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Vagueness and ESL/EFL
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Vagueness and ESL/EFL Reply with quote

Asking students to learn standard English because it is important for career development indexes a vague future.

Do you agree?
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Doris Day
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen Jones wrote:
I agree with Doris Day


Doris knew a thing ot two, she did.
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the future is rather vague in most instances.

Where does SE fit into the future of EFL/ESL? It is still a pre-requisite for social/economic advancement within countries who speak English and so will continue to be necessary in the world of EFL/ESL. There's not much point in teaching out students colloquial language (unless they ask for it) used in the NE of England for example.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<It is still a pre-requisite for social/economic advancement within countries who speak English and so will continue to be necessary in the world of EFL/ESL>

In which areas of employment is it a prerequisite? At what social level? Do I need it to get a job at Walmart?

<There's not much point in teaching out students colloquial language (unless they ask for it) used in the NE of England for example.>

The "colloquial" language of the NW of England it being taught to Spanish nurses working in that area. Their hard won level of Standard English helped them get, but not do, the job.
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zorro (3)



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a pre-requisite in all areas of social/economic advancement. You will need to understand the rules of SE if you wanted to get a job at Walmart in the sense that you need to fill out an application form and will be expected to be literate in order to carry out functions within the job. If you get the job and your grasp of SE written or spoken is of a level that is sociolinguistically viewed as not SE, then your chances of advancement will be very limited. Linguistic marketplace and all that business (Bourdieu).

The Spanish nurse are a fine example of this in practice. They needed SE to get the job. By learning colloquial language they are improving their linguistic repertoire. To become more 'native' like in their speech, they will need to use different registers to communicate with the locals. They will need to know when it is appropriate or expected to use more colloquial language.

must go and play football.....
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The "colloquial" language of the NW of England it being taught to Spanish nurses working in that area. Their hard won level of Standard English helped them get, but not do, the job.
And how the heck did the Jamaican nurses and Indian doctors that have been running a large amount of the health service in the UK since the 1950's manage to do the job without training in Scouse and a detailed discourse analysis of Hobson's Choice?
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lolwhites



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Spanish nurses in question had very specific needs - had they been sent to Wolverhampton they'd have needed another dialect, but when they were first learning English, they had no way of knowing which dialects they'd need to understand in the future.

If we shouldn't teach them SE, what should we teach instead? A fair question if you only teach one-to-one classes, less so with a class of 30.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
[quote="lolwhites"]The Spanish nurses in question had very specific needs - had they been sent to Wolverhampton they'd have needed another dialect, but when they were first learning English, they had no way of knowing which dialects they'd need to understand in the future.


Indeed not, but many students are given the "promise", or led to believe, that SE will provide them with all the language they need to communicate internationally, climb socially and professionally.

Quote:
If we shouldn't teach them SE, what should we teach instead? A fair question if you only teach one-to-one classes, less so with a class of 30.


Do you teach your students spoken SE? If so, what is it? What is spoken SE?

In the years before Manchester hospitals employed Spanish "NNES" nurses, no need was identified in the area of misunderstanding locals. The nurses were taught to communicate orally with their Manchester patients. Coronation St, a British TV soap, was used a support material in class.
The nurses were somewhat annoyed at having to give more time to rel-earning spoken English. The promise of the English teaching academies in Spain had led them to believe they would be able to use the English they had learned on home soil.

More later.


Last edited by metal56 on Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The nurse were somewhat annoyed at having to give more time to rel-earning spoken English. The promise of the English teaching academies in Spain had led them to believe they would be able to use the English they had learned on home soil.
Of course they can use the standard English they have learnt on home soil. Tens of thousands of people in Manchester have lived for years speaking only standard English there. I moved there when I was eight speaking only SE and left at the age of 21 speaking only SE (and French and a smattering of Latin).

Now an SE speaker would need some training in picking up the accent and certain colloqualisms for understanding, but that would be true of any region in almost any language community anywhere. The place to give this training is in situ.

The principle of teaching the Standard Language to Foreigners and letting them pick up the local dialect in situ is entrenched in the teaching of most languages. I live in Saudi but every Arabic course that is on sale teaches Modern Standard Arabic and not the Gulf dialect (the FLI will let you download a course for Gulf Arabic but that was written before television made MSA universally known in the Gulf).
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lolwhites



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
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Location: France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
many students are given the "promise", or led to believe, that SE will provide them with all the language they need to communicate internationally, climb socially and professionally.


Quote:
The nurse were somewhat annoyed at having to give more time to rel-earning spoken English. The promise of the English teaching academies in Spain had led them to believe they would be able to use the English they had learned on home soil.


That's not an argument against teaching SE, it simply shows that the schools were not honest with their students. I learned "Standard" Spanish, and had to "re-learn" when I lived in Granada. At the time it was a pain in the proverbial, but now I can understand far more Spanish-speakers than might otherwise be the case. Had I spent all my time in Salamanca, I still wouldn't understand anyone south of Toledo!

In answer to your question, yes, I do teach RP. In fact, Phonetics is one of the courses I have to teach. That's not because RP is better, but it's (a) the one I'm qualified to teach and (b) more widely understood than Geordie.

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. If the patient is hard of hearing, distressed, or hasn't ventured far from their home town they might have great difficulty understanding a strong (say) Spanish or Filipino accent.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]
Quote:
That's not an argument against teaching SE,



Nor is this:

Code:
Asking students to learn standard English because it is important for career development indexes a vague future.


Quote:
it simply shows that the schools were not honest with their students.


It's quite common.

<In answer to your question, yes, I do teach RP. In fact, Phonetics is one of the courses I have to teach. That's not because RP is better, but it's (a) the one I'm qualified to teach and (b) more widely understood than Geordie. >

So you teach students to use a minimal pronunciation? Do you really believe that it is more widely understood? I've been teaching for 25yrs and found that most students have just as much trouble understanding RP users as they do many other English accents.

Quote:
If the patient is hard of hearing, distressed, or hasn't ventured far from their home town they might have great difficulty understanding a strong (say) Spanish or Filipino accent.


So for you there's only RP or a strong L1 accent, right. No grades in between.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Tens of thousands of people in Manchester have lived for years speaking only standard English there.


Do they all attend the same hospital? Laughing

BTW, I'm interested to know just what spoken Standard English is. What is it?

Quote:
The principle of teaching the Standard Language to Foreigners and letting them pick up the local dialect in situ is entrenched in the teaching of most languages.


That may be fine, if it were not for the fact that promises, both covert and overt, are made regarding the future for students who learn SE. To me, those promises are based on vague futures - plus marketing and inexperience/naivety regarding the needs of the international career- market at large.
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<
Quote:
In answer to your question, yes, I do teach RP. In fact, Phonetics is one of the courses I have to teach. That's not because RP is better, but it's (a) the one I'm qualified to teach and (b) more widely understood than Geordie.
>

Have a look at this and feedback:

"This paper questions the need for English in China to conform to any of the existing standard varieties, arguing that this objective is both undesirable and virtually unattainable, especially in respect to pronunciation, and that Chinese learners should therefore be learning ‘China English’."

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=212407
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metal56



Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 3032

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In an investigation with over 1,200 Chinese students at her university, the writer discovered that the vast majority had never heard of either World English or China English, believing instead that proficiency in standard American or British English should be their goal.


http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=212407

What brought those students to "want" such a goal?
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