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Practising vs. practicing


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Practising vs. practicing #1 (permalink) Sat Oct 11, 2003 17:20 pm   Practising vs. practicing
 

Yesterday I read in a book by Joy Fielding the word «practising».
Now, Joy Fielding is American and «practising» is supposed British spelling. The Americans normally stick to « practicing».
No big deal — it just underscores the freedom you have when it comes to spelling in English. I for example I have developed my own system that combines the best of American and British spelling. In a few years the spelling question will be solved anyway, won't it?
What do you think of this issue?

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I do not agree #2 (permalink) Tue Oct 14, 2003 19:02 pm   I do not agree
 

Hallo Torsten,

I don't agree with you. It can't be a good idea to mix up the two languages.

But I saw some artikels I couldn't see from where they are. There were words from both countries used. I think sometimes it would be good to know if an Amercan or British person is speaking about something. The people of both countries do have diferent views of things and I think it could be interesting to know who thinks what exspecially of their different politics and live.

Kind regards
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Spelling and British vs. American English #3 (permalink) Tue Oct 14, 2003 23:51 pm   Spelling and British vs. American English
 

Hi Teufelchen, I think British and American English are very close - I wouldn't regard them as two different languages. Of course there are some words such as 'boot' and 'trunk' or 'lorry' and 'truck' but especially thanks to the internet and globalization these differences become less and less. So, why not combine the best of both - British and American English and throw in some Irish, Scottish, Canadian, Australian and what have you version of English to make a good cocktail? Isn't this how the US emerged and developed into the strongest nation - just taking the best of everything and re-arrange it?
People still can different views and opinions. People are individual and unique. And the English language is rich enough to provide sufficient resources for anyone to express their thoughts.
Even if the spelling of the words is the same, wouldn't you agree? Also, I think the more people use English on the internet the smaller the differences in spelling..
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Oh I agree with you #4 (permalink) Wed Oct 15, 2003 7:57 am   Oh I agree with you
 

In most of the points I agree with you, but sometimes I think we lose some things if we allways mixe up languages. That's the same in German, where we have many English words in all day doings. We lose some ineresting words or ways to say something, if you know what I mean.

To mix up the different English languages could be a good idea for the world becomming closer, but the individuality fail. And I think that's a little bit pity. :(

Best wishes
:twisted: teufelchen53
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Practising vs. practicing #5 (permalink) Wed Oct 15, 2003 14:50 pm   Practising vs. practicing
 

Clearly there are many Englishes in the world and any speaker of English for whom English is not the mother tongue will use a mixture of words, phrases, constructions that they've learnt or heard. Great, wonderful - they are communicating and that is the most important factor. Two other factors however do impinge - appropriateness and consistency.
Very often it's necessary to choose the right style for the right occasion and sometimes the 'wrong' style can jar. Recently 'A' level English Literature students were criticised for answering their questions about characters in a Shakespeare play in colloquial language.
Colloquial language is all very fine if the teacher is explaining something to students in order to make them understand the characters better but is it the sort of language you would use in a formal examination? Then there is consistency.
Naturally I write my stuff in so-called standard British English because that is most natural to me but I don't get overheated if I read something in American English or 'euro' English as long as the meaning is clear. What I would get confused about is to read a hotch-potch of Englishes emanating from an 'official' or standard medium - and I would classify our English-test as a standard medium.
This seems to be common sense and is as practical as indicating that something is written in Text File / webpage HTML only in computing and not something else.
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Practising vs. practicing #6 (permalink) Thu Feb 02, 2006 14:04 pm   Practising vs. practicing
 

Torsten wrote:
Yesterday I read in a book by Joy Fielding the word «practising».
Now, Joy Fielding is American and «practising» is supposed British spelling. The Americans normally stick to « practicing».
No big deal — it just underscores the freedom you have when it comes to spelling in English. I for example I have developed my own system that combines the best of American and British spelling. In a few years the spelling question will be solved anyway, won't it?
What do you think of this issue?


Personally I think: "Vive la diff?rence!".

Of course it would be less complicated not to have two different ways of spelling and about a hundred options when it comes to putting something into words in English. But it wouldn't be half as exciting, would it?

Teufelchen has used a good word: ‘individuality’. Let’s not lose it. We can still live in harmony while keeping our very own features, can't we?

By the way, I've always meant to ask this:

Sometimes there seems to be a kind of British vs. American English competition. Do you think this only happens between learners or is there also a certain rivalry among natives?
Conchita
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Practising vs. practicing #7 (permalink) Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:03 am   Practising vs. practicing
 

Torsten wrote:
Yesterday I read in a book by Joy Fielding the word «practising».
Now, Joy Fielding is American and «practising» is supposed British spelling. The Americans normally stick to « practicing».
No big deal — it just underscores the freedom you have when it comes to spelling in English. I for example I have developed my own system that combines the best of American and British spelling. In a few years the spelling question will be solved anyway, won't it?
What do you think of this issue?


