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NinjaTurtle
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6 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

If you are an American teaching English in China, you should be upfront about it with your students and let them know that there are usage differences between your brand of English and British English.

 

I always ask my students on the first day of class who wants to learn American English and who wants to learn British English. I keep track of who is who. (The number of students who want to learn British English is always very small, so it is easy to keep track of them.) I go the extra step and teach them the differences. I make it perfectly clear they are allowed to speak either American English or British English, but they are NOT allowed to mix the two.

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6 hours ago, Hofmann said:

If you're a teacher, it's perfectly fine to say that you've never heard a certain way of saying something, so you aren't sure if it's correct somewhere.

 

Unfortunately, I have to grade papers and pass judgement on whether everything they write is right or wrong. This is why this is so hard. And Chinglish is never correct.

 

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Would you prefer accurate, non-distracting target language production right now or efficient language acquisition? In most learners, you can't have both. Long ago, Behaviorists thought that inter-language influence (what they called interference) impeded second-language acquisition. Later, it was found that, in the same way the first-language learners go though predictable developmental sequences, second-language learners also exhibit certain predictable forms of interlanguage (developing second-language). If you often observe certain forms of interlanguage among your learners, it's probably a normal and largely unavoidable step in their acquisition of English. A common strategy for addressing inter-language influence is prioritizing communication by reacting appropriately based on only whether you can understand them, and giving appropriate feedback (there are at least six ways to give feedback). Then, if you observe that a certain incorrect form of language is being fossilized, then one strategy is to create an environment that forces that forces the learners to use the correct form to get their point across. For example, one in which they must differentiate

  • I recommended him to represent us in California.
  • I recommended that he represent us in California.

 

All this stuff (Lightbown, P., & Spada, N. M. (2012). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

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5 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

I make it perfectly clear they are allowed to speak either American English or British English, but they are NOT allowed to mix the two.

I will be honest, I rolled my eyes because I routinely mix them in my daily life and the sky does not collapse.

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I'm glad you're not my teacher then, my English is pretty mixed in ways I don't even know.

And 'normal school' is old-fashioned, but correct English. There's nothing Chinese or Chinglish about it, the term is originally from French and was also used in the Netherlands. If you'd try to tell me that was Chinglish, I'd also roll my eyes pretty hard. Much as 'you needn't tell me your name' is old-fashioned (it reminds me of Jane Austen) but not wrong.

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My English is also mid Atlantic and i think it is actually a good thing. I appreciate all the variations and wonderful turns of phrase, the brilliant pictures some people can paint with their words much like Chinese idioms can say so much in a short space.

 

I think your students should be aware different Englishes exist, but unless there is some edict from your school, parents or employers that one only is taught I wouldn't worry about it.

 

I also wonder what your definition of Chinglish is, to me it something like using baibai to mimic bye bye.

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21 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

The fact that it is a term in English that is only used in China qualifies it as Chinglish. If you ask any high school student in America or England if they are considering going to a normal school after they graduate from high school, it is obvious what kind of reaction you will get. And the same goes for any Chinese person who goes to America or England and says they graduated from a 'normal' university in China.

 

You seem to think that if you wouldn't say something the way a Chinese person would, then it must be Chinglish. A bit like the way you assumed that, "I didn't use to" was British English, despite having no evidence for that beyond you, an American, not saying it. Just because a word is uncommon — or in the case of 'normal', a technical term that you are unfamiliar with — does not make it incorrect. Ironically, your usage of 'Chinglish' is non-standard. Are you not troubled by a number of native English speakers in this thread disagreeing with you on this point? 

 

21 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

The term "normal school" disappeared from American English and British English early last century.

 

A proper read of the wikipedia page I linked to would show that this is not true. A number were still operating in the latter half of the 20th century, e.g., Nova Scotia Teachers College (closed in 1997), The Normal College, Bangor (renamed 1996), London Normal School, Ontario (1963), Iowa State Normal School (named changed 1961), Central Normal School, Winnipeg (renamed 1958), Toronto Normal School (demolished 1958), Provincial Normal School, Vancouver (amalgamated 1956), North Bay Normal School (renamed 1953), etc. Shanghai Normal University was itself founded in the post-war era (1954). Beijing Normal was founded in 1902. Moreover, you seem to have ignored schools in Oceania, which is one of the closest English-speaking regions to China. 

 

But all this is beside the point. 'Normal' is a perfectly reasonable translation for 师范, and in my opinion a much better one than the more prosaic 'Teacher Training', which would more likely give an inaccurate impression of the remit of such institutions. That being said, even if you disagree with me about the translation choice, 'normal' is still not Chinglish.

 

My post is already too long, but before I go...

 

21 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

And the same goes for any Chinese person who goes to America or England and says they graduated from a 'normal' university in China.

 

This is a straw man. Saying, "I graduated from Shanghai Normal University" is not the same as saying, "I graduated from a normal university". Unless you think people who went to MIT are likely to say, "I graduated from an institute".

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   On 6/10/2018 at 3:43 AM,  NinjaTurtle said: 

I make it perfectly clear they are allowed to speak either American English or British English, but they are NOT allowed to mix the two.

I will be honest, I rolled my eyes because I routinely mix them in my daily life and the sky does not collapse.

