Pour en finir avec les grincheux : Contre le discours du déclin (Documents) (French Edition)
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He is a Maasai from Kenya. One night he was walking around with a flashlight and discovered the lions were Richard Turere with his 15 scared of a moving light. A light went on inside him and an idea was born. His system is made from broken flashlight parts and an indicator box from a motorcycle. He calls the system Lion Lights. His simple solution was so successful, his neighbors heard about it and wanted Lion Lights, too.
He installed the lights for them and for six other homes in his community. From there, the lights spread and are now being 1. Teens from all over the 25 used all around Kenya. Someone in India is trying them out for tigers. Guess the content of the video using the photo and the caption. Watch the 1st part and pick out information about the inventor name — age — home — family — interests.
Describe her attitude. Watch the 2nd part. Focus on what you see to understand her invention. Note down information about its potential impact. Write a 5-line paragraph in which you imagine going a week without electricity. Try to persuade scientific the class to vote for it. Describe the photo and guess what the girl is talking about. Read the text and pick out information about the girl name — education — place of living.
Find references to nature. Use your notes to identify the problem she noticed and what her invention does. Listen to the audio and pick out information about the girl age — likes — ambitions. Listen again. Focus on references to the problem her country is experiencing, and say what she wants to do and have other young South Africans do.
Make a 1-minute presentation of a problem that you would like to find a solution to. Kiara Nirghin was winner of the Google Science Fair thanks to an invention to combat drought. K iara Nirghin was leafing through a newspaper one day when she noticed several stories about farmers struggling with drought1. Her simple solution earned her the grand prize at the Google Science Fair in September.
Scientific American 10 co-sponsors the awards. First she boiled orange peels in water to produce a 1. Then she combined the pectin 2. Finally, she mixed the powder with more peels and skins. The resulting polymer could Grammar hold times its weight in water. In tests, the invention kept Les structures causatives 20 soil moist — and plants grown with it were taller and healthier Her research made Kiara realise that and produced more flowers. Catherine Caruso, Scientific American, Grammar p. He has made this decision.
The decision is? This office belongs to us all. I had the best ideas. The best ideas were? Richard told the interviewer that the cattle were h. The project is? Faites des phrases avec les verbes make — let — have. Do they write all their campaign materials The police she — write a statement. Will he visit the new plantations soon? We they — vote a new law to protect the coasts. They we — speak before the whole assembly. Are you going to write to Yash? No, you are c. He she — start recycling. They I — realise that I could do something 3.
Bloc-notes : la classe politique, liée à son mauvais rôle
Je vais laisser parler mon ami. I will let… 2. Did you make the sign yourself? No, we asked a They forced… local artist… b. Their remarks make… a. Did you give a speech at the TED Conference? I would define my generation as very creative. She spent 7 hours on her project! Not 5 or 6 hours. I think young people need to respect older generations. How can we accept that…? Posez-leur des questions. Try to win the first prize. Think of a situation that needs improving: environment — society — everyday life, etc. Find a solution: a way to save energy — an idea At a high school Science Fair, for recycling — an invention that will make life easier.
Massachusetts, USA, Be creative but keep it simple! Write a description of the problem and what your idea or invention is problem it will solve — where — when — impact. Decide which visual aids will make your points clearer. Think of a striking opening: a quote — a question — a surprising fact… Organise your ideas so as to be concise and coherent.
Wikipédia:Le Bistro/novembre 2006
Practise your pitch out loud record yourself. Stress keywords and use a dynamic tone. Pitch your idea. Take care to stay within the timeframe you have been given max minutes. Make eye contact with your audience. Make sure everyone speaks. The class will vote for the best idea s! The five most convincing ideas can be posted on a class blog or on Padlet. Utilisez les structures causatives.
Vous avez des connaissances, mobilisez-les! Pick out keywords of Liberty places — people — activities…. Sum up what characterises each coast and compare. The team that names the most wins. Share what you know about the coasts history and geography. Make a list of what you find striking.
Describe the dishes and match them with their origins when possible. California State: The class will guess the name. Then compare the places. Comment on the picture and guess the content of the audio. Listen and pick out information about Claudia Otero job — origin. Find references to language and say what has changed.
Sources: census. Describe and comment on the photo. Listen to the writer Thomas Steinbeck and pick out stressed words. Classify them nationalities — culture — wine — fishing industry — orchard verger culture. Grammar p. Describe the photo and imagine where the young women are going. Read and find information about the narrator probable age — family situation. Make a list of all the places mentioned and situate them on a map.
Say what they mean to the narrator. Compare New York City and Hartford activity — population — lifestyle. Sara Smythe is in her early twenties.
