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Native speakers of English to go back to school to relearn English?
Thread poster: ph-b
ph-b  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:49
Member
English to French
+ ...
Dec 19, 2016

"It’s a bit of a revelation to many of them [native speakers] that their English isn’t as clear and effective [with non-native speakers] as they think it is."

"It’s the native speakers who are the odd ones out."

Really?

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161215-you-need-to-go-back-to-school-to-relearn-english?ocid=global_capital_rss&ocid=global_bbccom_email_19122016_capital

PS I thought there was a forum dedicated to English but I couldn't find it.


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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:49
Member (2008)
English to Russian
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Sad Dec 19, 2016

I find it sad that ''it’s the native speakers who are the odd ones out”. So, instead working on their English skills the non-native English speakers are expecting the English native speakers to simplify their English.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Of course! Dec 19, 2016

Many native English speakers are monolingual. Some have simply never thought much about their own language, and do not know what it is like to attend a conference in a second language. They would be totally lost in any other language. A little consideration is the least English speakers can give to others who have taken the trouble to learn their language.

I spent the early years of my life in India, among Indians, Americans and Canadians as well as British people, and was conscious of the differences before I could even put words on them.

My brother and I went utterly silent on the rare occasions when my parents came to school. There, we spoke Anglo-Indian like all the others, but the accent was strictly forbidden at home! Normally, as we only lived five minutes' walk from school, we could manage to keep our two languages in watertight compartments!

I grew up in the UK, at school in the Home Counties, at home in Northumberland and college in Yorkshire - where I had family and visited regularly all along.

It is not a question of dumbing down. Even among native speakers, English is not just English, and since I took my translation diploma in Denmark, I have learnt a lot of grammar and terminology from Danes! Although of course they were referring most of the time to books written by English natives (Michael Swan, Greenbaum & Whitcut, Ernest Gowers and others). Things we natives think we know are not always universal, and when I just 'play it by ear', I at least feel uncertain occasionally when challenged about some of the weirder intricacies of English. I have to look them up, and sometimes find a different way of saying things!
__________________________

The same is true of many languages to a greater or lesser extent. I can read German quite fluently, but can't always understand the spoken language. I enjoy German television, but need the subtitling in German for the deaf as a prop - then I can figure out what people with accents are actually saying.
My husband has studied Spanish on and off for years, and has started again with a new teacher - from Chile! They get on well, but are both aware of the differences. The teacher has a partner from Barcelona, and consults her regularly.

I could go on... but most people here will be able to add their own examples.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:49
German to English
football Dec 19, 2016

It seems slightly ironic that the BBC has mistranslated the American term "football" (= American football) as the British term "football" (= what everyone else calls football). Football references would be just fine for a lot of European listeners.

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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
Italian to English
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Hardly news Dec 19, 2016

This is just common sense. Don't say 'for good', say 'for always', etc.

Where the question becomes more interesting IMO is when we look at advertising. Often slogans are invented in English by non-native English speakers for non-native English speakers. They may sound oddly pointless to a native speaker, but that doesn't matter if the largest target is non-native.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:49
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
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Dec 19, 2016



[Edited at 2016-12-20 06:25 GMT]


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Ed Ashley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2015)
French to English
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No wonder they couldn't understand him Dec 20, 2016

The man on whom the article focuses is quoted as saying: "That e-learning exposed me to the thought that maybe people could not process my verbal information as quickly as I thought they were".

Really?


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2012)
French to English
A "lite" version of English Dec 21, 2016

I imagine quite a few of us automatically simplify our English when communicating with non-native speakers. We save the complex, more colloquial stuff for people we're sure will understand it.

I read another article, similar to this one, which implied that native English speakers somehow had an inferior knowledge of their own language, and that's just wrong. Having to adapt your language for foreigners is not something that speakers of other languages are expected to do.


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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:49
English to Spanish
... Dec 21, 2016

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

I imagine quite a few of us automatically simplify our English when communicating with non-native speakers. We save the complex, more colloquial stuff for people we're sure will understand it.

I read another article, similar to this one, which implied that native English speakers somehow had an inferior knowledge of their own language, and that's just wrong. Having to adapt your language for foreigners is not something that speakers of other languages are expected to do.


How did you reach that conclusion?


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2012)
French to English
. Dec 21, 2016

Miguel Carmona wrote:

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

I imagine quite a few of us automatically simplify our English when communicating with non-native speakers. We save the complex, more colloquial stuff for people we're sure will understand it.

I read another article, similar to this one, which implied that native English speakers somehow had an inferior knowledge of their own language, and that's just wrong. Having to adapt your language for foreigners is not something that speakers of other languages are expected to do.


How did you reach that conclusion?


Ok, so I should have added "to the extent implied in this article."


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:49
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Attempts to make English more understandable can backfire. Dec 23, 2016

There is a kitchen cleaner which was marketed for many years in this country under the name of Jif (an association with the slang word "jiffy" - a brief moment in time). Then somebody thought that under the rules of pronunciation of other languages, this could be pronounced not only "dzhiff" (correctly) but also "zhiff", "yiff" and "khiff". So they changed it to Cif. Not only did this fail in its objective (it could be pronounced not only "siff" as intended, but also as "kiff" or "chiff"), but to native English speakers it now sounds like "syph" - an abbreviation for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.

[Edited at 2016-12-23 08:32 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Oh dear... Dec 23, 2016

Jack Doughty wrote:

There is a kitchen cleaner which was marketed for many years in this country under the name of Jif (an association with the slang word "jiffy" - a brief moment in time). Then somebody thought that under the rules of pronunciation of other languages, this could be pronounced not only "dzhiff" (correctly) but also "zhiff", "yiff" and "khiff". So they changed it to Cif. Not only did this fail in its objective (it could be pronounced not only "siff" as intended, but also as "kiff" or "chiff"), but to native English speakers it now sounds like "syph" - an abbreviation for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.

[Edited at 2016-12-23 08:32 GMT]


My mother always used Flash... But if we are thinking along those lines, that is hardly better.

Sorry, I've just looked at the Oxford Dictionary's blog about Christmas cards.
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2016/12/christmas-cards/

What I was going to say was that today's Quick Poll is an example of how English speakers need to consider whether their audience knows what they are talking about:
http://www.proz.com/polls/11480
The expression 'No one can hold a candle to me' is odd.
Would anyone ever be big-headed enough to use it of themselves?

Season's greetings, everyone, to use a totally watered-down, politically correct expression, but some people genuinely mean warm wishes when they use it.

Peace and happiness as the old year wanes, and Happy New Year from me.


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ph-b  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:49
Member
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Excellent! Dec 23, 2016

Jack Doughty wrote:

it now sounds like "syph" - an abbreviation for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:49
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Not sad Dec 24, 2016

Hello, I'm a non-native.

From my point of view, being a lingua franca, English is probably suffering the same development as Latin: evolving in many different languages. It's not sad, it would just be a normal development.

Merry Christmas everyone!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
English is many languages Dec 28, 2016

Susana E. Cano Méndez wrote:

Hello, I'm a non-native.

From my point of view, being a lingua franca, English is probably suffering the same development as Latin: evolving in many different languages. It's not sad, it would just be a normal development.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Once you get over the idea that there is one correct form of English and the others are somehow wrong, it is really fascinating to study all the different varieties. Then it is fun to tailor speeches and contributions to debates to the audience as far as possible.

The Swedes have a wonderful wish: ' Happy continuation' (god fortsättning) for the days when we are still celebrating, up to the New Year. It's not English, but we could use it here - followed by Happy New Year, everyone!


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