Discoveries in Project Work

Государственное бюджетное общеобразовательное учреждение города Москвы «Школа с углубленным изучением английского языка № 1359 имени авиаконструктора МЛ. Миля»

 

Исследовательская работа на тему

«Донести, не расплескав по дороге»

Роль переводчика и трудности перевода художественных текстов

 

Работу выполнила:

Бастрикина Елизавета,  11«Б» класс

Научный руководитель:

Ишхнели Ирина Отариевна,

учитель английского языка

 

МОСКВА

2016—2017 год

 

CONTENTS

  1. ...…………………………………………………………….3
  2. Theoretical Foundation for the Research – the most common problems that translators encounter while translating a text from source language into target language…………………………………………………………….4
  3. Analyzing the most common problems that translators encounter while translating poetry……………………………….………………………….5
  4. Analyzing the most common problems from personal webpage on www.stihi.ru.................................................................................................6
  5. Conclusion…………………………………………...……………………14
  6. Bibliography……………………………………………………………...15
  7. Appendix ………………………………………………………………...15

 

  1. Introduction

The actuality of the problem

Translators usually face some difficulties in their work. Translation is more than just transporting words or sentences from one language to another. It involves the interpretation of feelings, emotions and thoughts.

The actuality of this problem can be explained by the existence of challenges translator faces:

  • Can all the emotions, or atmosphere, created by the author, be correctly delivered?
  • Can translators bridge the cultural differences and overcome language barriers?

The Object of this research work is the translation skills that are needed to successfully translate poetry and fiction.

The aim of the research:

  • To trace the challenges of translation;
  • To find out how to deal with the challenges of translation;
  • To compare successful and unsuccessful translations;
  • To make an opinion polling based on comments on the website page;
  • To summarize personal experience on how to deal with the challenges of translation.

Methods used to carry out the research:

  • literature reviews – searching for and synthesizing;
  • analytical – analyzing personal achievements in translation;
  • focus groups opinions – people’s comments on the website page.

The sources for this research included dictionaries, different journals, websites, and forums.

  1. Theoretical Foundation for the Research – the most common problems that translators encounter while translating a text from source language into target language.

Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines the word “translation” as

  1. rendering of something into another language;
  2. a version in a different language;
  3. act or process of translating.

Then, according to the dictionary, the synonyms of TRANSLATION are PARAPHRASE, VERSION refer to a rewording of something. A TRANSLATION is a rendering of the same ideas in a different language from the original. A PARAPHRASE is a free rendering of the sense of a passage in other words, usually in the same language. A VERSION is a translation, esp. of the Bible, or else an account of something illustrating a particular point of view.

Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines the word “translate” as:

  1. to turn something (written or spoken) from one language into another;
  2. to change the form, condition, nature, etc., transform, convert;
  3. to explain in terms that can be more easily understood, to interpret. [1]

How can we judge whether a translation is good or bad? In this project work, we try to reflect upon a translator’s skills. The touchstone to measure the skills is loss or maintenance of the meaning of the source text.

Some common challenges of translation are:

  1. The structure of language that is related to the level of how easy and accurate the translator’s work will be. For example, in English you put the subject at the beginning of the phrase before the verb and after the verb you have the object. What happens if you apply this pattern to the Russian language that obey different rules?
  2. Idiomatic expressions that explain something using figures of speech. Such phrases have a meaning only when used in a particular context.
  3. Slang words and phrases that do not have similar words and phrases in other languages.
  4. Missing words that do not exist in the target language.
  5. Words with multiple meaning have a lot of meanings, and sometimes it is really easy to confuse in their translation.
  6. The author’s attitude shows that the writer has a personal approach. It is often associated with sarcasm and irony.
  7. Cultural background of the people who speak the language you translate in.
  8. Analyzing the most common problems that translators encounter while translating poetry.

There are specific challenges in translating poetry that we can never meet in other types of texts. In general, the problems are linguistic, literary and aesthetic, and socio-cultural. The translator’s ability to deliver the mood of the poem is of specific consideration in this project work.

  1. Linguistic problems are usually associated with collocation and obscured (non-standard) syntactical structures.
  2. Literary problems are associated with aesthetic values or poetic truth in a poem that are conveyed in word order and sounds, as well as in cognitive sense (logic). Let us consider:
    1. Poetic structure is the plan of the poem as a whole, the shape and the balance of individual sentence or of each line.
    2. Metaphorical expressions mean any constructions associated with visual, sound, touch, and taste images.
    3. Sound is anything connected with things like rhyme, rhythm, assonance,
  3. The socio-cultural problems exist in the phrases containing words related to the major cultural categories, such as values, customs, and art.
  4. Mood is the atmosphere, or emotion in the poem created by the poet. A poem’s mood is inseparable with setting, tone, and theme.
  5. Analyzing the most common problems from personal webpage on www.stihi.ru.

In this project work, we include analysis of translation of song lyrics that IE.Bastrikina has been doing for 3 years. Totally, there are 35 song lyrics translated from English, French, German and Japanese languages into the target language – Russian.[2] Some of the songs are from musicals. Other songs include classics of world music, as well as absolutely new genres. Of course, there were many challenges in the process of the lyrics translation. We are going to consider some of solutions for the presented problems.

The biggest challenge in translating lyrics is connected with literary problems. It is hard to deliver the rhythm of the original. In this case, the translator’s work includes counting the syllables and sounds.  It is essential to be able to sing the translated song with the same music as the original song.

Other challenges include:

Metaphorical and idiomatical expressions. They are widely presented in Arctic Monkeys’ lyrics of Do I Wanna Know? Some of the idioms were omitted because their translation influenced the rhythm and made the song sound worse in Russian. These are the examples of successful translation when I managed to give the correct sense of the lyrics and deal with the sound.

  1. If this feeling flows both ways? — Взаимное ли это чувство? (word for word translation) — Ждать взаимности, иль нет? (my translation)
  2. So have you got the guts? — Так хватит ли тебе смелости? (word for word translation) — Ну, ты достаточно смела? (my translation)

One more example is lyrics from Nickelback’s song Lullaby:

  1. I'm reaching out — Я обращаюсь к тебе/пытаюсь достучаться до тебя (word for word translation) — Только услышь меня, … Я кричу… (my translation)
  2. Well, everybody's hit the bottom — Да, каждый может опуститься на дно (word for word translation) — Любой легко сорвется в бездну (my translation).

Socio-cultural problems. Some lyrics included issues connected with the culture and art of the English-speaking countries. For example, Emilie Autumn’s  Opheliac[3]. In this song, there is an extract from Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet”:

Doubt thou the stars are fire,

Doubt thou the sun doth move

Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love.

In the process of translation of the song lyrics, I could take some well-known Russian translation of “Hamlet”. Unfortunately, not a single translation that had been already published was suitable in that case, because it should have the same rhythm as the lyrics. Therefore, I had to do the translation of Shakespeare’s lines myself:

          Не верь в сиянье звезд,

Не верь светилам ты,

Не верь горю без слез.

Но сомнений нет в любви.

      In the next song, Notre-Dame de Paris – Florence[4], there are a lot of allusions to the achievements of Age of Exploration in the 15th-16th centuries:

Des bateaux sont partis déjà sur l'océan

Pour y chercher la porte de la route des Indes    

(Корабли уже отправились в океан,

Чтобы найти там дверь на дорогу к Индиям).

Or:

Luther va réécrire le Nouveau Testament  

(Лютер собирается переписать Новый Завет)

Dante and Johannes Gutenberg (the inventor of the movable-type printing press) are also mentioned by the author of the lyrics. The meaning of the song lies deeply in the reference to these great people because their innovations led to the clashes of different ideas. It meant that I couldn’t omit their names. For example,

Корабли уж вошли в открытый океан,

Чтобы найти проход к воротам разных стран.

Or:

Скоро Лютер Завет уж закончит писать…

Finding proper equivalents in this song needed lots of patience. Anyway, the meaning was preserved.

Another song that deserves to be mentioned here is Gods and Monsters by Jessica Lange[5]. It has the following line:

I'm living like Jim Morrison — Я живу, как Джим Моррисон.

Jim Morrison was an American singer and songwriter, best remembered as the lead singer of The Doors and one of the popular culture's most rebellious icons. He had wild personality and died at the age of 27[6]. Russian teenagers are not familiar with this rock singer, so I omitted his name, translating the line like this – Иду, свою жизнь сжигая. Without the name the Russian equivalent sounds clear to the present day reader. The meaning remained, though.

Missing words. To illustrate this challenge, it is relevant to mention Opheliac by Emilie Autumn. The author of the lyrics coined a new word – “Opheliac”, which in fact consists of two words: Ophelia (Hamlet’s bride) and maniac (violent and mentally ill). It is obvious that this word is missing in the Russian language. What is the translator of the lyrics supposed to do in this case? In my opinion, when there aren’t any analogies, it is necessary to use the word of the original. In Russian translation, it is – Офелиак. Besides, in Russian we have words “Офелия” and “маньяк”.

Poetic structure. As for poetic structure, shape and the balance of individual sentence or of each line, the most difficult from the point view of translation were lyrics by above-mentioned Emilie Autumn. In her songs, she often changes the shape and the rhythm of the verse. She may stop singing and start reading spoken word poetry. It means that the structure of her lyrics is very difficult. For example, Emilie Autumn — Fight Like A Girl[7].  In this song, she manages to speed and then to slow the pace. One stanza is characterized by a faster pace than the rest of the song lyrics. This part is performed with a different rhythm:

No mercy, it’s a bit too late

The game is on

Don’t run, don’t hide, don’t wait

‘Cause if we’ve got no honor

Then we’ve got no shame

If it’s in self defense

Then we will take no blame

This is our battle cry

I’m giving you a head start

You’re going to need it

I had to break every phrase, translate it, and the put it together again in order to be close to the original with its unusual pace:

Прочь жалость, мне не до того!

