Unclear on American Campus: What the Foreign Teacher Said
rkephart at unf.edu
Tue Jun 28 01:33:58 UTC 2005
At 12:43 PM -0700 6/27/05, Aurolyn Luykx wrote:
>I would think there would be more actual speech
>disorders than "bipedal walking disorders", just
>because speaking is a more complicated behavior,
>involving more separate but coordinated actions
>(and more parts of the brain), and thus there
>are more points where it can go wrong...
Well, maybe. Remember, it was only a hypothesis.
But even so, while there may be a greater
*number* of detectable language disorders, I'm
interested in the *percentage* of people who
display them. Besides which, bipedal locomotion
is no mean feet, and no slouch of an achievement.
All puns intended; no puns were harmed in the
writing of this paragraph.
>If the intent was that the person could use some
>professional help to reach something close to
>standard English pronunciation for academic
>purposes, that doesn't seem so offensive to me.
It's somewhat disturbing to me, because we have
perfectly competent academic folk with PhD's
right here at UNF who speak with other than a
standard (whatever that is) English accent, and
they do just fine. In the case of the West
African student, he had spoken English all his
life; it was one of his native languages. I am
pretty sure (sure enough to bet at least $5) that
the teacher who suggested therapy for him was one
of our local yokels who saw a dark-skinned person
standing in front of her and shut him out.
Now, I do agree that non-native speakers of
English who are teaching (or studying) in an
English-speaking context need to be proficient
enough to understand and be understood;
similarly, I would expect to be required to be
proficient in Spanish if I were to go teach or
study in a Spanish-speaking country. But I
probably wouldn't have a "standard" Spanish
accent, since most of my Spanish has been tuned
to Caribbean folk.
And yes, I'll be 60 in less than two weeks. It's
a little scary. So much still to learn (or, some
might insist, to unlearn)...
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