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Values And Attitudes Towards English
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Values And Attitudes Towards English
Finding, analyzing and understanding the Attitudes and values with respect to English language.
Human beings are arguably referred to be the descendants of animals. This might be true, but one of the unique characteristics which differentiate us from them is our ability to communicate using sophisticated languages. Human beings being social animals, have the instinct to communicate with one another. We need a language not only to communicate with one another, but also to share our thoughts, feelings and emotions. The important role a language plays in our lives cannot be neglected. This essay throws light on English as a language and the attitudes of others towards this language.
History of English
The language that we call English, began around four hundred years ago. It was not even called English back then. When the AngloSaxons, who were the Germanic tribes from northern Europe, arrived in Britain in the fifth century AD, the language emerged (Seargeant, 2012). The AngloSaxons brought with them different native dialects. In the coming hundred years, when these AngloSaxons established themselves in the area, and started spreading out, the language they brought with them developed too. The language began to be regularly called English not until the ninth century. English became "English" after four centuries of its existence.
During its early days, it was referred to as just one of the many languages which were spoken in Britain. It was a language with no particular identity and no special status. It was just a local language of the people of the Western Europe. In the next one and a half millennium, the English language has become not only the widest spoken language of the world but is also serving a wider set of purposes.
Development of English
Getting to know what English actually is, is not an easy task. If one lives in an English speaking country, then English is probably what one uses to converse with colleagues, friends and family. Reading and speaking English is something one do every day.
Varieties, Dialects and accents
Variety is a general term which is refers to any clear form of language. It can be used to suggest the prestige and legitimacy of one language over another. Dialect is the affect of what a person's social or religious background is. He uses vocabulary and grammar according to his background settings. Accent of a person, on the other hand, refers to how he differs in the pronunciation of a language(Seargeant, 2012).
English is an enormously diverse language in terms of the varieties, accents and the dialects it has. All around the globe, English is spoken in an entirely different way which has added to the beauty of this language through an enormous cultural diversification. According to a close estimate, around two billion people in the world speak English. English is a mix of in?uences on the Germanic dialects from which it emerged –Latin, Scandinavian, French , Norman (Seargeant, 2012)– and it ...
Changes in Old English to Modern English
Changes in Old English to Modern English
The English language spoken today is a blend of several languages. The language began in the year 400 AD when it was known as Anglo-Saxon and is now completely different from what it was at the time of its inception. Every element including the inflection system, grammar, sounds, and vocabulary has changed over the years. This change has been very slow and is still underway as time passes (Boeree, n.d.).
The original Anglo-Saxon language was a mixture of several dialects of invaders including Franks, Frisians, and Germanic tribes living along the coast of the North Sea. The main dialects were from the Angels, the Jutes, and Saxons from eastern Holland and Germany. All these dialects were close and thus easy to understand.
Change in Vowels
The vowels used in English have changed from what they used to be in old English and they way they are currently being used. The vowels were one of the main differences between their Dutch and Frisian counterparts. Even though the spellings of words have changed significantly, the pronunciations still reflect that of old English. Out of all the changes that took place in English language, the major change was during the transition of Middle English and modern English. This happened during the year 1600 A.D. This period is also known as the Great English Vowel Shift (Boeree, n.d.).
In the beginning, long vowels that are known today were generally longer versions of the short vowels. Such vowels are still being used by the Dutch. These long vowels were being pronounced in a higher tone and thus vowels such as the long ‘e’ became ‘ee’ in modern English, and long ‘o’ became ‘oo’. Long ‘i’ became ‘ee’ while long ‘ou’ had different variations. Similarly, short vowels moved slightly lower, ‘ai’ became ‘i’, and “oo” became ‘u’. In this way, several short vowels even disappeared which some had a variety of diphthongs (Boeree, n.d.).
Just as the vowels changes, so did consonants. Although consonants did not change as much as vowels, the change was obvious. The Dutch and Frisians were the ones who changed consonants more compared to others. They did away with consonants between vowels and hence the spellings of several words changes. For example “talk” became “tawk”; “night” became “niyt”, and “through” became “throuw”. The use of silent “k” also began during the 1500’s with words such as “knife” and “knight”.
Changes in Spelling
The spellings in English language are quite eccentric and the use of letters to produce a variety of sounds leads to a lot of confusion. It is often not clear as to which letter portrays which sound. However, this is covered up by accents due to which different words are pronounced in a different manner in various accents.
Although the way English is spoken differs from region to region, there are few variations in spellings. The most common difference is the use of “u” in certain words. For example, “color” and also be written as ...
Discuss the arguments for and against English medium education for people whose first language is not English.
Discuss the arguments for and against English medium education for people whose first language is not English
In an English medium education system, English is used as a primary medium of instruction especially in outer circle countries like Malaysia, India, South Africa and several European countries as well where the mother tongue of the natives is not English. The medium of instruction holds a very important position at each and every level of education i.e. from primary to university level (Hann, 2012). However, there has been a never ending debate in countries where English is not the first language that whether the medium of education ought to be the regional language of that country or the globally recognized English language (Ellis, 1994). Thus, there are advantages and disadvantages of both the options. While English is imperative for an individual when he/she grows up and enters into a professional life, regional language, on the other hand has a benefit of being understood easily which helps the students in grabbing the accurate information and comprehend better. Educationists from all over the world have debated this subject but to no tangible outcome.
Arguments for and against English Medium Education for People whose First Language is not English
As mentioned above this has been a heated debate around the world at present. Neither the pro regional language team nor the pro English language team has been able to raise an argument that can prove their case without any doubts. People who believe that English medium education is beneficial argue that English is a global language and so, if the government is implying English medium of instruction in the schools, colleges and universities, it is actually providing the students an outstanding advantage in the global market (Hewings, 2012). On the contrary, the argument of the people who believe that education should be provided in the regional language is that students will be cognitively spoiled if they are forced to study in a language that they do not comprehend. The arguments from both sides make reasonable sense and initially, there appears to be no apparent route to take. It is extremely clear that if the future students use English as the medium of instruction, their communication skills will be affected. However, research has proved that if successfully implemented English medium education can certainly build a generation that is capable enough to compete in the global market (Ellis, 1994).
Pros of English Medium education
Getting education in English language is important since 80% of the information stored in computer is available in English as it is the major language on the internet. In addition to this, more than 50% of the scientific journals in the world are in English. Thus, providing and acquiring English medium education is significant. It has turn out to be the foremost approach to get around, the major way to get things done, the primary way of doing business with a foreign ...