Free Essay

English

In: English and Literature

Submitted By vinhthuan
Words 5467
Pages 22
George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946
[pic]
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.
These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad -- I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen -- but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples. I number them so that I can refer back to them when necessary: 1. I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate. Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression) 2. Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at a loss for bewilder . Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossa) 3. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity? Essay on psychology in Politics (New York) 4. All the "best people" from the gentlemen's clubs, and all the frantic fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis. Communist pamphlet 5. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion's roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream -- as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as "standard English." When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma'amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens! Letter in Tribune
Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose construction is habitually dodged:
Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.
Operators or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.
Pretentious diction. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements. Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic color, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion. Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, gleichschaltung, weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i.e., e.g., and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English language. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon numbers.* The jargon peculiar to
[pic]
*An interesting illustration of this is the way in which English flower names were in use till very recently are being ousted by Greek ones, Snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis, etc. It is hard to see any practical reason for this change of fashion: it is probably due to an instinctive turning away from the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific.
[pic]
Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.
Meaningless words. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.† Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in
[pic]
† Example: Comfort's catholicity of perception and image, strangely Whitmanesque in range, almost the exact opposite in aesthetic compulsion, continues to evoke that trembling atmospheric accumulative hinting at a cruel, an inexorably serene timelessness . . .Wrey Gardiner scores by aiming at simple bull's-eyes with precision. Only they are not so simple, and through this contented sadness runs more than the surface bittersweet of resignation." (Poetry Quarterly)
[pic]
the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, "The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality," while another writes, "The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness," the reader accepts this as a simple difference of opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.
Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit (3) above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations -- race, battle, bread -- dissolve into the vague phrases "success or failure in competitive activities." This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing -- no one capable of using phrases like "objective considerations of contemporary phenomena" -- would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase ("time and chance") that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still, if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier -- even quicker, once you have the habit -- to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry -- when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech -- it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash -- as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot -- it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking. Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay. Professor Laski (1) uses five negatives in fifty three words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip -- alien for akin -- making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness. Professor Hogben (2) plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; (3), if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: probably one could work out its intended meaning by reading the whole of the article in which it occurs. In (4), the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink. In (5), words and meaning have almost parted company. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning -- they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another -- but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: 1. Could I put it more shortly? 2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you -- even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent -- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.
In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a "party line." Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases -- bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder -- one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one's elbow. Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against. By this morning's post I have received a pamphlet dealing with conditions in Germany. The author tells me that he "felt impelled" to write it. I open it at random, and here is almost the first sentence I see: "[The Allies] have an opportunity not only of achieving a radical transformation of Germany's social and political structure in such a way as to avoid a nationalistic reaction in Germany itself, but at the same time of laying the foundations of a co-operative and unified Europe." You see, he "feels impelled" to write -- feels, presumably, that he has something new to say -- and yet his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one's brain.
I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail. Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of flyblown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence*, to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases
[pic]
*One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.
[pic]
and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defense of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.
To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a "standard English" which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a "good prose style." On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. Afterward one can choose -- not simply accept -- the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.
I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin, where it belongs.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

English

...COMPULSORY SUBJECT ENGLISH (801) Aims (English Language) To develop the ability to: • • • derive, infer and critically assess information through listening. express oneself by speaking individually, or in a discussion. read with comprehension drawing information directly or by inference from the text, through an understanding of grammar and structure, vocabulary and idiom. employ a variety of skills in writing : within a framework, using argument or imagination or note making and summarizing. • • use the English language for the purpose of study and social and cultural interaction. speak and write clearly and to the purpose, using appropriate grammar, vocabulary and idiom. Aims (Prescribed Texts) 1. To enjoy and appreciate literature through a critical study of selected literary works. 2. Through the study of literature: • • • approach an understanding of humanity. develop an interest in the thought and culture of the peoples of the world. develop the power of expression and a sense of aesthetic values. • CLASSES XI & XII There will be two papers as follows: Paper 1: English Language (3 hours) – 100 marks Paper 2: Prescribed Textbooks (3 hours) – 100 marks Paper 1: English Language (3 hours) Question One: A composition on one of a number of subjects. ...30 Marks Question Two: Directed writing (an article, a book/film review, speech and report writing or personal profile) based on suggested points...20 Marks Question Three: Short-answer questions to test grammar,......

Words: 1055 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

English

...Anyone who reads Old and Middle English literary texts will be familiar with the mid-brown volumes of the EETS, with the symbol of Alfred's jewel embossed on the front cover. Most of the works attributed to King Alfred or to Aelfric, along with some of those by bishop Wulfstan and much anonymous prose and verse from the pre-Conquest period, are to be found within the Society's three series; all of the surviving medieval drama, most of the Middle English romances, much religious and secular prose and verse including the English works of John Gower, Thomas Hoccleve and most of Caxton's prints all find their place in the publications. Without EETS editions, study of medieval English texts would hardly be possible. As its name states, EETS was begun as a 'club', and it retains certain features of that even now. It has no physical location, or even office, no paid staff or editors, but books in the Original Series are published in the first place to satisfy subscriptions paid by individuals or institutions. This means that there is need for a regular sequence of new editions, normally one or two per year; achieving that sequence can pose problems for the Editorial Secretary, who may have too few or too many texts ready for publication at any one time. Details on a separate sheet explain how individual (but not institutional) members can choose to take certain back volumes in place of the newly published volumes against their subscriptions. On the same sheet are given details......

Words: 1121 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

English

...Pronunciation Schwa Schwa is the most common sound in the English language. It occurs only in unstressed syllables and getting it correct helps spoken English to sound more natural and fluent. Any vowel letter can be pronounced as schwa and the pronunciation of a vowel letter can change depending on whether the syllable in which it occurs is stressed or not. The phonemic symbol for schwa is: /e/ Following are two exercises to help students develop their awareness of schwa. The audio examples from the exercises can be downloaded from www.bbclearninglish.com Pronunciation Schwa Exercise 1 Look at the words below and decide where in the word the schwa sound occurs. Underline and/or write the schwa symbol over the correct part of the word. The first one has been done for you. Hint: One word has two examples of schwa. All the others have only one. docto r banana difficult to mo rro w s u mme r le ve l prote ct survive pupil the atre me a s u re w izard Pronunciation Schwa © BBC Learning English bbclearningenglish.com Pronunciation Schwa Exercise 2 In this exercise, look at these sentences and decide where the schwa sound occurs. It may occur more than once in each sentence. The minimum number of schwas in a sentence is 1, the maximum 7. 1. It’s for y ou /e/ 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. It tak es a lot of time How about a cup of tea? What are y ou doing tonight? What time will y ou arriv e at V ictoria? I was......

Words: 529 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

English

...English as Official Language of United States of America The English language is originated from the Germanic tribes language, which has its roots from England in the form of Old English also known as Anglo-Saxon and has evolved into todays Modern English as we know it. English has become one of the most spoken languages in world, and is ranked as the second most spoken language. English should be the official language of the United States of America. Considered as an international language, it is the most learned and studied language throughout the world. United States laws prohibit the use of any other languages other then English on military installation or in Department of Defense buildings when conducting official business. These are just two reason of why I believe English should be the official language of the United States. In the United States, there are approximately 300 languages other than English that are spoken at home. English should be made the official language of the United States because it will knock down the language barriers for immigrants and they will be more likely to prosper in this nation, even though this may be a difficult process to accomplish at first, for many poor immigrants. In New York City, New York there are approximately thirty-five household languages other then English. If each of these subcultures of New York City have no common language, then it would create over thirty-five separate cities unable to prosper as one. Being......

Words: 802 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

English

...English y the largest language by number of words; the Oxford English Dictionary lists 500,000 words, not including technical and scientific terms.[18][19] Contents [hide] * 1 Significance * 2 History * 3 Classification and related languages * 4 Geographical distribution * 4.1 Countries in order of total speakers * 4.2 Countries where English is a major language * 4.3 English as a global language * 4.4 Dialects and regional varieties * 4.5 Constructed varieties of English * 5 Phonology * 5.1 Vowels * 5.1.1 Notes * 5.2 Consonants * 5.2.1 Notes * 5.2.2 Voicing and aspiration * 5.3 Supra-segmental features * 5.3.1 Tone groups * 5.3.2 Characteristics of intonation—stress * 6 Grammar * 7 Vocabulary * 7.1 Number of words in English * 7.2 Word origins * 7.2.1 Dutch and Low German origins * 7.2.2 French origins * 8 Writing system * 8.1 Basic sound-letter correspondence * 8.2 Written accents * 9 Formal written English * 10 Basic and simplified versions * 11 See also * 12 References * 12.1 Notes * 12.2 Bibliography * 13 External links | [edit] Significance See also: English-speaking world and Anglosphere Modern English, sometimes described as the first global lingua franca,[20][21] is the......

Words: 898 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

English

...“English should not become official” America is a country filled with many people with different language trying to get along. We live in a society made up and founded by immigrants. Looking at our society today, English shouldn’t become the official language of the U.S because, first of all it is unfair for others living here who have English as a second language or can speak little English. Second of all, it will limit certain people when it comes to finding a job because not everybody is capable of speaking, reading, or writing the English language correctly. Finally, it violates the terms our country was built on. If English becomes the official language of the U.S, people with English as a second language or with little English are put at a disadvantage. It’s a fact that our society is largely made of immigrants. Moreover, children who will be born in the U.S won’t be able to learn their parent’s native language. So it wouldn’t make any sense from the government to limit them because the government will need bilingual people. We take pride in our diversity, so when we limit our diversity, we put people here at a disadvantage. Additionally, there are certain people who don’t dedicate themselves to learn the English language. The reason is because they get employed by businesses that practice the same language. For instance, lots of Spanish immigrants only get to work in the Spanish community. Spanish is very much used in the United States, because they don’t develop......

Words: 455 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

English

...ourselves by only speaking English?” Will Hutton clarity how he think it´s important for the individual person and the English people to learn more than the language, which are their native language. He talk about how it´s important to speak a foreign language, especially to save the Britain´s future economic. By comparing England and America where he see same “xenophobia” culture, he indicate why American can have their attitude to foreign language while they can´t, like it´s saying in the text. In addition will Hutton see this as a lost interest in other countries from the youth, he discuss how that fact establish this unwillingness. The second text by David Hughes “Do we really need foreign language skills to flourish?” David Hughes thinks that the fluency in foreign language is a benefit for anyone, but he doesn´t see the importance in that, when the rest of the world is learning English. When David Hughes went to the Far East, he heard English spoken everywhere, and as he wrote it in the text. The third text by Susan Purcell “Saying Britons ´don’t do´ languages is a fallacy” explain why the discussion about the English language skills is far more nuances. Susan Purcell is comparing the text to the EU-countries with England. She is talking about how the other European Union countries compare their language and how English is the mandatory first foreign language in 13 of the EU´s member states. Over 90 % of children in European countries ‘schools learn English, like is......

Words: 419 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

English

...English should continue to be the official language of India. English is used as the official language in India. Yes • English is one such language that is understood by people from different castes and states, and therefore deserves to be the official language of India. • If any other language is tried to make the official language, all the regional parties will start the battle of making the state level as official language of India. • If Hindi is given priority then it will create differences among the people who don’t speak it making them feel as second class citizens. • Region C forms an important part of India that got agitated when PM Modi used Hindi for its diplomatic talks.  • The use of English language is as per the requirement of being a part of globalization and there is nothing wrong in it. No • Forget about all the different castes and religions as Indians have their own national language that is Hindi, and that should only be the official language of India. • It is the duty of the government to take the measures so that people all over in India can read, write and speak in Hindi.  • Already Indian has adopted the western culture in many ways. If it continues there will be no personal or rather say national identity of India. • In this case, India should learn something from Pakistan who made the Urdu as their official language after the division of country. • The small little steps are the ways that will make sure that the...

