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# is english becoming obsolete?

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Manager
Joined: 04 Jan 2013
Posts: 79

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12 Mar 2013, 20:26
Now my question is..between british english and american english,which is more acceptable and largely used by the international community than the other?..i have noticed that american english contains some slight grammatical errors,for instance;this life dont last forever(used by late michael jackson),it dont matter(instead of it doesnt matter) double negatives "i aint got nothin"commonly used by most americans..i believe that the britons and the americans are the native speakers of english, but why do they commit such irresponsible mistakes?guys from u.s.a.,britain and other nations have your say.

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 1

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
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Kudos [?]: 17781 [1], given: 235

Location: Pune, India
Re: is english becoming obsolete? [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 20:46
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Expert's post
chiccufrazer1 wrote:
Now my question is..between british english and american english,which is more acceptable and largely used by the international community than the other?..i have noticed that american english contains some slight grammatical errors,for instance;this life dont last forever(used by late michael jackson),it dont matter(instead of it doesnt matter) double negatives "i aint got nothin"commonly used by most americans..i believe that the britons and the americans are the native speakers of english, but why do they commit such irresponsible mistakes?guys from u.s.a.,britain and other nations have your say.

First of all, who is to say what is grammatically correct? Grammar is the way people speak and in that sense it is quite dynamic. We say that something is grammatically correct because that's the construct acceptable to the Grammarians of a language today. Tomorrow, it may change.

As for the constructs you are talking about, they are a part of 'slang' or 'street talk'. Natives of many languages use these variants. Some years back I was in Germany and I learnt German there from a school. When I used to interact with people on the street in German, they used to marvel at my 'schon Deutsch' i.e. my 'good German'. They used to say that kids don't use it that way anymore. The only reason I learnt it that way was that I did not pick it up from the street but rather from a German school. If you are an Indian, you know that the Hindi we use regularly is very different from the pure form of the language. It's just a matter of what becomes popular.
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Kudos [?]: 17781 [1], given: 235

Manager
Joined: 04 Jan 2013
Posts: 79

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 1

Re: is english becoming obsolete? [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 21:50
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
chiccufrazer1 wrote:
Now my question is..between british english and american english,which is more acceptable and largely used by the international community than the other?..i have noticed that american english contains some slight grammatical errors,for instance;this life dont last forever(used by late michael jackson),it dont matter(instead of it doesnt matter) double negatives "i aint got nothin"commonly used by most americans..i believe that the britons and the americans are the native speakers of english, but why do they commit such irresponsible mistakes?guys from u.s.a.,britain and other nations have your say.

First of all, who is to say what is grammatically correct? Grammar is the way people speak and in that sense it is quite dynamic. We say that something is grammatically correct because that's the construct acceptable to the Grammarians of a language today. Tomorrow, it may change.

As for the constructs you are talking about, they are a part of 'slang' or 'street talk'. Natives of many languages use these variants. Some years back I was in Germany and I learnt German there from a school. When I used to interact with people on the street in German, they used to marvel at my 'schon Deutsch' i.e. my 'good German'. They used to say that kids don't use it that way anymore. The only reason I learnt it that way was that I did not pick it up from the street but rather from a German school. If you are an Indian, you know that the Hindi we use regularly is very different from the pure form of the language. It's just a matter of what becomes popular.

but i dont think any of the so-called slang constructs might be acceptable on whether TOEFL,GMAT or any other verbal test..if it is so that some words in english become cliches as time goes,then why do they commonly appear on GMAT vocabulary tests and some other world leading newspapers like BBC?well how are about the non native speakers of english living outside the two countries stated above,how are they supposed to update their english inorder to match with the native speakers?and dont you guys find it funny if a non native speaker uses a word like an apocryphal instead of some street talk word for it?how do you feel about english from people like us? is it too formal or informal?

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 1

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 11 Dec 2012
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Re: is english becoming obsolete? [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 22:55
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Expert's post
This is an interesting debate to have with many facets involved. As a Canadian, we tend to use British English more than American English (think neighbour vs neighbor), but both are acceptable uses of the English language. As Karishma pointed out, language is constantly evolving, just as Shakespearian English is no longer the common vernacular (seriously have you tried reading through that? Thou doth noteth understandeth the first timeth around), English in 200 years will have probably changed significantly.