I had my job. I had my first apartment: a small studio, on a beautiful leafy1 5 corner of Greenwich Village called Bedford Street. Most of all, I had New York — and that was the best romance imaginable. To someone raised within the sedate2, conservative, meddlesome3 confines of Hartford, Connecticut, Manhattan was a heady4 revelation. To begin with, it was 15 so amazingly anonymous. You could become quite invisible, and never feel as if anyone was looking over your shoulder in disapproving judgement a favorite Hartford pastime.
You could stay out all night. I was no longer under parental supervision. I was paying my own way in life. I answered to nobody. And 1. He seemed to know every arcane resident of the city. Czech translators 3. All-night jazz disc jockeys. Gawain n. Comment on the photo. Imagine what aspect of Los Angeles the film is about. Watch the video without the sound and check. Make a list of the types of places shown.
Pick out three elements in the video that would make you want to visit LA. Say what you know about the TV series you see and react. Use the captions to locate the places on a map of New York City. Use the Internet to watch extracts from other series set in NYC. Keywords: 15 — TV shows — visit — New York — nycgo.
Say if they make you want to visit New York. Make a list of your favourite TV series. Find out where they are set. Axe 3 Need help? Brooklyn Nine-Nine since , set in… Brooklyn! Les phrases exclamatives Choose one and make a 3-minute oral presentation about it — What an amazing series! The class GN will guess which one it is. Work on one of these topics to find the link between place and music. Step 1: Pick out information and take notes music style — origin — famous people — events — interesting information.
Listen to Ray Manzarek and sum up the recording. Regarded as one of the most Jim Morrison mural influential rock acts of the s, The Doors have been listed by many critics and in Venice Beach LA , by the artist Rip Cronk magazines as one of the greatest music acts of all time. Read about the man in the photo and sum up. List all the American rappers you know. Say what you know about them and guess where they are from. I n news that caught many off guard1, celebrated Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar was awarded the Pulitzer2 on Monday for his work on his album Damn.
Describe the invitation. Watch the video about the history of hip hop. Keywords: music — 3. Read the information box below and sum up. United States — punk — rock — gospel — folk — blues — jazz. Back in the population was under 1. Twenty years later, only 0. At In , the percentage was much lower. Food recipe 2. There is also 50 Cent, but he is a bit popular —.
Snoop Dog and Dr. The film Baywatch received four nominations, a. Both the East and the West Coasts are f. American population in South Carolina than a. He drove? San Diego. The music people like can depend? Hispanics are sometimes discriminated? Many people disagree? If you think? How How clever he is! Proposez une ou plusieurs phrases exclamatives. I think these song lyrics are shocking. In my opinion, this is an excellent idea.
I love this book about New York! I find this rock group absolutely amazing. This is the best pizza I have ever eaten. Californian smoothies are really delicious. Si besoin, 2. Shall we start? Thank you for your attention. Accentuez les mots importants dans les phrases. Notez-les sur votre plan pour y penser! I will now talk about My second topic is You know Where was I? Vary your documents: photos — interviews — maps — timelines — statistics — trailers… 2 Prepare your slideshow.
Keep the contents of your slides simple, attractive and clear maximum 10 slides. Include keywords and pictures that will help your audience understand the main points. Compare your chosen place with what you have learnt in this chapter to give a wider context. Prepare an outline and notes. No sentences! Practise speaking without reading your notes. You can record yourself. Speak clearly and emphasise the important words. Be ready to answer questions. Words, words, words p. More words p. How can the five senses contribute to discovering a city? Imagine what it feels like to live in a place like Mumbai.
The group with the most references wins. Use the photos and the captions to imagine the purpose of this art project. Read the text and pick out references to art. Say what is unusual about this form of art place — senses…. Watch the video and find references to taxis in Mumbai. Explain their importance in the city. Pick out examples of interior designs. An auto rickshaw often used as taxis in Mumbai with interior artwork I magine sliding1 into a taxi and realizing, once you settle down, that you are sitting on top of a bright blue landscape with carefully painted horses leaping2 across the seat.
In front of you, the blue background continues behind a group of faceless figures. The ceiling scene is depicted in the style of 5 ancient frescoes. As you take in all the little details of the design, you almost forget that you are riding in a cab. You almost forget your original destination. This is the experience of riding in a cab transformed by Taxi Fabric. Describe the picture, read the caption and imagine who the man painted on the wall could be. Make a list of the different topics that have inspired street artists in Mumbai.
Write a 5-line text considering the positive and negative impacts of street art in a city. In fact, it is one of the most important artistic hotspots in 5 Asia. While some works pay tribute to1 movies, others idolize stars with larger-than-life2 depictions. Amitabh Bachchan3, or Big B as he is fondly known among fans, is a common sight. The city itself 1.
