Discussion room for teachers in Cambodia and beyond. The place to exchange your ideas as well as your views on TEFL's, schools, salary and the working world. Remember non-teachers are also welcome.
It must be all those volunteers they use...
People who steal from banks get jail. Banks who steal from people get bonuses. You gotta love capitalism!
Good point! Almost double what other language schools would charge, and they pay almost double too...
Let's hope that new job post came up as a direct result of Dengchao's revelations!
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
At least now I know why it's so damn expensive to attend a one and a half day teachers' conference (with or without electricity/aircon, in some instances).
People who steal from banks get jail. Banks who steal from people get bonuses. You gotta love capitalism!
Haha, wouldn't doubt it!
I have noticed a bit of an improvement since she's been there TBH, though there would have been little improvement had I not forced her to do her homework.
The hardest thing about English, or any Germanic language, is the grammar. It's funny to see all this stuff I haven't gone through since upper primary myself, but honestly, I can see why grammar is such a steep mountain to climb: verb conjugation; articles; pronouns; the articles used with different pronouns... She asks me why we do it this way when she's doing her homework and sometimes I just have to say that I don't know, that's just how it is.
The fact is, seeing it from her point of view, I now realise that English is a bugger of a language ... teeming with needless complexities; so many that it is only a minority of native English speakers that have complete mastery of English grammar upon graduation from high school.
Furthermore, I do not want English to be the international language anymore. The negatives of English as the world language far outweigh the positives for both those who must learn it as an additional language and we native speakers (about 90% and 10% of the world's population respectively).
English grammar is so difficult that many graduate from high school in an English-speaking country without real mastery of it. Even many native speakers think that pluralisation necessitates the use of apostrophes; even though they are used only for truncation and to indicate possession... though how many know which is the possessive for "it?" How does one differentiate between that and the truncation of "it is?" . How many know that there is no need for an apostrophe in CDs?
The language comes blessed with strange elements in its basic vocabulary, courtesy of William the Conqueror... so there are these ridiculously difficult things to spell as one grasps more of the vocabulary (now the world's largest at some quarter of a million words)... "though" is difficult for many EAL students to spell correctly, but how many of we natives could spell 'bourgeoisie' without the help of a spell checker (I actually just did it then for one of the first times of my life! true!!)?
The era of Globalisation has necessitated a global language; however, It is only through forces of history that English has taken this mantle (it is, somewhat ironically, oft referred to as the "world's first global lingua Franca"), because, if a rational choice were to be made among a group of elite professors of linguistics gathered from universities around the world given the task of such a choice, with criteria such as ease of comprehension, spelling, and speaking; let's face it: They would not choose English as the basis of the world's language. They probably wouldn't even use any of it; they most certainly would not even dream of adopting the entire language as the sole basis of international communication!
I reckon they'd come out with something interesting, and we native English speakers would all have a taste of having to learn an additional language whether we wanted to or not. This easy, designed-for-utility, difficult-to-bugger-up language would have grammar cut to the bare essentials and, excluding the tonal languages, it may very well sound like an Asian language, especially in order to satisfy the first and third criteria; though the Roman Alphabet would be used instead of Chinese characters or Khmer script (beautiful though they may be, practical they are not).
As this will not happen, then perhaps the trend towards pidgin English is the way to go. Saying "I go there before" gets the point across as well as "I went there." But still, I just can't stand the sound of it. If one wishes to learn a foreign tongue, it should be treated with respect IMHO... just because one needs English is no excuse to treat it like toilet paper or some other unpleasant necessity.
There are quite a lot of negatives that come with the positives of being a native English speaker, such as:
- people just use it as a tool, few take pride in the language or want to learn it for its own sake
- It is harder to have a private conversation amid a group; talkinrealfaststrayan seems to work though
- It makes it harder to learn a language, everyone wants to practice their English with you with little vis-a-vis in many cases
- Many of us must suffer it as well. American English has destroyed much of the dialects used in Australia and our islands, our kids are hanging with their Homey-Gs instead of their mates these days. Virtually every word processor (including this one) has attempted to goad me into writing with US spelling for decades now. My missus will not watch a movie unless it in Yankee English, she just switched off Chopper because she thinks it's not real English! Indeed, many Asians seem to believe that mastery over English is demonstrated through the use of an American accent.
