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Re^3: "Question" vs "Doubt"

by LanX (Cardinal)
on Jul 01, 2009 at 11:03 UTC ( #776455=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: "Question" vs "Doubt"
in thread Regular Expression Doubt

> However I still notice it. And I guarantee that others do as well.

Sorry, and actually I personally really don't care!

  1. Linguists agree that "correct English" is extremely hard to speak, because of an unfavorable factor of exceptions per rules.
  2. Spelling and phonetics are a mess (... do you know why "island" is spelled with an s? Because educated English scholars in 17th century decided that it should more look like the Latin word "insula".)
  3. I'm fluent in 4-6 languages (depends where I spend my last holidays 8), so how many languages does the average educated English speaker speak fluently?
  4. English neither has a standard pronunciation ...
  5. ...nor a standard spelling.
  6. The English vocabulary is the biggest in the world just after Chinese.
  7. English is subject of a massive decentralization, nowadays in India alone 60 Million speakers consider English as their mother tongue.
  8. Maybe one day Bollywood might replace Hollywood in importance. Will it still help to know words like breakdance if everybody wants to dance bhangra?
  9. And last but not least English is subject of a massive creolization. (I know what a New Yorker means with "be a mensh", but do Brits understand this?)

Sorry if I sound offensive, I really like speaking languages correctly and I'm constantly struggling to improve my "expressiveness" (had to look this word up ;) but speaking correct educated English is just mission impossible without spending at least a year in Britain or the US, but I hope you got my points.

It's important to be understood, I don't care if I sound uneducated. And those who are not understood just won't get much help ... personally I'm just ignoring those posts.

"Just putting this node here so I can refer to it in the future. Thanks for the opportunity."

Cheers Rolf

BTW: The best strategy to sound "educated" in English is to occasionally integrate some French words (or Latin, Greek or even German). People will look puzzled and suspect they missed to look up this special expression in the 17th volume of Collins dictionary ... ;-)

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Re^4: "Question" vs "Doubt"
by davorg (Chancellor) on Jul 01, 2009 at 11:11 UTC
    speaking correct educated English is just mission impossible without spending at least a year in Britain or the US

    Spending a year in the US is unlikely to help much. You'll just end up speaking that "not quite English" that the colonials do :-)


    See the Copyright notice on my home node.

    Perl training courses

      Well I still remember when I asked my (very British) uncle in Portsmouth why my cousin pronounced "either and neither" in an American way. Five words reply "New Kids On The Block" and a gaze of disgust. 8)

      OTOH American TV even tried to remake Coupling to make it understandable for the masses! (OMFG!)

      Cheers Rolf

      UPDATE: OK I have to admit this might be just temporary phenomenons - recently the number of girls in France and Israel choosing German at school raised significantly because of a boy group ... this effect might diminish after puberty has finished. =)

      Aye captain, yarr!
      You Brits should be careful with what you say about the US, especially so close to the Fourth of July.... Lest you forget, that's the day a rather famous letter was written to George III, the gist of which was to tell you Brits to get out of our faces. Then we roundly kicked your back sides out of here (with a little help from a guy named Lafayette, to be sure). But somehow, y'all didn't get the point and came back in 1812 for an attempt at revenge. So we kicked your back sides out of here again (all by ourselves that time). At least y'all got the point on the second round.... 8-)

        You know, there's a growing movement over here suggesting that we should celebrate the 4th of July as well. And for much the same reason that you do :-)


        See the Copyright notice on my home node.

        Perl training courses

        Ah, Americans and their amazing lack of understanding of history.

        Historians are generally agreed that the British did not instigate the war of 1812, nor did the Americans win it. If you bothered to learn some world history you'd understand that in 1812 Britain's top priority was named Napoleon. The American colonies were completely unimportant.

        Officially the USA got upset about a number of issues, including the blockade of Europe, and the impressing of American sailors who the British considered British. Reality is a little different. The part of the USA which were most affected by these issues was New England, but popular opinion in New England was solidly against the war. The part of the USA that was most strongly in favour was the South, which saw an opportunity to finish off unfinished business in Canada while the British were distracted, and open up the continent for westward expansion.

        The course of the war had 3 major phases. The first phase was the first couple of years in which the USA attempted to fight against the Indians and Canadians while the British contributed virtually nothing due to the more pressing matter of Napoleon. US successes in this period were decidedly mixed. The USA got nowhere with Canada, in large part due to lack of support for the war in the part of the USA that was closest to Canada. (Namely New England.) But the USA did manage to do serious damage to the Indians, particularly with their massacres of Iroquois villages. The War of 1812 marks the last time that any Indian tribe was strong enough to challenge the US military in open conflict.

        The second phase of the war came after Napoleon was defeated. This was a rather lopsided affair since the British were able to send some troops to the conflict. See, for instance, the torching of Washington, DC. The challenge in this period was that the British could damage the USA in any way they pleased, but they had no desire to conquer the USA because the Revolution had demonstrated the the USA would be ungovernable. This phase ended with a treaty that said both countries would return to their original boundaries.

        The third phase of the war was after the treaty was signed but before the people fighting heard about it. (Communication was slow in those days.) In this period the USA had some significant local successes, particularly around New Orleans. This gave the USA the ability to tell itself that it was winning at the end, and made a number of heros. Including, notably, Andrew Jackson.

        So what was the outcome? A mixed bag at best. On the official grievances the USA got nowhere. Even today, countries at war put up blockades like the one that the USA disliked. The USA signally failed to convinced Britain that it was wrong in its theories on who it could impress, and in fact international law on citizenship today looks more like the British theory than the US one. (You are a citizen of all countries that wish to claim you, and if you come within the jurisdiction of any of them they can apply their laws against you and nobody else will say boo, including other countries that claim you as a citizen.) In 2 years of trying the USA made no headway against Canada, which had a small fraction of the US population. The USA broke the Indian tribes, which set the basis for westward expansion. Britain proved that she could devastate the USA at will.

        But, as usual, the US simplifies history and retroactively claims complete victory.

Re^4: "Question" vs "Doubt"
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jul 02, 2009 at 23:42 UTC
    As I tried to make clear, while I can't help what I notice, I don't much care either. However regardless of how little you or I care, there are many situations in which it makes a difference.

    Regarding the future, current economic trends do suggest that Indian versions of English will become important. However they are not important now. Similarly if you're seeking to make a professional impression you don't want to use slang that is associated with any particular region or ethnic group. For example I would avoid saying "mensch" in a formal presentation.

    And for the record, you are succeeding in using English well despite the fact that you're complaining about the impossibility of doing so.

      Maybe I didn't make clear that I'm talking about the expected standard of this board not about applying for a job.

      I know that I make plenty of mistakes and do not really write "educated" English. But it's not only not bothering me ... it's important for the sake of communication that it doesn't hinder me to talk frankly!

      Personally I preferre much more foreigners who talk easily but make errors than people who elaborate flawless phrases for minutes. Therefore it's much more important to be understood than to sound educated.

      And for the posters which are not understood it's pretty unlikely that they will really understand any reply. So better ignore...

      > And for the record, you are succeeding in using English well despite the fact that you're complaining about the impossibility of doing so.

      Thanks! Well mixing German with French helps. Spellchecking is activated. And some strategies to pretend intellectuality just work in most languages alike... ;-)

      Cheers Rolf

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