RE: Who is an ESL writer?

Subject: RE: Who is an ESL writer?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:00:04 -0400

So, if I was writing with homegrown spelling (favour, colour, metre, theatre, and many more), rather than following my employer's style for USA spelling (and a really indefensible positioning of terminal punctuation with respect to closing quotation marks, but don't get me started) would you label me as ESL?

I think, perhaps, what you admitted below is that you are really using "ESL" as your short-hand for AESL.

I inserted the "A" to stand for "USian". Anyone who lives in North AMERICA, but isn't a native of the USofA will know what I mean. :-)

If Reshma's same-age neighbor happened to have (say) one English-speaking parent, and one who spoke mostly a local dialect, and that neighbor-kid learned a smattering of English a couple of years before Reshma started learning (alongside that other kid) in school, but both of them learned English as it is spoken-and-written by local, educated English speakers in a certain region of (say) India... would Reshma be ESL and the other kid... not? Twenty years of schooling and several years of English-language working-life later, how would you tell?

Or would they both be AESL? ...... 'Murican English as a Second Language ?

Yes, I know the list is US-centric. I daresay all of us who don't live there are constantly reminded. I'd also bet that the vast majority of US list members are much more aware, than their non-TW compatriots, that there's life outside the borders.

-kevin (AESL, here in Ottawa, Canada, eh?)

-----Original Message-----
From: Julie Stickler
Sent: March-27-13 5:56 PM
Subject: Re: Who is an ESL writer?

>Reshma asked - For all academic and professional purposes, English is my language of communication. Why then should I categorised as an ESL? There is nothing "second" about it.

Other folks have made good points about dialects and expecting differences in skill in speaking and writing a language. Oddly enough we have that within English speaking countries too. =P

Yes, I too have worked with non-natives whose grasp of English grammar is probably better than mine. But I've also worked with people whose written English needed heavy editing. As an American writer who often works with developers (and occasionally technical writers) from India, I've found that even people who have excellent spoken English often need additional editing when it comes to written English. The most common problems I can think of off the top of my head are subject/verb agreement and the misuse or lack of articles (a, an, the). If your writing is overly formal, makes correct but unusual word choices, or has the same sort of grammatical errors that I've seen in other non-native writers' work, then I'll probably label you as an ESL writer.

So, like so many things discussed on this list, the answer to the question "How do you categorize someone as ESL?" is "it depends."

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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: Sandy Harris
Re: Who is an ESL writer?: From: Julie Stickler

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