Игра идет,

Лишь стой, не жди ты ничего.

Коль не испуган –

Не познаешь стыда.

И если мы защищались –

То не наша вина.

Мы с этим кличем – в бой.

Ибо ты мужчиной рожден.

Metaphorical expressions. Authors usually use a lot of expressions that appeal to the senses – of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Due to their specificity, they are not a piece of cake for translators. For example, Escape the Fate — Picture Perfect[8]:

Paint bleeds, ink runs, image of your love — Рисунок кровоточит, чернила растекаются, картина твоей любви (дословн.)  The author is describing his feelings after the loss of the beloved. He uses visual imagery when paints are compared to blood. The visual effect becomes stronger when running ink is added to the paints. Then, their love is compared to a painting. The painting is bleeding like a bleeding heart. Here is the translation:

Краски текут, словно кровь твоя,

По белому листу…

The author continues describing the pain of the lost love:

I'd give up my eyes to see you one last time

And I'd give all my fingertips to touch you

And I could paint you picture perfect even if I were blinded

The verse is full of despair. We think of a person who is ready to give anything for the chance to see the beloved once again. The translation of this tactile imagery can be the following:

Отдал бы я глаза, увидеть снова чтоб.

И отдал б я все пальцы, чтоб притронуться…

И я бы создал портрет твой, даже если буду слеп.

Sound. The sound of any songs depends not only on their music, but on the structure of the lyrics. For example, Jimi Hendrix — All Along the Watchtower[9] that sounds like a ballad. A ballad is known for its specific rhythm and pace. It was a challenge to translate it. According to Wikipedia, ballads are 13 lines with a ABABBCBC form, which usually consist of couplets (two lines) of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. Accompanied by music, ballad stanzas can tell a whole love story[10].

There were problems with sound in Il reste encore l’amour by Adam et Eve[11]. On the one hand, the song seems slow, but in the target language some words can be lost if you do not adjust them to the required rhythm.

And the last example of the song which was difficult from the point of view of its sound is  Der Tanz Der Schatten by Theatre of Tragedy[12].

The song is a conversation between a man and a woman, a conversation about love and death. In their exchanges words overlap, that's why some problems with rhythm appear.

Mood. It is a challenge for any translator to deliver the mood of a poem or lyrics. The mood of the original text should be preserved. It is not a secret that mood is created by lyrics, not only music. For example, — Escape the Fate — Picture Perfect.

Despite the vivid and vigorous music of this song, the lyrics narrate about the death of the lover. The author’s sorrow is expressed by speculations about death and rhetorical questions that are very emotional:  Why did you have to go? (Почему же ты ушла?). In order to have the same mood in the target language, it was important to be very precise with the translation.

One more example is Persephone — My Sweetest Pain[13]. It is a quiet and slow song that tells about misfortunes and losses. It seems that the singer is very calm, but in lyrics are full of pain that tortures her soul – “Another scar across my heart” (И новый шрам грозит сердцам), “only memories there/My sheltered treasure they are/My only pleasure, like a single star” (В памяти лишь вопрос:/Как долго будет одна,/По воле судеб, сиять звезда?..)

And the last example of problems with mood is Adam et Eve’s La seconde chance — Je te jure. This song is the last message of the dying girl to her beloved. She asks him not to feel sorry for her death, because she will still be nearby. The tragic emotions are delivered by expressions showing request like «иссушить слезы» and promise that «истинную любовь не разрушит смерть».

Some linguistic problems in translation from Japanese to the target language. The easiest languages for me as translator were English and German. The most difficult were French and Japanese.  The problem is the structure of the languages. The English and German languages can be characterized by clear structure and simple pronunciation, while the French and Japanese languages have difficult pronunciation, syllables and sounds which do not exist in the Russian language. In French, some syllables are silent that makes counting the number of syllables very difficult. It influences the rhythm when you translate into the target language. As for the Japanese language, its structure is very hard to understand for a person who never studied Oriental languages. But I found the way out. I had to find an English version of the lyrics which helped me to solve the problem and understand at least some basics of the Japanese. What next? I just adjusted the Russian translation to the Japanese lyrics following its rhythm, rhyme and sound as a whole.

Summarizing and statistics. This is the analysis of translated song lyrics according to the source language: English – 62,8% (22 из 35),  French – 20% (7 из 35), German – 14,2% (5 из 35), Japanese – 2,9% (1 из 35)[14].

This is the analysis of song lyrics according to how difficult it was to translate them:

  1. Emilie Autumn — Fight Like A Girl https://www.stihi.ru/2014/07/01/8299
  2. Emilie Autumn – Opheliac https://www.stihi.ru/2014/07/14/4945
  3. Adam et Eve — Il reste encore l amour https://www.stihi.ru/2015/08/15/5152
  4. Aural Vampire — Shonan Zoku — Cannibal Coast https://www.stihi.ru/2014/08/21/2570
  5. Notre-Dame de Paris – Florence https://www.stihi.ru/2015/09/06/9927
  6. Theatre of Tragedy — Der Tanz Der Schatten https://www.stihi.ru/2014/03/21/8248

Opinions of the focus group. According to the studies of the readers’ reviews on the Goth song lyrics translation, it can be stated that most of the comments are positive and emphasize the translator’s skill to deliver the mood of the lyrics correctly. As for negative comments, they were very balanced, emphasizing the need to choose life, not death. This approach to basic values in our life is correct: teenagers should choose life, not death. It is important to separate Goth subculture and art from our everyday life with its joys and sorrows.[15]

  1. Conclusion

To sum up, the research revealed that there is a number of problems, which translators have to solve in the process of translating from a source language into the target language – Russian.

Poetry, especially song lyrics, can evoke strong emotions in readers. They are closely related to a certain atmosphere or mood. The writer of the poem creates the mood using a number of elements, which were investigated in this research work. To define the mood of a poem, we should understand how these different elements interact and what atmosphere they create.

A translator should be very careful delivering the mood of the source language and translate words and expressions, which describe the setting, tone and theme properly. Having synthesized other people’s research in literature reviews, focus group opinions and judging on personal experience, it can be concluded that my translations of Goth song lyrics on website stihi.ru are successful. They can arise in readers or listeners the feelings of fear, chaos or atmospheres of peace and serenity. If the feelings from lyrics in the source language and the target language are the same, nothing is lost in the translation. A sophisticated reader can always understand it. A good translator has enough skill to interpret it.

We believe that all visitors of E.Bastrikina’s webpage on stihi.ru will find some useful information on how to translate song lyrics. It may encourage other people who love art and fancy reading and translating poetry to pursue the objective of developing translation skills. As the proverb says, A good example is the best sermon. So, as an example, the results of our research were published on the website of MOSCOW ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (MELTA) and on our school website (the News rubric) where any student who is involved in project work and interested in the issues of translation can find information for further consideration.

Bibliography

  1. http://www.fairobserver.com/culture/endless-challenges-of-translation-75098/
  2. Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, GRAMERCY BOOKS, New York/Avenel, 1993
  3. https://www.smartling.com/blog/common-challenges-translation/
  4. http://www.translationdirectory.com/article640.htm
  5. http://penandthepad.com/define-mood-poem-1882.html
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballad
  7. http://blog.slavis.net/translations/what-skills-define-our-native-translator
  8. https://www.stihi.ru

 

Appendix

#1.

 

#2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.

 

 

#4.

[1] Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, GRAMERCY BOOKS, New York/Avenel, 1993

[2] See Appendix #1.

[3] www.stihi.ru/2014/07/14/4945

[4] www.stihi.ru/2015/09/06/9927

[5] www.stihi.ru/2014/10/25/11547

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Morrison

[7] www.stihi.ru/2014/07/01/8299

[8] www.stihi.ru/2014/08/20/7103

[9] www.stihi.ru/2014/06/09/9504

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballad

[11] www.stihi.ru/2015/08/15/5152

[12] www.stihi.ru/2014/03/21/8248

[13] www.stihi.ru/2014/11/20/4470

[14] See Appendix #2.

[15] See Appendix #3,4.

 

Государственное бюджетное общеобразовательное учреждение города Москвы «Школа с углубленным изучением английского языка № 1359 имени авиаконструктора МЛ. Миля»

 

Исследовательская работа на тему

«Дебаты три на три»

Аргументы: от дебатов к написанию сочинения-размышления с высказыванием собственного мнения

 

«The Three-to-three style of the Karl Popper Debate»

How to make an argument – from Debate to Academic Writing

 

Работу выполнил:

Муленков Иван,  11«Б» класс

Научный руководитель:

Ишхнели Ирина Отариевна,

учитель английского языка

 

 

МОСКВА

2016—2017 год

 

CONTENTS

  1. ...…………………………………………………………….3
  2. The Three-to-three style of the Karl Popper Debate and academic writing – Theoretical Foundation for the Research ………………………………...3
  3. Analyzing the most common mistakes in opinion essay writing …………5
  4. Comparing debates and opinion essay writing............................................6
  5. Organizing the Debates for students………………...…………………….9
  6. The Survey ………………………………………….…………………….9
  7. ........................................................................................................10
  8. Conclusion………………………………………………………………...11
  9. Bibliography……………………………………………………………...11
  10. Appendix ………………………………………………………………...12

 

  1. Introduction

The actuality of the problem

Today, it is obvious for any students that they get good result in state exam in English only if they are able to write an opinion essay. To meet all the requirements of essay writing, students need to develop arguments and counter-argument when they write opinion essays (task 40 in state exam).

There are several challenges that may lead to mistakes when students write opinion essay. It is not always easy to state your opinion on the topic clearly. Many students can’t give various viewpoints supported by reasons and/or examples. It is also a problem to include the opposing viewpoint and think about counter-arguments.

The Object of this research work is different aspects of reasoning, arguments and counter-arguments.

The aim of the research:

  • to reveal how participating in the Karl Popper Debate can help students in writing opinion essay;
  • to work out a model of the Debate for students who are interested in taking state exam and practice how to develop arguments and counter-arguments;
  • to compare ways of argumentation in debates and in academic writing.

Methods used to carry out the research:

  • literature reviews – searching for and synthesizing;
  • analytical;
  • survey – whether participating in debates helped students write opinion essay.

The sources for this research included dictionaries, different journals, and websites.

  1. The Three-to-three style of the Karl Popper Debate and academic writing – Theoretical Foundation for the Research.

To start out research, we found definitions and studied the format of the three-to-three style of the Karl Popper Debate. According to Wikipedia, Karl Popper debate, named after the famed philosopher, is a widely used debate format in Eastern European and Central Asian high schools. Originally created by the Open Society Institute as a more flexible team debate format, Karl Popper debate has risen greatly in popularity as the first format that many high school students learn. It focuses on relevant and disputable propositions, emphasizing the development of critical thinking skills, and tolerance for differing viewpoints. To facilitate these goals, debaters work together in teams of three, and must research both sides of each issue. Each side is given the opportunity to offer arguments and direct questions to the opposing side. The first speakers of each side have 6 minutes to present their constructive cases, or in the negative's case a rebuttal. The other 4 speakers each have 5 minutes to deliver a speech supporting their team's main arguments. There is also an allotted 3 minutes after each of the first 4 speeches for cross-examination, during which the opposing team has a chance to clarify what was stated in the preceding speech. Each year, the International Debate Education Association hosts an annual Youth Forum, during which the Karl Popper World Championships are held. Nations from all around the world attend this Forum for the tournament, as well as the two week debate training camp[1]. We also found out that similar debates on strategy and global issues are regularly organized in the Moscow Plekhanov Institute of National Economy.

As for academic writing, it is usually conducted in forms or styles which are usually written in an impersonal and dispassionate tone, targeted for a critical and informed audience, based on closely investigated knowledge, and intended to reinforce or challenge concepts or arguments[2]. In contrast to personal writing contexts, academic writing is different because it deals with the underlying theories and causes governing processes and practices in everyday life, as well as exploring alternative explanations for these events. Academic writing follows a particular ‘tone’ and adheres to traditional conventions of punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Some kind of structure is required, such as a beginning, middle, and end. This simple structure is typical of an essay format.

In both above-mentioned definitions, we can find words “critical” and “arguments”, which serve as a basis for our research. We are supposed to determine how debates can help in essay writing.

  1. Analyzing the most common mistakes in opinion essay writing. Secondary school students get familiar with the rules of essay writing during their studies. Unfortunately, they do not have enough practice in brainstorming and developing arguments and counter-arguments.

Opinion essays include an introduction (stating the problem/thesis), your personal opinion and 2–3 reasons for your opinion, an opposing opinion and 1–2 reasons for this opposing opinion, explanation why you don’t agree with the opposing opinion, and a conclusion restating your position. The three paragraphs in the main body of the essay serve as the place where the writer develops arguments and counter-arguments. It is helpful to use examples, reasoning and research to back up the argument.

What difficulties did the students have in the process of essay writing in the State Exam (EGE)? According to the analysis of mistakes made by students in 2016[3], making an argument in task 40 was not easy. For example, some students wrote the same reason for different viewpoints. This is the example from a student’s essay – in Paragraph 1 she writes: As for me, I don’t want to work from home because then I have to work and look after the children and that is very difficult. Besides, working from home is boring. Then, in Paragraph 2 she offers the same reason – However, some people want to work from home because young mothers need to work and look after their children. It is very comfortable for them if they stay at home and work while their children are near them. It is obvious that the reason “looking after children” can’t support two opposing viewpoints.

For some students it was difficult to make counter-arguments. Here is an example of wrong reasoning:

I think those people are wrong. I have already mentioned that it is boring to stay at home. Moreover, people won't be able to get much money because work from home is not well-paid.

In this paragraph, the author does not refute the previous viewpoint, only repeats the argument from the first paragraph. Then, the author gives an argument about a not well-paid work from home, which cannot support an opposite viewpoint and serve as a counter-argument.

Other students had problems connected with logical mistakes when authors wrote a certain viewpoint in the second paragraph and then they changed this viewpoint in the conclusion of their essays. Here is an example from the second paragraph: I think it’s better to live in a big city because there are many places for work and entertainment… And in the conclusion of the essay, the author wrote: I suppose it’s better if one can choose for himself where to live, because tastes differ. It is obvious that the author’s viewpoints on the issue differ in the context of the same essay, which is inappropriate and illogical.

The analysis of the students’ mistakes made it clear that developing arguments and counter-arguments was not easy in task 40 and it needed more practice.

  1. Comparing debates and opinion essay writing. It is possible to state that both, debates and opinion essay writing, can be successful only if argumentation and counter-argumentation are developed correctly. Debates start when the Affirmative team presents a resolution and presents various arguments in defense of the resolution. Throughout the Debate, both teams use arguments to support their views and influence the jury’s decision. According to the format of the Debate, arguments can be weak or strong. At some point of the discussion, any team can admit that some argument is weak and focus on a stronger one.

As for stating a thesis in opinion essays, it is similar to stating and restating a resolution in the Debate. After that, we make an argument, which means that we offer some reasoning, using evidence that suggests why the thesis is true. When we counter-argue, we consider possible arguments against this thesis or some aspect of the reasoning.

Task 40 in EGE State Exam is attributed to higher level of difficulty and needs developed language skills and ability to think logically. Usually, before writing an essay, students write down the ideas “pro” and “con” of the main thesis. This is a kind brainstorming activity, which helps to develop arguments and counter-arguments. For example, let us practice writing an opinion essay according to the following assignment: Comment on the following statement. Parents should vaccinate their little children.  What is your opinion? Do you agree with this statement?  Then, the table with “pro” and “con” may look like this:

PRO CON
The value of vaccination is supported by research from around the world.

Researchers are constantly working to improve the safety of vaccines.

Epidemiologists, whose job is to study the outbreak of disease, all recommend vaccination.
Minor side effects, for example fever, do occur.

About one in a million doses of vaccine leads to serious side effects.

There was a study linking vaccines to autism, which got many parents really worried about vaccination.

 

When the table is ready, it is possible to start writing the introduction. It includes paraphrasing the statement in the assignment:

Since the first successful smallpox vaccine was introduced in the 18th century, vaccines have been an important part of public health care. All major health organizations, including the World Health Organization, recommend vaccination. Yet today, many parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

In the second paragraph, the author expresses his/her viewpoint and gives 2–3 reasons for this opinion. It is appropriate to use the reasons from the table in the previous brainstorming activity (Pro). For example,

I believe it is important that all parents continue to vaccinate their children. Firstly, the value of vaccination is supported by research from around the world. Secondly, researchers are constantly working to improve the safety of vaccines. And finally, epidemiologists, whose job is to study the outbreak of disease, all recommend vaccination.

In the third paragraph, the author should write about the existence of the opposite viewpoint and give 1–2 reasons for this opposing opinion. It is also appropriate to take these reasons from the table (Con). For example,

However, many parents worry about the safety of vaccines. Minor side effects do occur. Sometimes they include fever, but usually it is only redness around the site of an injection. About one in a million doses of vaccine leads to serious side effects. There was a study linking vaccines to autism, which got many parents really worried about vaccination.

In the fourth paragraph, the author explains why he/she does not agree with the opposing opinion. To develop a persuasive counter-argument, it is important to find the weakest argument among the “Con” arguments in the table. For example, the author chose a counter-argument about side-effects:

As opposed to the above ideas, I think vaccination leads to better public health. Not all studies about harmful side effects were proved as true. On the contrary, diseases which once killed and disabled millions of people are unknown today thanks to immunization programs.

In the conclusion, the author restates his/her opinion trying to be very persuasive:

To sum up, all responsible parents should get their kids vaccinated. In my view, it will protect children from disease and the risks are minimal. Besides, they will be helping in the fight to eradicate infectious diseases in our community and around the world.

We think that the author wrote this essay according to the criteria, which had been worked out by the item-writers of the EGE exam. It means that the content, the number of words, structure, language, linking words, arguments and counter-arguments, and, of course the logic of the narration are taken into account in the essay above.

Now, let us summarize and write bullet points, after we have compared the Debate and opinion essay writing. It is suitable to organize all the material in the form of a table below, which focuses on what is similar in the three-to-three-style debate and opinion essay writing:

The Three-to-three style of the Debate Opinion essay writing (Academic writing)
1) the Affirmative team presents the resolution and identifies why it should be debated;

2) the Affirmative team expresses the standpoint and presents various arguments in defense of the resolution;

3) the Negative team expresses the opposite standpoint and offers arguments against the resolution and refutes arguments offered by the Affirmative team;

4) both teams compare the arguments in the affirmative and negative cases, explaining why the arguments presented by their team are stronger;

5) both teams summarize, addressing a selected number of key arguments and try to guide the jury in the decision-making process.
1) the author states the problem/thesis in the introduction;

2) the author expresses his/her viewpoint and gives 2–3 reasons for this opinion;

 

3) the author writes about the existence of the opposite viewpoint and gives 1–2 reasons for this opposing opinion;

 

4) the author explains why he/she does not agree with the opposing opinion and develops the most persuasive argument;

 

5) the author restates his/her opinion trying to be very persuasive and impress the readers.

 

Thus, comparing debates and opinion essay writing, we have come to the conclusion that the format of the Debate is suitable for our students when the learn how to make an argument for opinion essays.

  1. Organizing the Debates for students. Our research work included organizing the Debate for the students of our school. The Debate took place on January 14, 2017, and was highly appreciated by the audience, which consisted of teachers and students. There are some photographs that can give the atmosphere of the Debate[4].