Torsten, I think you probably saw this spelling because North American and US editions of the same popular book are often edited for spelling. This is mainly with bestsellers, though. Generally, we read books with British, US or Canadian spelling and notice the difference only very briefly, if at all. It's not distracting to us.

Conchita wrote:
Sometimes there seems to be a kind of British vs. American English competition. Do you think this only happens between learners or is there also a certain rivalry among natives?


You know, I only noticed this when I got to the European continent, and mainly among continental Europeans. It's very common for Americans to refer symbolically to the British as "our English cousins" or with some other affectionate term, as if we were related to them, which most of us no longer are. And most of the British know that they rely on us, and without us they would probably be wearing lederhosen now. Until I got to the European continent, I wasn't used to anyone caring what nation's variant of English anyone used.

I was first introduced to the idea that the British and the Americans have "two different languages" when I saw at the bottom of an article in a French newsmagazine, "Translated from the American by..." I thought this was very odd.

I think the whole thing is caused by a different concept of language variation. In places like France or the Czech Republic, they have the concept burned into their heads that each language has only one standard variety that is centered in one city. It is hard to make them understand that there are languages that have many geographic variants of the same standard. They think that one of those standard forms has to be "wrong". But with English that's not true.

I think the people who most energetically propagate the idea that British and American English are "two different languages" are non-native teachers of English who don't understand English very well themselves. They'll claim they know only British English, but if you play a natural recording of standard British English for them, they won't understand it. One of these teachers in one country told a girl from New Zealand to "speak British English, because when you speak your New Zealand dialect we can't understand you!" The teacher didn't know that the girl had been speaking perfect RP the whole time. When these teachers don't understand, they try to keep their dignity by saying the native speaker isn't speaking proper British English.

Once I met an English teacher from Iraq who placed in the second lowest class for immigrants here. It was the class for people who can string together three-word sentences. She was very humiliated by this, and said she placed so low "because we war teach English English!"

You see?

There's another thing I notice, which is that the countries of eclipsed empires tend to spread language and cultural centers around the world. Sure, the US has offices of the US information agency, and the Germans have their Goethe institute, but they are nothing compared to the network of the British Council and the Alliance fran?aise. These centers provide an excellent, valuable service, but notice that the Americans, the Japanese and the Germans don't really need to have networks like this. They're too busy influencing the world, and people just eat up their language and culture. Workers all over the US are learning German, American kids are going crazy for Japanese cartoons and joining business students in filling university Japanese classes, and people all over the world pick up American English.

Sorry I went so long again.
Jamie (K)
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English Language #8 (permalink) Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:27 am   English Language
 

Hi Jamie (K),

I get the impression that you have an axe to grind. On the one hand you give the impression in your lengthy contributions that you want to promote English as a language whatever its variations in different parts of the world but on the other hand you really want to indicate to the world that all that matters is, to use your own words,:
Quote:
people all over the world pick up American English.


Can you not simply enjoy the international use and growth of the English language as it is at the moment?

What is the point of making oblique references like these about the British when on this site the language is the thing:

Quote:
And most of the British know that they rely on us, and without us they would probably be wearing lederhosen now


Quote:
There's another thing I notice, which is that the countries of eclipsed empires tend to spread language and cultural centers around the world
?

I must confess I found the last quote deeply ironic but I'll resist the temptation to counter that remark.

Alan
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English Language #9 (permalink) Sat Feb 04, 2006 6:26 am   English Language
 

Alan wrote:
I get the impression that you have an axe to grind. On the one hand you give the impression in your lengthy contributions


Yes, my contributions are too long. I'm fast typist, fortunately and unfortunately.

Alan wrote:
that you want to promote English as a language whatever its variations in different parts of the world but on the other hand you really want to indicate to the world that all that matters is, to use your own words,:
Quote:
people all over the world pick up American English.


Can you not simply enjoy the international use and growth of the English language as it is at the moment?


Actually, I enjoy English in all its variety and forms, including pidgin and creole forms. So, I'm not down on anyone's English, really.

I also admire the British, because in my opinion they civilized a large portion of the world and brought civil law and human rights to many people who had not known them before.

The complex you're probably seeing is the result of having to work with uninformed English teachers overseas for years who distrusted my every judgment because I was not British. If I told them not to call the caretaker "the school servant" or not to call Africans or African-Americans "Negroes", or not to say, "I usedn't to do that," they told me that they were speaking "British English" and that I simply didn't know what I was talking about. If an Englishwoman told them the same things, she would be told that her English was polluted with Americanisms.

It would be easy to shrug that stuff off and figure the people just didn't know what they were talking about, except that such people made mischief with the idea at the administrative level and even at the level of municipal government. We had to deal with something almost every day.

So the axe I'm grinding is not with the British, but with people who misconceive the nature of English.