- some people, I think especially the French, dislike the fact that they must learn English and they will take this out on who they are talking to;
---- for example, I knew an Italian who loved learning Chinese characters, but he made it completely clear that he took no pride in English and just used it as he had to; I just spoke to him in Chinese because his English was so slovenly.
-------My missus makes it known that she feels hard done by as she must learn my language, but there is little onus on me to learn hers...
=> AND I AGREE: this sucks. Why should 90% of the world's population have to grapple with our needlessly complex language when they don't even want to?
The answer is a truism: English is the world's language because of the course of history, not because it is an easy utility designed for the world by a UN sponsored think-tank.
In two paragraphs, a short history of the spread of English across the globe:
In the last Century and the one before that, Britain ruled a third of the world's land mass and population; her Empire larger even than Genghis Kahn's. She expelled her criminals and religious weirdos to her colonies on the East coast of North America until the latter rose up and accepted no more of the former; hence the foundation of the colony of New South Wales, of which New Zealand was briefly a part of in the middle of the 19th Century (That's right Yanks, Kanakers, Saffers and Kiwis: you also took convicts and yes Kiwis - you were a part of NSW!).
The onset of Decolonisation and the cost of standing against Hitler during WW2 alone for some time saw the end of the British colonial empire and the rise of the US' cultural imperialism. With ships and muskets the Poms had spread English. From 1945, the Yanks, still till this day, do the same job with ever-advancing communication technology and pop culture.
End of History of the spread of English lesson.
I let reluctant speakers of my native tongue know of my wish that English were not the world language. I tell them it's just because of history, and no other reason, that it is the world language. I tell them that It's not my fault that the French and Spanish lost to the Poms at Trafalgar; It's not my fault that the Yong Le Emperor of China cut the country off from the rest of the world, in part by banning the teaching of Chinese to foreigners, just as they were mastering the seas because of a bad omen; it's not my fault that Germans cannot win wars... Crikey!
It's not my fault that my ancestors had better admirals (the fact that Britain is a group of isles is the reason why Britannia ruled the seas for some two centuries - we needed to sail, therefore it was our Navy that was the strongest up until WW2), weren't so superstitious as the Chinese (who had junks that made European vessels look very humble centuries prior to Columbus) and not silly enough to fight wars on multiple fronts time and again (the first attempt successful, but they surrendered, the second time a failure but they fought till the western allies and the Russians were shaking hands across the Oder)!
So, I really would prefer it if my native tongue weren't the common global language. Let the UN come up with something easier for the sanity of us all. Why are we smashing the world with the many grammatical complexities of English when many are, quite simply, unnecessary?
Anyone want to take over? French, Swedes, Japanese? All of these languages are easier to learn because they are simpler and leaner... take it away lads! Let the world walk all over your language and see how you like it.
Anyway, that's what I reckon... English is just too difficult for most people to master, most native speakers can't get it right all the time. Spanish only takes most people about three months to be up and running, Vietnamese is always spelled with complete phonetic correctness ... I want to switch!
Last edited by Dengchao on Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
English did not become the global lingua franca by edict, it conkerred the world by absorption. It's different in different parts of the world.
I've had the pleasure to know many people who love the sound of well-pronounced English, and the variety and subtle shades of varying definitions.
Arrrgh! I edited my essay "twice!" NOT "2 times!!!"
You're correct Xtreme. Can you please tell me where these people who take pride in their English are? I met some in Sweden and some others in Wales, but they were the exception rather than the rule.
I dated this chinese girl in the states who used to get off on me reading literature to her.
