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

Steven Bellovin <smb@cs.columbia.edu> Tue, 04 December 2012 17:50 UTC

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Subject: Re: English spoken here (was: PowerPoint considered harmful)
From: Steven Bellovin <smb@cs.columbia.edu>
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Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 12:50:17 -0500
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To: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
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Cc: SM <sm@resistor.net>, Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com>, ietf@ietf.org
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On Dec 2, 2012, at 12:21 PM, John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> wrote:

> 
> 
> --On Sunday, December 02, 2012 08:35 -0800 SM <sm@resistor.net>
> wrote:
> 
>> 
>> 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
> moderate.
> 
>> 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
> synchronization.
> 
>> ...
>> 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.


I started making up really good slides (in a variety of settings)
after noticing non-native-English speakers at the IETF taking
pictures of the screen -- it *really* helped them.

		--Steve Bellovin, https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb