Re: Who is an ESL writer?

Subject: Re: Who is an ESL writer?
From: John Allred <john2 -at- allrednet -dot- com>
To: Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 23:24:58 -0500

Interesting observations, Fred. I took the gist of Lauren's statement to be either that there was value in simplification or that certain readers might find one family of words or the other more understandable. You capture my thoughts on English's relationship to Latin perfectly. I was just wondering, if it were possible at all, how we might disentangle them.

~John Allred

On Mar 27, 2013, at 10:07 PM, Fred Ridder <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Lauren wrote:
>
> > On 3/27/2013 5:10 PM, John Allred wrote:
> > >
> > > With no argument intended, I'm curious to know why you recommend
> > > Anglo-Saxon over Latinate words in writing for ESL readers.
> >
> > Because the words are easier to understand for various reasons, like
> > that they are simpler, more direct, and have fewer syllables.
> > Anglo-Saxon is clearer, unless the person's native language is
> > Latinate.
>
> So let's strike the Latinate words according to the origins given in M-W Collegiate (online).
> "words" is arguably out because although it comes from Middle English and Old English, it is closely related to the Latin "verbum"
> "easier" is out because "easy" comes from Latin via Anglo-French and Middle English. The same ancestry applies to "reason", "direct", and "language".
> "various" is from Latin via Medieval Latin and Medieval English.
> "simple" is from Medieval Latin via Anglo-French and Middle English.
> "syllable" and "person" are from Latin and Greek via Anglo-French and Middle English.
> "native" is from Latin via Middle French and Middle English.
> "Latinate" is obviously Latinate, and amusingly enough, so is "Anglo-Saxon".
>
> So excluding articles, we're left with a pronoun, a few conjunctions, a couple of adjectives, and two verbs that are of Nordic, Germanic, or Celtic roots:
> "Because are to understand for, like that they are more and have fewer. Is unless is."
>
> Rich language, that Anglo-Saxon. So much better than Latinate words for clear, direct expression, yes? I don't buy it.
>
> And just for the record, the original question was about what constitutes an ESL writer (vs. a native English speaker) in the context of job requirements, and had nothing to do with writing for ESL readers.
>
> -Fred Ridder
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Purpose of Tech Comms today: From: Janoff, Steven
RE: Purpose of Tech Comms today: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Who is an ESL writer?: From: Reshma
Re: Who is an ESL writer?: From: Lauren
Re: Who is an ESL writer?: From: John Allred
Re: Who is an ESL writer?: From: Lauren
RE: Who is an ESL writer?: From: Fred Ridder

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