Re: English spoken here (was: PowerPoint considered harmful)

John C Klensin <> Sun, 02 December 2012 17:21 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id A0FA521F881F for <>; Sun, 2 Dec 2012 09:21:19 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -102.599
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-102.599 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[AWL=0.000, BAYES_00=-2.599, USER_IN_WHITELIST=-100]
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id GTM9Ykg6c33U for <>; Sun, 2 Dec 2012 09:21:19 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id D675121F878D for <>; Sun, 2 Dec 2012 09:21:18 -0800 (PST)
Received: from [] ( by with esmtp (Exim 4.71 (FreeBSD)) (envelope-from <>) id 1TfDE5-000NwA-7k; Sun, 02 Dec 2012 12:21:09 -0500
Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2012 12:21:05 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: SM <>
Subject: Re: English spoken here (was: PowerPoint considered harmful)
Message-ID: <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <00c001cdce7a$d9fa6490$8def2db0$> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
X-Mailer: Mulberry/4.0.8 (Win32)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline
Cc: Keith Moore <>,
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.12
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2012 17:21:19 -0000

--On Sunday, December 02, 2012 08:35 -0800 SM <>

> It is not about different dialects of English.  There are
> people in one part of the world who speak English.  There are
> people from other parts of the world which do not understand
> that English because of:
>   (a) The way English is spoken
>   (b) The speed at which English is spoken
>   (c) The vocabulary used

(d) Their reading-English is much better than their spoken
English and they have trouble keeping up even if (b) is quite

> The people face a high barrier for active participation at a
> meeting.

But can be considerably aided in many cases by written material
(slides, summaries, or both) well in advance especially if those
material are also used at the meeting, thereby aiding

> Accommodating the group of people is not enough.  It is up to
> the group of people to say what they would like done to make
> the IETF easier for them.  It is up to the (North American)
> group to, if you excuse me, shut up and take what they say at
> face value instead of trying to prove them wrong.

Sigh.  Some of the comments above are derived from exactly the
types of discussions you are trying to encourage.  Other parts
of it derive from trying to understand and participate in
presentations and discussions in languages in which I can sort
of get around but am not real-time fluent (while the issue in
the IETF is the set of languages, dialects, and pronunciations
we call "English", the problem isn't unique).  

Cultural styles also make some of the most affected parties less
likely to speak up for their specific needs on this list than
one might like.  That leaves the rest of us with a choice
between trying to synthesize from other conversations and
experiences and taking the position that, until the people with
the most severe versions of the problem speak up, there is no
problem.  I believe the latter would be unfortunate for many
reasons, not least of which is that better use of meeting time
and presentation aids/ materials would help those of us who are
native speakers as well.