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Picture of bethree5
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Here's an entertaining rant
on obfuscating jargon of the political variety (re: ed-reform, although the lingo seems to be statistical [?])
 
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Picture of Proofreader
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Classic DoubleSpeak.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I didn't find anything particularly confusing about Pryor's comments. McEnroe is upset that he can't parse them as if they were written - well, spoken language is different from written language, get used to it.

quote:
Originally posted by Proofreader:
Classic DoubleSpeak.


I disagree with almost everything in that article. Lutz assumes the premise of the Sapir-Whorf/Orwell hypothesis without providing any evidence at all.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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quote:
Lutz assumes the premise of the Sapir-Whorf/Orwell hypothesis without providing any evidence at all.

The evidence is in the speech. No one talks that way in real life unless they are 1) trying to impress, or 2) trying to deceive, or 3) some combination of both.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Proofreader:

The evidence is in the speech. No one talks that way in real life unless they are 1) trying to impress, or 2) trying to deceive, or 3) some combination of both.


How do you know?

Anyway, Pryor's intentions are irrelevant to the question of whether language controls thought.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I have to agree with Proof that Pryor's language was a bit stilted and wordy. However, I agree with goofy that it's pretty easy to understand what he was saying. I did not think this comment of McEnroe's was fair:
quote:
Either he does not know what he's talking about and wishes to hide that, or he is supremely aware of how empty his words are and wishes to hide that.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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I had no trouble understanding it though it's hardly the most elegant of speeches.

The article writer used a very cunning, though very common, trick to make it look worse than it is. He wrote it down with the absolute bare minimum of punctuation - only capital letters and full stops. A few judiciously placed commas or perhaps a dash or too would have rendered the supposedly unparsable second sentence much clearer. I am sure there would have been some pauses in the spoken version.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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All professions have their jargon - education is no exception.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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quote:
Originally posted by Proofreader:
Classic DoubleSpeak.

\
Read just as far as I needed to realise that it was more Sapir-Whorf stuff and then stopped. I've read enough of that already.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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All professions have their jargon - education is no exception.

Not only does nursing have it's own jargon, but also every, single specialty. For example, with all the acronyms and legalistic language in nursing regulation, it took me forever learn it. In my writing I try very hard not to use the jargon, though I am sure I don't always succeed.
 
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Not quite sure I understand the question. The pronunciations of all these words seem to be a matter of regional accents. Did this person never travel outside his own area of upbringing? I must admit, it might have been intended as humorous and I did just scan it it but really? Must be a slow day at the newspaper.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Well, in some ways I see his point. For example, I have seen native Chicagoans pronounce "either" both ways and have always wondered why. He says, "The above are all words you can hear both ways in the same part of America" so I don't think he is talking about regionalisms. Another example is his "diabetes." I know I say it with an "iss" at the end, whereas my perfect pronouncer daughter, who after all grew up with me, wants to know why I don't pronounce it her way (which is of course the right way. Wink)

Seriously, though, I think he is asking why people who have grown up in the same places have different pronunciations of words. I am thinking it is, as he says, preference.
 
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Is everybody whom you hear a native Chicagoan? Are they all in the same age group? Were their parents from somewhere else? Did they go to school somewhere else? Is the difference "caused" by position in a sentence and stress patterns? (e.g., people pronounce the two ways). Are the differences a result in shifts of register? Are the differences a result of affectation? Et cetera. I still don't get the article though.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Another example is his "diabetes." I know I say it with an "iss" at the end, whereas my perfect pronouncer daughter, who after all grew up with me, wants to know why I don't pronounce it her way (which is of course the right way.

My doctor pronounces "diabetes" as "meh-nin-GY-tis", which seems to have complicated my treatment in odd and undesirable ways.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
I still don't get the article though.

I don't think there's anything really to 'get'. The article seems to be just pointing out that many words have two pronunciations, and giving the reasons for some of the differences.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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quote:
Is everybody whom you hear a native Chicagoan? Are they all in the same age group? Were their parents from somewhere else? Did they go to school somewhere else? Is the difference "caused" by position in a sentence and stress patterns? (e.g., people pronounce the two ways). Are the differences a result in shifts of register? Are the differences a result of affectation? Et cetera.
I get your point - but - my own daughter? Wouldn't our pronunciations be similar to mine? She did live in the East for a few years while in college, so maybe that changed her forever. The east will do that.

I find it interesting when people who have pretty similar backgrounds pronounce words differently. The pronunciation of either is probably the best example. I really don't think saying eye-ther is due to a regional accent when you live in the midwest; I think it sounds sophisticated. I'll stick to my ee-ther.
 
