Dear readers,

I was quite pleased this week to meet newcomers within my English circle in DC Association and would like to dedicate them this article on "what is the point of speaking correct English?" (l'anglais correct, pour quoi faire?) Hi also to the American and Hong Kong readers!

Well, just be aware that opportunities to speak English are numerous. It is the official language in 44 countries (and only in 27 for French). It is the mother tongue (langue maternelle) of about 350 million people (about 100 million people for French). Of course, we cannot forget Mandarin Chinese as one of the most spoken language but need to be careful in terms of really Mandarin speakers as the diaspora is quite representative all over the world.

The main reason why more and more people speak english is linked to the impact of English-speaking countries on military, political, economical and cultural fields. Moreover, and sorry to disturb a little the American myth, we can meet English speakers who are not interested in learning foreign languages such as Spanish, German or French for different reasons.

a) Understanding English

Expressing oneself correctly in a language and understanding it are two sides of the same coin. It means to understand English, you are supposed to have a large vocabulary, master word position and grammar rules. It is quite normal to feel sometimes not so at ease to understand speaking English than writing one as you do not control the accent or delivery (debit).

b) What is to be gained from reading English? Avantages de la lecture en anglais

First of all, it is commonly noticed that you can find more articles written in English than in French in various matters. In addition, the publishing law is based on the potential number of readers and a book written in English is more likely to be published only because the number of English readers is higher than French ones. Thus, if you enter on the reading English  world, you will be lucky to discover multitude of articles and can take advantage of being the first to read the new published books before French translation.

c) Will poor English do when dealing with Anglophones? Peut-on se contenter d'a peu pres dans la pratique de l'anglais avec les anglophones?

Of course, not as a rough (approximatif) English can lead to misunderstandings and you could have some trouble (avoir des ennuis). Imagine in a commercial environment, especially for negotiations, how crazy the dialogue could become!

d) English as a language for international communication? L'anglais, langue de communication internationale?

English to communicate with non-native speakers of English seems to be easier as the delivery is not speed. Other fact: non-native speakers can make mistakes and find a way to communicate efficiently without being critized by natives.

English to "communicate" with French people: it is a kind of fashion to use English words in catchphrase (slogan publicitaire) or description. Nevertheless, these words are not always used as they need to be.

e) English is not a reliable tool for international communication. L'anglais n'est pas un outil de communication international fiable

Considered as a worldwide tool, English is not systematically based on the same notions. How could we be sure that reference English is New York English, Texas English, British English or else for your speakers? Some countries located closed to English-speaking countries can catch earlier the language change and new developments in English than others.

f) Correct English for a person whose native language is not English. L'anglais correct pour un non-anglophone.

Correct English for a person whose native language is not English is the language used so that it can be identified as a correct one by one or another English-speaking groups. For instance, we can quote British people who have knowledge in American English and accept it even if they are not in use in Britain or have a different meaning.

On the opposite side, common expressions in Britain even if they are not identified by American people take part from correct English.

g) Reminder: Modern English is the outcome (resultat) of a three-century process merging (fusionnant) the Germanic language Old English with a Romance Language, Norman French. In English, whether a form is correct or not us mostly determined by usage. Rules framed by usage have replaced many formal but incompatible rules that structured Old English and the Norman version of French.

A Romance language is a language developed from Latin such as French, Italian and Spanish. The word Romance, an adjective in the previous sentence, is akin (etre apparente a) to the noun romance, which means the same as "romance" in French.

If you are curious to get more details about English language and English origin, you can look at the folowing websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language

http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Linguistics/english.html

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2005-07-07-english-part1_x.htm

http://eleaston.com/etymology.html

http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/index.htm

With best wishes,

Ceraulen