the future of English?!

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banderas

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right, to be honest, I never thought there was an Indian dialect of English...
someone told me that when you speak one language incorrectly you have no right to say that you speak a dialectof English. The thing is you speak incorrectly, that's it.
cheers
 

stuartnz

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right, to be honest, I never thought there was an Indian dialect of English...
someone told me that when you speak one language incorrectly you have no right to say that you speak a dialect of English. The thing is you speak incorrectly, that's it.
cheers

That statement comes across as incredibly arrogant and out of touch with the realities of linguistics. Indian English is every bit as valid as US English or UK English. The same can be said for South African English, Australian English, NZ English, Canadian English, etc. The diversity and colour of the many variants of English is a great thing, something to be celebrated and embraced, which is why I have an entire section on my list of links devoted to World English. It is very disappointing to me to see a non-native English speaker swallowing and then regurgitating the prescriptivist propaganda of the sort of pople who would probably think that l'Académie Française is both a great idea and something needed by the English language.

This is not an attack on you personally, banderas, but on the attitude expressed in your post. It is an attitude which I find repugnant, and which simply does not accept the realities of language development. I would strongly recommend the following three books to anyone who thinks that there is one "proper English" and that anybody not speaking that one variant is just plain wrong:

Linguistics and Your Language — Robert A. Hall Jr.

Language Myths — edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill.

The Unfolding of Language - Guy Deutscher.

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"A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey un a flot"
 

banderas

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:shock: I did not mean to offend anyone- just to let you know;-)
 

stuartnz

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:shock: I did not mean to offend anyone- just to let you know;-)


Yes, that was understood. As I said, it's the idea that I find offensive, not the person expressing it. It's also an idea that I hope learners of English do not adopt, although given the inherently prescriptivist nature of second-language learning, it's understandable if they do. Sadly, there are many English speakers who promote the "one pure English" sort of poppycock with real vigour and vim.
 

banderas

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I do not promote "one pure English", stewart.

Let me give you one exapmle. In London there is a big polish community. Most of these folks decided to find a better life here which is fine. They speak a poor English and the problem is they do not do much to improve it. Let's say these circumstances do not change for next 15 years and their level of English is remains the same. Can we talk about Polish dialect of English, then? There has to be some standard the learners should stick to, doesn't it?

If i am not able to understand people speking English only because of that dialect, I am not happy with that And it does not matter whether I am English native speaker or not. . Do not get me wrong, I am for diversity but it should be diversity within English language unity (i.e The European Union).

I am aware of the fact that there are plenty of English dialects all over the world (which I am happy about) but let's be down-to-earth with all this. Otherwise people start speaking 100 dialects of English and hardly anyone will be able to understand the other.
No hard feelings, stewart, but respect my opinion and do not call me ignorant.
Cheers
 

stuartnz

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I do not promote "one pure English", stewart.

Let me give you one exapmle. In London there is a big polish community. Most of these folks decided to find a better life here which is fine. They speak a poor English and the problem is they do not do much to improve it. Let's say these circumstances do not change for next 15 years and their level of English is remains the same. Can we talk about Polish dialect of English, then? There has to be some standard the learners should stick to, doesn't it?

If i am not able to understand people speking English only because of that dialect, I am not happy with that And it does not matter whether I am English native speaker or not. . Do not get me wrong, I am for diversity but it should be diversity within English language unity (i.e The European Union).

I am aware of the fact that there are plenty of English dialects all over the world (which I am happy about) but let's be down-to-earth with all this. Otherwise people start speaking 100 dialects of English and hardly anyone will be able to understand the other.
No hard feelings, stewart, but respect my opinion and do not call me ignorant.
Cheers


I did not call you ignorant. I don't do ad hominem. Also, my name is Stuart. The regional variants of English are not dialects, at least in part because there is still a very high level of mutual intelligibility. The globalisation of communication will ensure an acceptable level of mutual intelligibility, but the reality is that the one constant in the Universe is change, and that applies to languages. For an example of real dialects, try these tongue twisters Finally, the situation you describe with the Polish immigrant community is not analagous to the development of regional variations of English among native-speaking populations, nor is it relevant to the situation that Crystal was discussing in the Telegraph article. The historical reality among immigrant communities around the world is that it is the language of the former homeland that suffers among later generations, not the language of the new homeland.
 

banderas

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The regional variants of English are not dialects, at least in part because there is still a very high level of mutual intelligibility.

