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  • Melvyn
    ... In these days of inexpensive air travel, intercity buses you can hop on at a moment s notice and round-the-clock instant communications this view does
    Message 1 of 27 , Mar 5, 2013
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      --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:

      >
      > It's no secret that a long sojourn in a foreign country affects one's judgements about what is and isn't natural in one's native language.

      In these days of inexpensive air travel, intercity buses you can hop on at a moment's notice and round-the-clock instant communications this view does strike me as charmingly anachronistic.

      Still, I daresay there are some linguistic pitfalls if you stay put practically anywhere for any length of time, e.g. in north Manchester, where I have to constantly bite my teacherly tongue in case relatives become too afraid to open their mouths in front of me. :-O Does the substandard English that you hear around you ever have a negative effect on your language, Jamie?

      And BTW I can never be sure as sure can be about what is natural in my native language, because there are so many varieties of it. Just thirty miles down the road in Liverpool they use words in their everyday speech that I have never heard of.

      BR

      Melvyn
    • Liz
      Jamie, you are a troll :) Have a good night Liz
      Message 2 of 27 , Mar 5, 2013
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        Jamie, you are a troll :)

        Have a good night

        Liz

        --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
        >
        > There was plenty of opportunity to speak English to native English speakers who were fresher in the country, there were plenty of English-language media, and other ways to maintain one's language skills, so the Internet hasn't worked any miracles in that regard. The English of the people who never learned Czech didn't deteriorate at all. It's a matter of how much one has immersed oneself in the local non-English culture. After all, my friend had no lack of online media, but her husband is French, her kids are French, and most of her friends are French, which is a much bigger force than anything that streams through a monitor.
        >
        > And, I have to admit that occasionally I detect that your English judgments are mildly affected by Czech.
        >
        > Liz, I think you're angry because I called your video stupid. You showed a vile mischaracterization of a husband and wife in natural marriage, I called it stupid, so I'm evil and you have to find something to slam at me with. It's in the open now. Just relax. That kind of embarrassment eventually goes away.
        >
        > JK
        >
        > On Mar 5, 2013, at 5:25 PM, Liz wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
        > >>
        > >> What am I supposed to get over? I get TM from Americans who have lived in the Czech Republic for so long that they make the same English mistakes Czechs do.
        > >
        > >
        > > Well then, they're shit translators.
        > >
        > > It's understandable why you would have lost touch with English when you were in Marianske Lazne in 1990-something - Facebook, Skype, podcasts, streaming and e-books did not exist yet, and you were probably the only native English speaker you knew within a 10 mile radius.
        > >
        > > Just because you and some people you met in a train lost touch with English doesn't mean it must always happen to every expat. But you'll probably hold on to that belief anyway -- you do seem pretty stubborn.
        > >
        > > - Liz
        > >
        > > PS So excited for my sister's wedding! She and her partner have been together for over 20 years and now they can finally get married! New England rocks :)
        > >
        > > _______________________________________________
        > > Czechlist mailing list
        > > Czechlist@...
        > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
        >
        >
        > _______________________________________________
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        >
      • James Kirchner
        The view may be charmingly anachronistic, but I nonetheless still encounter people who have the problem. I meet many people even now who say that after
        Message 3 of 27 , Mar 5, 2013
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          The view may be charmingly anachronistic, but I nonetheless still encounter people who have the problem. I meet many people even now who say that after returning home it takes them a couple weeks to dredge their full command of their native language back up from the depths of their brains. Clearly some people never have this problem, and it somehow brings back my dim pre-adolescent memories of Orwell's "Burmese Days", which is an unjust analogy in many cases.

          I have adult students whose Polish and Albanian deteriorates after just a couple of years here, even if their English never gets to advanced level. (Just watch the Chaldean broadcasts on the cable channel here. Most of the people speak a pidgin language.) Thanks to technology, these people have plenty of access to media and communication in their native languages -- not to mention the company of expats from their own countries -- but their command of their native language still deteriorates.

          Since every other day I have to hammer standard English into a class's brains, the only way the substandard English around me (such as Ebonics and some of the working-class stuff) is that it makes my job harder when my students pick it up.

          There are dialect variations and variations in the standard language, and that does make it hard always to know what is natural. However, it's always pretty clear that when an American living overseas tells me, for example, that some perfectly common idiom I hear and read daily doesn't exist or that "nobody uses it", there's something wrong.