Before the Debate, we wrote a script choosing the following topic: “Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday”. Then, the script was offered to the participants of the Debate as a basis for debating. It is possible to read the script in the Appendix[5].

New Debate was organized in February to continue practicing how to make arguments. The topic was “Squatting is Illegal Activity which mustn’t be Supported”. The main idea was to see whether participating in the Debate could improve students’ skills in making arguments for successful essay writing.

  1. The Survey.

As a part of this research work, the students, who belonged to the proposing and opposing teams, wrote opinion essays. Then, the Survey was carried out to reveal whether participating in the Karl Popper Debate helped students (10 people) in writing opinion essay. Before the Debates, which were organized in January and February, the survey showed that students had some problems developing an argument. After the Debates, the situation improved. Here are the questions of the survey:

What are your difficulties with Task 40? Put a tick whether it was “very difficult”, “difficult” or “easy” to do the following in Task 40.

# Writing an opinion essay very difficult difficult easy
1 Make an introduction (state the problem)      
2 Express your personal opinion and give 2-3 reasons for your opinion      
3 Express an opposing opinion and give 1-2 reasons for this opposing opinion      
4 Explain why you don’t agree with the opposing opinion      
5 Make a conclusion restating your opinion      
6 Follow all the aspects of the task      
7 Use the neutral language register      
8 Organize your ideas in paragraphs according to the given plan      
9 Use linking words      
10 Use proper vocabulary      
11 Use grammar      
12 Spelling and punctuation      

 

The results of the survey are presented in the Appendix[6].

  1. The main results of this research work are connected with the results of the survey and availability of the script of the Debate for all students and teachers of English who are interested in practicing how to make arguments.

The possibility to organize the Debate as an exciting way to practice for essay writing was proved by the statistics[7].  For instance, question number 2 in the survey was: “Express your personal opinion and give 2-3 reasons for your opinion”. According to the statistics, 40% of the students before the Debates marked this aspect as “very difficult”, 60% as “difficult”. After the Debate, only 10% marked it as “very difficult”, 50% as “difficult”, and 40% as “easy”. The answers to other questions were also included in the statistics.

Another result of this project work is the script of the Debate.  The script is the model of any other debate on a different topic. Any new debate can be organized according to this model.

  1. To sum up, the format of the Karl Popper Debate is suitable to practice different ways how to make an argument or counter-argument. This project work gives a model of the Debate for students who are interested in taking state exam and practice how to develop arguments and counter-arguments in a creative way. Most students who participated in the Debate, wrote opinion essays and answered the questions in the survey found these activities exciting and useful for their preparation for the State Exam.

We advise students and teachers of English to use results of our project work in their preparation for exams. Academic writing and the three-to-three debate are important stages of English studies that may help students in their development and future career. The script (Topic: “Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday”) and recommendations how to organize the Debate are available for any student who is interested in this issue on the website of  MOSCOW ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (MELTA) and on our school’s website for further practice and development.

  1. Bibliography
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate#Karl_Popper_debate#Karl_Popper_debate
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_writing
  4. http://www.fipi.ru/sites/default/files/document/1472644724/angliyskiy_yazyk.pdf
  5. https://bulgarianforensicsleague.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/bflofficialkpdebaterules-march2014.pdf
  6. https://www.cdu.edu.au/sites/default/files/acike/docs/academic-essay-writing-resource.pdf
  7. http://academicwriting.wikidot.com/opinion-essays
  8. http://idebate.org/sites/live/files/standards/documents/rules-karl-popper.pdf
  9. http://www.debate-motions.info/debate-formats/karl-popper-debate-format/
  10. APPENDIX

#1. Photos from the Debate: January 14, 2017, Moscow, School 1359

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 1: the Opposing (Negative) Team (L.Shemarova, A.Abramova, A.Vikhareva)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 2: the Proposing (Affirmative) Team (S.Artamonov, A.Trushkova, I.Mulenkov)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 3: Opponent 1 (A.Vikhareva) offers arguments against the resolution and refutes arguments offered by Proposer 1 (I.Mulenkov)

 

#2. The Script of “Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday” Debate

The Tree-to-three style of the Karl Popper Debate

Format

The format of the Debate suggests there are two teams of “Speakers”. Each team consists of three participant. The first team are “Proposers”. They are affirmative speakers who present the affirmative case. They have supporters or “Experts” who help to make the arguments more persuasive.

The second team are “Opponents”. They present the negative case and have supporters who help them refute the affirmative team’s arguments.

The goal of the Debate is to persuade the jury into upholding the resolution debated or not upholding it.

If the “Opponents” disproved the affirmative case or put it into serious doubt, they win. If the “Proposers” defended the resolution by their strong arguments, they win.

Structure

  1. The topic is presented in the form of a resolution.
  2. Affirmative team (“Proposers”) propose the resolution. The Affirmative Speakers try to make the jury support the resolution and their affirmative case. For example, resolution “Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday”.
  3. Negative team (“Opponents”) have the responsibility to argue with the team of “Proposers”. They try to refute all the arguments of the “Proposers” and make the jury believe that the Affirmative team’s resolution is wrong.
  4. Case is a collection of arguments, proofs and evidence.
  5. The teams use arguments to support their views and influence the jury’s decision. The arguments can be weak or strong. At some point of the discussion, any team can admit that some argument is weak and focus on a stronger one.
  6. Definitions and criterion. Definitions of the terms should be unbiased and taken from reliable sources. They generally conform to the ordinary meaning of the words and sensitive to the spirit of the resolution. Criterion should clarify which values the teams support. Criterion in the sense of a goal should be generally acceptable and realistically achievable.
  7. Evidence, examples and experts’ support. Besides arguments, the debaters should present some evidence to support their viewpoints.
  8. Cross-examination. Questions are important to make all the viewpoints clear and find out strong and weak arguments. Some mistakes in answers may be used by speakers to establish further clashes of viewpoints.
  9. Jury’s verdict. The jury keep making notes in the flow paper. These marks are the basis for evaluation. The valuation should be done from the standpoint of an average reasonable person. The jury’s job is to assess the “strength” of the arguments and the validity of refutation.
  10. Responsibilities. All participants of the Debate have their responsibilities. P1, P2 and P3 are “Proposers”, or the First, Second and Third Speakers of the Affirmative Team (утверждающая команда). O1, O2 and O3 are “Opponents”, or the First, Second and Third Speakers of the Negative Team (отрицающая команда).

 

The Table of Responsibilities

P1 -         presents the members of the team and the whole affirmative case

—          presents the resolution and identifies why it should be debated

—          offers definitions of the terms of the resolution which should clearly define the meaning of the words in the resolution

—          expresses the standpoints of the Affirmative Team

—          introduces the criterion if necessary

—          presents various arguments in defense of the resolution

—          finally, presents a sufficient reason to accept the resolution (still leaving room for further debate)

—          asks O2 questions in cross-examination
O1 -         presents the members of the team and the whole of the negative case

—          expresses the standpoints of the Negative Team

—          accepts the criterion of the Affirmative Team or offers different criterion

—          offers arguments against the resolution and refutes arguments offered by Proposer1

—          finally, presents a sufficient reason why the resolution can’t be accepted

—          asks P2 questions in cross-examination
P2 -         restates the affirmative standpoints giving more evidence, examples or analogies

—          addresses to all the key arguments, showing the jury that even if some argument might be lost, they should still vote affirmative because other arguments are strong

—          refutes the negative case

—          doesn’t offer new arguments

—          clarifies the issues which the jury should give the most weight to

—          answers the O1’s questions in cross-examination
O2 -         restates the affirmative standpoints giving more evidence, examples or analogies

—          addresses to all the key arguments restating the negative case

—          refutes the affirmative case

—          doesn’t offer new arguments

—          clarifies the issues which the jury should give the most weight to

—          answers P1’s questions in cross-examination
P3 -         guides the jury in decision-making process

—          goes back to the affirmative case being more selective

—          doesn’t offer new arguments

—          focuses on the team of Opponents’ weak arguments

—          compares the arguments in the affirmative and negative cases, explaining why the affirmative arguments are stronger

—          summarizes addressing a selected number of key arguments as main voting issues

—          asks O1 questions in cross-examination
O3 -         helps the jury to weigh the key issues

—          responds to the affirmative team’s representation of the key issues

—          offers “voting issues”

—          doesn’t offer new arguments

—          compares the arguments in the affirmative and negative cases, explaining why the arguments of the Opponents are stronger

—          summarizes addressing a selected number of key arguments as main voting issues

—          asks P1 questions in cross-examination

 

Timekeeper has the responsibility to measure the time, showing cards 2 min, 1 min, 30 sec.

Jury (3-5 people) have the responsibility to evaluate the Debate and fill the protocol. They make notes in flow paper evaluating the performance of the teams. The most important for the jury’s evaluation is the ability of the active speakers to convey their arguments clearly and persuasively to the audience.