It is also common to find 3. Mumbai the name changed Sridevi Nambiar, theculturetrip. Describe the picture. Use what you see and the introduction to deduce what the woman is doing. Read the introduction and the text to check. Find information about the woman and link her to places and sounds. Listen to Sandunes talking about her work. Pick out stressed words and classify them into references to Mumbai and to sounds. Agree on a list of five other places in a city Pairwork and say what sounds you could collect there.
Artist Sandunes working in the streets of Mumbai As the commercial and entertainment capital of India, Bombay1 is one of the densest amalgamations of sights, smells, sensations and sounds on the planet. Who better then, than Bombay-based producer Sanaya Ardeshir, aka Sandunes, to take us around the city and explore its rich sonics …. The process of actually looking for sound in 1.
My most favourite finds were the hits from the potato chopping2 at the Byculla 3. Read the first sentence of the text and imagine the different smells the narrator is going to talk about. Read the text and focus on references to smell. Sum up the overall impression of the city. Write a text that describes the different smells in a place of your choice. Vendors at a flower market, Mumbai T he first thing I noticed about Bombay1, on that first day, was the smell of the different air.
It smells of the stir5 and sleep and waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and loves that produce our courage. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five 1. Watch the video and take notes on what you hear and see. Pick out information about Vada Pav ingredients — flavours. Use your notes to compare what you see in the video with street food in your country. Pick your favourite street food and check with your classmates to find the most popular one.
It was fantastic. He spent a? It was very? The people who welcomed us and showed us around were so welcoming and? The trip to Mumbai was really long: it was so long it seemed? Street artists created murals in Mumbai. Taxis are a good place to deliver a message.
Sandunes was fascinated by the sounds of They are used by a lot of people. Mumbai, therefore she collected them to produce b. It is difficult to choose. There is such a variety of a song. Due to its number of inhabitants, Mumbai looks c. The flower market was really big. It took us the crazy and chaotic. There are so many different sounds in the city. It can be confusing. It is a place noms, verbes, adjec- that invites you to a real feast for the senses. You can be amazed by tifs.
Les mots gram- the colours of the murals as well as surprised by the number of street maticaux articles, vendors or the variety of sounds that the city has to offer. Mumbai is a lively 36 These amazing taxis that display so many different fabrics and city that never sleeps. Piste 51 atmospheres were not only designed for artistic reasons. When people use them, they can also discover the different messages that the artists want to convey. Pick a place that you could link with one or more of the five senses market — train station — road — beach, etc. Think of the way the place you have chosen can stimulate the senses sound — sight — smell — taste — touch.
Write down ideas and keywords. Decide on the structure of your video voice over — with or without journalist — different scenes — places — sounds. Check the lighting and the sound quality. When you have finished, watch your film and make cuts if necessary. Share your contribution with the class blog — Padlet….
Watch the video. Hand it in to the teacher, then listen to another description and guess who it is. Look at the pictures and pick out the style you relate to the most and the least. Describe them and say why. Sum up what fashion means to you. Read the quotes and guess the item of clothing. Pick out stressed words then classify them item of clothing — feelings. Say who you identify with the most.
Grammar La forme interrogative — What do you like wearing the most? Pairwork Get ready to answer questions about it. How long? Now interview your classmate. Describe the three women. Use the photos and the texts to say what type of women they represent. Pick out words and expressions revealing their opinions. Compare them. K atharine Hepburn Movie Classic, for women Mar. Such a style will never please American men. Axe 4 L ilian Harvey is horrified to find Need help? But no! James Laver, inventor of the concept 1 2. Pick an adjective from the scale to qualify the clothes of the two actresses at the time.
Imagine a woman dressed like them today: choose an adjective to qualify her style. Think about an item of clothing present or past 19th century top hat, s Groupwork flapper-dress, s bomber-jacket, s mini-skirt… and match it to the scale. Agree on an adjective for each. Hepburn is wearing trousers. Groupwork about how people relate to fashion and Grammar p. You are going to learn about fast fashion and its impact on society. Work on one of these topics to find out about the human cost of our clothing choices. Step 1: Find information and take notes working conditions — child Need help?
Read the poem and find answers to the questions asked. Use the answers to write your own verse of a poem. A young girl sewed the seams. Whose dress is to die for Who are you 10 Who shops to live Who are you wearing? Compare the photos of the two girls and note down your thoughts. Read the text to discover more about the life of factory workers in manufacturing countries.
