Get email alerts Get Celiac.com E-mail Alerts  




Celiac.com Sponsor:
Celiac.com Sponsor:




Ads by Google:






   Get email alerts  Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts

English Check?
0

30 posts in this topic

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/sto...1874218,00.html

My spelling is BRITISH.... its a british paper but any cleaning up of my restricted English appreciated.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Please tell us the problem. For our reference, internally this comment is on the piece titled The poisonous truth about our daily bread by Andrew Whitley starting with

Dear Sir,

I realise that your article was about the “rubbish” added to bread but I find the comments on coeliac disease a rather cheap shot. I realise that a certain artistic license is not only permissible but needed to add interest to stories but in this case I feel it has led and will continue to lead to misconception and ultimately a harder time for Coeliacs and sufferers of Chrons' disease.

Let me explain perhaps as best I can as a non writer. Firstly let me apologise for my poor writing ability and implore that you do not dismiss my comments out of hand because of that. I fully realise that my English is imperfect and painful for someone gifted and educated to read; I ask therefore for a little patience from a professional while I put across my point. My misappropriation of English should not be perceived as a lack of admiration nor appreciation for those who can write as you do; I ask simply that you take what I say without prejudice for my ill-formed English and concentrate instead on my well-formed intent. I may have the literacy and writing ability of a ten year old but I have the scientific mind of a scientific post doctoral researcher.

Let me comment initially overall that your article is certainly well intentioned, of that I have no doubt yet the style and use of facts casts the article into a certain genre before anyone has the chance to read it.

The article casts coeliac in particular as a problem with the quality of bread and while I support wholeheartedly that if I was able to eat bread I would not be choosing a “English white loaf” as my personal vice this is simply not the case and the disease has been to an extent prostituted in order to drive home your already poignant observations. You will by this time have gathered that I am a coeliac and that I am passionate about its public perception, in the same way that from reading your article I can see you have done research and informed yourself.

Perhaps I should abandon syntaxial construction at this point and instead point simply to certain points you raised.

“Coeliac disease now affects one in a 100 people, other wheat intolerances probably more. How did we get here?”

Coeliac has always, or at least in “written history” affected one person in a hundred or more accurately 1:133 within the general European population. We could start written history of the European genotypes perhaps in pre-Hellenistic times but I believe that is simply splitting hairs and Hellenistic Greece and its military based facsimile of Republican Rome is as good a place to start as any. Aretaeus of Cappadocia wrote about coeliac disease in the 1st century A.D. in works which are still extant. The Romans were good record keepers and hence we know exactly how much bread was eaten by the general populace, indeed this figure is so well known that it is successfully used to determine population of a city from its mills and bakeries and inversely to predict a certain city must undiscovered extents because the bakeries can not provide sufficient bread for the known population. We also know the market prices of bread not only in Italy but the differences empire wide. I could expand on this but I fear you would loose interest so suffice it to say the average Roman citizen consumed 2 kilo's of bread per day. We can perhaps halve this figure because of undeclared domestic help but this figure is constant throughout the empire and huge logistical measures ensured this.

In other words coeliac disease is not on an increase due to increased bread consumption, but coeliac diagnosis is increasing due to advances in medicine.

Much as I doubt the additives are healthy one could equally say that bread made with water from lead pipes was also unhealthy.

Coeliac disease is an inherited auto-immune response, specifically in relation to the DQ1 allele which are relatively common in type R haplotypes. Other as yet unmapped genes may also be responsible and this is considered work in progress. One either has or does not have coeliac disease, just as someone is either pregnant or not, there is no such thing as being slightly pregnant, neither can one be slightly coeliac. However the auto-immune response to gluten can be just as different as peoples response to being pregnant, not everyone has morning sickness yet everyone has a different hormonal response. In other words, ones response and symptoms may vary but the underlying cause remains the same, an auto-immune response to gluten or more specifically certain chains within gliadins.

There is of course a plethora of alternative theories on this accompanied by a veritable cornucopia of speculations, there are suggestions that adeno-virus may act as a trigger, that Lymes' disease may also do the same in much the same way as Warren and Mitchel speculated on heliobacter pylori in the case of duodenal ulcers. Any and all of these remain valid yet the best that medical science can say for definite is that zonulin production and its control inter-cellular permeability plays a major role.