Words: 404 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

English

...Assignment 1: The Story of English "A English Speaking World" English as a world language has developed through different periods of time and in different places. English was and is still spoken in great numbers in countries across the world. English has branched out into different dialects, with slang included especially in the American form of English. English also bears a sort of social class, where those who speak English have a certain upper class appearance. It also creates a common language which helps business, economies and people connect better. It has become a dominant language and serves as a lingua franca for the world. The popularity of English has allowed the world to communicate at a higher efficiency when compared to a world with no dominate language. But his plan did not work and India along with China has seen an ever increasing number of people learning and speaking English. The popularity and necessity of English is seen in India government systems and everyday life. India's civil system is predominantly in English rather than Hindi. Out of 137 typist at a civil court, only one types in Hindi while the rest in English. This is necessary for smooth transactions to occur in India's systems, which we have seen from examples in class. Without a lingua franca, communication between India's different regions would be very difficult. In India there are 14 different variations of Hindi, with English as a common language miscommunication is......

Words: 367 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

English

...Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking LỜI NÓI ĐẦU Chào các bạn, xuất phát từ nhu cầu bản thân muốn học môn speaking cho bài thi tiếng anh IELTS, chúng tôi nhận thấy cuốn sách này có giá trị rất tốt cho việc tham khảo. Tuy nhiên, các bản sách điện tử đang tràn lan trên mạng Internet hiện nay có chất lượng rất thấp, kèm theo đó là việc có thêm tiếng Trung dẫn tới lãng phí về giấy in, tiền bạc, thời gian. Hiện nay, cuốn này này đã được một nhà xuất bản tại Việt Nam mua lại bản quyền từ tác giả Mat Clark, và đã xuất bản tại Việt Nam, chúng tôi khuyên các bạn nên mua cuốn sách này để sử dụng, nhằm tôn trọng giá trị của cuốn sách này, cũng như tôn trọng tác quyền của tác giả cũng như nhà xuất bản. Chúng tôi gõ lại cuốn sách này nhằm mục đích duy nhất là để học tập, nghiên cứu, không hề mang bất cứ mục đích kinh doanh nào. Mọi hành động thương mại liên quan tới bản gõ lại này là không hề liên quan tới chúng tôi. Mong các bạn tôn trọng tác giả và tôn trọng ý muốn của chúng tôi. Trong quá trình gõ và biên tập, do trình độ không chuyên, không thể tránh khỏi có sai sót. Xin cảm ơn, chúc các bạn học tốt. 1 Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking IELTS SPEAKING – MAT CLARK Preface During my 5 years as an IELTS examiner in China, I have seen thousands of Chinese IELTS candidates perform OK in the speaking interview. Most people would agree that an OK score in speaking is 5 or 6. Many students now realize that a score of 5 or 6 for speaking is not enough for their study......

Words: 50246 - Pages: 201

Premium Essay

English

...JEJEMON research paper by John Andrew Samonte * by diyubaku, Oct 10, 2010, 10:42:48 PM * Journals / Personal iii Table of Contents Title Page............................................................................................i Acknowledgement......................................................................ii Table of Contens......................................................................................iii Chapter I....................................................................................1 Introduction and Background of the story.........................1 Significance of the Study..................................................3 Scope and Limitations......................................................5 Chapter II................................................................................... Research Problem.................................................................................8 Effects..................................................................................................10                                                                                                                                                                          ii Acknowledgement  “You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.” I  would  like  to  express my sincerest thanks to those special persons  who  made  my  life  so......