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Picture of arnie
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The "eether/eyether" difference in particular is unusual. I can't say that I've got a "favourite" pronunciation. In fact, I'm not too sure which pronunciation I use most regularly but I know I've used both. I think in some cases it varies depending on the word's position in the sentence and, to a degree, the register I'm using. Also, sometimes I'll find myself copying another person's speech *; if I hear them saying "eyether", for instance, I'll quite likely use it too.

*Consciously or unconciously.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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quote:
Also, sometimes I'll find myself copying another person's speech *; if I hear them saying "eyether", for instance, I'll quite likely use it too.
Interestingly, when I hear "eyether," I am hesitant to use it because it seems arrogant to me - if you don't usually say it. Maybe I'll try to change. It surely sounds better to me.
 
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Copying another's speech is a rather bad habit with me. Sometimes I'll hear myself and think, "Did I just say it that way? What if he thinks I'm mocking him?"


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of zmježd
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Copying another's speech is a rather bad habit with me.

It's so common a phenomenon in lanuage that sociolinguists have even come up with a term for it: accommodation. The theory is that if two or more folks are really trying to communicate they tend to modify their speech in subtle ways towards what they perceive their interlocutor's idiolect is.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Oh, a linguistic version of the Stockholm Syndrome.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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quote:
It's so common a phenomenon in lanuage that sociolinguists have even come up with a term for it: accommodation.
The other day I had about an hour phone call at work with a Canadian. By the end of the conversation, I noticed that I had that "upward lilt" at the end of my sentences, similar to my Canadian colleague. That was after only one hour!
 
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I hear many US natives do the "upward lilt" thing. Most are female, it seems. Odd why that would be. It sounds as if they're asking a question all the time.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
I hear many US natives do the "upward lilt" thing. Most are female, it seems. Odd why that would be. It sounds as if they're asking a question all the time.


Lots of people having been doing it for at least twenty years, including George W Bush.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Very interesting, goofy. I listened to all the examples her posted, and to me, none of them had much of an upward lilt, as I hear when Canadians talk. I wonder if we're talking about the same thing.
 
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Picture of Proofreader
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Tragically, the body of a local student was found after he disappeared in Italy. Our paper reported, "He was struck by a train while studying abroad." I would suggest relocating the school from the track.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Language learning starts before birth
Babies seem familiar with vowels, words heard while in womb
by Laura Sanders
10:00am, December 23, 2013
Magazine issue:
December 28, 2013

Other interesting articles, but not language-related:
Science News Top 25 stories of 2013, from microbes to meteorites
 
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True, indeed. I recall the first words I ever heard were, "Don't do that. You'll hurt the baby."


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I suppose that's why pregnant women read and sing to their babies. I am skeptical, though.
 
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An odd statement from an article in an on-line mews source in Weirdville, Oregon, where I previously lived: "Groce suffered non-traumatic injuries, police said." If it's an injury, isn't it traumatic? Or is it now different there?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Proofreader:
True, indeed. I recall the first words I ever heard were, "Don't do that. You'll hurt the baby."

But he did and he did.
 
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A tragic story: a woman was killed by a drunk driver. The story said, "The woman had a young son, who was 5 years old at the time and was a member of the National Guard."
I guess they changed the age limits.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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At first I didn't get it. Funny! Big Grin

It just shows how important editing is. What is it called when you don't sequence the sentence right, as happened in this case?
 
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quote:
What is it called when you don't sequence the sentence right, as happened in this case?
Sloppy writing.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Picture of arnie
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Someone in another forum mentions this, found in advertising copy submitted to a local newspaper, but thankfully spotted before publication:

Garage sale – furniture, household items, teenage boys, and womens clothing.

One wonders how much was being asked for the teenage boys.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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It's not a dangling participle, is it?
 
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I think it's a misplaced modifier. But don't quote me.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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That sounds right. I was wondering what to call it last night when I commented.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I loved this article in the NY Times about the perfect essay. Here is a great excerpt:
quote:
She chided me as a pseudo-sophisticate when I included obscure references and professional jargon. She had no patience for brilliant but useless extended metaphors. “Writers can’t bluff their way through ignorance.” That was news to me — I’d need to find another way to structure my daily existence. She trimmed back my flowery language, drew lines through my exclamation marks and argued for the value of understatement. “John,” she almost whispered. I leaned in to hear her: “I can’t hear you when you shout at me.” So I stopped shouting and bluffing, and slowly my writing improved.
How true.
 