In additional to the gastro-intestinal issues coeliacs and gluten-intolerant people face a host of other symptoms. The continued production of antibodies exerts an enormous stress on the thyroid and lymphatic system causing elevated incidence of failure, malfunction and ultimately cancers. Transmission of gliadins and byproductsinto the vascular system are responsible for an increasingly recognised neurological symptoms ranging from various neuropathies (1) to ataxia.(2)

So if you are still reading, let me describe the problems coeliacs face on a daily basis.

By far the most common problem we face every day of our lives is public perception. Coeliac disease is not a health fad nor a “malade du jour” regardless of if a gluten free diet is considered chic or fun. A single crumb of gluten will make us ill for 6-8 weeks (3)

Every-time we eat out and as a journalist you must understand this is not always through choice but part of work we have to cope with servers and chef's who think brushing of the crumbs is OK, that you can pick out the croûtons or fry in the same oil. Not only is it not OK, it is magnitudes of gluten above what is needed. I could write 3 pages of everyday cross contamination, indeed I have previously in catering guides but I can sum it up in a sentence. No means no... and gluten free means gluten free.

I could similarly rant for a further 3 pages on “hidden gluten” that is gluten used in places it is not expected and this itself relates directly for instance to your reference to transglutinamase. Equally I could point out that every bottle of soy sauce is made with wheat in every restaurant and soy sauce is not even scratching the barrel with where the food industry finds uses for wheat derivatives. Indeed the EU has a prize each year for the most inventive use of wheat byproducts in food, I'm sure in there somewhere is a story. I can point you to using wheat derived dextrines to make sliced meat stick together or simply the use of wheat flour as a filler in products to bulk them out or prevent frozen chips from sticking together but these are simply the tip of a huge iceberg which is inexorably and mercilessly stream-rolling or should I say ploughing its way through the food industry.

When these two items; cross contamination and hidden gluten are put together the daily life of a coeliac is reduced to an exercise in risk management.

The UK has two groups of coeliac, the largest by far being those who are undiagnosed and the medical profession possesses an inertia which requires time and energy to change. Too many GP's still regard coeliac as a rare disease and others as a childhood disease and sadly this even extends to specialists in gastro-enterology. Too many GI specialists are still convinced of the thousands of patients they have seen with IBS that none of them had coeliac disease, simple statistics from screening indicate otherwise since even from a random population 1:133 was a misdiagnosed coeliac and when looks at a sample of IBS patients randomly screened the figure is closer to 1:25.

(1)http://jccglutenfree.googlepages.com/peripheralneuropathy

(2)http://jccglutenfree.googlepages.com/glutenataxia

(3)http://www.celiacdisease.net/Portals/1/Fact%20Sheet%208%20How%20Strict%20is%20Strict%20-%20SG.pdf

______________________________________________________________________

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Ads by Google:

I think it looks good--especially the line "the daily life of a coeliac is reduced to an exercise in risk management." :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it looks good--especially the line "the daily life of a coeliac is reduced to an exercise in risk management." :D

Yeah, I tried but I want to make sure its syntaxically correct. I spent most of my time at school just waiting until I didn't need to hear another grammar rule ever and being told by teachers to concentrate on woodwork and metalworking skills so I'm a bit sensitive about writing to a professional writer.

This might be funny if I was not sitting here right now in coveralls covered in paint! LOL...

ack

Too many GI specialists are still convinced of the thousands of patients they have seen with IBS that none of them had coeliac disease, simple statistics from screening indicate otherwise since even from a random population 1:133 was a misdiagnosed coeliac and when a sample of IBS patients randomly screened the figure is closer to 1:25.

oops also missed

Coeliac is not a fad diet nor a choice, it is something we must live with and public perception plays the biggest role in this.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, I think you are far too sensitive about your syntax. In fact, if I were you, I'd leave out the second paragraph-- no need to apologize. My only other suggestion is that I might move the last section (beginning "By far the most common problem") up as more of an introduction, & follow with the point-by-point, historical & scientific data-- it's important info but I think you might lose some readers without the personal connection to set it up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:lol: Shows how much I know!