          Jamie

          On Mar 5, 2013, at 5:53 PM, Melvyn wrote:

          >
          > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
          >
          >>
          >> It's no secret that a long sojourn in a foreign country affects one's judgements about what is and isn't natural in one's native language.
          >
          > In these days of inexpensive air travel, intercity buses you can hop on at a moment's notice and round-the-clock instant communications this view does strike me as charmingly anachronistic.
          >
          > Still, I daresay there are some linguistic pitfalls if you stay put practically anywhere for any length of time, e.g. in north Manchester, where I have to constantly bite my teacherly tongue in case relatives become too afraid to open their mouths in front of me. :-O Does the substandard English that you hear around you ever have a negative effect on your language, Jamie?
          >
          > And BTW I can never be sure as sure can be about what is natural in my native language, because there are so many varieties of it. Just thirty miles down the road in Liverpool they use words in their everyday speech that I have never heard of.
          >
          > BR
          >
          > Melvyn
          >
          > _______________________________________________
          > Czechlist mailing list
          > Czechlist@...
          > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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        • James Kirchner
          Talking to a friend just now has just made me realize you guys are probably misunderstanding my assertions about people s language deteriorating. I m not
          Message 4 of 27 , Mar 5, 2013
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            Talking to a friend just now has just made me realize you guys are probably misunderstanding my assertions about people's language deteriorating.

            I'm not talking about people "not keeping up" with changes in their native language. That has actually changed due to technology, although Internet media and TV don't contain all language people use, so while someone may know all the recent slang, they may forget what an aglet is or the exact wording of some everyday proverb that only comes out in speech.

            What I'm actually talking about is how constant use of the language of the foreign country and immersion in the culture (with a small C) actually causes people problems processing their native language properly. A Swede once described it as the native language being cached on the hard drive and the new language being loaded into RAM.

            When the person gets back home, it takes time for the new native language to get loaded back into RAM, or whatever the brain has that's like it. The more immersed the person was, the worse the problem can be.

            This is why not only my English got weak in CZ, but my German also went to hell despite nearly daily exposure to German. Czech was loaded up front, so it was mostly Czech nuggets arranged for delivery.

            It's all about one's brain reducing effort. An old girlfriend of mine used to talk to her sister on the phone this way: "Ay, habibi! Ay azizi! Yeah, I know, because [Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, Chaldean, Arabic, Chaldean], but don't worry, because he'll just [Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, Chaldean...], you know?" She was perfectly capable of saying everything in Arabic or Chaldean that she said in English, but it was just too hard for her brain to pull the Arabic phrase off the hard drive when the English equivalent was right up there in RAM.

            The bad TM I get from native English speakers is not due to the fact that they have not kept up with vocabulary changes, but because their brain has become partially Czechified in their processing of English.

            Jamie

            On Mar 5, 2013, at 5:53 PM, Melvyn wrote:

            >
            > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
            >
            >>
            >> It's no secret that a long sojourn in a foreign country affects one's judgements about what is and isn't natural in one's native language.
            >
            > In these days of inexpensive air travel, intercity buses you can hop on at a moment's notice and round-the-clock instant communications this view does strike me as charmingly anachronistic.
            >
            > Still, I daresay there are some linguistic pitfalls if you stay put practically anywhere for any length of time, e.g. in north Manchester, where I have to constantly bite my teacherly tongue in case relatives become too afraid to open their mouths in front of me. :-O Does the substandard English that you hear around you ever have a negative effect on your language, Jamie?
            >
            > And BTW I can never be sure as sure can be about what is natural in my native language, because there are so many varieties of it. Just thirty miles down the road in Liverpool they use words in their everyday speech that I have never heard of.
            >
            > BR
            >
            > Melvyn
            >
            > _______________________________________________
            > Czechlist mailing list
            > Czechlist@...
            > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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          • jenuwefa
            This is going to be one of those rare times when I actually agree with Jamie... :) Weren t we talking about this at lunch the other day, Liz? Just the other
            Message 5 of 27 , Mar 6, 2013
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              This is going to be one of those rare times when I actually agree with Jamie... :) Weren't we talking about this at lunch the other day, Liz?

              Just the other day, my agency sent me a really beautiful promo booklet for a photography studio for a last preprint check, telling me not to make any major changes, to just check the hyphenation, etc. as it had been proofread by a native speaker. I was so appalled by the mistakes and generally crappy English I found...I told them as such and did the corrections for a symbolic 100 CZK because I couldn't bear to see it go out like that...

              I know that some of my translations are weak - the problem is that I do a lot of quick turnaround jobs and don't get the time to let the translation "rest" for a while before going back to look at it again before sending it back. Sometimes I have to go back and pull up an old document for reference and am appalled by my own translation. :( If I do a job that's big and important, I usually get another native speaker to look at it before I send it back, just to cover my ass.

              Jennifer

              --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
              >
              > Talking to a friend just now has just made me realize you guys are probably misunderstanding my assertions about people's language deteriorating.
              >
              > I'm not talking about people "not keeping up" with changes in their native language. That has actually changed due to technology, although Internet media and TV don't contain all language people use, so while someone may know all the recent slang, they may forget what an aglet is or the exact wording of some everyday proverb that only comes out in speech.
              >
              > What I'm actually talking about is how constant use of the language of the foreign country and immersion in the culture (with a small C) actually causes people problems processing their native language properly. A Swede once described it as the native language being cached on the hard drive and the new language being loaded into RAM.
              >
              > When the person gets back home, it takes time for the new native language to get loaded back into RAM, or whatever the brain has that's like it. The more immersed the person was, the worse the problem can be.
              >
              > This is why not only my English got weak in CZ, but my German also went to hell despite nearly daily exposure to German. Czech was loaded up front, so it was mostly Czech nuggets arranged for delivery.
              >
              > It's all about one's brain reducing effort. An old girlfriend of mine used to talk to her sister on the phone this way: "Ay, habibi! Ay azizi! Yeah, I know, because [Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, Chaldean, Arabic, Chaldean], but don't worry, because he'll just [Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, Chaldean...], you know?" She was perfectly capable of saying everything in Arabic or Chaldean that she said in English, but it was just too hard for her brain to pull the Arabic phrase off the hard drive when the English equivalent was right up there in RAM.
              >
              > The bad TM I get from native English speakers is not due to the fact that they have not kept up with vocabulary changes, but because their brain has become partially Czechified in their processing of English.
              >
              > Jamie
              >
              > On Mar 5, 2013, at 5:53 PM, Melvyn wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
              > >
              > >>
              > >> It's no secret that a long sojourn in a foreign country affects one's judgements about what is and isn't natural in one's native language.
              > >
              > > In these days of inexpensive air travel, intercity buses you can hop on at a moment's notice and round-the-clock instant communications this view does strike me as charmingly anachronistic.
              > >
              > > Still, I daresay there are some linguistic pitfalls if you stay put practically anywhere for any length of time, e.g. in north Manchester, where I have to constantly bite my teacherly tongue in case relatives become too afraid to open their mouths in front of me. :-O Does the substandard English that you hear around you ever have a negative effect on your language, Jamie?
              > >
              > > And BTW I can never be sure as sure can be about what is natural in my native language, because there are so many varieties of it. Just thirty miles down the road in Liverpool they use words in their everyday speech that I have never heard of.
              > >
              > > BR
              > >
              > > Melvyn
              > >
              > > _______________________________________________
              > > Czechlist mailing list
              > > Czechlist@...
              > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
              >
              >
              > _______________________________________________
              > Czechlist mailing list
              > Czechlist@...
              > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
              >
            • Melvyn
              These people with the language atrophy issues are clearly not language professionals. They need to be made more aware of the pitfalls involved and what can be
              Message 6 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                These people with the language atrophy issues are clearly not language professionals. They need to be made more aware of the pitfalls involved and what can be done about them, because there is nothing at all inevitable about this degeneration IMHO. I am no expert but I would point them in the direction of reasonably proficient bilinguals in their own communities. Worldwide, bilinguals are supposed to outnumber the "monos" - surely a good proportion of them are pretty proficient. They can't all be mired in a macaronic mishmash.

                Anyway, what you are describing takes me back to my teenage years. When I came back from my first forays to France it took me a couple of days to mentally readjust, and I daresay those who are not language professionals will often be very familiar with this phenomenon. But for me it is like acquiring any reflex, e.g. getting your sea legs...first you have to put some conscious effort into it, then it comes automatically whenever you get on board, until eventually you just whistle the Sailor's Hornpipe and away you go. Nowadays I lump that kind of slow responsiveness issue in the same category as youthful ineptitude and gaucheness (oh very well, gaucherie) in general. We grow out of it with informed practice. But OK, some people don't get the practice.

                I shall not bother quoting all the recently fashionable stuff about bilinguals having more adaptive brains as they get older. :-)

                Jamie, you have plenty of contact with dialects and substandard English, it seems, but you adjust automatically and it does not affect your finer linguistic judgement. So the same can surely also apply to those who live abroad for extended periods...?

