Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5
    #1

    Lightbulb Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Hello, everyone.
    I'm doing major on American Studies, and it's hard to believe but I'm about to start my 3rd year. From the beginning, I'd had way too much issues with the usage of proper and contemporary English, so I worked hard to get over these obstacles. English isn't my native language, but I love to read in English, hence I dig in for more subjects related to language than just it's grammar, such as linguistics and etymology.

    Even with all my enthusiasm on the matter, I can't seem to write literate sentences that would go along with the literary analyses. When I try to do everything right, my sentences become really simple and short. Since my former sentence is too short, I have to repeat the things I said in the beginning, mostly pronouns.

    I've been working as a part-time ESL teacher for months, so I know what sentence types (simple, compound, complex) are. I, also, know how to merge sentences with noun/adjective/adverb clauses.

    I've studied "the -so called- advance writing" books, but there've been no improvement since they aimed a lower level of writing than I. They help you to write a kind of essay an ESL student is expected to write. I must be able to write like a native, like I can read and analyse texts in English.

    To cut long story short, what am I doing wrong? I'll quote one of my analysis essay's paragraph, and then, give an another example how I want my style to be.

    One of my developmental paragraphs from the analysis assignment of The Road Not Taken
    When the speaker tells us he wants to travel both without having one to choose

    “Oh, I kept the first for another day!” (13),

    his attitude change in the following lines,

    “Yet knowing how way leads on to way/I doubted if I should ever come back” (14, 15)

    after he comes to realization that it would not worth to travel both and the fallacy of having choices to make. Even if the traveler wants to think his choices makes great difference against other people and would tell them about his choices

    “I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence:/And that has made all the difference.” (16, 17, 20).

    The traveler realizes the road he has chosen is actually the road taken, because even the road not taken has already taken, and choosing that road would not make him someone with “better claim”.
    Reading this, or any other essays I've written for the university, makes me feel like an ***** who has little or no education on the literary matters and devices. This paragraph doesn't contain half of the things I wanted to say back then. Somehow I ended up with repetition over pretty obvious things with my seemingly superficial approach to the poem.


    Some good examples of writing I've come across within the reference books:

    In this sense, one can think of literature less as some inherent quality or
    set of qualities displayed by certain kinds of writing all the way from Beowulf
    to Virginia Woolf, than as a number of ways in which people relate themselves
    to writing. It would not be easy to isolate, from all that has been variously
    called 'literature', some constant set of inherent features. In fact it would be
    as impossible as trying to identify the single distinguishing feature which all
    games have in common. There is no 'essence' of literature whatsoever.
    The first of the chapters to focus upon social contexts for the poetry
    is Lynn Keller and Cristanne Miller’s “Feminism and the Female Poet,”
    which gives a rich and detailed survey of women’s writing and of
    the feminist issues to which it responds. Keller and Miller point out
    how active women poets in the United States were in the birth of
    modernism and how closely involved these same poets were with
    social issues and gender politics.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,571
    #2

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Quote Originally Posted by sky147 View Post
    Hello, everyone.
    I'm majoring in American Studies, and it's hard to believe but I'm about to start my third year. From the beginning, I've had way too many issues with the usage of proper and contemporary English, so I worked hard to get over these obstacles. English isn't my native language, but I love to read in English, so [Hence is correct but sounds old-fashioned.] I dig in for more subjects related to language than just its [No apostrophes in possessive pronouns.] grammar, such as linguistics and etymology.

    Even with all my enthusiasm, [You can say on the matter, but it's not needed and not as natural], I can't seem to write literate sentences that would go along with the literary analyses. [You seem to be doing fine! Your English writing isn't perfect, but it's excellent so far.] When I try to do everything right, my sentences become really simple and short. [Simple and short is good. Do you have a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. If you don't get it!] Since my former sentence is too short, I have to repeat the things I said in the beginning, mostly pronouns. [No, you don't. Read Strunk and White.]

