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Poll: Do you think that the majority of native speakers of your first language(s) speak it/them correctly?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:24
SITE STAFF
Jun 28, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think that the majority of native speakers of your first language(s) speak it/them correctly?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jun 28, 2014

Tough call. Although perhaps the question is more to do with how we define "correctly", as unlike French and Spanish there is no official watchdog institution governing authority for the English language. In general, we seem to get by without them, as there does appear to be a sort of general consensus about what constitutes "proper" English.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:24
Hebrew to English
???? Jun 28, 2014

Do I think that the majority of native speakers of my first language speak it correctly?

Speak it yes, write it no.

*How do I define "correct" ? Is it not my idiolect / not my dialect.... can of worms right there.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:24
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Hmmm Jun 28, 2014

I'd like to answer "Yes" but in moments like this I can't just get a phrase uttered by a famous football commentator out of my head:

"The Dutch are playing so well [that] they should be made a part of the Netherlands."

Also, as Becks once said "Maths is totally done differently to what I was teached when I was at school.”
Or, is football speak a completely different language? icon_biggrin.gif

Yes, this is quite a can of worms. Hmmm

Added one more line to the can of worms icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2014-06-28 14:52 GMT]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 16:24
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 28, 2014

I take a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach which holds that what native speakers actually say in a given setting is correct, and it is then the job of linguistics to come up with a theory that describes/explains this.

[Edited at 2014-06-28 11:11 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Please add this one... Jun 28, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

I'd like to answer "Yes" but in moments like this I can't just get a phrase uttered by a famous football commentator out of my head:

"The Dutch are playing so well [that] they should be made a part of the Netherlands."

Also, as Becks once said "Maths is totally done differently to what I was teached when I was at school.”
Or, is football speak a completely different language? icon_biggrin.gif

Yes, this is quite a can of worms. Hmmm

Added one more line to the can of worms icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2014-06-28 08:48 GMT]


... said by a Portuguese football player:

"Prognostics only after the game"...


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:24
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes and No Jun 28, 2014

I agree with Tim. I studied linguistics for many years.

Tim Drayton wrote:
I take a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach which holds that what native speakers actually say in a give setting is correct, and it is then the job of linguistics to come up with a theory that describes/explains this.


That said, "correct" grammar has been pounded into me all my life and I'm very conscious of it. I think it's more than a social nicety. I believe it has a place in culture. To begin with, standardization makes for easier and more accurate communication. At a deeper level, good grammar speaks for who you are. The bottom line is that for some reason society needs it, or we wouldn't make such a fuss over it.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Per definition, yes Jun 28, 2014

The way the natives speak the language is the correct way to speak it!

But I can see everyone who has answered so far is a native of a language that never has had a single definitive form and has no Academy or other authority to determine how it should be spoken.

On the other hand, I have numerous treatises just in my modest collection discussing how it is spoken... or written. The scholarly ones are descriptive, while Lynn Truss tries to correct us all and David Crystal explains why we will always try and never succeed...

As a child I was not supposed to speak Anglo-Indian, but of course I did at school, because that was what everyone else spoke.
Just like so many other children who learned one dialect at home and one at school, and perhaps others elsewhere.
I heard a few things at my school in England too, when I tried to speak correctly!

I was less successful with the beautiful Northumbrian than my younger sisters, who never really learnt the Indian lilt - and I have lost it now.

While one sister now sounds more like my godmother from the West Riding and Leeds.

I voted Other!icon_biggrin.gif


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Jun 28, 2014

I regret having to say no, but in a country where the illiteracy rate some 40 years ago was around 26% (41% in the 1950s!!!!) and even today, according to the Census, circa 5% of the population aged 10 and over does not know to read or write, perhaps it's not surprising…

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:24
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Correctly? Jun 28, 2014

Is there an "incorrect" way to speak your mother tongue?

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:24
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree. The question should have been formulated in a different way. Jun 28, 2014

Are the people ("native" speakers of X language) able to use the X language correctly--both in writing and in speech--what do we really care how people sound--it's irrelevant to translation--perhaps just relevant to interpreting. Do people make thousands of mistakes everyday--'native speakers' of any language--if we screen their writing, especially, against the accepted manuals of style--absolutely--most do. Do they make mistakes when they speak to their friends, within their group or family--no, not within their idiolect, if they are understood.


[Edited at 2014-06-28 11:31 GMT]


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Andrea Munhoz  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:24
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No, but... Jun 28, 2014

I left colloquial speech out of it, I don't see it as incorrect. If the question referred to writing, then my NO would have been conclusive.

[Edited at 2014-06-28 12:28 GMT]


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:24
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Oh yes, there is Jun 28, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

Is there an "incorrect" way to speak your mother tongue?

and especially to write it, as a simple look at our daily newspapers shows us. And "if they are understood" - that's the trouble, often they aren't. Many people just interchange words that are similar to each other (and even words that I don't find similar) - a recent example: my husband didn't understand the word "residential" and made it "presidential" (the Czech equivalents, of course), and he is your average citizen. BTW, both languages that I consider my native have their "watchdogs".


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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:24
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
No, of course Jun 28, 2014

Max Deryagin wrote:

Is there an "incorrect" way to speak your mother tongue?


Unfortunately, there is. You will hardly bear a public speaker with a speech manner of a miner, a street boy, a farmer from an abandoned region, etc.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:24
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Eh Jun 28, 2014

Platon Danilov wrote:

Max Deryagin wrote:

Is there an "incorrect" way to speak your mother tongue?


Unfortunately, there is. You will hardly bear a public speaker with a speech manner of a miner, a street boy, a farmer from an abandoned region, etc.


I don't see the connection between the first and the second sentences. Please elaborate.


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