“The Common Tongue Project”
What Is It?
.The term, “The Common Tongue” is not new… nor is the concept. The term has been used over and over in many stories – throughout history – to refer to, “a common language” (or at least a dialect) which is used to communicate between the people of a world, where-in each group (race, nationality, etc.) has it’s own native language, but needs to communicate with others, for many various reasons: travel, trade & commerce, politics – or simply – the sharing of ideas.
For the world we live in currently, “The Common Tongue” has become – The English Language
As a teacher of English as a foreign language, it has become quite clear to me, that people want to learn The English language for a number of reasons.
The “version” that most people want to learn is what is usually referred to as, “American English”… (sorry England, that’s just the way it is.) … And additionally, the accent that most people would like to learn – the one that is easiest to comprehend for MOST people throughout the word – and that which is most widely used in: movies, radio broadcasts, and international news – is what is referred to as “General American“. This is the foundation of “The Common Tongue” Project…
In other words, the form of the language, which those throughout the world, very much desire to learn (and even the language itself) has very little to do with the country of “England”… for which the language has been named.
Why Change The Name?
.One of the main inspirations for this project came from witnessing and experiencing the divisiveness, and petty bickering between people (mostly teachers and educators), about which form of “English” is “correct”, and all the things that the “others” do wrong. Interestingly, this “fight” only seems to be between the British and Americans. Those on the British side of the fight, bicker about how Americans pronounce some words, but then leave out articles, and are – for some reason – themselves, prejudice against the letter “r”. While the Americans complain about the British being pompous and proud, yet can’t seem to figure out the use of The Present Perfect Tense, and seem quite determined to destroy the language through using words improperly and changing the spellings to make it easier to text… or maybe it is an attempt to be “creative”… this part is unclear. (If you don’t know what I mean, just try reading any of the comments on facebook or youtube.)
.Because of these things, I do not wish to say that I speak “English”, or even “American English” – Nor do I wish to say that I speak “International English” because it is not true. I speak very differently than the people of “England”… (in fact, my friends in America say that I now speak “funny”, because I actually enunciate my words and speak slightly slower since I became a teacher.) Though it has been considered a stereo-typically stupid and “redneck” thing to say, “I speak American” or “Why don’t you learn to speak American!” (which is never actually meant as a question) – I have come to believe that each country SHOULD have it’s own name for it’s language regardless of whether or not it is simply another version of something else. Let the Americans speak “American”, let the people of England speak “English”, the Irish speak “Irish”, and the Aussies speak “Australian” (or whatever term each nation decides for itself)…
…But let there be “The Common Tongue”…
A Common Language Used Between ALL Nations…
But Not Ascribed To ANY Nation…
- Differences are accepted and welcomed (and not regarded as “wrong” or improper)
- Names of places, and terms which are borrowed from other languages are pronounced as closely as possible to the original (inspiration: Alex Trebek)
- Pronunciation (of non-foreign words) is as free as possible from regional dialect (making it easier to understand for people of other nations)
- Slang terms, phrasal verbs, and prepositional phrases are avoided and replaced by proper words and terms that better express what is meant… (at least when communicating with one who may not know those regional terms and phrases)
- Phrasal verbs and Prepositional Phrases that can not be explained are eliminated and/or replaced
- Words whose meanings have changed through “common usage” are re-claimed and re-taught according to their TRUE meaning
- Prefixes, Suffixes, and Punctuation is used PROPERLY
Language IS Magic…
With it, We affect And Change The wORld Around Us
The way it has been used, up to now, is akin to letting children run with scissors and play with fire…
Isn’t it time we recognize this – use the language properly – and teach it in a way that can change the wORld for the betterment of ALL?
“Be Excellent To Each Other”
~ Ted “Theodore” Logan