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Re: linguistic abuse (was "Loop approach")

Dr. Z said...
>I think most people don't even think about what words literally 
>mean; they just mimic what they hear other people say.

At 7:18 PM -0300 9/26/02, Matthias Grob wrote:
>This is especially true for foreign languages.

When I wrote that I wasn't even thinking of it as a second-language 
problem. I know many native speakers of American English who misuse 
words because they hear others misuse them or because they make an 
assumption about the meaning. But you are so right about the problems 
that arise when trying to muddle through in a foreign language. I 
myself, regrettably, have no facility with other than my native 
tongue, but I've taken the equivalent of first-semester courses in 
German, French, and Spanish and I had three years of Latin in high 
school. I've also traveled enough to hear English spoken with a wide 
range of competency. In these cases is works fine because we're just 
trying to muddle through and get some work done or enjoy a social 
situation. One thing I find myself doing is to fall into the cadence 
of the other person's language, so I end up speaking English with the 
other person's accent. It's quite unintentional!

But when the conversation is in ASCII most of the time there IS no 
cultural context, and there is certainly no aural sense of an accent. 
What might in person be a charming "flavor" to the conversation seems 
in plain text to be a bit clumsy. This is sometimes misinterpreted, 
and proper respect isn't always given to the foreign writer of 
English. I've been guilty of it. Most of the time there's an easy way 
to avoid making that anglocentric mistake - just look at the return 

Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202