 

The Procedure and Timing

Speaker Responsibilities Time
  Round #1 (Affirmative and Negative Constructive)  
P1 -         presents the members of the team and the whole affirmative case

—          presents the resolution and identifies why it should be debated

—          offers definitions of the terms of the resolution which should clearly define the meaning of the words in the resolution

—          expresses the standpoints of the Affirmative Team

—          introduces the criterion if necessary

—          presents basic arguments of the affirmative case

—          finishes his/her speech giving sufficient reasons to accept the resolution
3-4 min
O3 -         cross-questions the First Affirmative Speaker (P1) trying to find out weak arguments 1,5 min
P1 -         gives answers to O3’s questions  
O1 -         presents the members of the team and the whole of the negative case

—          expresses the standpoints of the Negative Team

—          accepts the criterion of the Affirmative Team or offers different criterion

—          offers arguments against the resolution and refutes arguments offered by Proposer1

—          finishes his/her speech giving sufficient reasons why the resolution can’t be accepted
3-4 min
P3 -         cross-questions the First Negative Speaker (O1) trying to find out weak arguments 1,5 min
O1 -         gives answers to O3’s questions  
  Round #2 (First Affirmative and Negative Rebuttal)  
P2 -         restates the affirmative standpoints giving more evidence, examples or analogies

—          offers all the refutations of the negative case

—          supports the arguments of the First Affirmative Speaker which have been challenged by the First Negative Speaker

—          doesn’t offer new arguments
3 min
O1 -         cross-questions the Second Affirmative Speaker (P2) trying to find out weak arguments 1,5 min
P2 -         gives answers to O1’s questions  
O2 -         restates the negative standpoints giving more evidence, examples or analogies

—          addresses to all the key arguments restating the negative case

—          refutes the affirmative case continuing the argumentation already presented without giving new arguments
3 min
P1 -         cross-questions the Second Negative Speaker (P2) trying to find out weak arguments 1,5 min
O2 -         gives answers to P1’s questions  
  Round #3 (Second Affirmative and Negative Rebuttal)  
P3 -         guides the jury in decision-making process

—          goes back to the affirmative case focusing on the Proposers’ weak arguments

—          analyses the key clash points in the Debate from the affirmative point of view

—          challenges statements of the Second Negative Speaker (Opponent 2)

—          doesn’t bring any new arguments or pieces of evidence, except for the reaction to the new ways of rebuttal presented by Opponent 2

—          finishes by making a strong persuasive conclusion
2 min
O3 -         helps the jury to weigh the key clash points

—          concludes the Debate from the Opponents’ point of view and finishes challenging the resolution defense

—          shows why the Opponents managed to clash or significantly challenge affirmative argumentation

—          doesn’t bring any new arguments or pieces of evidence

—          draws a conclusion which should make a strong impact on the jury
2 min

 

Outline of the Debate

Affirmative Case

Topic: Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday

Team: “Proposers”, the Affirmative Team

Resolution: Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday

Explanation: On Buy Nothing Day, people are encouraged to think about possible negative effects that products they usually buy may have on the environment and on developing countries. Different facts from reliable sources, quotes and experts’ opinions are given to support the arguments in defense of the resolution.

Conclusion: That’s why, in conclusion, I must say that Buy Nothing Day should be supported by all people while sales on Black Friday should be boycotted.

Negative Case

Topic: Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday

Team: “Opponents”, the Negative Team

Resolution: Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t replace Black Friday

Explanation: Sales on Black Friday are profitable. Employee salaries and company profit depend on the sales on Black Friday economically. Different facts from reliable sources, quotes and experts’ opinions are given to support the arguments in defense of the resolution.

Conclusion: As you see, sales on Black Friday help businesses and economy of the country as a whole. Buy Nothing Day cannot change people’s attitude to environmental problems.

Structure of the Affirmative Case

Topic: Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday
Resolution: Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday
Definition: Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

Consumerism: the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money on goods and services
Criterion: The best way to fight consumerism is to promote Buy Nothing Day that will replace the horrible effects of Black Friday, such as violence, increased debt, and destroying our environment.
Aspect: The symbolism of BND positively affects everyday life. Aspect: Some people in developed countries have purchasing habits that lead to shopping rage that isn’t worth it. Aspect: Consumerist culture has a negative effect on developing countries.
Argument

 
Argument Argument Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
People are encouraged to think about what they buy and whether they need it. People are encouraged to think whether this product damages the environment People are motivated to create other events to save our planet from pollution and over-consumption Every year people in developed countries spend trillions of dollars on clothing, electronics

household items and a billion other products.
Some bargain hunting consumers camp overnight to secure a place in line, then they storm the front door at a favorite store. On sales, people sometimes buy useless items that they end up in a waste bin. Workers in developing countries are often treated badly by their employees and paid a pittance. Trans-national companies producing a large number of goods leave over-populated wasteland of pollution, eroded landscapes, and worn out infra-structure. The existence of consump-tion inequalities and the regions of immense wealth and immense poverty lead to wars.

 

Structure of the Negative Case

Topic: Buy Nothing Day vs Black Friday
Resolution: Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t replace Black Friday
Definition: Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since 1932, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., and most major retailers open very early (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer promotional sales. While the word «black» often has a negative connotation, the use of “black” in this case means profitability, which is traditionally noted in black ink in the books (losses are noted in red).
Criterion: If consumers keep spending a lot of money on Black Friday instead of supporting the idea of Buy Nothing Day, the retailers have a profitable shopping season, which is reflected in stock market and growth of economy.
Aspect: Buy Nothing Day is only one day that cannot fix anything. Aspect: Many retailers consider Black Friday to be very important to their business's annual performance. Aspect: Due to sales on Black Friday people can afford buying things like mobiles and other electronics.
Argument

 
Argument Argument Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Argument

 
Consumer-ism is too deeply ingrained in the modern society and culture to be eradicated in one day of abstinence. Without equally attractive alternative to offer, any appealing to abstinence will fail. The majority of participants in Buy Nothing Day may just be shopping at the same retailers the following day. When consumer confidence is up and people are buying, demand for goods goes up. Demand goes up, more production is required, more workers are needed. Our phones, computers and clothing portray who we are as a society, and without it we lose our identity. If stores do not make money an entire day, this will create an immense drop in our markets. Most goods and services are needed to lead a dignified life. Black Friday turned out to be so popular that Cyber Monday was introduced to start the online holiday shopping season as internet-savvy shoppers go to their favorite online retailers. Black Friday shopping activities constitute a collective consumption ritual that is practiced and shared by multiple generations of female family members and close friends.

 

SCRIPT

ROUND 1 Affirmative Constructive

P1: Hello, everyone! It’s my pleasure to be here today. I’m Ivan Mulenkov, this is … We resolve that Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday. According to Wikipedia, Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada. The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 «as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.» In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called Black Friday. As for consumerism, it can be defined as the actions of people who spend a lot of money on goods and services. It was proved by many psychologists that if we keep buying more and more, we never learn to be happy with what we've got. This could be a major obstruction to personal happiness. Modern consumerism does tend to involve sweatshop labor, which most people consider to be exploitative. We strongly believe that the best way to fight consumerism is to promote Buy Nothing Day that will replace the horrible effects of Black Friday, such as violence, increased debt, and destroying our environment.

First, the symbolism of BND positively affects everyday life. Think of Earth Day. It is just one day, but it reminds us to be conscious of our environment every day. The same concept is true with Buy Nothing Day. This day is a reminder for people around the world to spend less money and think about the effects that our purchases have on the world, and ourselves and that consciousness is needed when the only thing you see on TV or in the mail is «SALE! SALE! SALE!» Moreover, people are motivated to create other events to save our planet from pollution and over-consumption. Taking part in Buy Nothing Day is simple — it can be anything from staying at home with a good book to organizing a free concert. It is entirely up to you how you participate and don't forget to share your event on Instagram. You can also join any protest to draw attention to the problem of over-consumption. For example, credit card cut-up when participants stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt. Namely, by destroying their credit card by cutting it with the scissors.

Second, some people in developed countries have purchasing habits that lead to shopping rage that isn’t worth it.  They spend trillions of dollars on clothing, electronics, household items and a billion other products. Crowded stores and long lines can turn the calmest people into terrifying lunatics. Any store can turn into a mob scene or break out into fights. This kind of rage can happen at any point during the year, but it increases around the holidays when shoppers are particularly stressed and stores are especially crowded. People have even died as a result of shopping rage, like a man in Houston who was killed in an argument at a Wal-Mart in 2002.

Some bargain hunting consumers camp overnight to secure a place in line, then they storm the front door at a favorite store. Dozens of people are injured each year by the crazed crowds who are too eager to get popular items. Common injuries include bruises, sprained ankles, broken bones, and sometimes even concussions.

Are the products worth all the injuries? On sales, people sometimes buy useless items that they end up in a waste bin. The problem is that typically you can’t find brands that you would consider buying any other time of the year. The TVs you might find on sale, for example, are brands like Dynex, Seiki, and Element, not the top-of-the-line brands you dream about.

Third, consumerist culture has a negative effect on developing countries. Almost all items of mass produced clothing we buy and almost all our beloved Apple gadgets are manufactured in countries like Bangladesh. Unfortunately, workers in developing countries are often treated badly by their employees and paid a pittance. Transnational companies leave over-populated wasteland of pollution, eroded landscapes, and worn out infrastructure. The existence of consumption inequalities and the regions of immense wealth and immense poverty lead to wars.

That’s why, in conclusion, I must say that Buy Nothing Day should be supported by all people while sales on Black Friday should be boycotted. We need to be part of a cultural movement that re-thinks what it means to be aware about environmental issues. BEING with each other is more important than BUYING for each other. How much time were you planning to spend shopping on Black Friday? Between making a shopping list, driving to and from stores, parking, roaming the aisles, waiting to pay, paying the bills when they’re due – how many hours is that? 2? 5? 10? More than 10?

That’s all for now. Thank you for your time.

Cross-examination

O3: Hi, everyone. I have some questions to the Speaker. Ivan, you said that according to research, if we keep buying more and more, we never learn to be happy with what we've got. What is your source? Who did the research?

P1: You see, it is not a quote. I can’t give the name of a particular psychologist. It was proved by many psychologists who examined so-called shopaholics. But famous  American philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” We don’t buy things with money, we buy them with hours from our lives. Are you ready to waste your life in shopping malls?

O3: OK. You don’t give names of the psychologists. One more question. You mentioned some terrible accidents in the USA, for example, about a man in Houston who was killed at a Wal-Mart supermarket in 2002. But what about Russia? We don’t have accidents like that, do we?

P1: You’re right, in Russia similar accidents on Black Friday are not registered. But if the trend continues, we will face the same problems. This year, in Moscow,  supermarkets like М.Видео, Wildberries, Техносила, Ebay, КупиВип advertised Black Friday. In our opinion, it is not the trend that we should support.

