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Vagueness and ESL/EFL
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
are you going to teach indian english to your students? You can't speak indian english can you? or did you say that you were going to teach chinese english to your students. can you speak chinese english?


EFL is not the only business I am involved in. I would like to learn Indian English, at least the parts that differ from the core of English. I'm setting up a trading partnership between Indian business people and Spanish EFL speakers at the moment. With the Indian business people, I'd like to understand and maybe respond in Indian English. Some of the Spanish business people have that same goal. If we can get an Indian English teacher to come to Spain, it will be perfect, but if not, I'll have to learn IE first and then transfer than knowledge.

Quote:
why would the people who want to learn indian english or chinese english want a NES to teach them this brand?


What a strange question in such a context as this forum. Are there no NNES teachers teaching English? Do you think that every NNES student has a NES teacher? I was taught French by Miss Davies from Bognor Regis. She was a damn fine teacher and much better looking than the other French teacher, who was male and from Gers.

Laughing
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Metal, the reason I teach RP to my students who study Phonetics is that they are English Language/Literature specialists, some of whom want to be English teachers in the future. For them, a near-native accent is required as part of the course.


Why would they need to use RP in their daily lives? One can be an English teacher and cross-over to RP the minute one is in class. I should know, I was once a professional actor, luvvie.

Quote:
I don't know where you get it from that I think there's "nothing in between" RP and a strong non-native accent.


So the "clear understandable accent" below would not have to be RP, right?

Quote:
Furthermore, a nurse who may well have to get important information from a patient (condition, history, medication) needs to be able to speak in a clear, understandable accent.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You have been banging on for months about the importance of Indian Englias, and now Chinese English. Quite how that helps the Spanish nurse to speak to patients in Newcastle is less clear.


No mention was made of teaching Indian English to Spanish nurses.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You seem to be suffering from the illusion that there is a clearly defined Indian English, like there is a BBC English or a Network English.

In one respect this is true; there is the English of the 'Times of India' or 'The Hindu' which is the English of the educated elite governing class. However that is basically standard English with certain stylistic and lexical peculiarities. You would need no more special training to read and understand it than you would to read and understand Australian or New Zealand English.

Below that there are varying types of Indian English, which are the result of first language interference and vary according to the speakers first language and his proficiency in English as a second language. You could I suppose choose a point along that continuum and learn that as your target language, but I cannot see any earthly reason why you would want to. Indeed if you wrote a letter in that kind of English it is quite likely the recipients would presume you were taking the piss out of them. After all, how would a Spanish speaker feel if he got a letter from a native speaker of English in the UK written in strong Spanglish.

I deal with Indian 'English every day, but there is a massive difference between the English of my Tamil college lecturer ex-Office mate, who was previously a Professor of English in Tamil Nadu, the English of the Hyderabadi systems engineer (still approaching standard English but considerably less fluent), that of his ex-flatmate who is a factotum for a security company, his brother who is a driver, my Sri Lankan cleaner, and the Bangladeshi in the corner shop whose English is rudimentary pidgin. When I go to my house in Sri Lanka once again there is the same vast range in English speaking ability, from my commercial lawyer who was educated at London and the Sorbonne, to the criminal lawyer who does addresses the court in English but has never left the Island for study or work, through the local notary public, through my houseboy who I can understand fine but you would probably have considerable difficulties with initially, through to the tuk-tuk driver who can get me somewhere he knows, but will call someobody else on the mobile if there is a need to go off the beaten track. Which of these are you going to take for your model of Indian English?

Then add to the mix the question of the diaspora. There will be the computer engineer in San Jose who will speak a mixture of Californian and Taminglish, the former gaining over the latter the longer he stays in the US, his kid who will speak like any other kid born in Silicon Valley, the Punjabi shopkeeper in Birmingham who may well only speak broken English even after thirty years in the country, and his son who may well have a strong working class Birmingham accent. Any of these may well return to India, or have almost full[-time dealings with an Indian company.

I can understand giving your students a course in understanding certain peculiarities of Indian English that might throw them, just as you would if they were dealing with Australia or South Africa or Scotland, but the ambitious plan you have seems totally misconceived.
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lolwhites



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 1321
Location: France

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why would they need to use RP in their daily lives? One can be an English teacher and cross-over to RP the minute one is in class. I should know, I was once a professional actor, luvvie.


But ze students 'oo go ahn to becahm Eengleesh teechurs weel need to be ehbool to speak wizaaht a verry strahng French accent zemselves, you seely Eengleesh person! Like I said, I have other students with different needs, who can get away with speaking a (mild) French accent, but I expect more from those who go on to be teachers themselves. Most of my NNS colleagues are close enough to RP that you wouldn't know their language background.

Now, sure I could teach them the Wiltshire accent of my youth - it would sound rather charming if they left the lesson saying "Boi now!" - but I think the RP vowels might just be a tad more useful for them.

Quote:
So the "clear understandable accent" below would not have to be RP, right?


Not for most purposes, no. But don't forget that you may be preparing your students to use English in very different contexts from mine.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

You seem to be suffering from the illusion that there is a clearly defined Indian English, like there is a BBC English or a Network English.


I'm suffering from your manipulations of my posts. I have posted enough here to show that I do not consider Indian English to be a clearly defined thing - my God, even American English hasn't yet reached that stage.

