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Erin
07-21-2002, 12:22 AM
Okay, guys, I hope that I can address this topic without causing too much concern.

As you may know, I read 100-200 essay per week, and I see some definite tendencies in the mistakes.

First of all, the most common mistake I see in Indian essays is not putting a space where it belongs.

This seems to me very simple and obvious, so when I see this mistake, it looks simply terrible!!

I honestly want to know why this mistake is so prevalent among Indians, but mostly, I simply want you to know what the TOEFL scorers will think when they read your essays.

So, the most common Indian mistakes are:

1. Using abbreviations. E.g., abt instead of about; u instead of you

2. Not hitting the space bar!!

3. Using politically incorrect English, e.g., using "he" or "man" throughout the essay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really only trying to help (Americans are very worried about stereotyping); in fact, the essays I've read from Indians tend to be excellent, but I want to tell you how to improve.

Finally, if someone can tell me why these mistakes are common, I'd appreciate it (since it'll help me to understand my students better!)

madhavi
07-21-2002, 02:51 AM
Hi Erin
The mistakes you mentioned are MINE!!
I do these mistakes frequently:D
I want to tell why I do these mistakes(But I am not sure of others)

1)When I use internet for chatting with my friends and siblings, I usually tend to use those abbreviations. We are accustomed to do so.
And unintentionally those abbreviations appear in the essay.

2)I didn't know anything about punctuation. So I simply don't know where to put spacebar. In our language there are no rules regarding space. Even after knowing this mistake I tend to forget while typing my essay.

3) I don't know anything like politically correct or something like that. We(Indians) are not so particular about using polically correct language. Morover When I want to generalise I tend to use those politically incorrect language.
In our language there are some specific words to explain anything generally. When I want to tell about how humans damaged earth, I tend to use HE. We have a word 'manishi' to generalise. But using 'Human'
seems to be odd so I used HE whenever I had to use 'humans'.

Last but not the least I am not so fluent in english and so when I lack words to express my views I tend to use the most familiar words. Those politically incorrect words are very familiar to me. So they appear in my essay when I lack words to express my ideas.

Thank you very much for the care you take to improve us.
I improved in punctuation only because of this site. Thank you very much for this.
Madhavi

Vaya
07-21-2002, 01:36 PM
I wonder.
I know that Indians speak in Hindi and in English (at least English is second national language). Is this true? Does Indian speak in correct English? Maybe that's why they scores are high?

Erin
07-21-2002, 05:01 PM
I hope some others can shed some light on your doubts, but from what I've seen, not all Indians are fluent in English. I suspect that only some schools use English as the medium of instruction, but that many of the students of these schools are the ones taking the TOEFL in general.

I'm just guessing, really, so I hope some Indians can expand on my simple explanation. :D

Erin
07-21-2002, 05:36 PM
Hi Erin
The mistakes you mentioned are MINE!!
Thanks for the insight. Yes, I thought that perhaps those were the explanations (people tend to make mistakes related to their mother tongues (is that politically correct? ;) ), but it's always best to hear from the source.

The punctuation problem is a big one. I've read so many essays now that when I see one that has the sort of punctuation I mentioned, I automatically think it's an India essay. And it must be the same for the TOEFL scorers, since they also read many, many essays.

BTW, I counted in my database the number of essays I've read in the last year--it's almost 2,000! And that's not counting the ones I read for my students here at TestMagic.

Thanks for posting the info! I'm sure others will find it very, very helpful.

madhavi
07-22-2002, 02:42 AM
Hi Vaya
Indians speak many languages depending on the state in which they live. English is also used very frequently. We have schools of both English medium and in the medium of our mother tongue. English medium schools in cities are somewhat high standard and their students tend to be good in English. But English medium Schools in small towns are very low standard and their students are poorer compared to Telugu medium schools in our state. I studied upto 10th standard in Telugu medium.
Even other medium students also have English as a subject. Other medium students are also taught English as a subject from 1st class.
I am poor in both Hindi and English.
Madhavi

arti
07-22-2002, 01:26 PM
Hello Everybody

I would like to add something to the discussion.

1. The mistake of using "abt" instead of "about" and "u" instead of "you" is undoubtedly because of chatting. Infact i face this problem even when i draft an official letter. But then i always do a spelling revision and am improving upon it. This mistake is nowhere related to being an Indian. I think that anybody who is hooked to the net will commit same mistakes. Maybe we Indians are more technology savvy :).

2. Regarding the mistake of "not hitting the space bar" and "using he" etc....I feel that we Indians are in a confused state at times. As everybody know that our country was ruled by Britishers for over 200 years, they have left big imprints on our language and culture.
And now with the changing times, US English is also popular. And TOEFL is a test of US English. So, coping between British English, US English, Indian English and our mother tongue Hindi is little hard for any student.


This is how i feel. I might be wrong in other people's views. If any of my friends feel the same, please post back.

Regards


Arti Gupta

Erin
07-22-2002, 02:02 PM
Hi Arti!

Thanks for your input! It's very helpful for me.

To be honest, I really don't know as much about Indian culture as I do about other cultures, partly because of my lack of contact with Indians (although my first two bosses were Indian--when I was fourteen, I started working for a small convenience store. These brothers were very nice to me, and I still remember "Amrik" and "Kashyap" fondly.)

However, because of the wonderful people from India whom I've met in this group, I've become more interested in India culture. As a teacher, I must say I'm very impressed by many things I've seen, particularly the dedication, generosity, and high education evinced in the star Indians here! (You know who you are!)

Finally, I do hope that I've been able to point out some mistakes so that others might learn and that I have done so in such a way that my suggestions are accepted gladly and are not seen in any negative light. I want TestMagic to be a warm, open place where everybody feels comfortable and can learn and succeed.

That's my dream...

arti
07-23-2002, 02:05 PM
Hi Arti!

Thanks for your input! It's very helpful for me.

To be honest, I really don't know as much about Indian culture as I do about other cultures, partly because of my lack of contact with Indians (although my first two bosses were Indian--when I was fourteen, I started working for a small convenience store. These brothers were very nice to me, and I still remember "Amrik" and "Kashyap" fondly.)


First of all Erin, i am glad that your first experience with Indians was a nice one.



However, because of the wonderful people from India whom I've met in this group, I've become more interested in India culture. As a teacher, I must say I'm very impressed by many things I've seen, particularly the dedication, generosity, and high education evinced in the star Indians here! (You know who you are!)


I am again very happy to know that you are impressed with certain Indian qualities. Infact i should say that you are a keen obeserver. All the things you mentioned infact mean a lot to us.




Finally, I do hope that I've been able to point out some mistakes so that others might learn and that I have done so in such a way that my suggestions are accepted gladly and are not seen in any negative light. I want TestMagic to be a warm, open place where everybody feels comfortable and can learn and succeed.

That's my dream...
Erin

Erin, i don't think that by now you need to worry as to how your comments will be taken. We all at Testmagic know the amount of efforts you put in to empower us.

Regards
Arti

Arti Gupta

Erin
07-23-2002, 02:23 PM
WOW! What a big, warm smile you just gave me... :content: Thanks, Arti...

raghuveer_v
07-23-2002, 06:54 PM
Well,

I agree with madhavi, and arti especially abt the usage of 'short forms' for words.

About the 'spacebar' thing, i feel it's an uncertainity baout the correct way to punctuate sentences. spaces between words are no problem. spaces adjoining punctuation marks are a little uncertain to many. even the use of punctuation marks itself is a bit doubtful, atleast for me. I don't always know whether or not to use a 'comma' at a certain point in a sentence.

writing 'politically correct' english requires reading more and more - 'politically correct' english.



Raghuveer.
Mera Bharat Mahan!
(My India is great!)