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Controlled Language
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bumped as I found some comparative texts I was looking for, along with a good description of the nature of Basic, in McArthur's The Oxford Companion to the English Language:

Quote:
Nature. Odgen and Richards' The Meaning of Meaning (1923) contains in its chapter on definition the germ of Basic, which took final shape in 1928. Its minimal syntax has a fixed analytic word order (as in I will put the record on the machine now) and six affixes (-s for plurals and verbs, -un to negate adjectives, -ed and -ing to form participles, -ly for adverbs, and -er as an agent suffix). Ogden encouraged compounding such as farmhouse and teapot, madman and blackbird, and get up, go out, put on. The syntax was accompanied by a reduced vocabulary of 850 words in sets: 400 general words and 200 picturable words (600 nouns), 150 adjectives, 82 grammatical words, such as across, all, can, and 18 operators (such verbs as get and put). Operators had three roles: to replace more difficult words (get replacing receive, obtain, become), to form phrases that would obviate other verbs (give money for replacing buy, give him a push instead of push him), and to be part of a phrasal verb (put together replacing assemble). By such means, he considered that his operators could stand in for some 4,000 verbs. He accepted figurative extensions of meaning and supplemented the basic words with numbers, names, and lists of technical terminology according to need.


Quote:
The following passages compare Basic with standard English. The first is from 'Time in Philosophy and Physics' (Herbert Dingle, Philosophy 54, 1979), the second its restatement in Basic:

Original. Let us look first at the question, 'What is time?' Time is an inescapable--perhaps the most inescapable--fact of experience, but we cannot define it. The final word on this was said by St Augustine. 'What is time?' he asked, and replied 'If no one asks me I know; if I want to explain it to a questioner, I do not know.'

Basic. Let us give a look first at the question, 'What it time?' Time is a fact of experience from which there is no getting away--possibly the only such fact of which this is completely true--, but we are unable to give any clear account of it. The statement which says the most it is possible to say about it was made by St. Augustine. His answer to the question 'what is time?' was: 'If no-one puts the question to me, I am certain about it; if I have a mind to give a questioner an account of it, I am uncertain.'

.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15330

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right. So how do we get these ideas into the fairly dense heads of some of our colleagues ? How do we get people to use "Offshore English" without descending into Pidgin ?

http://www.usingenglish.com/articles/what-offshore-english.html
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That article is talking about businessmen rather than teachers (and it's the first time I've ever heard of "Offshore English". A terminology cull may be in order). Hardly our fault or problem if some native speaker hard sellers don't make enough or any allowances for those example potential Korean customers! Vive la Franglais!

But OK, let's assume that some of our ELT colleagues don't have enough training and thus can't go to the other extreme of patronizing at will.Laughing I'd hope that even the densest would look at Basic's paraphrasings and at least laugh. But why inflict those at all when you could engage in definition games using decent learner dictionaries like the OALD or COBUILD for example, all the while pretending to be a low-level learner? (It's at this point that you may get thanklessly smacked in the face by said tomes as your colleague returns to his cuppa and mumbles something about he'll do the CELTA at some point, in some future life). Or am I reading you wrong, Scot?

Seriously though, I'm not sure there's much more one can do than direct people to interesting readings and books, and the best place to do that is during training of some sort (in-service and/or continuing, if not pre-service). The next best place is probably forums such as this. I'm not sure I'd bother colleagues who seemed too disinterested in or bad at the job, as they'd take it as inappropriate or insulting even if it were done with friendly merely "chatty" intentions let alone truly warranted! Leave it to the trainers to up everybody's game (right?).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:46 am; edited 2 times in total
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scot47



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking of teachers as much as of civilians. Should we divide the Anglosphere into two groups : teachers and non-teachers ?

I never cease to be amazed at how people are unable to communicate with others at even a very basic level. Standard English - if that construct exists in the real world - is not as widely used and understood as we might like to think.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I was thinking of teachers as much as of civilians. Should we divide the Anglosphere into two groups : teachers and non-teachers?

Yes, if it's the civvies who are losing flight simulator contracts or whatever LOL (it's surprising that it apparently didn't occur to that company that language might be an issue. They should've hired some ELTers maybe, or at least a few more bilingual Korean-speaking go-betweens and trainers. Bet they penny-pinched though and just tried to wing Smile it).

Quote:
I never cease to be amazed at how people are unable to communicate with others at even a very basic level. Standard English - if that construct exists in the real world - is not as widely used and understood as we might like to think.

But now you seem to be bemoaning the fact that linguistic standards aren't what they used to be among native speakers, that they should in fact be speaking better (more to the standard than not), but I take your implicit presumable point, which is that better-educated teachers would be more aware of at least their own language, and more able to alter it accordingly (less idiomatic for lower levels, but not too stilted or formal either).
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obvious, innit ?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I am learning so much here. Thank you for your pearls of genuine wisdom! Laughing Twisted Evil Wink Cool

Roll up, roll up! For in my next thread, I'll opine, while on fire and wrestling tigers, that teachers should be able to write more than just an X when signing their name! Razz
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English easy teacher. I pass ?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course you pass, Scotkeiko! Well done on progressing to level 2 of 20 in the 20/20 Treadmill School of English!
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