Thursday, August 7, 2008

English can't write English! WTF!!!!

Indians better at English than the British, say lecturers

Ok, for a change, I am not writing my thoughts, just reproducing the astonishing news that I saw a few moment ago. So Britishers can't speak English now. That's true gobalization, ain't it!
What is interesting about this news, if you are not British, is that even though British are going down, they would still like to rub the noses of those who are humbling them at their own home turf - see the enlarged words to see what I mean...

Indians better at English than the British, say lecturers Students from India
and other former colonies (so my friend had this comment - colonies, like US, right! you've gotta be kidding me. Is that the best you can do to hide English embarrassment - call other countries former colonies - do you see how fast those colonies are becoming world powers! Beware Englishmen! At this rate You will be someone's colony in next two decades), have better English language skills compared to their local British counterparts, academics feel.

Many undergraduates in British universities have such low competence with spelling, punctuation and grammar that despairing lecturers often spend time teaching the basics of English to the English.

Lecturers say that international students from India and other former colonies often have higher standards of basic English than their British colleagues in the same classroom.

Some of the most common mistakes are in spelling, often using 'their' when students mean 'there', 'who's' for 'whose', 'truely' for 'truly', 'occured' for 'occurred' and 'speach' for 'speech'.

An Indian-origin university lecturer said that British students even in their second year of degree study, use 'atrocious' English language in their assignments.

He said that he often found it challenging to figure out what students wanted to express in English. International students, in contrast, had better English language skills, he added.

English language standards have deteriorated to such an extent that one leading academic has been forced to ignore common errors altogether.

Ken Smith, a senior lecturer in criminology at Bucks New University, told The Daily Telegraph that many students failed to apply basic rules, such as 'i' before 'e', except after 'c'. The words 'weird', 'seize', 'leisure' and 'neighbour' are regularly misspelt by students, he said.

Some universities have already extended courses by a year to give weak students extra tuition in core subjects that they failed to pick up in the classroom.

Bernard Lamb, a Reader in genetics at Imperial College London, said those from Singapore and Brunei made fewer mistakes in their work, despite speaking English as a second language.

Many British students appear to have been through school without mastering basic rules of grammar and punctuation, or having their errors corrected, he said.

Writing in the Times Higher Education magazine, Smith said mistakes were now so common that academics should simply accept them as 'variants'.

He wrote: "Teaching a large first-year course at a British University, I am fed up with correcting my students' atrocious spelling. But why must we suffer? Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea. University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell."

Jack Bovill, Chairman of The Spelling Society, said, "All the data suggests that there are more and more students at university level whose spelling is not up to scratch. Universities are even finding they have masters-level students who cannot spell.


Allanstr said...

As i red it, the report on the lecturer's vews did not say students could not speek English; they could not spell. A difrent matter.
Non-standard spelling is in itself not so problematic; reeders can usually get the message.
The real problem is with a non-standard spelling 'system' whose irregularity leeds to difficulties with literacy lerning. All English-speeking societies hav this problem. We need to update our spelling.

Rant Maker said...

Thanks to Allanstr, I realized the error in the title - to clarify, The original title of this post was " English can't speak English" but Allanstr corrected me by pointing out that the article addressed the writing issues and not speaking issues. Thanks Allanstr - I hereby change your name to AllStar.

Sandeep said...

It's a good reason to be proud of but let's not get carried away. Knowledge of the English language is quite different from the ability to communicate in that language. I have come across many people who have excellent score in English language but are unable to communicate. It is also important to understand that the kind of people who travel to UK for higher education is not actually a fair representation of a typical Indian student.

Spelling, punctuation etc are critical in written communication and today with the use of computers and software that problem can be corrected! However there is no easy remedy for inability to communicate verbally!

Rant Maker said...

well, all I'm saying that is India and Indians have come a long way from where they were in the English speaking world.