Imagine a secret message Nasima sews into a pair of trousers destined for America. N asima and Sonia were the fastest finishing team1 at Millennium2 …. Nasima had followed her mother into the factory as soon as Sonia was old enough to attend school. Sonia had joined them when she was thirteen, though her 5 employment documents recorded her age as fifteen, the legal minimum in Bangladesh.
The hours were brutal, the influx3 of overseas4 orders relentless5, and the wages subsistence level and often paid late. But it was honest work, steady work, and with three of them collecting paychecks, the money had multiplied, 10 allowing the boys to stay at school. The pants were bright red and sized to fit a girl about six years old. Five dollars? It was a guessing game she sometimes 15 played to break the monotony. The fabric7 was nice. Twelve, she guessed. At her current wage of forty-two cents an hour, 1. Millennium n. Nor did she wonder — as she had when she was a factory 6.
The West 3. Read the quotation and examine the illustration. Sum up what you have understood about the fast fashion industry. Design a fairer T-shirt. Ethical fashion or slow fashion covers a range of issues such as quality over quantity, working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and 1 Get involved animal welfare. Describe the pictures and comment on the caption. Focus on the labels and list the information you can find.
Axe 4 People took photos of themselves showing the label of an item of clothing and sent it to the company with whomademyclothes? Identify the date and the event mentioned. Grammar 2. List the solutions she suggests. Le conseil — You should choose a company 3.
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Use the advice to prepare a short message that has more ethical principles. Reformulez les phrases. These are trousers with wide bottoms. They are… b. My top looks original. My shirt has a small collar. The skirt is smart but the fashion is old. The T-shirt fits loosely.
They decided to? He bought? He saw? Mary says she will write? My jacket? I got it in a little shop in London. Bennett K. Both of them like clothes. Trouvez une fin logique aux phrases ci-dessous. Mike loves ties. Jim, Mo and Jack are wearing hats. Joe is a smart dresser but Mike is a much smarter are wearing hats. Jim and Jack are wearing shoes.
Jim b. Mary likes fashion from the 70s. Joan prefers the 90s. Mary likes wearing black.
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Joan likes wearing red. You should wear a warmer coat. Why not wear a warmer coat? You should buy a suit. Piste 11 45 a. Do you like my new jacket? Where did you buy this hat? Can I borrow your coat? How long have you had it? Classe 2 2. You mean…?
Can you repeat, please? Yes, I am. Once a week. What about you? Have you ever…? Get into groups. Choose the themes of your survey : personal style — favourite clothes — shopping habits — origins — working conditions — responsibilities companies, governments, consumers… — suggestions. Agree on a list of 10 questions 2 or 3 for each theme and prepare a survey grid.
Ask your teacher for help. Test the questions on your own group. Correct your grid. Interview other groups in the class. Fill in the grid. Read the results. List the general trends and pick out the exceptions. Prepare to present your results and compare them with those of the other groups. Pick out names, marking events, dates and numbers. Use them to make a timeline of the history of photographic self-portraits. Include something in your description that represents the person symbol — object. The class will guess who it is. Describe the painting. Read the Did you know?
Then agree on a possible interpretation of the painting. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was famous for his beauty. Axe 4 2 Stopping time 1. Suggest three things the character in the picture might be thinking. Read the 1st paragraph. Focus on movements and feelings.
Read the 2nd paragraph. Say how he feels now. Guess what has happened. Read the 3rd paragraph. Search for reasons that explain his feelings. Make a list of three magic wishes that you have and share them with your classmates. D orian made no answer, but passed listlessly1 in front of his picture, and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and 5 his cheeks flushed2 for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognised himself for the first time.
He stood there motionless3 and in wonder, 10 dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, but not catching Ben Barnes in the film Dorian Gray the meaning of his words. The sense of his own beauty came on him by Oliver Parker, like a revelation. He had never felt it before. His eyes deepened into amethyst, and across them came a mist of tears. He felt as if a hand of ice had been laid upon his heart. I shall grow old, and horrible, 3. But this picture will remain always young. It will never without movement 4. If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old!
For that — for that — I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give 25 my soul for that! Name the different types of art you can see drawing — engraving — other types of works of art. Match the artists with their self-portraits. Use the captions and quotations to help you. Prepare a detailed description of one of the self-portraits.
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Compare the two self-portraits you chose with the corresponding photos. Note down the differences and imagine why the artists portrayed themselves this way. And there, in bet ween, this creature appears. It is simply a self-po rtrait. See if you recognise your classmates.
South Africa was colonised by the Dutch 17th century and the British 19th century. Compare and contrast the two self- portraits. Listen to the recording and read the Did you know? Mohau Modisakeng wearing a trilby hat left and blinkers right , Mohau Modisakeng was born in the township1 of Soweto, on the outskirts2 of Johannesburg, South Africa, in Describe the photo and guess where and when the scene takes place.