"There are older varieties of English such as American, South African, Australian, and emerging varieties like Nigerian, Ghanaian and Singaporean."
However, some of the new dialects are so individual that speakers of British English would be at a loss to understand them, he said.
"In Singapore for example, 'Singlish' is used on the streets but it involves so much Chinese that you and I wouldn't understand it." says Prof. Crystal

It would be a paradox that non- native speakers taught native speakers their own language...

The globalisation of communication will ensure an acceptable level of mutual intelligibility, but the reality is that the one constant in the Universe is change, and that applies to languages.

I don't argue with that whatsoever.

For an example of real dialects, try these tongue twisters Finally, the situation you describe with the Polish immigrant community is not analagous to the development of regional variations of English among native-speaking populations, nor is it relevant to the situation that Crystal was discussing in the Telegraph article.

In my opinion it doesn't matter where the regional variations emerge.So Polish immigrant situations is relevant here. Secondly, since when Chinese People living in China are native-speaking population?:shock:

The historical reality among immigrant communities around the world is that it is the language of the former homeland that suffers among later generations, not the language of the new homeland.[/quote]

The last argument I find irrelevant.

And last but not least:
Dear Teacher,

Being English learners, many Chinese of us usually write/speak more or less chinglish unconsciously because Chinese and English are two quite different languages to each other. I have to fight with these mistakes all along during my English learning.

I'd like to learn whether the sentences marked # 1 as belows are improper or not (or do they sounds clumsy?) The sentences marked # 2 are the corrections. But I still have doubts on them. Please kindly give me a hand. Thanks in advance!

#1 The price is very suitable for me.
#2 The price is just right.

#1 Would you like to join our party on Friday?
#2 Would you like to come to our party on Friday night?

#1 this is my first time to come here
#2 my first time here.


very excellent
excellent ("very" is a redundant modifier.)<---
really?


And this is exactly what I was getting at. Conclusion? these regional variations sound unnaturally like in the example above or even my English is not as natural as it should be. If there are even 5 milion people in Poland speaking English like I do, it is not correct to call it a Polish variation of English language. I will always listen to the way English native speakers prounance words and try to do so.
 

stuartnz

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We seem to be talking at cross-purposes here, so I'll conclude with just two points. First, if you read the comments in reply to the article, some readers challenge Crystal's assertions regarding some of the non-native variants he discusses, suggesting that they are really examples of code-switching. I can see their point, because while Crystal talks about Indian English, he does not discuss Hinglish, which more nearly parallels some of the examples he does use.

Secondly, and lastly, your example sentences:

#1 The price is very suitable for me.
#2 The price is just right.

#1 Would you like to join our party on Friday?
#2 Would you like to come to our party on Friday night?

#1 this is my first time to come here
#2 my first time here.

Since a teacher gets paid for marking things right or wrong (among many other useful functions, of course), the sentences in blue may well be 'corrected' by an ESOL teacher. However, every one of them is easily understandable to native English speakers. Word choice is different, but critically word order isn't and the end result is a set of sentences that are both distinctively not British or US English and simultaneously comprehensible to those who do speak US or British English. In other words, mutually intelligible. Much more so than the words of that most English of writers, Geoffrey Chaucer. :-D

As'salaam alaikum, noho ora mai!
 

banderas

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Only wonder why native speakers do thier jon to correct no-native speakers using this forum or anywhere else in general. Perhaps I should be happy as natives understand me speaking English. Why are you here and others if not to help us to express clearly and grammatically correctly?;-)
 

BobK

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.... I would strongly recommend the following three books to anyone who thinks that there is one "proper English" and that anybody not speaking that one variant is just plain wrong:

Linguistics and Your Language — Robert A. Hall Jr.

Language Myths — edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill.

The Unfolding of Language - Guy Deutscher.

--

I'd add this one: The Stories of English - David Crystal

b
 

freezone13

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I do not promote "one pure English", stewart.

Let me give you one exapmle. In London there is a big polish community. Most of these folks decided to find a better life here which is fine. They speak a poor English and the problem is they do not do much to improve it. Let's say these circumstances do not change for next 15 years and their level of English is remains the same.