And I've met mexicans who say english expresses more emotion and has more words than spanish.
And I was in love with a linguistics major who used to play 3 dimensional scrabble on acid.
* actually i lied, not on acid. but in her underwear.
Spaniards and Italians have said the opposite to me: that Romance languages offer a greater variety of expression.
I dated a Chinese bird for over a year. She didn't speak English, so I had to learn her tongue (in more ways than one ). In all honesty, working out how to express simple things in Chinese was so much more interesting than having an in-depth conversation in English with an Aussie or Kiwi bird (whom may well wish to talk about politicians they hate or the outrageous fuel prices). I was in her country, so I would speak her language... it was so much better than correcting terrible English with girlfriends hence.
She hardly asked for any words in English, it was an excellent relationship!
I remember reading that English has more words than any other language, and Khmer has more letters than any other language.
Fun "fact" of the day.
English now has the largest vocabulary of any language in present-day or historically: est 250 000 words (one estimate puts it near a million, but they must be fairly liberal in their admission of a "word")
Khmer has the longest alphabet: 74 letters
Solomon Islands (Rotokas) has the shortest: 11 letters
Oldest surviving (written): Chinese first appeared 1500 BCE, though Greek may be a contender as a beta has been found from about the same time.
The absolute oldest written language would be Sumerian, first appearing around 3200 BCE in modern day Iraq (also the oldest code of law is from Iraq, the Stele of Hamurabi - it got stolen when the Yanks went in there)
Oldest spoken - we don't know, never will. Though language is thought to be as old as Homo Sapiens, around 100 000 years before present.
Oldest surviving (spoken): Perhaps Albanian, Northern Greece from the First Century
Strewth, Dengers, that's a fascinating debate you've opened up there! (Did the term Strewth originate from 'It's God's truth'?) Zounds, S'blood! Marry, forsooth!
Seriously, though, I love the English Language because it's so expressive. So rich in idiomatic/figurative expressions. I read on the Beeb that recently, English added its millionth word to the OED. Granted, quite a few of those might be technical terms and sms words.
There's also a bit of a conspiracy theory here - look at the strange variances found in English, such as dramatic inversion: 'Seldom have I heard such a terrible lecture.' or 'Under no circumstances will smoking be allowed in classrooms.' Consider the strange fact that some nouns are irregularly plural, some are automatically singular and some are automatically the same whether singular or plural. Chuck in the variations from British and American English ('staff' being a good example here) and you've got a right hotch potch! The conspiracy theory being that students whose parents could afford to send them to posh schools where they learnt (learned?) the flashy variants of English, were signalling that they'd had a more expensive (and therefore superior) education. Why is Legalese so formalised? Because ordinary people are confounded by it and it sounds unusual, therefore authoritative, so it must be right.
I agree that it is unnecessarily complicated, but it's precisely that complication that has enabled power to be kept in the hands of a few power-broking members of the ruling classes - until the bright members of the other classes grasped the power of great oratory. I reckon this tendency gets repeated in history again and again - the laws of the rulers apply only so long as the suppressed classes are denied access to the semiotic symbols of power-broking. When the brighter students from the working and middle classes emerge, they inevitably seize power for the classes they come from - sheer oratory usually doing the trick! Back to the point - the rules of the rulers have to be learnt, rather than replaced.
Dickens & Shakespeare, arguably the finest exponents of written British English were both middle class - Billy being the son of a glove maker and Charlie being the son of a naval clerk. Shakespeare was often criticised by jealous Oxbridge graduates who couldn't hold a candle to his skill, but he just gently mocked them in some of his plays. Power to the (emerging) people!
Surely, we don't need to sacrifice the beautiful inconsistency of English - just learn it!
Edit - Just checked and it's 'sblood', not 's'blood'. But I believe in more than one God. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
Dickens? He literally couldn't write:
Ain't nobody got time for that!
Maybe Francis Bacon was helping Charlie with his homework?
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