Use the short biography to imagine why Vivian Maier represented herself in this environment. Find information people — places — things — techniques used — how she represented herself. In her free time she would take lots of pictures. Describe the photos on both pages. Agree on the answers to the quiz questions. Compare the results with your own habits. Social media Choose the correct answer. Guess the content of the video. Watch it without the sound and check. Watch with the sound and pick out information about the event mentioned people — places — theme — number of entries.
Debate about whether or not a selfie From Selfie to Self-Expression, Groupwork can be a work of art then vote with the exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, rest of the class. London, Need help? Photography camera 1. In the 1 there is a blue sky and what seems to be a church. This church may 2 the fact that American society is very religious. In the 3 there is a couple who look very serious and thoughtful. This 4 the severe, puritan impression that the painting gives. The mobile phone 5 modern-day life, which contrasts starkly with the couple and their environment.
The artist probably wants to 6 how omnipresent technology has become in our lives today. I usually visit museums in the morning, when there c. The Picture of Dorian Gray. What — book — you — be not too many people. What — that man — do? She take a lot of selfies whenever she is on a trip. Modisakeng be an artist who use self-portraits as a message. She stand in front of a shop-window.
In this photo, I sit on a bench read a book. The man in the picture look at a sculpture. People sometimes think museums can be b. She stand near a shop-window. Look at him! He ride his bike and take a selfie! Utilisez les mots entre d. You can come with your friend if she like the I think it is a good idea. What — you — think — about artist. Because he loves art. If only my parents take me to the museum convient. They wish they have a portrait of their daughter. I wish you know how long the exhibition lasts. Reliez les phrases avec to, in order to ou so that.
I need to know a lot about this painter? I chose warm colours for my painting. How about going to the museum? I can finally a. He wants to come with us. He says he can tell us all see this exhibition! He decided to give up his job? The artist used red and yellow. He wanted to his work as an artist. He needs a lot of time alone? You should read a book about this painter. You would learn a lot about him.
The sun illuminates the street. She never manages to go for a walk during the week syllabe de la base because she uses her car a lot and comes home quite late. I love this photograph. It shows my father when he was a teenager. The photographer is his brother. Faites les liaisons entre les mots. Do you like going to the museum? Record a commentary about your own self-portrait. You can use a mixture of different mediums Student making a self-portrait photo — painting — drawing — sculpture — out of clay argile collage — video — app — software — cartoon. Be imaginative!
Think about what you want your self-portrait to look like. Describe your self-portrait in detail. Write about the techniques, the colours and the symbols you used and explain why. The key criteria to a good audioguide: clarity — pronunciation — intonation — rhythm — fluidity — tone. It depends on the selfie. I think they are narcissistic. Your project Keys to success Narrate an extreme adventure in Strategy: comprendre un texte, p.
Donc je salue l'initiative. Et ce n'est vraiment pas mal, en six mois d'apprentissage en solitaire, d'atteindre un tel niveau. Et puis il y a la prononciation. Quite so, [Holmes] answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. Je reviens au chinois. Il ne s'agit pas ici du genre lexical d'un nom commun. Comme fein ne semble pas venir d'une racine germanique, je ne change pas. Voici quelques raisons de penser autrement.
Questions d'habitude? Bref, c'est un peu le bordel. En anglais, cependant, quand on prononce l'interjection uh-oh! Is het de vrouw die ik heb gezien? Nee, het is de man die je hebt gezien. Ist es die Frau, die ich gesehen habe? Nein, es ist der Mann, den du gesehen hast. Non, c'est l'homme que tu as vu. For a change, I'll be writing this entry in English—ironically because my point is to argue how English is a terrible choice as a language for international communication, and particularly in scientific and technical fields.
I should start with a few clarifications. One is that I honestly don't think I am prejudiced against English. English is not just a language which I read and write with pleasure, speak and understand in spoken form, it is also one in which I often phrase my own internal thoughts, especially when doing math, and in which I dream: so it is definitely not alien to me. Verily, I am in love with it.
English is a beautifully poetic language, capable of summoning vibrant images, crafting rousing speeches, conveying powerful emotions. And the wonder of it is that it empowers even the less talented. When English is wielded by the greatest of the great, by the hallowed likes of Shakespeare or Nabokov, when reinvented by Whitman and Joyce, it comes as no surprise that it can inspire awe: it doesn't take a diamond to shine in the hands of a star.
