Models and Monuments
It is fashionable nowadays to talk about "Englishes"—surely one of the least attractive of recent coinages. But it is an indication that the great community of users of English are now conscious of the fact that they do not all have exactly the same accent, or habit of grammar and idiom, or vocabulary. They have a choice, and they intend to use it. How does Britain stand in this comparison? What is the role of the British Council, and other British educational interests? How does a major initiative like the Cobuild project further the image of Britain abroad? Born with English
In Britain on the whole we do not have much of a choice. We can take steps to modify our language a little, and there are some famous recent examples of the perils attending that policy. But by and large we just use the language that somehow emerges in early development and usually seems adequate for our daily communication needs.
We should never forget what an asset it is to us all that this language is English. Everyone who has English as a birthright has an inbuilt (固有的) advantage in international communication. Not only are we spared the trouble and expense of mastering the language later on, we also have access to a mastery of it which is of such high quality that few foreigners ever reach the same level.
Such an asset beats North Sea Oil hands down. It must be worth billions of pounds a year and it is renewed solely by the operation of normal social processes. Only English
There are some disadvantages which must at least be mentioned. We in Britain are in danger of turning this asset into arrogance, insularity and complacency. Since there is no commercial pressure on us to learn any particular foreign language, we tend as a nation to be very bad learners of other languages.. This cuts us off from the ability to appreciate fully the culture of others, and denies us the ability to make the wonderful outward gesture of using someone else's own language. Both personally and commercially, most British people do not know what they are missing, and our competitors are well able to take advantage of this weakness.
Busy and important people nowadays travel a lot and find themselves frequently attending meetings and giving talks, which have to be in English although everyone else shares a common language. It would improve the situation if on each occasion the unfortunate monolingual were to give a simple and sincere apology. The old adage (格言) » that if you just speak English loudly enough everyone will understand, is truer than ever before, but is getting less and less effective.
In practical terms, of course, the person restricted to English could not be expected to speak all sorts of other languages, and this is an inhibiting factor— anyone else knows exactly which language is best worth investing in. But we native speakers of English should always be kept conscious of the fact that we frequently force our friends, customers and colleagues into a disadvantageous position. Which English?
The English language has been so successfully exported round the world that the native speakers no longer have control over it. They are now in a snow minority, for a start, and today's learners of English are not learning it particularly to talk to Englishmen, but also to talk to each other. The very features that distinguish native speakers disqualify them from key discussions like "Which is the best English?"
There are a lot of good models of English available. As well as British English there is American English, the other world-wide model,. with Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African English also available as prominent models.
And what about the English which is established as a second language in many Commonwealth countries? Indian English, West African English, West Indian English, Singaporean English and others have adapted to local circumstances over many years and are in the process of being re-exported. Because they are used in the everyday lives of millions of non-native speakers, they have features which could make them very attractive as practical alternatives to a native speaker variety. When native speaking teachers are not welcome politically in a country, for example, there will be found plenty of well-qualified and experienced colleagues from such countries.
Further, we are witness at the present time to the development of English as an additional language in a number of communities which have a common language already and which are under no political pressure to adopt English. People from Scandinavia, West Germany and Holland, for instance, have English available as a matter of course. Their way of teaching it is moving from the concerns of access to a foreign culture—the great literature etc. —to the priorities of a working language in a community—how to get things done. Gradually, for international matters, it will be more sensible to use English rather than translate. English language films will not be dubbed (配音) or subtitled any more. English language journalism will be edited and read by foreign communities, and gradually written by them also.
Very soon there will be powerful new models of English offered to the world—models which can claim to have arisen without the attentions of native speakers, to have none of the mystique, and yet to be usable as the principal language of external and public affairs. These models will derive authority from an impressive group of scholars and administrators who must never be overlooked—the thousands of experts on English and the teaching of it who are not themselves native speakers. In Practice
Practicality is a key feature of anyone's choice of a language model. Quite apart from the various reasons advanced above, the learner may in an actual situation have a very restricted choice of language models, in the available teachers and in access to materials. Recorded material and radio and television transmissions offer alternatives, but they may confuse as much as extend the choice available to the learner.
Teachers and learners just have to make the best of what is available to them at the time and in the place where they are working. The sustained efforts of authors, scholars and publishers are key factors in the strong presence of British English abroad, and in the maintenance of that presence.
Pronunciation is a good case with which to illustrate this point. Throughout the world, learners of British English are aiming at a pronunciation that few of their teachers use—the Received Pronunciation (RP) associated with the public schools. The reason is that RP is the variety of English which is best documented and most readily available in teaching materials. Because of its origins, it is unassailable as a model and contributes to the elitist atmosphere of the British variety of English.
But if we put these compelling arguments to one side, and view it dispassionately, RP is not a very useful model of pronunciation. It has some very complex sound combinations, particularly diphthongs, and it is not very closely related to the spelling system. Unlike other varieties, RP speakers make much the same noise saying poor, paw, pour, and pore, and do not distinguish between ion and iron. So it is not the linguistic features of RP that give it such an appeal, but its social status and, above all, its availability in the classroom.
1. GA (general American pronunciation) is becoming more and more popular with British youth.
2. British native speakers are ignorant of cultures in other countries.
3. The English language is diverse in grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation.
4. English is learned to communicate with native speakers.
5. RP is appealing in that its status is peculiar.
6. It is not troublesome at all to substitute qualified English teachers for native speaking teachers.
7. Choice of a language model is determined by its popularity.
8. Native speakers of English have an innate advantage in______communication.
9. Competitors of English speakers may well take advantage of the weakness—most British people do not know______.
10. New models of English are likely to emerge without the ______.
1. NG 2. N 3. Y 4. N 5. Y 6. Y 7. N
8. international 9. what they are missing 10. attentions of native speakers
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