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to express regret; to say sorry
full quiz correct answer

ESL Story: Englishes?

Front gardening I hate
Driving lessons
Learning to teach
Holiday in waiting
What''s your sense of direction like?
The scariest thing...?
Do people still get married?
The soccer world cup and ''Wibledon''
Difficult pairs: credible vs. credulous
Difficult pairs: loose vs. lose
Difficult pairs: listen vs. hear
Difficult pairs: people vs. person
Difficult pairs: speak vs. talk
Difficult Pairs: see vs. look
The behaviour of cats and dogs
Seriously though
Just me and English
From one extreme to the other
Are you a gestculatory sort of person?
Are you a TV or radio person?
Are you a nitpicker?
Putting your foot in it
The language of surprise
Have a nice cliché
The language of suspicion
The language of understanding
The language of ups and downs
The language of praise
The language of sleep
The language of sarcasm
The language of silence
The language of pessimism
The language of optimism
The language of relaxation
The language of work
The language of yes
The language of numbers
The language of army
Gerund or infinitive?
A born fiddler
How good is your Polish?
A matter of degree
The Knoblauch-Garlic Story
How to get to Heraklion?
Negotiating a Commission
What does it take to be a firefigher?
How to start a beauty salon?
How to make lambs suckle?
Hooked up
Don''t mess with the Russians
China Kid
China Kid (2)
A story behind a family tree
A story behind a family tree (2)
A story behind a family tree (3)
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Since October 2003 as I have been answering questions on the forums I''ve been delighted at the breadth and scope of the topics raised. Some of the issues discussed have certainly given me an insight into my own language. You reach the stage when you realise that what might seem screamingly obvious to yourself, is an unfathomable problem to someone else. Perhaps what I have just written might appear fatuous itself. But bear with me and I''ll come to the point I want to make. It is clearly fruitless to adopt a defiantly prescriptive attitude towards variations in the use of the language simply because English is still alive and well and changing constantly.

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I know I''m always banging on about him but Shakespeare is a prime example of a writer who broke all the rules and yet his work is still performed some 400 years after his death. In fact the Royal Shakespeare Company will be embarking on what they call The Complete Works (all his plays) starting this month and going on till April 2007. But I''m wandering and you must be wondering (I''ve put those two verbs together just to please the academics!) where exactly I''m going. My plea really is that we should accept the fact that there are several Englishes and they can all enrich each other as long as the end result is clarity and intelligibility.

Spelling of course is a bone of contention and people get steamed up about whether it''s American English or British English spelling. My only comment on that is perhaps consistency should be the lode star. When I used to be an Examiner for the Cambridge English Language exams, the advice generally was that if a candidate started in one form, they should continue with it. We are fairly enlightened about this on the site. As you will notice the first 350 odd tests written by me (and I''m still churning them out) use British spelling but recently we have taken on some American testers and they naturally use the American spelling system. By the way there was a dramatist called George Bernard Shaw (Irish by birth) who was passionate about reforming the British spelling system and he left money in his will to start the reformation. As far as I know, the money is still sitting somewhere accruing interest but not being used for its original purpose and GBS died in 1950!

In conclusion I should be most interested to learn the thoughts of others concerning the philosophy of World Englishes and their acceptability.

What do you think about the different types of English?
Let''s discuss the topic here: ''Englishes''?

If you have any English grammar or vocabulary questions,
please post them on this English Grammar Forum.

Next:ESL Story: Are you a TV or radio person?

Author: Alan Townend

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