O3: Thank you for your answers.

Negative Constructive

O1: Hello, everyone! I’m Sasha Vikhareva. Let me introduce …. We strongly believe that Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t replace Black Friday. Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November). Since 1932, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S., and most major retailers open very early or even during overnight hours and offer sales. While the word «black» often has a negative connotation, the use of “black” in this case means profitability, which is traditionally noted in black ink in the books, while losses are noted in red. Nowadays, Black Friday is supported in most developed and developing countries.

We uphold the idea that if consumers keep spending a lot of money on Black Friday instead of supporting the idea of Buy Nothing Day, the retailers have a profitable shopping season, which is reflected in stock market and growth of economy.

First, Buy Nothing Day is only one day that cannot fix anything. Consumerism is too deeply ingrained in the modern society and culture to be eradicated in one day of abstinence. Without equally attractive alternative to offer, any appealing to abstinence will fail. The majority of participants in Buy Nothing Day may just be shopping at the same retailers the following day.

Second, many retailers consider Black Friday to be very important to their business. When consumer confidence is up and people are buying, demand for goods goes up. Demand goes up, more production is required, more workers are needed.

Third, due to sales on Black Friday people can afford buying things like mobiles and other electronics. Don’t you think that most goods and services are needed to lead a dignified life? Black Friday turned out to be so popular that Cyber Monday was introduced to start the online holiday shopping season. Internet-savvy shoppers go to their favorite online retailers. They get a good bargain!

Moreover, Black Friday shopping becomes a consumption ritual. It’s great fun! Shopping activities are practiced and shared by a number of generations of female family members and close friends. We have data from 38 interviews that prove how shoppers were happy on this day. It  makes family ties stronger and teaches strategic planning.

As you see, sales on Black Friday help businesses and economy of the country as a whole. Buy Nothing Day cannot change people’s attitude to environmental problems, because they enjoy holiday shopping and don’t think about pollution or challenges that developing countries have.

That’s all for now. Thank you for your time.

Cross-examination

P3: Hi, everyone. I have some questions to the previous speaker. You said that without equally attractive alternative to offer, any appealing to abstinence will fail. In this case, you define abstinence as abstention from buying things. Or, in other words, boycotting Black Friday. Am I right?

O1: Yes.

P3: What equally attractive alternative to Black Friday would YOU offer? Could you make this issue clear to the audience, because we think that our alternative to Black Friday – Buy Nothing Day – perfectly suits the proposal that you made in your speech.

O1: Well, we think that Buy Nothing Day can’t be the alternative to Black Friday. People won’t stop buying. Only Cyber Monday could be equally attractive to shoppers. Especially people who don’t like to wait in lines would gladly use the possibility to shop online and buy items they need on sale.

P3: You said you have data from 38 interviews that prove how shoppers got totally positive experience on Black Friday. We don’t think that 38 is a big number for reliable statistics. Anyway, what is your source? Who did the research?

O3: The research was done by Jane Boyd Thomas and Cara Peters from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA. This is a reliable source. The name of the article is «An exploratory investigation of Black Friday consumption rituals», International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 39 Iss: 7, pp.522 – 537

P3: Thank you for your answers.

ROUND 2 First Affirmative Rebuttal

P2: Hello, everyone! I’m … and I strongly believe that Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday. I’m going to support the arguments offered by Proposer 1 with more evidence and examples.

First, Buy Nothing Day can positively affect our everyday life. According to Kalle Lasn, co-founder of Adbusters Media Foundation, Buy Nothing Day is already supported by 65 countries. He calls overconsumption “mother of all ecological problems” in his interview to CNN. And not only ecological problems, but also psychological and political problems. He adds that today’s average consumer consumes three times more than an average consumer did right after the World War II. But our happiness hasn’t gone up! Last year, on their website, Adbusters offered to “Participate by Not Participating” and join the following activities that would help people enter the holiday season that was not driven by commercial force. We could put up posters, organize a credit card cut up, pull off a Whirl–mart, or a Christmas Zombie walk through a local mall.

Second, shopping rage and shopaholics who cannot control their spending are disgusting. British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph). The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes). Homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes (USA Today). Are we going the right way? In the USA, shopping malls outnumber high schools; according to surveys, 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza). I can go on with the figures that show we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).

Third, currently, 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent. Our source is Worldwatch Institute research. So, according to their data, 2.8 billion people on the planet struggle to survive on less than $2 a day, and more than one billion people lack reasonable access to safe drinking water. The United Nations Organization reports that 825 million people are still undernourished. Isn’t it the cause of wars and rise of terrorism in the world?

In conclusion, I restate that industrial countries remain responsible for the bulk of the world’s resource consumption, as well as the global environmental degradation associated with the consumption. Events like Buy Nothing Day are to remind all people that the consumption locomotive should be braking.

Thank you for your time.

Cross-examination

O1: Hi, again. I have some questions. Do you have any data about consumer class in Russia or any developing countries? We think that you can’t talk about situation with consumerism without presenting statistic on the global level.

P2: This question was predictable. We are ready to answer it. Of course, Black Friday and other sales are extremely popular in the USA and most of industrial countries. Russia, China and India are strongly influenced by the same ideology of consumerism. We have data from two reliable sources: Agency RIA Novosti and surveys from company PayU. They inform that Black Friday started in Russia in 2013 and its popularity is growing. For example, in 2016, it started on November 24th, at midnight and the number of shoppers increased 25% compared with the number of shoppers in 2015. About 500 retailers supported Black Friday in Russia. One of the leaders was M.Video. It registered that smartphones, TV sets and vacuum cleaners were the most popular purchases.

O1: Thank you for this answer. It only proved that the class of consumers is growing and Black Friday is popular in many countries. People don’t think that they are doing something wrong.

First Negative Rebuttal

O2: Hello, everyone! My name is…and I strongly believe that Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t replace Black Friday. I will offer refutations to arguments presented by the previous affirmative speakers.

First, talking about happiness. We can’t agree that people are not happy today. They ARE happy when they go shopping. Some people delight over the idea of fighting over the last Xbox console, or whatever the item of the year happens to be. Sang-Eun Byun, an assistant professor of consumer affairs at Auburn University in Alabama found that “perceived competition ... creates positive emotions and induces hedonic shopping value” In her interview to The Washington Post, she said: «They enjoy something that’s harder to get, and it makes them feel playful and excited.»

Second, “Buy Nothing Day” can be seen as an economic burden. Think about it this way, an entire day, stores do not make money. This will create an immense drop in our markets. We often do not realize that something fighting for something so innocent, a stable future could in turn hurt us so badly. A worldwide “Buy Nothing Day” could slowly crush the economy and should be re-evaluated.

Third, there are now more than 1.7 billion members of “the consumer class”—nearly half of them in the developing world. A lifestyle and culture that became common in Europe, North America, Japan in the twentieth century is going global in the twenty-first. People in the developing countries are getting wealthier, not poorer.

As you see, Buy Nothing Day is just a performance. Nothing serious. Cutting up credit cards in public places, “Whirl-marts,” where participants push empty shopping carts through stores in a line, and “zombie walks,” where they walk through shopping malls doing their best Walking Dead impersonation are just fun for few ecologically-minded people who cannot change anything.

Thank you for your attention.

Cross-examination

P1: Hi again! You said “the consumer class” reached about 1.7 billion members and nearly half of them were found in the developing world. What is your source?

O2: The McKinsey Global Institute.

P1: OK. But why do you think that Buy Nothing Day could crush the economy? Is there any research?

O2: All critics of Karl Lasn are of the same opinion: when the world’s economies are in the recession, events like Buy Nothing Day can make the matters even worse. The Eurozone is officially in recession. Russia is facing the sanctions and crisis associated with them. Unemployment is high and the situation with immigration in most countries is really dangerous. So why celebrate Buy Nothing Day at a time when so many politicians, business leaders and economists are literally pleading for consumers to return to their spending sprees.

P1: I don’t think that it is a reliable source.

O2: We can’t agree, the sources are numerous. Even those who support Buy Nothing Day, like activist Conrad Schmidt, admit that the economy and our jobs are dependent on increased consumption.

P1: Thank you.

ROUND 3 Second Affirmative Rebuttal

P3: Hi, again. I’m … and I strongly believe that Buy Nothing Day should replace Black Friday.

First, research has shown that the single most important thing that makes us happy and improves our standard of living is not new cars and consumer junk — it’s family and friends.

Second, the stock market crash might be a blessing, a reminder that what really matters has very little to do with the Dow Jones, but rather with our connection with a community. Instead of investing in gadgets and gizmos (штуковины) and polluting the environment, we should have been investing in the things that make a stronger, healthier and wiser community.

That’s why, in conclusion, Buy Nothing Day is the symbol that changing our consumer habits can be a powerful force of social change. We know that buying does not make us happy. It’s time we invest in something that does.

Second Negative Rebuttal

O3: Hi, again! I’m … and I strongly believe that Buy Nothing Day shouldn’t replace Black Friday. Are serious declaring that one day can change people’s attitude to consumption?

First, when Black Friday profits do down, who will take the hit? The employees, not the CEOs. If seasonal sales are low, then companies are less likely to hire those extra holiday helpers. In short, my concern is that this all-or-nothing approach only hurts the middle class. Is it wrong for us to be talking about an idea that will cost so many people their livelihoods? Today, for the economy to function we must consume 400% more than we did in the 1950s. And when we don’t, it costs us jobs.

Second, Buy Nothing Day is a kind of empty gesture, a way of making die-hard shoppers feel bad but one that doesn’t have any impact on the consumer desire to spend and buy things they need. The truth is that the majority of participants in Buy Nothing Day may just be shopping at the same retailers the following day, anyway.

And finally, Buy Nothing Day is a challenge to values stated in the Declaration of Independence. The values are «Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness». In fact, they can be represented by your credit card that promises, «Whatever you desire.»