    I've been working as a part-time ESL teacher for months, so I know what sentence types (simple, compound, complex) are. I also [No commas needed there.] know how to merge sentences with noun/adjective/adverb clauses.

    I've studied "the -so called- advance writing" books, but there've been no improvement since they aimed a lower level of writing than mine [Or than I'm at.]. They help you to write a kind of essay an ESL student is expected to write. I must be able to write like a native, like I can read and analyse texts in English.

    To make a long story short, what am I doing wrong? [Not much!] I'll quote one of my analysis essay's paragraph, and then, give an another example how I want my style to be.

    One of my developmental paragraphs from the analysis assignment of The Road Not Taken

    Reading this, or any other essays I've written for the university, makes me feel like an ***** who has little or no education on the literary matters and devices. This paragraph doesn't contain half of the things I wanted to say back then. Somehow I ended up with repetition over pretty obvious things with my seemingly superficial approach to the poem.


    Some good examples of writing I've come across within the reference books:
    I've read your examples. My thought: Don't shy away from simple declarative sentences. They're the backbone of written English. Over time, you'll find yourself learning to write more complex sentences. You don't need to push it. Make clarity your goal, not complexity.

    Many literary analysts and most critical theorists are terrible writers. When they try to show off their brilliance and erudition, the price they pay is the attention of most readers. So rather than using them as examples, turn to good popular magazines. In the U.S., middle-brow magazines such as The New Yorker, Harpers (not be be confused with Harper's Bazaar), and Atlantic Monthly publish writers whose great talent is their readability. And achieving readability, not achieving a "literary" style, should be your goal.

    On another post here, someone suggesting reading English aloud - and loudly. The idea is to get you more familiar with the sound of the language. That might be a good exercise for you.

    Again, try The Elements of Style. I read chapters II and V every year or two. The book is far from perfect. It's old-fashioned - almost antique - and imposes too many silly, unnecessary, and outdated rules. You can tell that Strunk and White, though born a generation apart, were both fuddy-duddies. But it's also full of some of the best advice ever written. For instance:

    "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell."

    It makes sense, right?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,845
    #3

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    I'm with Charlie on this- big words don't mean big thoughts. CS Lewis starts his book on John Milton's epic poetry with a discussion about cathedrals and corkscrews. He says that if you think a corkscrew is for opening cans or a cathedral for entertaining tourists, you will have little worth hearing on the topics,but once you understand what their purpose is,the opinion of a teetotaller on corkscrews or a communist on cathedrals has a value. He has by then got your attention and goes into a description of the thinking behind epic poetry. It's a piece of criticism I read like a novel thirty years ago and haven't read again, but I still remember it; it was as good a piece of writing as it gets, and it was written without larding the text up to sound clever. Clear thoughts clearly expressed are true criticism IMO.

  3. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5
    #4

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I've read your examples. My thought: Don't shy away from simple declarative sentences. They're the backbone of written English. Over time, you'll find yourself learning to write more complex sentences. You don't need to push it. Make clarity your goal, not complexity.

    Many literary analysts and most critical theorists are terrible writers. When they try to show off their brilliance and erudition, the price they pay is the attention of most readers. So rather than using them as examples, turn to good popular magazines. In the U.S., middle-brow magazines such as The New Yorker, Harpers (not be be confused with Harper's Bazaar), and Atlantic Monthly publish writers whose great talent is their readability. And achieving readability, not achieving a "literary" style, should be your goal.

    On another post here, someone suggesting reading English aloud - and loudly. The idea is to get you more familiar with the sound of the language. That might be a good exercise for you.

    Again, try The Elements of Style. I read chapters II and V every year or two. The book is far from perfect. It's old-fashioned - almost antique - and imposes too many silly, unnecessary, and outdated rules. You can tell that Strunk and White, though born a generation apart, were both fuddy-duddies. But it's also full of some of the best advice ever written. For instance:

    "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell."

    It makes sense, right?
    It absolutely makes sense. I'll look into these magazines and the book. When I come to think, I realized I don't even read any "readable" texts at all, other than the simple articles on the internet.