[quote]In one respect this is true; there is the English of the 'Times of India' or 'The Hindu' which is the English of the educated elite governing class. However that is basically standard English with certain stylistic and lexical peculiarities.,, Blah, blah...[/quote]

Yes, Stevie, we know all that. No need for you to play the expert, it's all right there in cyberspace, which I've shown through some of the links I've posted in the past.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can understand giving your students a course in understanding certain peculiarities of Indian English that might throw them, just as you would if they were dealing with Australia or South Africa or Scotland, but the ambitious plan you have seems totally misconceived.


There you go with those extreme adverbs again. You love 'em, don't you? Well, I suppose we can thank our lucky stars that you haven't posted a, "you a**hole!", or similar lately.
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

why would the people who want to learn indian english or chinese english want a NES to teach them this brand?


What a strange question in such a context as this forum. Are there no NNES teachers teaching English? Do you think that every NNES student has a NES teacher? I was taught French by Miss Davies from Bognor Regis. She was a damn fine teacher and much better looking than the other French teacher, who was male and from Gers.



I wondered how long it would take until my posts were judged!
I meant that why would they employ you to teach a language (although I'm using the term loosely since stephen jones' post) that you are not a native speaker in when there are plenty of native speakers of said language in the locality. I'm sure there wasn't a plethora of native speaking French teachers in Bognor, but if there were then Miss Davies may have had a harder time getting the job.

interesting post from stephen jones. pinning down and pidgin holing (joke.. cos it's language we're talking about...get it?) a language into indian english, standard english, american english, spanglish, international english etc. is totally difficult. Where do we start? we can give characteristics but generally these are unsatisfactory.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I meant that why would they employ you to teach a language (although I'm using the term loosely since stephen jones' post) that you are not a native speaker in when there are plenty of native speakers of said language in the locality.


In which locality? Here in Spain, I don't know of any Indian English teachers.

Code:
Where do we start? we can give characteristics but generally these are unsatisfactory.


That's life. What should we do about it? Stop trying to give definitions?
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

of course. you're going to teach indian english in spain. i'm sure there's a huge demand. good luck with that.

defining things is just a human preoccupation, arguably of modernist thought. Through the act of definition we often miss the very essence of what we are trying to define. I like defining things too. It makes me feel like I am doing something.
It's important to ask the question 'what is .....?'.
In answering this question, you can seek to define or you can seek to highlight the inconsistencies and incomplete picture that the definition provides.
A definition has similar characteristics as a metaphor.
John is a lion! This highlights his courage, his strength and ferocity. It does not encapsulate the times when John is a coward or when doubt and confusion enters his mind.
you see life very differently to me. your 'that's life' and my 'that's life' are as different as chalk and cheese.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
of course. you're going to teach indian english in spain. i'm sure there's a huge demand. good luck with that.


From little acorns...

BTW, why don't you use capitals in your posts?

Quote:
Through the act of definition we often miss the very essence of what we are trying to define.


Do you have statistics on that? It sounds a rather emotive conclusion.
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do sometimes. I just can't be bothered the other times. is it irritating? you love the old red highlighter don't you? it's like the way my teachers at school used to correct my work.

no statistics sorry. but statistics wouldn't help you to understand it. what you really want is someone who has written it before so that you can appreciate the value of it and not have to consider it as simply my perspective. by emotive, i'm guessing you mean subjective? not sure...

if you want references, then look at some of gareth morgan's work on metaphor, or look at some of edmund leach's work which isn't on metaphor.

you must have heard of the blind men feeling the elephant and describing it....
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I do sometimes. I just can't be bothered the other times. is it irritating?


It might be to NNES who are trying to learn the language.

Quote:
it's like the way my teachers at school used to correct my work.


Their time seems wasted. Razz

Quote:
you must have heard of the blind men feeling the elephant and describing it....


Is that on animalsexxx.com? Laughing
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I do sometimes. I just can't be bothered the other times. is it irritating?


It might be to NNES who are trying to learn the language.


I'm sure your endless pursuit of correction is irritating to those who read this forum.
if you consider writing and speaking to be on a multi-dimensional continuum from formal/informal, literary/colloquial, planned/unplanned etc (these were Biber's ideas not mine incidentally), my contributions on this website would blur the boundaries of traditional written english and spoken english.
my contributions are informal (characteristic of most spoken interations), more colloquial than literary (characteristic of most spoken interaction), and unplanned (characteristic of most spoken interaction). of course I am attempting to define written and spoken language here which is contrary to my previous posts, but my point is that I consider this forum to be as informal, colloquial and unplanned as a text message in which I also do not bother with capitals.

Quote:

BTW, why don't you use capitals in your posts?


you seem to also consider this forum to be informal by using 'web talk'.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm sure your endless pursuit of correction is irritating to those who read this forum.


Hmm. Endless pursuit? Where did you see that? In which posts?

Quote:
my contributions on this website would blur the boundaries of traditional written english and spoken english.


They certainly would/do.

Quote:
my contributions are informal (characteristic of most spoken interations), more colloquial than literary (characteristic of most spoken interaction), and unplanned (characteristic of most spoken interaction).


Then why do you use punctuation (characteristic of most written interactions)?
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