                Jennifer, of course we all have our lapses when we are tired, hungry, unwell, hurried, harried or just plain darned lazy, incompetent etc. :-) But this was just as true when we were in our twenties and living elsewhere, wasn't it? Sometimes even more so?

                Paradoxically, I find that nowadays I have to put considerable mental effort into adjusting my behaviour after reading FB comments from my old neighbourhood in Manchester. Long punctuation-free and grammar-free passages can momentarily ensnare the unwary must resist must resist omg once you accept it the dark side is with you forever no must think of the light side whistles jauntily...

                BR

                Melvyn
                http://www.dailywritingtips.com/punctuation-saves-lives/
              • Liz
                Jen, What is wrong with the following sentence? The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Králové. Jamie believes it s important to
                Message 7 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                  Jen,

                  What is wrong with the following sentence?

                  "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Králové."

                  Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.

                  _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.

                  Cheers

                  Liz
                • James Kirchner
                  Place the Charles University in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit
                  Message 8 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                    Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.

                    Jamie

                    On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:

                    > Jen,
                    >
                    > What is wrong with the following sentence?
                    >
                    > "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                    >
                    > Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                    >
                    > _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                    >
                    > Cheers
                    >
                    > Liz
                    >
                    > _______________________________________________
                    > Czechlist mailing list
                    > Czechlist@...
                    > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


                    _______________________________________________
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                  • Liz
                    That was not a rhetorical question. - Liz
                    Message 9 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                      That was not a rhetorical question.

                      - Liz

                      --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.
                      >
                      > Jamie
                      >
                      > On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:
                      >
                      > > Jen,
                      > >
                      > > What is wrong with the following sentence?
                      > >
                      > > "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                      > >
                      > > Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                      > >
                      > > _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                      > >
                      > > Cheers
                      > >
                      > > Liz
                      > >
                      > > _______________________________________________
                      > > Czechlist mailing list
                      > > Czechlist@...
                      > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                      >
                      >
                      > _______________________________________________
                      > Czechlist mailing list
                      > Czechlist@...
                      > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                      >
                    • James Kirchner
                      I did not give a rhetorical answer. JK ... _______________________________________________ Czechlist mailing list Czechlist@czechlist.org
                      Message 10 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                        I did not give a rhetorical answer.

                        JK

                        On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Liz wrote:

                        > That was not a rhetorical question.
                        >
                        > - Liz
                        >
                        > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
                        >>
                        >> Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.
                        >>
                        >> Jamie
                        >>
                        >> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:
                        >>
                        >>> Jen,
                        >>>
                        >>> What is wrong with the following sentence?
                        >>>
                        >>> "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                        >>>
                        >>> Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                        >>>
                        >>> _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                        >>>
                        >>> Cheers
                        >>>
                        >>> Liz
                        >>>
                        >>> _______________________________________________
                        >>> Czechlist mailing list
                        >>> Czechlist@...
                        >>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> _______________________________________________
                        >> Czechlist mailing list
                        >> Czechlist@...
                        >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        > _______________________________________________
                        > Czechlist mailing list
                        > Czechlist@...
                        > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


                        _______________________________________________
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                      • Liz
                        Okay, Jen :)
                        Message 11 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                          Okay, Jen :)


                          --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I did not give a rhetorical answer.
                          >
                          > JK
                          >
                          > On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Liz wrote:
                          >
                          > > That was not a rhetorical question.
                          > >
                          > > - Liz
                          > >
                          > > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
                          > >>
                          > >> Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.
                          > >>
                          > >> Jamie
                          > >>
                          > >> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:
                          > >>
                          > >>> Jen,
                          > >>>
                          > >>> What is wrong with the following sentence?
                          > >>>
                          > >>> "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                          > >>>
                          > >>> Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                          > >>>
                          > >>> _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                          > >>>
                          > >>> Cheers
                          > >>>
                          > >>> Liz
                          > >>>
                          > >>> _______________________________________________
                          > >>> Czechlist mailing list
                          > >>> Czechlist@
                          > >>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                          > >>
                          > >>
                          > >> _______________________________________________
                          > >> Czechlist mailing list
                          > >> Czechlist@
                          > >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                          > >>
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > _______________________________________________
                          > > Czechlist mailing list
                          > > Czechlist@...
                          > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                          >
                          >
                          > _______________________________________________
                          > Czechlist mailing list
                          > Czechlist@...
                          > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                          >
                        • James Kirchner
                          If you re only addressing Jen, then send it directly to Jen. Anything on the list is public. Jamie ... _______________________________________________
                          Message 12 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                            If you're only addressing Jen, then send it directly to Jen. Anything on the list is public.