So, I guess you're repainting the kitchen? :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites




:lol: Shows how much I know!

So, I guess you're repainting the kitchen? :P

Yep... covered in it and plaster.... spending half my time replastering and the other half paiting the part where the plaster wasn't damaged...

anyway.. para2 dropped and email sent.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in a hurry off to a doctor's appointment, but just want to mention that the content is great, but that you have several run-on sentences that need commas, and a couple that should be divided into 2 sentences. I used to teach English (to middle school students) and have an eye for editing punctuation. If you'd like, I could suggest a few minor punctuation corrections when I return this afternoon. I'm the queen of writing run-on sentences, so I'm good at catching them in others' writing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've copied and pasted to make the corrections easier. I teach writing at a major US university. I corrected the run-on sentences and cleaned up the syntax in several places as well as a few typos. I also cut the self-deprecating 2nd paragraph since it takes up a lot of room, and the grammar, especially when fixed, does not merit such a paragraph.

Dear Sir,

I realise that your article was about the “rubbish” added to bread, but I find the comments on coeliac disease a cheap shot. I realise that a certain artistic license is not only permissible but needed to add interest to stories, but, in this case, I feel it has led and will continue to lead to misconceptions, ultimately creating a more difficult time for Coeliacs and sufferers of Chrons' disease.

Let me comment initially that I have no doubt that your article is certainly well intentioned, yet the style and use of facts casts the article into a certain genre before anyone has the chance to read it. [what do you mean by this? Be more specific about which genre]

The article casts coeliac, in particular, as a problem with the quality of bread, and while I support wholeheartedly that non-coeliacs should not view the “English white loaf” as a personal vice. However, for those of us who suffer from the disease, this is simply not the case. To an extent, the article prostitutes the disease in order to drive home already poignant observations. As a coeliac, myself, I am passionate about the public perception of this disease, and I see by the research conducted for this article, that you also share this concern.

I'd like to respond to some of your statements specifically. You say, “Coeliac disease now affects one in a 100 people, other wheat intolerances probably more. How did we get here?”

Coeliac has always, or at least in “written history” affected one person in a hundred or more accurately 1:133 within the general European population. We could start written history of the European genotypes perhaps in pre-Hellenistic times, but I believe that is simply splitting hairs; moreover, Hellenistic Greece and its military based facsimile of Republican Rome is as good a place to start as any. Aretaeus of Cappadocia wrote about coeliac disease in the 1st century A.D. in works which are still extant. The Romans were good record keepers and hence we know exactly how much bread was eaten by the general populace, indeed this figure is so well known that it is successfully used to determine population of a city from its mills and bakeries and inversely to predict a certain city must undiscovered extents [meaning unclear here] because the bakeries can not provide sufficient bread for the known population. We also know the market prices of bread not only in Italy but also empire wide. I could expand on this, but I fear you would lose interest. Suffice it to say the average Roman citizen consumed 2 kilo's of bread per day. We can perhaps halve this figure because of undeclared domestic help, but this figure is constant throughout the empire and huge logistical measures ensured this.

In other words, coeliac disease is not on an increase due to increased bread consumption, but coeliac diagnosis is increasing due to advances in medicine. As much as I doubt the additives are healthy, one could equally say that bread made with water from lead pipes was also unhealthy.

Coeliac disease is an inherited auto-immune response, specifically in relation to the DQ1 allele which are relatively common in type R haplotypes. Other as yet unmapped genes may also be responsible and this is considered work in progress. One either has or does not have coeliac disease, just as someone is either pregnant or not, there is no such thing as being slightly pregnant, neither can one be slightly coeliac. However, the auto-immune response to gluten can be just as different as a person's response to being pregnant--not everyone has morning sickness, yet everyone has a different hormonal response. In other words, one's response and symptoms may vary, but the underlying cause remains the same, an auto-immune response to gluten or more specifically certain chains within gliadins.