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Yes, Shanghai Normal University is just a historic term, nothing wrong with it.

 

I taught for years at a translation college in Germany. We allowed the students to use either British or American English. I knew quite a lot about American English, but certainly not everything, so I used to ask an American colleague if I was unsure about marking something - provided I noticed it. I can remember once in a final exam where none of us British speakers knew/remembered that the word 'car' was right in AmE for a train (although I must have read it and heard it often enough in films). It's unfortunate that you have to teach things a bit black-and-white and mark them. A lot of it is splitting hairs, and if the student eventually gets to live in an English-speaking country for a while, they will improve their English - they won't improve so much by concentrating on little details. There's something I don't really like about teaching languages: you split hairs when marking but at the end of the day it's petty and discouraging.

 

When I marked legal translations, and we'd studied the subject for a while, I used to mark down only the sentences which would mislead the reader or contained an error of fact. Slight grammar slips didn't matter. I think it was more enjoyable for everybody this way. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Zeppa said:

There's something I don't really like about teaching languages: you split hairs when marking but at the end of the day it's petty and discouraging.

 

Yes, it's a fine line that has to be walked. My main goal is to at least expose my students to and have them become aware of these issues . Most of my students in China don't know anything about the differences between American English and British English.

 

Have you heard of something called International English? It's the idea of a single, sanitized form of English that combines every English dialect and accent into "one" English. (It seems that my college in China is trying this, and it is failing badly.) I hope it never happens!

 

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In British English, what is a "car" in a train called?

It's usually a carriage or a coach, but we sometimes say 'dining car' (more often 'restaurant car'), which doesn't mean 'car' is a word you think of immediately, so in a text written by a German student which already contains a few errors, you immediately think that translating Wagen (which means the other kind of car too) as car is wrong.

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On to more British English! I have heard that eating "dumplings" has a particular meaning in British English. What is it?

 

You mean the phrase 'to eat dumplings' has a special meaning? No idea. But there are certain types of dumpings in British cooking that are not like Chinese dumplings. A web image search for 'dumplings uk' will produce pictures. I suppose the closest we get to the US biscuit.

 

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So you would say, "Look at that ten-carriage train." or "Look at that ten-coach train."?

 

I suppose so. I don't think I've ever wanted to express that😉

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British dumplings

 

cooked-pot-330.jpg

 

They seem quite different from what are referred to as dumplings in America, and from what are called "dumplings" in China. Do you, a British-English speaker, see the use of the word "dumpling" to be quite normal in British English to refer to what are called "dumplings" in China. (I do not.)

 

And how about "buns" for baozi (包子)?

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8 hours ago, Zeppa said:

Yes, Shanghai Normal University is just a historic term, nothing wrong with it.

Nah, I'm going to come down on the side of 'something wrong with it'.

 

I mean, I know it's a historic term and other countries use it, but it modern day English it just sounds *weird* and the number of native English speakers who would understand it's original meaning as a teacher training college is vanishingly small.

 

It's quite different from something like MIT, because when expanded as Massachusetts Institute of Technology it still sounds like normal English even though it's a university rather than an 'institute'.

 

'Normal university' on the other hand just comes across as strange to most native English speakers because 'normal' immediately sets up a contrast with 'abnormal' and the first thing many native speakers are likely to think of is 'well, good thing it's not an 'abnormal' university' (or similar)

 

'Normal university' or 'normal school' is outdated and sounds silly - at least to my native speaker ears, and I'm not the only one because I've heard many separate native speakers make fun of that phrasing on many separate occasions.

 

You could argue about correctness and historical meanings or not, but when large numbers of native speakers are making fun of that usage, it's probably a good idea to consider changing that usage, and I guess that's what spurred so many 'normal' schools in English speaking countries to change their name.

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12 minutes ago, imron said:

it just sounds *weird*

 

If you mention to anyone in America that you graduated from a "normal university", they will ask, "What is a normal university?" I cannot imagine any other reaction in America, unless they had been previously introduced to this term in a Chinglish kind of way.

 

I assume the same is true in England?

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@imron: I am only referring to 'Shanghai Normal University' as a compound, as someone else has said. Ninja Turtle said it is Chinglish. I assume it is an outdated but standardized name used in English for many decades. I am not saying we should use 'normal university'.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, imron said:

Nah, I'm going to come down on the side of 'something wrong with it'.

Fine, but Chinglish it is not. Old-fashioned, weird-sounding, not generally understood to most English speakers, sure. But this is not in the same category as 'I ever went to Japan.'

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They seem quite different from what are referred to as dumplings in America, and from what are called "dumplings" in China. Do you, a British-English speaker, see the use of the word "dumpling" to be quite normal in British English to refer to what are called "dumplings" in China. (I do not.)

 

I do not know what American dumplings are. And yes, it is common in BrE to use the word 'dumpling' to mean the Chinese ones. There is a restaurant called The Ugly Dumpling, for example.  When you say you don't think the term is normal in BrE to refer to the Chinese ones, I don't understand. I thought you spoke American English. Anyway, these are things you can search for on the internet. Or can't you get Google, for instance? You can add 'site:uk' or just 'uk' and you can see the usage. 

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