                            Jamie

                            On Mar 7, 2013, at 9:06 AM, Liz wrote:

                            > Okay, Jen :)
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
                            >>
                            >> I did not give a rhetorical answer.
                            >>
                            >> JK
                            >>
                            >> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Liz wrote:
                            >>
                            >>> That was not a rhetorical question.
                            >>>
                            >>> - Liz
                            >>>
                            >>> --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
                            >>>>
                            >>>> Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.
                            >>>>
                            >>>> Jamie
                            >>>>
                            >>>> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:
                            >>>>
                            >>>>> Jen,
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> What is wrong with the following sentence?
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> Cheers
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> Liz
                            >>>>>
                            >>>>> _______________________________________________
                            >>>>> Czechlist mailing list
                            >>>>> Czechlist@
                            >>>>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                            >>>>
                            >>>>
                            >>>> _______________________________________________
                            >>>> Czechlist mailing list
                            >>>> Czechlist@
                            >>>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                            >>>>
                            >>>
                            >>>
                            >>> _______________________________________________
                            >>> Czechlist mailing list
                            >>> Czechlist@...
                            >>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> _______________________________________________
                            >> Czechlist mailing list
                            >> Czechlist@...
                            >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            > _______________________________________________
                            > Czechlist mailing list
                            > Czechlist@...
                            > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


                            _______________________________________________
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                          • James Kirchner
                            Melvyn, I know plenty of good language professionals who admit that their command of their native language is affected by prolonged immersion in a different
                            Message 13 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                              Melvyn, I know plenty of good language professionals who admit that their command of their native language is affected by prolonged immersion in a different language, and they have to develop strategies for dealing with the problem.

                              The problem may not be evident in some contexts, such as when teaching an intermediate ESL class, or in some writing, but in other situations it's evident that the language has deteriorated in deeper ways, not because the people lost their language, but because certain things get cached in the brain and are temporarily less accessible. In my case, I could not drag up the names of some public figures from back home, and I could not yank up the lyrics to Christmas carols or some other songs. These all returned to me once I was home.

                              In fact, this is one reason interpreting is a special skill that not every translator can do. Some people are very good at (and have trained themselves) to access all the language in their brain on the fly, while others have to do work where they get more time to pull things up.

                              When I am exposed to nonstandard dialects of English in my own environment, it may or may not affect my speech, depending on the type of exposure. I tend to absorb the language around me very fast, so, for example, five minutes talking to someone across the river in Canada changes my pronunciation without my wanting it to, although not my grammar, because those Canadians speak standard English but pronounce it differently.

                              However, when I worked a low-pay factory job for a few years with speakers of "African-American Vernacular English", that 40 hours a week around a different grammatical structure actually did affect my grammatical judgements. I didn't get all the way to saying things like, "You shoulda been told me," (i.e. you should have told me a very long time ago) or, "I will return and be back" (i.e. I will return and stay), but I was liable to come out with things like, "Did you ever be sitting in front of TV and..." That's quite analogous to someone just coming home from the CR and using English continuous tenses inappropriately because his brain has temporarily conflated them with the Czech imperfective.

                              I don't think it has anything to do with whether someone is a "language professional" or not. It probably has more to do with how deeply the expat absorbs his surroundings and the mental boundaries he sets. Americans in Marianske Lazne who barely integrated themselves into the local society never had any problem at all. Those of us who didn't feel it necessary to cling to our own expat community (in fact, very little of my social life was with English speakers) had more trouble.

                              One thing I also wonder is whether the problem is different for people whose native dialect of their own language is not the standard one. Those people have to monitor their own language a good deal of the time, so they may not be as susceptible to the creeping influence of a second language on their first. Other people (I'm one of them) grew up not having to pay much attention to their language at all, because they already spoke their country's standard dialect, so since they aren't monitoring monitoring their English much, influences creep in.

                              Now here's a strange one: When I was living in the CR, my spoken German and French shriveled to almost nothing. When I returned home, I decided I'd better drill them to get them back. I chose German first, but as it turned out, I didn't need to drill French much, because drilling German also brought back my French.

