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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Question: Dyslexia, Asian languages
Author:   Agnes Gruz
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Phonetics

Query:   I was at my College graduation last week, and I found myself
fascinated by the variety of students' names, and by my own
frustrating inability to predict how a particular name would get
anglicized - how, that is, would it turn out that a student preferred
to pronounce, say, ''Sharmistha Patnaik,'' or ''Stephanie Vermeychuk,'' or
''Erica Lynn Veinsreideris''?
Now I know there must be sociolinguistic factors here, the
desire to assimilate pronunciation or the desire not to etc. But I
wondered also whether there were phonetic ones that would help
predict, for a given name's sound in the language of its origin, how
it would sound (in what ways it might or might not sound) in American
Is there any extant research on this, or do people have ideas
that haven't been written down yet? If there's enough interest, I'll
cheerfully (and more promptly than the last time) post a summary.

Best, Larry Rosenwald,
Department of English,
Wellesley College
LL Issue: 8.849
Date posted: 10-Jun-1997


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