There is of course a plethora of alternative theories on this accompanied by a veritable cornucopia of speculations; there are, for instance, suggestions that adeno-virus may act as a trigger, that Lymes' disease may also do the same in much the same way as Warren and Mitchel speculated on heliobacter pylori in the case of duodenal ulcers. Any and all of these remain valid yet the best that medical science can say for definite is that zonulin production and its control inter-cellular permeability plays a major role.

In additional to the gastro-intestinal issues coeliacs and gluten-intolerant people face a host of other symptoms. The continued production of antibodies exerts an enormous stress on the thyroid and lymphatic system causing elevated incidence of failure, malfunction and ultimately cancers. Transmission of gliadins and byproducts into the vascular system are responsible for increasingly recognised neurological symptoms ranging from various neuropathies (1) to ataxia.(2)

So if you are still reading, let me describe the problems coeliacs face on a daily basis.

By far the most common problem we face every day of our lives is public perception. Coeliac disease is not a health fad nor a “malade du jour” regardless of whether or not a gluten free diet is considered chic or fun. A single crumb of gluten will make us ill for 6-8 weeks (3).

Every-time we eat out --and as a journalist you must understand this is not always through choice but part of work-- we have to cope with servers and chef's who think brushing off the crumbs is OK, that you can pick out the croûtons or fry in the same oil. Not only is it not OK, it is much more gluten than is required to make a coeliac significantly ill. I could write 3 pages of everyday cross contamination, indeed I have previously in catering guides, but I can sum it up in a sentence. No means no... and gluten free means gluten free.

I could similarly rant for a further 3 pages on “hidden gluten” that is gluten used in places it is not expected and this itself relates directly for instance to your reference to transglutinamase. Equally I could point out that every bottle of soy sauce is made with wheat in every restaurant and soy sauce is not even scratching the barrel with where the food industry finds uses for wheat derivatives. Indeed the EU has a prize each year for the most inventive use of wheat byproducts in food, I'm sure in there somewhere is a story. I can point you to using wheat derived dextrines to make sliced meat stick together or simply the use of wheat flour as a filler in products to bulk them out or prevent frozen chips from sticking together, but these are simply the tip of a huge iceberg, which is inexorably and mercilessly stream-rolling or should I say ploughing its way through the food industry.

When these two items, cross contamination and hidden gluten, are put together the daily life of a coeliac is reduced to an exercise in risk management.

The UK has two groups of coeliac, the largest by far being those who are undiagnosed. Additionally, the medical profession possesses an inertia which requires time and energy to change. Too many GP's still regard coeliac as a rare disease and others as a childhood disease and sadly this even extends to specialists in gastro-enterology. Too many GI specialists are still convinced that of the thousands of patients they have seen with IBS none of them have coeliac disease. Simple statistics from screening indicate otherwise since even from a random population 1 in 133 was a misdiagnosed coeliac, and when one looks at a sample of IBS patients randomly screened, the figure is closer to 1:25.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks NicoleAJ, I had unfortunately already sent the eMail.

I am however going to take what you corrected and see if I understand why! ;)

Lonewolf and Nicole.... many thanks, I'm extremely self concsious about my wirtten English, perhaps overly so but writing on boards such as this does nothing to help.

I just have a complete mental block with English grammar, I can't understand the language of the rules, let alone what they mean, I just blank it out and it doesn't go in.

Unfortunately, I pretty much missed the basics ... and I have tried several times to self educate but I always end up just giving up. This is without adding the additional problem of influence of non mother tongue languages, for instance I just used a reflexive verb needlessly because this would be reflexive in French. It is perhaps a sad state of affairs that my knowledge of French grammar is better than my English even though my oral French and self expression sucks.

Yesterday was a hard day, I had a 3 page legal letter to write in French... You wouldn't believe how long that took!

Any tips on how to improve my English?

It doesn't help being dyslexic but I am obviously not in such dire need I could take advantage of adult literacy classes although I am aware that my fundamental problems actually stem from this level.

I could read and write perfectly well before school and then they introduced a phoenetic system and I never accepted it. That is perhaps an understatement I absolutely refused to adopt it and so all my papers came back as fails because I refused to use the phoenetic system they invented. Thus I ended up in the remedial set where basic grammar was considered beyond us.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I teach writing at a major US university.