But English is so manifold in its modes of expression, so opulent in possibilities, so richly laden with quaint words and nearly frivolous idioms, so mirthfully malleable , that even a lesser pen can reveal itself in its gleam. If some languages seem arid, English is their polar opposite: English is bountiful and ornate, English is a cornucopia of synonyms, a mine for metaphors, a fountain for apothegms, a luscious garden for the poet; each idea can be expressed through a whole gamut of terms, and from each word sprouts a rainbow of meaning.
Quite bewildering—and quite the reason why English is a poor choice when it comes to precise communication on mundane matters, when poetry is not of the essence. I am not trying to argue that we should now give up English for international or scientific communication, or try to replace it with this or that other language except possibly in a limited way, e.
I am not proposing to use Interlingua, Esperanto, Latin, Italian, Chinese, Russian, or anything else: I am maybe saying that we should have used Interlingua, Esperanto, Latin, Italian, Chinese, Russian, or something of the sort probably any of the above would have been better than English in the first place. That we should realize this, even if it is now too late to correct our mistake, and perhaps reflect on the reason why we made it.
But I will not do this—at least not here and now. Even if we can't fix things, even if we can't prevent similar bad choices from being made in the future, we should at least be aware of them, to contemplate our idiocy and keep in mind that collective decisions are not necessarily the wisest ones. Memento, homo, quia stultus es, et in stultitia remanebis. So, again, I am not suggesting a switch away from English; I will, on the other hand, make a few modest proposals one for each major flaw that I find with English that could alleviate the problem—I am well aware that even these less radical proposals have infinitesimal chances of begetting anything concrete, but their chances are perhaps less infinitesimal than if I were to suggest using Interlingua instead of English.
There is also, of course, the issue of how unfair the dominance of English is to all the peoples of the Earth of whom it is not the first language. How not being raised from the start in the global lingua franca makes them second-class citizens, or even third-class ones if they cannot communicate in it at all. How, contrariwise, native English speakers can find an opportunity of employment pretty much anywhere in the world by teaching English. How, even among non native speakers, a good knowledge of the global language constitutes a cultural capital that impedes social mobility for those who lack it.
And, more importantly, it is a fact which we should not deny or ascribe to an irrational rejection of English. I plan to discuss this aspect of things some other time viz. So, on to English specifically and linguistically. What, exactly, is wrong with it? I see essentially three things: its vocabulary is too abundant , its syntax is highly ambiguous , and its pronunciation is unclear. Its vocabulary is too abundant. This comes, in great part, from English being a Frankenstein-monster kind of hybrid between a n Anglo-Saxon Germanic substratum and good measure of Norman French.
As a matter of fact, English is almost a superset of French, because we can look up practically any French word in the OED and find some recorded use of it in English. Now maybe the OED is an unfair as in: absurdly large metric of English's lexicon, since it includes inscrutable to modern English speakers Anglo-Saxon words or other historical oddities, hapaxes or words for which they failed to find a single recorded instance and which somehow still ended up in the book, like palumbine —an adjective which means to a pigeon what canine is to a dog , highly specialized terms and other things nobody ever says or writes.
Nonetheless, it is true that English often has a redundancy in its vocabulary due to its double Saxon and Norman origins: Wikipedia has a page about this , of course—actually, quite appropriately, it has two —and the fact is also famously noted by Sir Walter Scott in the beginning of Ivanhoe :. The swine turned Normans to my comfort! And swine is good Saxon, said the Jester; but how call you the sow when she is flayed, and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels, like a traitor?
I am very glad every fool knows that too, said Wamba, and pork, I think, is good Norman-French; and so when the brute lives, and is in the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the Castle-hall to feast among the nobles; what dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha? Nay, I can tell you more, said Wamba, in the same tone; there is old Alderman Ox continues to hold his Saxon epithet, while he is under the charge of serfs and bondsmen such as thou, but becomes Beef, a fiery French gallant, when he arrives before the worshipful jaws that are destined to consume him.
Mynheer Calf, too, becomes Monsieur de Veau in the like manner; he is Saxon when he requires tendance, and takes a Norman name when he becomes matter of enjoyment. Even beyond the specific explanation of Saxon versus Norman sources, English seems to have a plethora profusion, abundance, affluence, bounty, myriad, opulence, wealth, surplus… of synonyms for anything. I don't have a precise measurement for this: but my very unscientific experience that, in writing literature in French, when I look for a synonym, the quest is generally much less fruitful than in English.
In French I often have a hard time finding a word that I like: in English I have a hard time choosing a word that I like. And French itself probably has an uselessly large lexicon anyway. Unlike the—uh—sensible, i. You just have to know i. Few suffixes are productive; even those that are suffer from odd exceptions for example, -ly normally makes an adverb out of an adjective, e.
