You don't need to speak English like a native

It's okay to have "weird" pacing when speaking. It's also okay to make sentences with correct meaning but uncommon phrasing

Don't allow yourself to pause because you're struggling to find the most native-sounding way to phrase what you mean

Just express what you mean in the most comfortable way to you

There's no "broken" English. English isn't owned by Americans or the British. For better or worse, it's become an international language.

Β· Β· Tusky Β· 14 Β· 170 Β· 177

(Also, claiming Indians, Nigerians, Jamaicans, etc., speak "broken English", despite the fact that they're native speakers, is racist as fuck)

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I will never apologise for my bad English, Americans and the British should apologize for making this shitty language the current lingua franca

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@romariorios gringos: lmao they can't speak "proper english"

also gringos: can speak only one language and think they're the best

@romariorios This is such an insidious way that white supremacy roots itself in language: we're taught to view any usage of English that isn't "proper" as a mark of foreignness and low intelligence. When you internalize the ideas that people speaking English as a second language are by definition fluent in multiple languages (which is fuckin hard) and that English isn't owned/epitomized by the white upper class, it causes a sea change in the way you view "non-standard" English speakers.

@romariorios I've noticed in business, midwestern US speakers and Nigerian speakers are mutually near-unintelligible to each other when spoken. If I recognized either of us having a problem understanding each other, I'd ask if we could agree to use the BBC accent as neutral ground (for better or worse, it's common media across the anglophone world) or work via email or chat. Didn't have that struggle with the Kenyan accent though...

@BalooUriza more often than not, intelligibility comes down to familiarity. White americans will have trouble discerning Nigerian english because they don't listen to Nigerian english often enough because why would they?

They just meme about it ("who is the gae", "the way") and that's it

They have no trouble understanding british or aussie english, which are also completely different, because they're constantly in contact with those accents -- because they're white accents worth engaging with

@romariorios I seem to recall Nigeria is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Though everywhere that speaks English has the BBC, which probably goes a long way in making a generically British accent universally mutually intelligable.

But you are right, it's the mutual lack of exposure that limits intelligibility between speakers of the same language.

@romariorios Customer service and tech support being what it is, I do now wince when I hear "do the needful" though.
It seems somewhat common in Nigerian English. But what I've learned is that it seems to have the connotation of both "do what I mean, not what I asked for" and "I don't care about the details, but whatever details you do choose will be panned as wrong".

@romariorios @BalooUriza

The issue is also attitudinal - it's more than feasible for one Anglophone to understand another, if they can be arsed to pay attention.

A lot of English speakers, particularly but not exclusively Americans, talk too much and don't listen, and are very offended if you ever mention this, despite the rudeness they themselves demonstrate.

@romariorios @BalooUriza

The flipside of that is that it is quite possible to understand spoken Chaucerian English if you concentrate enough. After a while, it becomes second nature. Put simply, if you can understand this, you can English in all its forms:

So, if you can understand Middle English, you can certainly understand any modern speaker of English.


yeah, took me longer than I care to admit to realize this

@romariorios there’s no central authority for English, so make it your own tbh

@Morgan @romariorios the French have a committee to avoid having English words in French, and half the time English speakers say: "Hey, that's a great word French committee! Ours now!"

@romariorios as a retired grammar nazi, this is huge. As long as your target audience (could be the public, could be 1 other person) understands the concepts that came from your head, you languaged correctly and no one can tell you otherwise. English teachers are living in another world where the only target audience is job recruiters looking at a cover letter for typos.

Languages change and die all the time, but your thoughts deserve to be heard and live forever.

@romariorios Very true! So long as a clear mind is behind the words, not being able to pass as a native speaker is no big deal at all. (USA based observation.)

@romariorios @arcans it bugs me to no end that people have misappropriated the term "broken English". "Broken" in that context is only supposed to mean "not flowing", as in you speak in sentences like "need Taxi. You help?" It's the same sort of sense as breaking something into smaller chunks, and it just means someone is new to a language.

Speaking simplified English or not sounding native or making even a nonsensical word choice isn't "broken English", and there's zero wrong with speaking any language in a "broken" manner.

How an entire culture has managed to change a descriptive term into some kind of judgement is beyond me.

As someone said :

"English is not a language, it's three languages wearing a trench coat pretending to be one"

@romariorios The beauty is that, compared to a lot of other languages, English hardly has any fixed rules and is super adaptable. This is part of the reason there are so many distinct English dialects and regionalism (colonialism and imperialism is another major reason).

So, yes, I agree completely with you! Also, I've found that non-native speakers often understand the rules of grammar better than natives, because they've had to learn them for ally rather than "naturally."

@romariorios I work in communications (so, writing all day for a living) and once worked in a small shop where I was the only native English speaker. Our resident grammarian was Russian and English was, like, her third language. She just knew the formalities way better due to the nature of her language education.

@ink_slinger it's very important to note that this apparent proficiency from non-natives is actually an effect of people who want to speak english but are too insecure to try it being filtered out

Non-standard (i.e. non-white) english being correlated with lack of intelligence is incredibly repressive to non-natives an, as a result, many of us just... quit trying altogether -- or worse, we become too afraid to speak to native spearks

Only 5% of Brazilians speak any English; only 1% are fluent

@ink_slinger so, the fact that the non-natives you meet speak very good english just means only a minority of very well trained speakers will ever reach you

@romariorios That's a very good point! I started off saying that English can be easily moulded and adapted to different dialects and then went in a totally different direction.

But, yes, you make a good point and I didn't think about that.

@romariorios Jamaicans speak their own language, as Haitians do. It's a horrible inferiority complex to think your own language is just a broken colonial adaptation.

@romariorios amazing how so many good rules of thought fold nicely into short phrases with other good rules

this one goes in the "just talk" bucket

side note about speech 

@romariorios All of this shit goes for neurodivergent speech, too. Speaking is for *communicating*, not eugenicsy wang-sizing contests.

On the other side of the coin, it's absolutely fine to ask people to slow down or explain what they mean by a phrase or gesture or facial expression or whatever. Every conversation is a cooperative effort.

@romariorios @antifuchs I have a linguists degree and anybody who disagrees with this 100 percent correct and good post can fight me.

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