And by that, she means that she teaches at the best school----Penn State!

(sorry to hijack, I just had to give a shout to my alma mater!) :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Must be painful to be an English teacher and be on the internet....

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Must be painful to be an English teacher and be on the internet....

:lol::lol: How true! The internet has helped in totally butchering the english language......

Karen

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:lol::lol: How true! The internet has helped in totally butchering the english language......

Karen

LOL so true..... but I'm not sure its actually any worse than walking into a bookshop.

A friend who is an editor lent (lended :ph34r: ) me her copy of Eats shoots and leaves.... I didn't get past the first 5 pages of forward and preface when even I counted several grammatical errors. I realise its easier to spot the mistakes made by others but come-on ... a zero tolerance approach to grammar with errors in the preface?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it is difficult teaching English and reading on the Internet, but I just have to take my teacher hat off when I'm surfing the web. I'm relieved when my students' errors aren't quite as egregious as some of the things that I read on medical websites. GFP--I'm sorry I didn't see the post sooner. I was actually going to suggest Eats Shoots, and Leaves--I'm not sure what you mean by errors in the preface. I found no errors in the American preface. In fact, I recommend the book to my students who have difficulty with grammar, and then I just point out the differences between British and American grammar.

I agree with GFP's statement about foreign languages--I know that my Spanish and Latin grammar is strong, but my ability to express myself verbally in those languages is weak. In addition, my non-native students often have better English grammar skills than my native speakers because they take the time to learn the intricacies of the rules (they just lack the vocab that comes naturally to their classmates).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, it is difficult teaching English and reading on the Internet, but I just have to take my teacher hat off when I'm surfing the web. I'm relieved when my students' errors aren't quite as egregious as some of the things that I read on medical websites. GFP--I'm sorry I didn't see the post sooner. I was actually going to suggest Eats Shoots, and Leaves--I'm not sure what you mean by errors in the preface. I found no errors in the American preface. In fact, I recommend the book to my students who have difficulty with grammar, and then I just point out the differences between British and American grammar.

I agree with GFP's statement about foreign languages--I know that my Spanish and Latin grammar is strong, but my ability to express myself verbally in those languages is weak. In addition, my non-native students often have better English grammar skills than my native speakers because they take the time to learn the intricacies of the rules (they just lack the vocab that comes naturally to their classmates).

I already gave the book back but I can take another look.

I often win bets with French people about correct grammatical usage, luckily in French the rules are very precise and legally defined by the Acadamie Francaise but increasingly the language is being eroded and I find myself in a increasingly small group of people using past historic and subjonctive imparfait.... even most young French people misuse the subjunctive.

edits: Don't remember exactly what offended me, at the time but here is what someone else thinks.

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/?040628crbo_books1

The first punctuation mistake in “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” (Gotham; $17.50), by Lynne Truss, a British writer, appears in the dedication, where a nonrestrictive clause is not preceded by a comma.

...

The foreword, by Frank McCourt, contains another comma-free nonrestrictive clause (“I feel no such sympathy for the manager of my local supermarket who must have a cellarful of apostrophes he doesn’t know what to do with”) and a superfluous ellipsis. The preface, by Truss, includes a misplaced apostrophe (“printers’ marks”) and two misused semicolons: one that separates unpunctuated items in a list and one that sets off a dependent clause. About half the semicolons in the rest of the book are either unnecessary or ungrammatical, and the comma is deployed as the mood strikes.

If you're interested I can ask a friend to run a highlighter over the first few pages at dinner tonight, although he has probably got notes in the margins already if he kept his copy. He may have used it as a firelighter to get anything Dan Brown ever wrote to dissapear....

.. and yes I have notes on the first 25% or so of The Dan Vinci Code ;) after which I stopped making notes.

and the comma is deployed as the mood strikes

Wow does this sum up Dan and his writing style...

"and he walked across the road, and he found a clue, he looked at the stunning <whatever her name was> and they solved the clue and then they needed a jet and luckily the bad guy just happened to have one pre-fueled and it was very exciting and lots of things happened."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, it is difficult teaching English and reading on the Internet,

Well at least my perfect spelling and flawless grammer must be a small bit of relief. :lol:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with GFP's statement about foreign languages--I know that my Spanish and Latin grammar is strong, but my ability to express myself verbally in those languages is weak. In addition, my non-native students often have better English grammar skills than my native speakers because they take the time to learn the intricacies of the rules (they just lack the vocab that comes naturally to their classmates).