                              Jamie

                              On Mar 7, 2013, at 6:39 AM, Melvyn wrote:

                              >
                              > These people with the language atrophy issues are clearly not language professionals. They need to be made more aware of the pitfalls involved and what can be done about them, because there is nothing at all inevitable about this degeneration IMHO. I am no expert but I would point them in the direction of reasonably proficient bilinguals in their own communities. Worldwide, bilinguals are supposed to outnumber the "monos" - surely a good proportion of them are pretty proficient. They can't all be mired in a macaronic mishmash.
                              >
                              > Anyway, what you are describing takes me back to my teenage years. When I came back from my first forays to France it took me a couple of days to mentally readjust, and I daresay those who are not language professionals will often be very familiar with this phenomenon. But for me it is like acquiring any reflex, e.g. getting your sea legs...first you have to put some conscious effort into it, then it comes automatically whenever you get on board, until eventually you just whistle the Sailor's Hornpipe and away you go. Nowadays I lump that kind of slow responsiveness issue in the same category as youthful ineptitude and gaucheness (oh very well, gaucherie) in general. We grow out of it with informed practice. But OK, some people don't get the practice.
                              >
                              > I shall not bother quoting all the recently fashionable stuff about bilinguals having more adaptive brains as they get older. :-)
                              >
                              > Jamie, you have plenty of contact with dialects and substandard English, it seems, but you adjust automatically and it does not affect your finer linguistic judgement. So the same can surely also apply to those who live abroad for extended periods...?
                              >
                              > Jennifer, of course we all have our lapses when we are tired, hungry, unwell, hurried, harried or just plain darned lazy, incompetent etc. :-) But this was just as true when we were in our twenties and living elsewhere, wasn't it? Sometimes even more so?
                              >
                              > Paradoxically, I find that nowadays I have to put considerable mental effort into adjusting my behaviour after reading FB comments from my old neighbourhood in Manchester. Long punctuation-free and grammar-free passages can momentarily ensnare the unwary must resist must resist omg once you accept it the dark side is with you forever no must think of the light side whistles jauntily...
                              >
                              > BR
                              >
                              > Melvyn
                              > http://www.dailywritingtips.com/punctuation-saves-lives/
                              >
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                            • Liz
                              Now I understand you must have missed something as well. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Czechlist/message/51067 - Liz
                              Message 14 of 27 , Mar 7, 2013
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                                Now I understand you must have missed something as well.
                                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Czechlist/message/51067

                                - Liz

                                --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > If you're only addressing Jen, then send it directly to Jen. Anything on the list is public.
                                >
                                > Jamie
                                >
                                > On Mar 7, 2013, at 9:06 AM, Liz wrote:
                                >
                                > > Okay, Jen :)
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
                                > >>
                                > >> I did not give a rhetorical answer.
                                > >>
                                > >> JK
                                > >>
                                > >> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Liz wrote:
                                > >>
                                > >>> That was not a rhetorical question.
                                > >>>
                                > >>> - Liz
                                > >>>
                                > >>> --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, James Kirchner <czechlist@> wrote:
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>> Place "the Charles University" in the predicate, as a direct object or the object of a preposition, and you may be able to see that it sounds weird. I admit it sounds less weird when it is the subject.
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>> Jamie
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>> On Mar 7, 2013, at 8:03 AM, Liz wrote:
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>>> Jen,
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> What is wrong with the following sentence?
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> "The Charles University has campuses in Prague, Pilsen and Hradec Kralove."
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> Jamie believes "it's important to check with Americans who are resident in America" because an expat's English will be too distorted to answer to that question.
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> _That_ was the problem I had with Jamie's comment.
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> Cheers
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> Liz
                                > >>>>>
                                > >>>>> _______________________________________________
                                > >>>>> Czechlist mailing list
                                > >>>>> Czechlist@
                                > >>>>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>> _______________________________________________
                                > >>>> Czechlist mailing list
                                > >>>> Czechlist@
                                > >>>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                > >>>>
                                > >>>
                                > >>>
                                > >>> _______________________________________________
                                > >>> Czechlist mailing list
                                > >>> Czechlist@
                                > >>> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                > >>
                                > >>
                                > >> _______________________________________________
                                > >> Czechlist mailing list
                                > >> Czechlist@
                                > >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                > >>
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > _______________________________________________
                                > > Czechlist mailing list
                                > > Czechlist@...
                                > > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                >
                                >
                                > _______________________________________________
                                > Czechlist mailing list
                                > Czechlist@...
                                > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
                                >
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