English vocabulary is a hodgepodge of words randomly imported from various other languages or constructed by arbitrary means and which cannot be analyzed systematically. For example: hodgepodge neither hodge nor podge exist in English—well, the second exists because English has everything, but doesn't seem related—so you can't explain it, you just have to memorize the freak. Or why does English need to have the absurdly specific and un-analyzable word serendipity which German might render with the perfectly analyzable Zufallsfund?
I chose these examples because these words look like they can be broken down into pieces, but in fact they can't. And they're fairly common: I'm not going to go into cachinnation or—Athena forbid! The only possible answer to the word eleemosynary is go home, English, you're drunk! I realize that every language has this sort of things, but English makes it into a perverse art. English is a wanton word hoarder with a fetish for the heirlooms of Papa German and Mama French or is it the other way around?
This is very good for poets , surely, and more generally authors of literature. I made this point earlier. But for scientific, technical, or legal communication? In what way is having a rich vocabulary bad? Let me take an example. A French speaker often can and sometimes will write in English by assuming that every slightly complex word they know from French also exists in English: sometimes this fails, either because the words don't exist or because they have a subtly—or grossly—different meaning the so-called faux amis —this is no more English's fault than it is French's, and not my point here, but it is aggravating.
But when it does works, the resulting English will often be replete with rare or unusual words and therefore difficult to read for people not acquainted with French or, at least, some other Romance language. A bit like saying all articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous instead of all that glitters is not gold —not truly an example of what I mean, but the same sort of idea. So English fails in much the same way that it would be a failure to decide for a language of international communication to be any random mixture of French and German, at the speaker's whim —surely this would be nice for French and German speakers who wish to be understood, but other people would, in effect, have to learn both French and German to make sense of it.
The fact that native English speakers can generally read Interlingua without having learnt it, despite the fact that Interlingua takes its roots from the Romance languages, is a sign that English includes, so to speak, a practically full-fledged Romance vocabulary in its entrails oh, here's a nice example of Gallicate English: entrails.
The situation is somewhat parallel to what we get if we speak, in about any European language, with an excessive use of words made up from Greek roots: hyperhellenic paralexia, if you will; except that English will happily take these words as its own. Can English's hyperglossia be tempered? Here is at least one modest proposal for a change in the language of international communication: replacing it with a controlled subset. Editors of scientific journals, for instance, might decide to restrict the word set of published papers to something like Ogden's Basic English plus whatever technical words are required for the field under consideration, e.
This would demand very slightly more effort on the authors' part, especially from native English speakers who might otherwise be tempted to use more sophisticated terms than strictly necessary, but correspondingly lighten the reader's burden: if we truly believe in the stated objective of having English or some other unique language as a single permissible vehicle for scientific publication, namely to minimize scientists' effort in learning languages, then surely Basic English is the logical continuation of this effort.
I'm not sure I personally agree with the premise, nor with the conclusion. However, hardliners who insist that it is absurd and senseless to publish scientific papers in anything other than English, and who don't pursue the reasoning all the way to some kind of Basic English, are being inconsistent. Sadly, no core vocabulary set seems to have been chosen in a very scientific way, but there is no reason it could not be done. At this point, I should probably mention the interesting experiment that is Toki Pona , a conlang that has a lexicon of merely words in comparison, Basic English has , and the OED has about main entries , which supposedly can be learnt to the point of fluency in two days.
Toki Pona certainly isn't a reasonable candidate for an international language, let alone for scientific or technical communication: it is more like a zen concept of a happy language with a delightful logo; but it should at least encourage us to rethink questions like how many words does a language need? Its syntax is highly ambiguous, In fact, syntax is perhaps a bit too exalted a term for what English has: paratax is more like it. By this I mean that English merely juxtaposes words in a number of situations where many other languages will somehow connect them with a kind of grammatical particle e.
The problem with these various omissions is that, while they make sentences terser, they also deprive us of valuable clues as to how the sentence should be parsed. Now combine this with English's endless supply of nouns that can also function as verbs truly unlimited, following the well-known adage that in English, any noun can be verbed , or more generally the number of words that can exist as different parts of speech, a phenomenon known as class ambiguity , not to mention that past participles and preterites often have the same form, and we have a mess.
True, the overwhelming majority of English sentences in normal use can only be parsed in a single way, or at least a single way that makes sense. Most examples of truly ambiguous sentences, or initially ambiguous sentences garden path sentences like the cotton clothing is made of grows in Mississippi are contrived or improbable. Or at least improbable in any given context abuse pains! Unless the context calls for it: Ada's story was stirring something in my mind: I had lived so many lies and falsehoods, but not last week—no, last week was different, Ada's words revealed something that I had not dared to hope: these days were not a lie, Ada's words said to me—the story told the previous week was true.