I am in linguistics, and I definitely have to disagree that you can have strong grammar but be unable to express yourself, or that native speakers do not know their own language.

The part of the brain that controls language acquisition and use is different from the part employed in memorizing rules and lists of vocabulary of a foreign language. It is certainly possible to be able to read and write fluently while having neither listening comprehension - at least given time for critical analysis - nor ability to speak. How would you classify the language ability of a person like this, compared with a native speaker who is illiterate?

The dialect of English that we speak is a different one than that which is written, which has prescriptive/proscriptive (learned) rules rather than intuitive (acquired) ones. It seems they barely teach reading or writing in school nowadays, so I am always pleasantly surprised to see students able to express themselves coherently.

If you feel the need to express yourself verbally in Latin or Spanish, you should look into Rosetta Stone. Their programs work.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GFP - I read the New Yorker review.....not all of it....am in a hurry...but, some of those things the writer points out I think are style errors and preference.....not entirely sure, though. :ph34r: Perhaps one of our linguists or English teachers could help us here?

Just have to say - reading "Eats Shoots and Leaves" by your firefighter friend to cancel Dan Brown - THAT just made me howl! :lol:

Wanted to add that I've always felt you express yourself inordinately well and have never noticed problems with your English. Just my two cents. And, I've had a combined total of eight years of foreign language (mainly French and Italian and used to be extremely conversant if not fluent in both), have studied a good deal of English structure also, and could NEVER tell you the....uh.....tenses used, except simple past and present. :ph34r: I mean, I can USE them, but can't tell you what parts of speech they are. Impressive that you actually can do this with French.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your main problem is that you are trying to write in an uncomfortably (and unnecessarily) formal style, although you express yourself perfectly well in a more conversational style. This style makes it hard to proofread, and I saw some runon sentences in there that could have been comfortably broken up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gfp, I agree with the others who judge you as a very expressive, capable and "correct" writer of English. Yep, the odd run-on and a verb tense or two that may be questionable, but for the most part your text is always well put-together and your language very innovative. I think it would be very interesting and telling to HEAR you speak. That, I am certain, would be a different story. You have none of this discomfort in English speech, do you? I teach English as a second language at the French embassy here in Ottawa, and I remain fascinated by something that has always appeared through all my years of teaching this language to adults: those beginners who learn the fastest, who pick up the grammar the most quickly and move ahead in leaps and bounds (and once you are an adult, it is rare to be able to do this with any language) are ALWAYS very musical. Most are proficient instrument players, many at a concert level. Language acquisition and musicality are very connected, at least in my experience. Fascinating, indeed...So, gfp, I assume then that you are no Liberace? :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am in linguistics, and I definitely have to disagree that you can have strong grammar but be unable to express yourself, or that native speakers do not know their own language.

I think its a question of what is appropriate.

I just wrote a letter to my lawyer, its in passe simple and bears little relation to a spoken letter however I often hear native French people misusing tense, especially the subjonctifs.

Any french speakers I have a slightly crude joke, actually it was a comeback last night when some guy grabbed my ass in a bar! (OK its sexist too)

J'ai dit, « tu prends la bouteille par la cou et tu peut prendre les moufs par les culs mais tu ne jamais prendre l'homme ni par la cou ni par le cul »

The part of the brain that controls language acquisition and use is different from the part employed in memorizing rules and lists of vocabulary of a foreign language.

I think those two must be seperate as well..... seriously I have never actually made any effort to learn French vocabulary, I just read books and pick up the vocab or do cross-words etc. I have never picked up a vocabulary list yet I know probably over 90% of the words in a mini dictionary. (I know this because any time I do need a dictionary the word I want is not in.... yesterday it was houlette - a shepards crook and the damned mini-dictionary in the bar didn't have it - so I was unable to complete the crossword ... AHHHHHH.

It is certainly possible to be able to read and write fluently while having neither listening comprehension - at least given time for critical analysis - nor ability to speak. How would you classify the language ability of a person like this, compared with a native speaker who is illiterate?

Good question....

eleep? (did you meet yet?) Casey (Karen) speaks much better French than I do but she specialises in 13C French literature and as she gets progressively drunker she slips further into 13C French....with which she is most comfortable....

The dialect of English that we speak is a different one than that which is written, which has prescriptive/proscriptive (learned) rules rather than intuitive (acquired) ones. It seems they barely teach reading or writing in school nowadays, so I am always pleasantly surprised to see students able to express themselves coherently.

Yes, and I should be grateful, I suppose that I can express myself clearly in at least one language but I find it irksome that whenever a "professional" looks over my writing they completely miss the content and just point out gramattical errors. I mean, I don't even understand the WORD grammar checker when it tells me something is wrong ...

A have a friend teaches English at two American universities in Paris and he often bounces tests off me. I actually do very well (considering but not 100%) but I am completely unable to say why a certain construct is correct.

If you feel the need to express yourself verbally in Latin or Spanish, you should look into Rosetta Stone. Their programs work.

Yes I dined with a friend yesterday who speaks flawless French, Italian and German including several regional dialects to the point a Bavarian does not know he isn't Bavarian or a Sicilian would not know he's not Sicilian. He also speaks Spanish rather well but with a strong Mexican accent and therefore doesn't count Spanish but is currently learning Turkish.

He recommended the Rosetta Stone series as well (I keep meaning to learn better Italian, its embarassingly bad). I used the real old stuff they did about 10yrs ago when I had to learn Russian.

I assume then that you are no Liberace?

Well....hard question. I had perfect pitch as a child but an accident with a matchstick kinda knocked that on the head... (please don't make me explain its so embarassing) and I really wanted to learn an instrument but ... well never actually did. I did try the guitar ... but I never really put in the effort nor bothered to restring it left handed ... so my musical skills are somewhat limited! I can listen to something and actually pick it out on a piano but that's about it!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I struggle to learn a second language, and teach my son both of the langauges, it amazes me how often we use words and realy can not define them. I will say something in American English and then try to translate it, thne realize I do not know how to explain what I just said!

Am I alone with this? It is excedingly odd. :huh:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As I struggle to learn a second language, and teach my son both of the langauges, it amazes me how often we use words and realy can not define them. I will say something in American English and then try to translate it, thne realize I do not know how to explain what I just said!

Am I alone with this? It is excedingly odd. :huh:

You are not alone!

You just perhaps rather succinctly summed up my problem!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It happens to me all the time when I'm teaching. Of course, I do not translate English words to the students but rather have them discuss what the meaning could possibly be given its context. In a lower intermediate class, it goes something like this:

Me: The last sentence could read, "No one ever respects my privacy".

Student: Privacy. What this means?

Me: (Quick review of simple present question forms, then:) He's talking about how no

one respects him, his parents don't trust him, and they insist on knowing everything that is

happening in his life. What are they not respecting?

I then usually elicit the French word in response, and from there I introduce a new vocabulary word. Some words are tougher than others, though, to explain their meaning without translating to beginners. Try to define "hardly" or "remember", par example....

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It happens to me all the time when I'm teaching. Of course, I do not translate English words to the students but rather have them discuss what the meaning could possibly be given its context. In a lower intermediate class, it goes something like this:

Me: The last sentence could read, "No one ever respects my privacy".

Student: Privacy. What this means?

Me: (Quick review of simple present question forms, then:) He's talking about how no

one respects him, his parents don't trust him, and they insist on knowing everything that is

happening in his life. What are they not respecting?

I then usually elicit the French word in response, and from there I introduce a new vocabulary word. Some words are tougher than others, though, to explain their meaning without translating to beginners. Try to define "hardly" or "remember", par example....

Do you use ne guère in quebecois?

but LOL.... I spent 10 minutes trying to think of a good translation of hantisse yesterday! Its like phobia but....???

The most difficult concepts I find are time/space .. like avant, apres, pendant depuis etc.

p.s. mouf is slang for woman.....

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
0