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Can we really believe a school teacher would ever mark an essay as "flawless"?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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quote:
Can we really believe a school teacher would ever mark an essay as "flawless"?

Yes. My teacher once said, "Your incomprehensibility is flawless."


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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I once heard a real estate agent tell a woman from Alabama that a house was flawless. The Alabaman asked, "Then what do y'all walk on?"
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Good point, arnie. I put "flawless essays" into Google, and look what I came up with: "100% No Plagiarism Guarantee;" "40% lower than market rates!" (market rates?) "Provides model: essays, article critiques, term papers, research papers, thesis papers, dissertations (really???), book reviews, book reports (for what grade, I wonder?), speeches, proposals, slide shows and case studies." Wow, the world is changing, isn't it? I wonder how many NIH proposals were written by "Flawless Essays."
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I have given up trying to post links to Tribune articles, so I'll just post the whole article here. I thought you'd enjoy this article about English as a second language:

Sitting at a round table in a room at Triton College, Ivette Carvalho was explaining the wonders of the Avila mountain range near her native city of Caracas, Venezuela.

She told Fina Montville how you can get to the top of a mountain. "There is a," she began, then halted. "A …"

She looked down, thinking, her hands on her cheeks.

"What is the word?" she murmured. "Car rail? Train rail?"

"A cable ..." Montville prompted.

"A cable rail!" Carvalho said.

"Cable car," Montville said gently.

She doesn't like to overcorrect. The retirees who volunteer with the RSVP Conversational English Tutoring Program at Triton want to encourage their students, not nitpick them.

Whenever I indulge in a daydream about moving to a foreign country, the fantasy withers at the thought of having to learn — truly learn — a new language.

Think of the speed of a genuine conversation, the subtleties and idioms required to express complex ideas and emotions. What would it be like to live in a place where I would find it so hard to move past asking directions to meaningful communication?

It would be so easy to humiliate yourself. Ask anyone who in a junior high Spanish class intended to say, "I am embarrassed" and instead said, "I am pregnant." (Alas for many a Spanish learner, the word is "embarazada.")

And what if the new language were as maddening as English, with its notorious oddities of spelling, its numerous exceptions to pronunciation rules and all those synonyms that mean almost the same thing but not quite?

I can move on to another daydream. But Carvalho, a 36-year-old architect, is determined to speak English well. She moved to the U.S. three years ago when her husband, an electrical engineer, took jobs here and is eager to pursue her own career once she becomes more fluent.

"I'm a creative person; I can do many things here but I feel I am —" she turned to Montville — "stuck?"

"Very good," Montville said.

"Stuck in my house."

So once a week, Carvalho, an English as a Second Language student at Triton, meets with Montville to practice conversational English.

Other ESL students at the school also meet weekly with volunteer tutors in Triton's RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) conversation program, which Montville helped found in 2005.

The students come from China, Korea, Poland, Iran, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, Taiwan, France and Mexico. Among them have been stay-at-home mothers, engineers and a pediatric cardiologist.

They are extremely determined, said a group of volunteer tutors gathered around a table at Triton the other day. One Chinese woman made cards with the sounds of English written out in Chinese characters. An Iranian man showed up with a four-volume English-Farsi dictionary.
 
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Some years ago I was an ESL volunteer. I found that acting a word or phrase imparted understanding much better than drilling on individual words. As a Romanian learner of English said to me after several meetings, "To act is to teach." We don't just hear language, but see it as well, I think.
 
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Picture of bethree5
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Ta-Nehisi Coates has done an enjoyable series of columns on his determined struggle to learn French. If interested you can search his columns at the Atlantic.
 
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Geoff I agree with you. I have found in teaching conversational FL to small children that if you pair the phrase with a gesture, or even better work out little tunes with gestures (call & response style) AND have a poster with an appropriate image for each phrase, listening comprehension (as well as ability to repeat independently) come quickly.

Much harder to make the leap into expressing new thoughts, using the words you've learned. Here's where 'acting it out' is especially useful-- making up stories, using stuffed animals for characters
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I'll look for those articles, Bethree. I, too, have struggled to learn French. It's the pronunciation that gets to me.
 
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It is doable, I think, Kalleh. I tutor a mom & boy in French. She had a terrible time with the accent but has improved a lot. Phonics exercises help-- the sort that have you repeating a series of words that contrast pairs of sounds. Anecdotal of course, but it seems to me that much of the difficulty for adults starts with not having a good grasp on spelling/pronunciation. Once that is well-practiced & comes quickly, it leaves your brain free to focus just on those sounds you really have trouble w/[like "u"], & anticipate them.
 
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