, of course has generally already been made for the language as it currently exists).

    According to a friend of mine, (who speaks a number of languages, (definitely Russian and German in addition to English (that I know of) and his mother used to work as a translator), not all languages are as loose in the relationship between 1 and 2/3, though I cannot remember which languages he specifically mentioned, (though I'm pretty sure one was Chinese?).

    However, the relationship between 2&3 isn't being fully recognised, which is causing a number of issues I've been running into. Since the basic rules of English grammar are about how we use 1, to describe 2&3, we have a problem... And if such words (1) are then used to describe 2&3 for other languages, we have even bigger problems...

    (Note: One of the reasons I'm still having trouble is that I lost a lot of my old browser bookmarks I made when I was working towards what I've written in my blog after I moved from Leeds to Leicester a couple of years ago at very short notice. (I'm still a bit annoyed at moving, especially since it meant I never got to speak to Dr Anthea Fraser Gupta (at Leeds University) as I was planning/hoping to)).

  9. #19
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Perhaps I am being particularly dense today, but I still don't see what you are getting at.

    Successive invasions of the British Isles, and odd quirks of history have resulted in English having more 'words' than most other languages, though this can be seen as a problem as well as a blessing, with so many near (but not exact) synonyms. The absence of an Academy has meant that at any given time there may be disagreement about 'correct' usage. However, I have played with quite a few languages in my 66 years and I haven't been able to detect any basic 'philosophy' in any of them.

    Languages vary enormously in the way that they can be used to translate thought into words, but all of them appear be be capable of being used for this purpose. It may be possible in English to use the noun 'contact' as a verb, while in another language we may say the equivalent of 'make contact with', but the other language may offer some convenience (for want of a better word) that English lacks.

    Unless you can give some concrete example to illustrate the point you are attempting to make, it is difficult to see whether there is any value in what you say.

  10. #20
    JohnAnderson is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: nature of English

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post
    (E.g. a hammer (thing - (noun)), and I hammer (behaviour (verb))).
    Are you talking about zero derivation? I'm also having trouble understanding what you mean.

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Role and Nature of English
    By chuotyeumeo367 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-Feb-2012, 07:19
  2. frank by nature or in nature?
    By techstar in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 14-Mar-2009, 09:47
  3. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 27-Nov-2006, 08:48
  4. Essay on the dual nature of English
    By chrisalor in forum UsingEnglish.com Content
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-Sep-2006, 08:42

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •