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Post WAIS and Non-Native Speakers of English
Created by John Eipper on 10/04/14 3:54 AM

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WAIS and Non-Native Speakers of English (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 10/04/14 3:54 am)

For a non-native speaker of English, as I am, writing for WAIS is a very great satisfaction and pleasure, second only to the pleasure I receive from reading the contributions of other WAISers.

However I have to recognize that the great merit goes to the Editor. The fact that the Editor is an American is essential, because someone coming from the wonderful American people (let's forget about some of the government's positions) is perhaps more accustomed to being indulgent with non-native English speakers.

Unfortunately, I often write in a hurry, focusing on one idea and send. Then, maybe an hour later I go back to what I wrote, and often I find that the post has mistakes that at first I did not notice.

Of course I may try to find silly excuses, starting from my poor teachers in school, where we learned little more than the usual: "I have a cat; my cat is black." Plus the fact that English was also the language of the new dominant culture and I, as young nationalist rebel, did not like it. But 60 years after finishing high school I should know better, and for that I ask for forgiveness.

Furthermore, during practically my entire life I have met, around the world, people speaking their own versions of English. This was shocking for me when I was a mooring/loading master at Mena Saud. In the free evenings there were movies, either American or British for the expats.

The reason for my shock was that in some instances the American fellows would ask me what was being said if the movies were British, and the same by the Brits if the movies were American.

Finally, when my daughter went to the Italian schools, after our return to Italy, she had some troubles with an ignorant English teacher, because her accent was Midwestern American and not the sound of Oxford or what the teacher thought an Oxford accent was.

Addressing John's other question, I believe that the perspective of non-professionals actually enriches historical inquiry. In fact, for the non-professionals it is often easier to find skeletons in the various closets that, maybe, a professional looking at the same event might overlook.

But the most important thing for me, as I said previously, is the great freedom of the WAIS Forum that has allowed me to write posts that I believe to be true but which in my country--lay, democratic and antifascist, born from the resistance--could have been construed as an apology for fascism and therefore persecuted.

Finally, the study of history should help us to better understand also financial matters or at least some economics.

JE comments:  The hour is early, but I am blushing.  It's the Editor's job to smooth out the non-Anglophone wrinkles, and it's my pleasure to do so.  The international kaleidoscope of WAIS posts is precisely what enriches our discussions.

I just had a thought:  in the Ronald Hilton days, WAIS had an Oxonian accent, and now it's US Midwestern--although I never exhibited the nasal vowels indigenous to Chicago or Detroit.

Next up on this important topic:  Enrique Torner.

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