Thank you for your time.

 

#3. Results of the Survey presented in the Table

# Writing an opinion essay Very difficult

(before)
Very difficult

(after)

 
Difficult

(before)
Difficult

(after)
Easy

(before)
Easy

(after)
1 Make an introduction (state the problem) 0% 0% 70% 30% 30% 70%
2 Express your personal opinion and give 2-3 reasons for your opinion 40% 10% 60% 50% 0% 40%
3 Express an opposing opinion and give 1-2 reasons for this opposing opinion 5% 20% 5% 20% 0% 60%
4 Explain why you don’t agree with the opposing opinion 70% 10% 30% 20% 0% 70%
5 Make a conclusion restating your opinion 70% 10% 30% 30% 0% 60%
6 Follow all the aspects of the task 10% 0% 40% 10% 50% 90%
7 Use the neutral language register 10% 0% 20% 0% 70% 100%
8 Organize your ideas in paragraphs according to the given plan 10% 0% 30% 0% 60% 100%
9 Use linking words 0% 0% 50% 10% 50% 90%
10 Use proper vocabulary 50% 20% 50% 20% 0% 60%
11 Use grammar 40% 30% 60% 30% 0% 40%
12 Spelling and punctuation 0% 0% 50% 40% 50% 60%

 

 

#4. Statistics (according to results in the Table above)

 

Diagram 1: express your personal opinion and give 2-3 reasons for your opinion

 

 

Diagram 2: express an opposing opinion and give 1-2 reasons for this opposing opinion

 

 

 

Diagram 3: explain why you don't agree with the opposing opinion

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate#Karl_Popper_debate#Karl_Popper_debate

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_writing

[3] http://www.fipi.ru/sites/default/files/document/1472644724/angliyskiy_yazyk.pdf (М.В. Вербицкая, К.С. Махмурян, В.Н. Симкин. МЕТОДИЧЕСКИЕ РЕКОМЕНДАЦИИ для учителей, подготовленные на основе анализа типичных ошибок участников ЕГЭ 2016 года по АНГЛИЙСКОМУ ЯЗЫКУ. ФЕДЕРАЛЬНЫЙ ИНСТИТУТ ПЕДАГОГИЧЕСКИХ ИЗМЕРЕНИЙ)

[4] See Appendix #1.

[5] See Appendix #2.

[6] See Appendix #3.

[7] See Appendix #4.

 

Государственное бюджетное общеобразовательное учреждение города Москвы «Школа с углубленным изучением английского языка № 1359 имени авиаконструктора МЛ. Миля»

 Исследовательская работа на тему

«Сетеяз» и «чатовский разговор»

Влияние интернет-сленга на повседневную английскую речь

 

Работу выполнила:

Калинина Наталья,  11«А» класс

Научный руководитель:

Ишхнели Ирина Отариевна,

учитель английского языка

 

МОСКВА

2016—2017 год

CONTENTS

  1. ...…………………………………………………………….3
  2. Slang: Its Meaning and Origin – Theoretical Foundation for the Research 4
  3. Analyzing the Variety of Opinions about Slang ………………………….5
  4. Analyzing the Origin of Slang Words………..............................................6
  5. Analyzing what is To Blame for the Slang Tendency.……………………8
  6. Analyzing how the Slangs Spread across the Internet ……………………8
  7. Analyzing the Transition from Slang to Common Words...……………….9
  8. Speculating on Whether Classical English is Doomed ...............................9
  9. Conclusion………………………………………………………………...10
  10. Bibliography……………………………………………………………...11
  11. Appendix ………………………………………………………………...12

 

  1. Introduction

The actuality of the problem

Social networks, as well as the Internet in general, have become the main communication tool for almost everyone. People can’t imagine their lives without chat forums or social networks. On the one hand, the development of online communication is a great achievement that helps people keep in touch no matter where they actually are. However, on the other hand, with the progress of the Internet development, the younger generation started making new, shorter forms of words and abbreviations, which are commonly called “Slangs”. They actually influence English-speaking culture drastically, gradually changing the English language from inside.

The actuality of this problem can be explained by the existence of challenges associated with the influence of the Internet:

1) Being just a fashionable tendency, the Internet slang has now become a new way of speaking, the abbreviations and neologisms, or newly-invented words, along with illiterateness, have become very popular with young people;

2) The Internet slang is not just spreading among people from the Internet itself, but from other mass media, such as radio, television, newspapers or magazines;

3) It is getting more difficult for the young generation to realize whether it is good or bad to use slangs in day-to-day communication on a regular basis, which shows the danger of changing the English language with all the possible aftermath;

4) The use of slangs in everyday speech may lead to the degradation of literateness and further impossibility of speaking correctly, fluently and beautifully when circumstances would require that.

The Object of this research work is Internet slang and its influence.

The aim of the research:

  • to reveal how slang words become widely used;
  • to find the reasons why slang words become popular;
  • to analyze whether slang words are threatening the norms of the English language;
  • to reveal negative and positive effects of slang words in the process of communication.

Methods used to carry out the research:

  • literature reviews – searching for and synthesizing;
  • analytical;
  • focus groups opinions – people’s comments on the website pages.

The sources for this research included dictionaries, different journals, websites, and forums.

  1. Slang: Its Meaning and Origin – Theoretical Foundation for the Research

First of all, it is important to find out what slang is. According to Tong, McIntyre and Silmon,[1] slang is shorthand, coded terminology that develops within social groups or when individuals regularly interact in a certain setting or context over a long period of time.

Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines the word “slang” as:

  1. very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, and vivid than ordinary language;
  2. the jargon of a particular class, profession, etc.[2]

This is the definition that Wikipedia gives for Internet slang in particular:

Internet slang (Internet shorthand, cyber-slang, netspeak or chatspeak) refers to a variety of slang languages that Internet users have popularized and, in many cases, coined. Such terms often originate with the purpose of saving keystrokes, and many people use the same abbreviations in text message and instant messaging. Acronyms, keyboard symbols, and shortened words are often methods of abbreviation in Internet slang”.

In general, slang as netspeak is the formulation of words on instant messaging (IM) through Internet or phones used to contact in an original, “modern” way, or sometimes slang is formulated as an abbreviation (e.g. LOL=Laughing Out Loud, BRB=Be Right Back etc.) with the aim to avoid lengthy expression. It also includes the emoticon[3], used by sender to express his/her feelings to any action or thing[4].

This theoretical foundation has led us to the following investigations of the issues.

  1. Analyzing the Variety of Opinions about Slang

Some people consider the frequent use of slang in Standard English as negative whereas some people find that Slangs enrich it due to a wide range of words to describe one thing.

Negative Opinions

The professor of humanities at Stevens Institute of Technology Silvio Lacceti and Scott Molsk, in their essay entitled The Lost Art of Writing, do not esteem acronyms highly. In their article, they warn about “reduced chances of employment for students who use such acronyms”.  The scientists point out: “Unfortunately for these students, their bosses will not be 'LOL' when they read a report that lacks proper punctuation and grammar, has numerous misspellings, various made-up words, and silly acronyms”. [5]

Fondiller and Neron, in their manual point out that “professional or business communication should never be careless or poorly constructed whether one is writing an electronic mail message or an article for publication”. The scientists are against the use of smiley faces and these abbreviations, stating that they are “no more than e-mail slang and have no place in business communication”.[6]

Positive Opinion

A famous English researcher David Crystal believes that the slang words are  not harmful for English as they enrich the vocabulary. In his article, he writes: “about 200,000 new slang words are now in use in everyday English and only those languages persist for longer period of time which have capability to dissolve words from different languages”.[7]

  1. Analyzing the Origin of Slang Words

Apart from abbreviations that are formed from different combinations of words, numbers, and often phrases, which can be seen, perhaps, on every website, slang words may even appear by reforming words borrowed from other languages or simply borrowing (“Stealing”) foreign words and giving them a new, special meaning. Such a tendency has become quite popular among the American youth now, with English words being mixed along with foreign ones, particularly with Japanese words taken from Japanese culture (mainly cartoons called “Anime”).

Here are some of the most popular examples:

Moe (From Japanese) = A term which is used to describe an adorable, cute, pretty-looking person (Usually used for describing girls)

Impossibru = A “Japanese” analogue of saying “Impossible”

Kawaii (From Japanese) = Cute, Adorable

Baka (From Japanese) = An insult, equal to “Fool”, “Idiot”, “Cretin”

Me gusta (From Spanish) = I feel good

Another type of slangs involving borrowing and inventing new words and phrases is called “Memes” (From French “Meme” – Same, Similar). A “Meme” usually consists of doodles called “Rage Faces” and often some newly invented words and phrases going “hand-in-hand” with such pictures. The best-known memes among the Internet and social networks in particular are:

Trololo (Also known as Trollface)[8] – A strange sly grinning face drawn in an irregular shape, usually used in conversations to show moral advantage over another person being followed with phrases and words like “Problem?” or “U mad bro?”. It is believed that the meme itself originated from the song “I’m very glad because I’m finally coming back home” by Eduard Khil, or, to be exact, its non-lexical version, often referred to as “Russian Rickroll” and which is now widely associated with Internet “trolling”.

Me gusta – literally translated from Spanish as I Feel Good – a circle-shaped face with lips forming an arch and eyes popping out and looking to different directions, often used to give an opinion on something likeable. Usually used as a joke[9].

Y u no – a figure of an angry man raising hands with the face distorted with obvious anger – used to describe something irritating and/or confusing.[10]

Facepalm – one of the very best-known memes originated from the Star Trek series. The moment of one of the protagonists – Cap – covering his face with a hand became very well-known among the young generation as the screenshot picture of Cap started spreading all across the Internet, mainly used to show annoyance and often disappointment, also pointing out the ridiculousness of something and even sometimes being followed by a phrase “Facepalm. When words lose their power”[11].

