Home Forums Reflection Forum Reflection 1.1 – Standard English

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    • #1864

      I quite like the analogy between Standard English and dress code or table etiquette rules. There are different dress codes we use on different occasions and in different situations, and SE can have its place in language use, like a suit is used at certain times but not always. Also, thinking of table etiquette, there certainly isn’t just one etiquette everyone around the world follows. Different cultures have different expectations of table behaviour; while slurping one’s soup might be regarded as rude in western cultures, in eastern cultures it’s a sign of enjoyment of the meal. All this to say, language is the same, it’s not uniform and it takes the shape of the culture it lives in, and the individuals that it lives in.

      I like one particular TED Talk in which intercultural communication expert Marianna Pascal says that “English is not an art to be mastered. It’s a tool to get results”. I completely agree, and we all use that tool differently.

      By the way, Marianna Pascal has an interesting short Toastmasters speech on Local English & Standard English that can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQmNIqdwVMw. I’m interested to hear some thoughts on it! I agree with some points she makes but not so much or not fully) with other ones.

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/7/standard-english

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    • #3322
      Joshua TanJoshua Tan

      I personally would liken standard English as a form of Art, a treasured piece of artwork to be beheld and to be analysed. Since the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the interpretation of its beauty is entirely up to the interpreter, i.e us. On the other hand, the day-to-day use of English language is none other than a tool to get people to their desired destinations. People tend to learn English to help them to achieve a goal, say, for example, to help them to communicate with another person in a business setting.

      It is undeniable, however, that standard English still possesses her distinct advantage due to the proliferation of her usage across the formal commercial setting, especially if one is dealing with the native English speaker. But that’s just my personal biases.

    • #3350

      It would be correct to view Standard English through the analogy of dress code and table etiquettes. Just as such analogies express the diverse ways in which English could be used in different socio-cultural contexts, they also imply the limiting effect such standard use could have on the language users. Just as a particular accepted dress code or table manners define and set down the “appropriate” dress to be worn in an occasion and correct table manners to be observed and thereby limits the choices available, an accepted Standard variety of English limits the diversity introduced by the socio-culturally different users of English.

    • #3500

      Of course, there might have different analogies in both of SE and other cultural users of English.
      There is a say like “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. So that, I think we don’t need to embrace or replace both. I got this idea after watching Marianna Pascal’s talk.

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