Alan wrote:
What is the point of making oblique references like these about the British when on this site the language is the thing:

Quote:
And most of the British know that they rely on us, and without us they would probably be wearing lederhosen now


I admit that was much too sarcastic. The US did get called on, however, to deal with several dictators that the Europeans let get out of hand. It's a historical pattern.

Quote:
There's another thing I notice, which is that the countries of eclipsed empires tend to spread language and cultural centers around the world
?

Alan wrote:
I must confess I found the last quote deeply ironic but I'll resist the temptation to counter that remark.


I know the irony you perceive there. Thanks for not getting into it, and thanks for being direct.
Jamie (K)
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Axe grinding #10 (permalink) Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:40 am   Axe grinding
 

Hi,

A picture is emerging now, Jamie (K) as you describe your experience with these strange teachers you've met. Why not come clean and reveal who you really are? Most of us at least give some indication of who we are in a profile.

Alan
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Heated exchange #11 (permalink) Sat Feb 04, 2006 13:21 pm   Heated exchange
 

This is getting more and more thrilling. What suspense! I must admit both of you are doing a good job of sorting out a nearly ‘diplomatic incident’. I hope I’m not adding more fuel to the fire by making this little (and probably uncalled-for) contribution. However, and to come out in defence of Lederhosen, I’m sure the Brits would look as grand in them as they do in kilts (I swear I’m not being ironic). And while we’re at it, when are men in Western culture going to wear less boring clothes – or at least have a more varied choice, like women have?
Conchita
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Suspense #12 (permalink) Sat Feb 04, 2006 14:29 pm   Suspense
 

Hi Conchita,

Well done - we need people like you on the forum!

Thanks and best wishes

Alan
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Axe grinding #13 (permalink) Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:33 am   Axe grinding
 

Alan wrote:
A picture is emerging now, Jamie (K) as you describe your experience with these strange teachers you've met. Why not come clean and reveal who you really are? Most of us at least give some indication of who we are in a profile.


Okay. Here's my "profile". I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I was an art genius beginning at the age of 2, so I ended up getting a BFA in painting (with some animation and other subjects, as well). While I was in school I worked in factories. After art school, I wound up as a proofreader and editor in communications firms and advertising agencies. While doing that, I got a master's degree in linguistics.

Starting in the 1980s, I traveled to various communist countries to see if the left or the right was telling the truth about Marxism (the right was). In 1991 I was invited to a well-known Czech resort town to help found and manage a language school to replace a privatized one that had collapsed. I was there for three years, also taught in high school, and got my government certificate in Czech proficiency. I had taught the language to myself in immersion.

Since coming home, I've taught linguistics (including English dialectology -- my favorite!), but now I mainly teach ESL and some Czech, along with translating and designing websites.

I have no axe to grind with the British. The British have never given me any trouble, and I admire them as a nation.

The people I get furious over are certain non-native English speakers who insist that their severely flawed English is "British". If they score low on the TOEFL or another placement test, they'll claim it was because they learned "British English". If they bomb a test on the past perfect, they'll say that their teacher in Iraq taught them "British grammar". If a low-grade English teacher can't understand me, she'll claim I'm not speaking "British English". If he same teacher can't understand an anonymous recording of Queen Elizabeth, she'll say "that woman" is not speaking "British English". If we teach them to pronounce the schwas correctly in words, they'll tell us that that is not the correct "British" pronunciation that their Armenian teacher taught them. And the underlying presumption is always that Americans can never have had any exposure to British English.

My latest funny incident was when a woman from Russia was trying to explain something called a "roccafelya" to two women from Pakistan. Nobody understood her. Everybody thought she was talking about some kind of cut jewel, but somehow oil was involved. I asked her to tell me in Russian, and then I explained what she had been trying to say about Rockafeller's development of the petroleum industry. Realizing no one had picked up a word she'd said, she explained, "Da fyorst tink you mast knov is det een Rasha ve verr lyorning da Breetish Inklish."

I get this stuff all the time, but I suppose that since you're British they don't try it on you. Or do they?
Jamie (K)
Guest





Heated exchange #14 (permalink) Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:41 am   Heated exchange
 

Conchita wrote:
And while we’re at it, when are men in Western culture going to wear less boring clothes – or at least have a more varied choice, like women have?


They tried that in the late 1960s, but it was accompanied by too many social pathologies that we are still suffering from today. :-)

Besides, men don't want to waste time fussing over clothes. Have you ever compared men and women shopping?
Jamie (K)
Guest





Jamie (K)? #15 (permalink) Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:30 am   Jamie (K)?
 

Hello Jamie (K), your posts are very interesting and valuable to your community. I think what Alan had in mind when he asked you about your profile was the fact that you always post your messages as a guest instead of registering with the forum.
When you register it will much easier for you to keep track of the discussions because you can opt for an email alert and then you simply click on the appropriate link. Also, when you log on to the forum as a user you can see immediately if and where are new posts because they are appear as orange.
Finally, as a forum user you can send and receive private messages.
Just some thoughts..
Andreana
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