Let's say they plan on getting back to their country, let's say they do not need to speak English fluently especially doing crappy jobs and let's just say that maybe you are better at speaking English than the rest of YOUR community and you want to stress it. If you are good at it you can help your community to get better and in 15 years' time nothing will have remained the same.

Good Luck,
Simon
 

banderas

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Let's say they plan on getting back to their country, let's say they do not need to speak English fluently especially doing crappy jobs, you would be surprised how many do good jobs and their English is still average... and let's just say that maybe you are better at speaking English than the rest of YOUR community and you want to stress it. If you are good at it you can help your community to get better and in 15 years' time nothing will have remained the same. I do.
With all due respect, this thread is not about future of Polish community in London, right?;-)
cheers

Good Luck,
Simon
k
 

Vibovit

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He predicts English will become a family of languages, just as Latin did a thousand years ago.

But globalization has "killed distance" since... unlike a thousand years ago, we have the internet, cheap airlines etc., a global village is not very likely to follow the same pattern as the ancient or early medieval world. Will - say - pop stars from Singapore sing in incomprehensible creole?
 

Airone

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Stuartnz (who was generous enough to hand down "the realities of linguistics" as well as "the historical reality among immigrant communities") and others like him claim that all forms of English are equally valid. This of course flies in the face of most observable evidence and I doubt even professional intellectuals actually believe it, otherwise they would be posting their defence of the concept in Guyanese patois (since it is equally as valid as standard English, with the added benefit of providing "richness" and "diversity").

According to some self-professed linguists, there is no right and wrong or good and bad, just standard and non-standard. While it is true that certain non-standard forms do, with time, become acceptable, I find it foolish to try to assert that the English used in gangsta rap or in text messages is as acceptable as the English spoken in The Economist or published books.

Stuartnz says that English speakers must embrace the "richness and diversity" of poor grammar and "non-standard" forms. Why is, then, that when immigrants come to English-speaking countries and slowly alter the way they speak their native language, "the language of the former homeland[...]suffers"? The answer is clear: English being changed by outside influences is good, while other languages being influenced by English is bad.

I wonder if these proponents of the "anything goes" school of thought would seriously argue that Quebecois is just as well regarded as Parisian? If they would actually prefer to learn Swiss German over Hochdeutsch? If they think that a resume written in the English used in 419 scam emails from Nigeria will get the same attention as one written in British English?

My students tell me over and over again that they prefer British English to American English. I could become outraged and give them a little lecture about cultural equivalence and how my English is every bit as good as British English, but it would be pointless and silly.

Every English dialect is a complex code with agreed-upon meanings understood among the people that speak it. While they may be mutually intelligible (up to a point..."slapping a girl's fanny", "getting gas" and "being sick" mean quite different things to most Americans and Brits) they do designate people as belonging to one of many identifiable groups of people. Saying that all English variants are equally "valid" is largely meaningless and usually precedes a heated defence of people who speak poor (sorry, "non-standard") English.

Interesting how language comes back to politics.
 

Tdol

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But then you come up against the 'whose standards for Standard English?' question, which is also vexed. I agree that there is plenty to criticise in the 'anything goes' school, but the woe-am-I-to-finally-see-infinitives-split-in-The-Times crew and the judgements they make of both people and grammar are also frequently wide of the mark.
 

stuartnz

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But then you come up against the 'whose standards for Standard English?' question, which is also vexed. I agree that there is plenty to criticise in the 'anything goes' school, but the woe-am-I-to-finally-see-infinitives-split-in-The-Times crew and the judgements they make of both people and grammar are also frequently wide of the mark.

The "anything goes" school is a bit of a straw man, Tdol. On my list of links I have made sure to include a couple of articles addressing this reductio ad absurdum issue. Those who take a descriptivist view of language usage and evolution do not say that "anything goes". It seems that many of those who take a rigidly prescriptivist view of language say that those who do not share their views are lazy laissez-fairies, but that's just not true. I found the previous post hugely entertaining, but if anybody is interested in a serious and reasoned look at the issue, I would strongly recommend having a read of A rogue copy editor's manifesto and "Everything is correct" versus "nothing is relevant"
 
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