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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: A moving and mystifying target language?
Author: Kingsley Bolton
Institution: Stockholm University
Author: David Graddol
Email: click here TO access email
Author: Rajend Mesthrie
Institution: University of Cape Town
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: This issue presents a selection of articles on English in various contexts and settings, with a significant focus on education in the first four. Susan Van Rooy describes the language experiences of South Korean academics and their families in a small town in South Africa, and the consequences of their stay abroad for their English language proficiency. She reminds us that not all EFL learners of English have the ‘Inner Circle’ mainstream as their model: Potchefstroom, South Africa offers a mix between Inner and Outer Circle, probably having more features of the latter. Christian Burrows writes about methodologies of EFL classrooms in Japan, where cultural constraints make TBL (Task-Based Learning) more challenging than its Western proponents realise. The next two articles emphasise the need to pay attention to colloquial spoken language. Manfred Markus writes about the need to focus on phonetic accuracy in EFL teaching, or at least to try and replicate mainstream norms as much as possible. Fan Xianlong contributes a paper on the ever-changing spoken norms of the mainstream, based on his experiences as a visiting scholar in the United States. Although many of the features he describes are well known to Western sociolinguists, the article presents a refreshing perspective of how complex the notion of ‘target language’ must be to users of ESL and EFL. More often it is a moving and mystifying target, with its cultural and political minefields that find their way into everyday usage.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 24, Issue 4.

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