Most modifications seem to be about being more concise, such as the oft used "drive thru" now, or about a slang modification to the word being used. In the context of GMAT (or TOEFL, I presume), a little slang or British/English spelling won't affect you on the AWA, but hopefully you're solving sentence correction problems with the correct rules of grammar and not what you heard from Timbaland's CD (the way I are?).

Living in a bilingual province (French and English), the amount of English, French and Frenglish I've heard at different levels is staggering. French people routinely talk about their "bosses" and "jobs" and where they did their "shopping" on the "weekend", even though none of these are French words. It goes both ways, of course, as English people here talk about "fait accompli" and "digestif", French words that everyone seems to understand in English for lack of a better translation. In the end, language is about communication, so if the other person can understand your point, you've done a good enough job communicating to them.

The GMAT even highlights this point in the other direction as well. Some Reading Comprehension passages are so dense and difficult to read that no one understands what they are trying to say. Using a vocabulary that is correct but no one understands is just as bad as using slangs and abbreviations that no one can follow. In either case, the meaning is lost through the choice of medium. As the internet meme goes: ain't nobody got time for that!
_________________

Kudos [?]: 297 [1], given: 66

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 7736

Kudos [?]: 17781 [0], given: 235

Location: Pune, India
Re: is english becoming obsolete? [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2013, 21:07
chiccufrazer1 wrote:
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
chiccufrazer1 wrote:
Now my question is..between british english and american english,which is more acceptable and largely used by the international community than the other?..i have noticed that american english contains some slight grammatical errors,for instance;this life dont last forever(used by late michael jackson),it dont matter(instead of it doesnt matter) double negatives "i aint got nothin"commonly used by most americans..i believe that the britons and the americans are the native speakers of english, but why do they commit such irresponsible mistakes?guys from u.s.a.,britain and other nations have your say.

First of all, who is to say what is grammatically correct? Grammar is the way people speak and in that sense it is quite dynamic. We say that something is grammatically correct because that's the construct acceptable to the Grammarians of a language today. Tomorrow, it may change.

As for the constructs you are talking about, they are a part of 'slang' or 'street talk'. Natives of many languages use these variants. Some years back I was in Germany and I learnt German there from a school. When I used to interact with people on the street in German, they used to marvel at my 'schon Deutsch' i.e. my 'good German'. They used to say that kids don't use it that way anymore. The only reason I learnt it that way was that I did not pick it up from the street but rather from a German school. If you are an Indian, you know that the Hindi we use regularly is very different from the pure form of the language. It's just a matter of what becomes popular.

but i dont think any of the so-called slang constructs might be acceptable on whether TOEFL,GMAT or any other verbal test..if it is so that some words in english become cliches as time goes,then why do they commonly appear on GMAT vocabulary tests and some other world leading newspapers like BBC?well how are about the non native speakers of english living outside the two countries stated above,how are they supposed to update their english inorder to match with the native speakers?and dont you guys find it funny if a non native speaker uses a word like an apocryphal instead of some street talk word for it?how do you feel about english from people like us? is it too formal or informal?

Don't try to pick the English used in music and movies. Refer to good national dailies and magazines (NY Times, Economist etc ). They use the correct formal language tested on GMAT. GMAT does not test country specific idioms. But there are many which are a part of the standard formal English language and you need to know those e.g. 'Refer to a book' not 'Refer on a book' or 'Refer in a book'. We could go on and on about why 'to' is correct and how can a non-native know it because there isn't much logic in a language. Also, GMAT does not test your vocabulary - it just tests your proficiency in using the language correctly in most circumstances. Well, if you want to study and work in a country that runs on English, you need to put in the effort to learn it.

By the way, I am a non native speaker too so I can't tell you how I feel about English from non-natives. But I can tell you one thing - non natives do talk more formally (since they don't pick it up on the streets but from books/newspapers) which I personally like.
_________________

Karishma
Veritas Prep | GMAT Instructor
My Blog

Get started with Veritas Prep GMAT On Demand for \$199

Veritas Prep Reviews

Kudos [?]: 17781 [0], given: 235

Re: is english becoming obsolete?   [#permalink] 14 Mar 2013, 21:07
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