    Thank you guys, I appreciate your help.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,845
    #5

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Have you read Politics and the English Language by George Orwell? It's not perfect, but it is well worth reading.

  4. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5
    #6

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Have you read Politics and the English Language by George Orwell? It's not perfect, but it is well worth reading.
    No, I haven't, but looks like it would help me to get better. If you have any further reading recommendations, please don't hesitate to share.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,024
    #7

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    May I put in my two cents? I have found that that one of the most frequent mistakes ESL learners make is biting off more than they can chew. They will put together really long sentences (in an effort to impress people?) and something gets lost in the process. Clarity, for example. It is hard to help somebody rephrase something when you can't figure out what they are trying to say. I often say: "Write shorter sentences." The most important thing is to make yourself understood.

    I guess that's all for now.


  6. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5
    #8

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    May I put in my two cents? I have found that that one of the most frequent mistakes ESL learners make is biting off more than they can chew. They will put together really long sentences (in an effort to impress people?) and something gets lost in the process. Clarity, for example. It is hard to help somebody rephrase something when you can't figure out what they are trying to say. I often say: "Write shorter sentences." The most important thing is to make yourself understood.

    I guess that's all for now.

    It's quite the opposite for me, as you see. I seem to write really short sentences, which causes my work to be labelled as superficial.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,024
    #9

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Well, I think you said you tend to write short sentences. Well, when you do that it is easier to understand you. Now I am going to make some suggestions/corrections which will, I hope be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by sky147 View Post
    Hello, everyone.
    I'm majoring in American Studies, and it's hard to believe, but I'm about to start my 3rd year. From the beginning, I'd had way too many issues with the usage of proper and contemporary English, so I have worked hard to get over those obstacles. English isn't my native language, but I love to read in English, hence I dig in for more subjects related to language than just its grammar, such as linguistics and etymology. (This is a close call. I don't really care for "dig in" there, but I am going to leave that alone.)

    Even with all my enthusiasm on the matter, I can't seem to write literate sentences that would go along with the literary analyses. When I try to do everything right, my sentences become really simple and short. Since my former sentence is too short, I have to repeat the things I said in the beginning, mostly pronouns. (I don't understand that last sentence.)

    I've been working as a part-time ESL teacher for months, so I know what sentence types (simple, compound, complex) are. I, also, know how to merge sentences with noun/adjective/adverb clauses."also (You don't need to (and shouldn't) bracket "also" there with commas.)

    I've studied "the -so called- advance writing" books, but there've been no improvement since they are aimed a lower level of writing than mine. They help you to write the kind of essay an ESL student is expected to write. I must be able to write like a native, because I can read and analyse texts in English.

    To cut long story short, what am I doing wrong? I'll quote one of my analysis essay's paragraphs, and then, give an another example of how I want my style to be.
    One thing I have noticed is that when you use shorter sentences it is easier for me to understand what you are saying.

    (I am not going to do my own analysis of The Road Not Taken, but I will say that once you have made a decision be prepared to be stuck with it.)


  8. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5
    #10

    Re: Use of Scholar Words and Sounding Literate

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Well, I think you said you tend to write short sentences. Well, when you do that it is easier to understand you. Now I am going to make some suggestions/corrections which will, I hope be helpful.



    One thing I have noticed is that when you use shorter sentences it is easier for me to understand what you are saying.

    (I am not going to do my own analysis of The Road Not Taken, but I will say that once you have made a decision be prepared to be stuck with it.)

    Oh, thanks for constructive feedback. I didn't notice these.

Similar Threads

  1. scholar
    By suprunp in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 19-Dec-2011, 11:41
  2. ghetto scholar
    By unpakwon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-Oct-2011, 00:41
  3. Motivation letter visiting scholar
    By tereija in forum CVs, Resumes and Applications
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-Mar-2011, 19:31
  4. German literate
    By dervast in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 26-Apr-2010, 12:08
  5. Literate paragragh please check for grammar
    By new2grammar in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Oct-2008, 16:38

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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