domenica 6 novembre 2011

Good Wikipedia: Japanese learners finally differentiating R and L

I am a big fan of John Wells' blog.  He does know I exist unfortunately.  My old email started spamming the world after I joined LinkedIn.  Yes, I'm making excuses.

So anyway he frequently mentions Wikipedia as a source. This may be because he is more a descriptive phonologist than a prescriptive one.  A smart choice and one which takes quite a bit more brains to pull off and is generally better for the world.  The last thing we need is another British accent dictator.

Anyway while looking to see what they mention there as "general knowledge" on one topic the article on Japanese Learners of English popped up.  It's great: well-researched and better referenced than the stuff I've written on the topic.  Give it a read if you have a Japanese student.  Send a note if you want a good resource for teaching it.

Here's the article:

mercoledì 2 novembre 2011

If the Daily Mail has figured it out I think we all have.

This article is based on an interview with Mario Saraceni. Here are the first couple of lines:

People learning the English language around the world should not adopt the 'Queen's English', a linguist said today.

Dr Mario Saraceni, of the University of Portsmouth, called on native English speakers to 'give up their claim to be the guardians of the purest form of the language'.

He argued that the ways it has been used and changed by millions of people around the world are equally valid.

Well, yeah.  
It's just good to see the debate finally splashing outside of the little pool of enthusiastic English teachers.  As the mighty John Levis in Iowa, who started a pronunciation teaching conference last year read about it here, has pointed out, the goal of classroom instruction in pronunciation should be centered on achieving intelligibility and comprehensibility not native accents for the learners.  I would still prefer to make control the practical objective but we'll leave that for another day.