And so on. But the fact remains: parsing an English sentence requires more brain effort be it unconscious than for a number of other languages that I can think of and which don't have so many ambiguities. English, of course, is not alone in having ambiguities. I remember, when I was learning Latin, that I could always come up with several alternative ways to analyze a rhetoric period, some of which made more or less sense, and I was often angry when I was told my translation was wrong because it seemed to me that it was defensible and there was no way I could have known that I should have preferred such-or-such other meaning.
Eduardum occidere nolite timere bonum est. Conversely, when English is not the author 's first language, they might come up with syntactical constructions which have a wholly different meaning than intended; or a simple mistake in a word might turn the entire sentence's syntax upside down. Such features are undesirable, to say the least, in a language used for international communication. And if it can be bad when both ends of the communication are well-intentioned and cooperative, it is worse yet when they are at odds and actively trying to misinterpret each other's words—typically in matters of international law and litigation.
English and French may not be an ideal choice of languages, but they are certainly better together than English alone. However, not every context where the English language is in use can afford the same resources that are available when negotiating international treaties where we can assume that translators aren't the most difficult or costly part of the negotiation. Can something be done to tame English's syntax ambiguities? Unfortunately, we are collectively speaking unreasonably conservative when it comes to language, so any attempt to reform English is doomed by our stubbornness, just as it is futile to suggest replacing English by some other language.
The best that can be done is probably for editors, in any context of international or scientific communication, to forbid the syntactic omissions B and C mentioned above and also A when it can be avoided , and to be otherwise vigilant for ambiguities. Even this modest advice is possibly a lost cause, like the aforementioned idea of restricting oneself to a simple subset of the English lexicon. Addendum: earlier entry on a similar topic.
Its pronunciation is unclear. There are several aspects to this. The first part is how little relation there is between the written and the spoken forms of a word. Some languages are bad in this respect, but English is downright atrocious, as an infamous poem illustrates see also this table of vowels.
Some languages have irregular spelling French, for instance, is very bad in this respect or irregular pronunciation; some leave out important information in their spelling such as Russian, which doesn't put stress marks, or Arabic, which generally doesn't mark short vowels ; some like Chinese or Japanese don't even really try to make written and spoken forms match without the help of huge tables of characters that must be learnt; but English just makes it all look like a bad joke. It simply makes no sense for the language chosen for international communication to not only have a gigantic lexicon, but also force its learners to memorize each word twice because there is essentially no way to connect the written and spoken versions.
But also, because there is simply no form of logic relating written and spoken English, when a new technical term is coined, or when a foreign term is imported, nobody knows how to pronounce it, because there is no logic that can be applied, and no preexisting usage. The word neologism , in fact, may be a good example: there is no way to guess where the stress should fall, and different people will put it in different places.
As for imported words, consider the last letter of the Greek alphabet, the astronomical bodies Uranus and Io —or just about any word imported from the French pour faire chic. Random examples: if someone pronounces signal by applying the same logic as sign , it could easily be confused with final ; if someone is not aware that record is pronounced differently according as it is a noun or a verb, it can lead to the class ambiguities that I discussed earlier. To make things worse, English has a number of different accents.
These differ mainly by their vowels but, as English is not a Semitic language, vowels are essential, and we get a lot of cross-accent homophones. But even within the context of a single accent, English pronunciation is unclear. The realization of vowels is subtle, especially compared to the clear cardinal vowels in contrast, the vowels of Italian are very crisp and fall rather squarely on the cardinal vowels. All of these are a possible source of confusion. This is not just a theoretical worry. I have had many occasions to observe how English spoken over a noisy channel , has distinctly worse error-correcting capabilities than French.
Can we do something about it? Introducing a new accent is not like reforming English, because it is meant to become one new accent among many , not replace any existing one. The major shift in paradigm would be to realize that this accent is no more wrong than any existing English accent, and that there is no reason not to teach students to speak like this instead of demanding that they simulate an RP or General American accent there is a great deal of hypocrisy in this respect: English RP and American accents are no more correct than, or preferable to, Scottish, Irish, Australian, Indian, Nigerian, South African or American Southern accents, yet they are considered the norm when teaching English to foreigners—why?
Both the prescriptivist and the descriptivist sides have to ask themselves how world English should be defined, instead of avoiding the question as I believe they have mostly been doing. But here I digress away from the specific issues with English as a language of international communication to the general problem with choosing one particular language in this role, and the unfairness associated with this choice—and this is something I would rather leave to a later entry.
Vous ne voyez pas la ressemblance? C'est un bug que j'ai vu assez souvent, quoique jamais encore sur un panneau officiel.