  1. Analyzing what is To Blame for the Slang Tendency

Is the Internet is the only technology that has affected the way we talk? According to different sources, radio, television, and text messaging have coined a great number of new words. For example, the phrase TTFN (Ta Ta for Now) comes from the «It's That Man Again» radio series in the 1940s. The word “d’oh” was made famous by Homer Simpson and became an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary. According to this dictionary, “d’oh is used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one's own”[12].

Today, we spend more time online than listening to the radio or watching TV. Smartphones give us very quick access to the Internet. At this point, the Internet is likely to have the biggest influence on our day-to-day communication. But the Internet trends come, spread and may disappear like any fads. David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, told BBC News: “Language itself changes slowly, but the Internet has sped up the process of those changes so you notice them more quickly. You can imagine how much longer it took new words to spread through word-of-mouth than it does today with the Internet.

  1. Analyzing how the Slangs Spread across the Internet

Having studied materials in different sources, we concluded that because of social media, the slangs are becoming a part of a new “fashion” supported by young people in many countries. Newly coined words can move around the world within days, whereas in the past, it could take a years to be borrowed by other languages. Julie Coleman, author of The Life of Slang[13], says: “It's not necessarily that language is changing more quickly, but technologies have developed and they allow the transmission of slang terms to pass from one group to another much more quickly”.

  1. Analyzing the Transition from Slang to Common Words

We found out that when a word becomes widely used, it can find its place in a dictionary. However, “The time the academy finishes their dictionary, it will already be well out of date,” says linguist Stephen Pinker[14]. “We see it in the constant appearance of slang and jargon. Language is not so much a creator and shaper of human nature so much as a window onto human nature.” Any dictionary editor has to keep in touch with the people to learn and monitor what words are widely used. Language Historian Anne Curzan says: “If you ask dictionary editors, what they'll tell you is they're just trying to keep up with us as we change the language. They're watching what we say and what we write and trying to figure out what's going to stick and what's not going to stick[15].”

  1. Speculating on Whether Classical is English Doomed

Here is a question bothering, perhaps, every English-speaking person: whether classical English as we all know is doomed. According to our investigation, English as the language is not doomed, however, due to slang fashion some common English words may soon be replaced with “cool” new words and abbreviations. The slangs are spreading via mass media such as the Internet and television with quite a rapid speed, eventually becoming our new way of speaking. We, probably, cannot resist it. However, that does not mean there is no solution for this problem. So, what can we do about that? Certainly, we may spend lots of time thinking about how to deal with it. Surprisingly, the answer is quite simple. We can simply avoid using slangs and abbreviations in our everyday speech. There are situations when writing and speaking classical English instead of “modern” English is more appropriate. This may be a tiny step for us, however, if we all take action, we will probably make a huge step in saving English in the way we have all known it for years and even centuries.

As a part of this research, we studied people’s opinions on a number of chat forums. They helped to make the conclusion, which was based on balanced views from the TripAdvisor website[16]. The overall standpoint of the people on the forum is the following: people shouldn’t be lazy when writing. Complete sentences, clear thoughts are signs of maturity.[17] Understanding the differences in different cultures and age groups is really needed to communicate successfully. For example, when people share opinions on chat forums, they should respect each other. So, if you want to use shorthand writing and emoticons while posting comments, you should be aware of the proper etiquette on this particular website.

  1. Conclusion

Summing up, we would like to restate that Internet slang spreads all across the world rapidly, making Standard English change. It can be suggested that classical English is doomed, although we would still not rush into conclusions. To begin with, there are still a lot of spheres of our lives were people use common, classical English avoiding “netspeak”. Besides, at some point, slang makes the English language develop. In fact, the developing of any language will never stop. In our opinion, though, slang, and “netspeak” in particular, should not become our way of communication on a regular basis.

We hope the results of our research will help all students, who learn English as a foreign language, go into the details of how this language is developing, what positive and negative trends can be observed, and what norms of writing and speaking should be followed.

Our research can be continued by a deeper analysis of what netiquette is. Teenagers and adults should learn more about some core rules and standards of online behavior. Netiquette is important today because social networking plays a great role in our lives. We believe that everyone needs to develop common rules of communication as fast as modern technology. To meet this goal, the results of our research were published on the website of MOSCOW ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (MELTA) and on our school website (the News rubric) where any student who is involved in project work and interested in the issues of netiquette can find  information for further consideration:

  1. Bibliography
  2. Tong, V; McIntyre, T; Silmon, H. What's the flavor? Understanding inmate slang usage in correctional education settings. J. Correct. Educ. 1997, 48, 192–197.
  3. Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, GRAMERCY BOOKS, New York/Avenel, 1993.
  4. Silvio Laccetti and Scott Molski (September 6, 2003). «Cost of poor writing no laughing matter». Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  5. Shirley H. Fondiller and Barbara J. Nerone (2007). Health Professionals Style Manual. Springer Publishing Company. p. 98.
  6. David Crystal (September 20, 2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press. p. 34.
  7. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/doh
  8. youtube.com/watch?v=HkAwIVoNUx0
  9. ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought?language=en#t-10520
  10. ted.com/talks/anne_curzan_what_makes_a_word_real?language=en#t-971512
  11. http://nsportal.ru/ap/library/drugoe/2011/10/18/issledovatelskaya-rabota-po-russkomu-yazyku-vliyanie-internet-slenga-na
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_slang
  13. https://ru.scribd.com/doc/30906442/Influence-of-Slang-Language-on-English
  14. https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12104-k2212064-Ban_netspeak-Help_us_make_TripAdvisor_better.html

 

APPENDIX

#1. Emoticon (smiley face)

 

 

 

 

 

#2. Troll Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. Me Gusta

 

 

 

 

 

#4. Y U NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5. FACEPALM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6. Ban netspeak (quotes from forum comments on TripAdvisor website)

Ban netspeak

Aug 26, 2008, 7:17 PM

Yes, I myself sometimes use the occasional «imho» or «btw», but I'm seeing an error in my ways. Such phrases can be confusing to forum newbies (I remember being confused by them) and really detract to any kind of formality. This also goes for poor spelling, punctuation and things like «Help????????» or «I HATE Atlanta» Of course, some people have trouble with their grammar and spelling, but I think the forum would be much better if everyone at least tried to make their posts clean and pressed.

By the way, I also think that it should be required that the title of a post fully or at least partially describe the post within, instead of «help, please?!?» or some such.

I guess what I'm calling for is some proper forum etiquette.

Kristian (aged 15)

Re: Ban netspeak

Aug 26, 2008, 7:33 PM

Your ideas are excellent, and so mature. I don't know any other 15-year-olds like you, and I have a couple of my own at home!

Anyway, of course I agree with these ideas. I often find myself writing BTW, and then change it in case someone doesn't know that it stands for «by the way».

Debi-zix

 Re: Ban netspeak

Aug 26, 2008, 10:19 PM

Proper grammar, spelling, etc. are what we should all strive to achieve. Sadly, the use of spell check has made a lot of people lazy when writing. If you mean to say “is” and write “it” spell check won’t catch the error. I’m still learning what some of those short cuts in phrases mean, and they annoy me. Kristian is indeed literate, and I haven’t read enough of his work to comment on his age, but I have wondered from time to time about his age? I have read your profile and you deserve a great deal of respect. Those who may be just as bright but lack education, or use English as a second language need some guidance in their writing. Teaching special education I learned that my children were learning different and just as talented as many who were considered gifted. I’m being chatty and do not wish to go there, but although the ideas are good, they’re a bit unrealistic. Clean and pressed to the best of one’s ability is what I’d like to see. Complete sentences, clear thoughts, and use of maturity are needed to make this work. Joking under pressure is common when people are nervous, but that’s when thought needs to go into a response. Enforcing guidelines is a must, but understanding the differences in different cultures and age groups is greatly needed. If people are so worried about what they say, more often than not, they may just go away, and that’s not good for anyone. We are sharing opinions, respectful ones should always be appreciated. Just a thought, not a demand. May I? :)

Sincerely,

Book

 

Re: Ban netspeak

Aug 26, 2008, 11:54 PM

I'm with Dpladyreed. IMHO... I just think it's all getting a bit harsh on people that are just logging in to get some info for their holiday. How on earth can TA (or should I say TripAdvisor) make people change the way the speak/write?

I try to avoid the acronyms because I know that some people don't understand them and to get a broader range of information, I want everyone to understand. But if someone posts with it and it bothers you, just ignore it and let someone who is netspeak friendly reply. Or, reply and ask them what they mean?

I'm actually suprised about the lack of tolerance on some of these forums. I'm always grateful for help, but I never realised I was actually offending people with my occasional (and very very rare) «lol».

Super TJ

 

#7.

 

[1] Tong, V; McIntyre, T; Silmon, H. What's the flavor? Understanding inmate slang usage in correctional education settings. J. Correct. Educ 1997, 48, 192–197.

[2] Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, GRAMERCY BOOKS, New York/Avenel, 1993

[3] See Apendix #1.

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_slang

[5] Silvio Laccetti and Scott Molski (September 6, 2003). «Cost of poor writing no laughing matter». Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

[6] Shirley H. Fondiller and Barbara J. Nerone (2007). Health Professionals Style Manual. Springer Publishing Company. p. 98.

[7] David Crystal (September 20, 2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press. p. 34.

[8] See Appendix #2.

[9] See Appendix #3.

[10] See Appendix #4.

[11] See Appendix #5.

[12] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/doh

[13] www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkAwIVoNUx0

[14] www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought?language=en#t-10520

[15] www.ted.com/talks/anne_curzan_what_makes_a_word_real?language=en#t-971512

[16] www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12104-k2212064-Ban_netspeak-Help_us_make_TripAdvisor_better.html and Appendix #6 (extracts)

[17] See Appendix #7.

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