Measuring human language proficiency

R. A. Stegemann moogoonghwa at
Mon Nov 1 08:24:24 UTC 2004


My "predjudice against local Englishes" is hardly a belief; rather it 
is a challenge to the soundness of spreading a language that can only 
be understood well by the inhabitants of the country in which it is 
taught and where a wide-area language already exists! It is a challenge 
based on 12 years of experience on the ground in East Asia and a 
constant struggle to overcome what is suppose to be a bridge to 
cross-cultural communication, but is often not. The English language, 
as do most language of the world, probably has a place in all 
societies, but that place needs to be better defined both for the sake 
of economic efficiency and improved cross-cultural communication

Have a good trip to South Korea. I am sorry to learn that you will not 
be stopping over in Hong Kong, and thank you for the additional 
suggested reading.


R. A. Stegemann
EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349

On 1 Nov 2004, at 13:27, Bernard Spolsky wrote:

> That is the point.  Beliefs are very important in this area (which I 
> why I treat beliefs as the second component of language policy (see 
> Spolsky, Bernard. (2004). Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge 
> University Press.)  Your question "what do you want to measure?" is 
> critical.
> But having spent a decade or more as chair of the English committee 
> for the Israeli Ministry of Education, and failing on numerous 
> occasion to persuade a Minister of Education that amateur tests with 
> no calibration are essentially uninterpretable, I am not surprised at 
> your difficulty.
> But your own prejudice against local Englishes is also a questioned 
> belief.
> Hope we will have a chance to discuss all this quietly some day (I am 
> off to the Asia TEFL Conference in Seoul tonight, but via Bangkok 
> rather than HK).
> Bernard
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