Is it an English as a Second Language World?

As an English as a Second language speaker and writer I found this Fishbowl blog post very interesting.

1. I’m not sure if it strikes anyone else this way, but the phrase “the majority of encounters in English today take place between non-native speakers” really seems significant to me. Especially when you follow it up with “relief at the absence of native speakers is common.” I wonder what implications that has (if any) on how we teach English to native speakers? I also wonder what that will look like over time, as more and more non-native speakers use English to communicate, will native speakers be the ones who have to adapt? Apparently that’s not so far-fetched.

2.But spoken English is another matter. Why should non-native speakers bother with what native speakers regard as correct? Their main aim, after all, is to be understood by one another. As Mr Graddol says, in most cases there is no native speaker present.

The two quotes above gave me some peace as to why should I always stress if my English as a second language is good enough to use, if I write something – is my grammar correct? I think my English teacher is to blame, because we had to be 100% correct in spelling and grammar. So my way of coping was to say as little as possible and only write what is really important. By putting up this blog gave me so much confidence and I don’t think any native English speaking person can ever understand how it feels. Maybe you will if you are asked to write something in French. This should say something for the teachers who teach English as a second language….


4 Responses

  1. This post is really good! I have been working with ESL students at a local high school and I see the struggles that they have to go through to try and write English. I think that it is awesome to hear that you are feeling more confident about writing in here! Keep up the good work and I really like your articles!

  2. I also really enjoyed this post as I too am working with high school ESL students. By sharing your feelings regarding this topic it really helps me try and understand what the students are actually going through. I also just want to make a point of saying that I think your blog is very well organized and has a lot of other useful information that i`m sure I will benefit from!

  3. Wow Irma! This is a very powerful blog. I can’t even imagine how tough it must be to be worrying if you are speaking English correctly. I’m doing an ESL placement at an elementary school and I find that the ESL students even as young as grade 2 are scared to speak because they worry that their English isn’t going to be right. I’m glad that blogging is giving you confidence because even though I don’t have english as a second language, I find that blogging too is helping me express my ideas. Keep up the good work. ps. your portfoliio looks great!

  4. Sjoe Irmi, ek is seker jy doen beter as die Kanadese wie se 1ste taal Engels is. Trots op jou

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