Words: 4253 - Pages: 18

Premium Essay

English

...I Acknowledgement For many of us, the state of education in a country speaks volumes. Where English is spoken and taught as a second language, fluency is deemed a basic requirement for proper communication and propagation of ideas and connotes success. Does this fluency actually translate to a country's economic success and overall standing in the world of nations? The reason why we came up with this topic is to test the capability of a certain number of people when it comes to proficiency in English, not just to test but to give some idea what is the importance of being proficient in English and how can it help us. English language is and has always been one of the most popular languages spoken, written & followed all over the globe. No matter in which part of the world you choose to go, command over this language enables you to communicate with others regardless of what their national language would be. Therefore it becomes not only important but compulsory to master this art & implement it in the real life. This course is designed to clear concepts, renew basics and to professionally prepare you for real life communication at all levels. · Background of the study English has been considered as international language and also for studying use English as official language. Proficiency in English includes capability to read and understand the language and the way words are pronounced as well as the sense in which word are used (though variations in usage is......

Words: 2221 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

English

...English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of Great Britain and the United Kingdom from the 17th to mid-20th centuries through the British Empire, it has been widely propagated around the world.[7][8][9][10] Through the spread of American-dominated media and technology,[11] English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions.[12][13] Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century; the word English is derived from the name of the Angles,[14] and ultimately from their ancestral region of Angeln (in what is now Schleswig-Holstein). The language was also influenced early on by the Old Norse language through Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries. The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century gave rise to heavy borrowings from Norman French, and vocabulary and spelling conventions began to give the appearance of a close relationship with those of Latin-derived Romance languages (though English is not a Romance language itself)[15][16] to what had then become Middle English. The Great Vowel Shift that began in the south of England in the 15th century is one of the historical events that mark the emergence of Modern English from Middle English. In......

Words: 300 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

English

...English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca.[4][5] It is spoken as a first language by the majority populations of several sovereign states, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean nations; and it is an official language of almost 60 sovereign states. It is the third-most-common native language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.[6] It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the European Union, many Commonwealth countries and the United Nations, as well as in many world organisations. English arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and what is now southeast Scotland. Following the extensive influence of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom from the 17th to mid-20th centuries through the British Empire, it has been widely propagated around the world.[7][8][9][10] Through the spread of American-dominated media and technology,[11] English has become the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions.[12][13] Historically, English originated from the fusion of closely related dialects, now collectively termed Old English, which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic settlers (Anglo-Saxons) by the 5th century; the word English is simply the modern spelling of englisc, the name of the Angles[14] and Saxons for......

Words: 497 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

English

...The formation of the National English Language. The evolution of English in the 15 hundred years of its existence has been an unbroken one, but within it it’s possible to single out 3 main periods: 1.Old English (OE) 2.Middle English (ME) 3.New English (NE) Old English The historical background. It began in the 5th century, when the German tribes (Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians) settled in the British Isles. Originally the social and economical system was tribal and slave owning, which gradually developed into a feudal one. Accordingly tribal dialects developed into local ones. Geographically it covers the territory of the so-called English Proper. The main historical events are: -the introduction of Christianity; -the Scandinavian invasion. Word-stock (WS) Originally OE was a purely G language. So the WS comprised 3 layers of native words: 1st – IE words (mother, father) 2nd – CG words (to rise, to sink) 3d - OE proper (hlaford - lord) There were some borrowings from the Celtic language, denoting mostly place-names (London, York) and names of rivers (the Thames). After their settlement in Britain the G. tribes came into contact with the Celtic tribes who lived there, but the Celtic borrowings are very few (Loch Ness). Latin borrowings are: 1.Latin words borrowed by Ancient G. tribes when they lived on the continent of Europe. 2.Latin words borrowed by the Anglo-Saxon tribes from Romanized Celts on the British Isles. 3.Latin words which penetrated into......

Words: 251 - Pages: 2