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English evolves and so must its teaching

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th October 2009 03:00 AM

EDITOR—I found the non-politicised part of Karooro Okurut’s article, “All Ugandans are in the ‘kintu’” interesting. She “gets upset by the way people distort the English language these days”. I am not a linguist like Karooro.

EDITOR—I found the non-politicised part of Karooro Okurut’s article, “All Ugandans are in the ‘kintu’” interesting. She “gets upset by the way people distort the English language these days”. I am not a linguist like Karooro.

EDITOR—I found the non-politicised part of Karooro Okurut’s article, “All Ugandans are in the ‘kintu’” interesting. She “gets upset by the way people distort the English language these days”. I am not a linguist like Karooro.

However, there are few instances I am aware of even in Britain, where English has continued to evolve in terms of spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary and usage. Where a Briton uses letter ‘s’, an American uses ‘z’ (eg organisation vs organization).

Some of the words including the names of personalities, things or events are not English. Yes, yea, yep, etc, all mean the same, depending on which part of the world one is in. Yacht is a Bangladeshi word meaning a small boat. Boycott was simply a stubborn Briton who gained publicity for turning down an invitation to a function in honour of a king in the UK.

Similarly, Maverick, an American, defied the bylaw that had been passed during his time for all cattle owners to tag their animals in an attempt to curb rampart thefts at the time. His cunning explanation that since everybody else had tagged their animals, then all those not tagged would be his earned him maverick publicity!

These are among the terminologies in modern dictionaries that make learning disturbing. So, Karooro, why would you blow your head off if that granddaughter of yours in future returned home from a seminar and told you the presenter was not audible enough. Reason?

She or he spoke with a Ssebaanised voice! It is the approach to the teaching of English that must evolve to make learning interesting, more meaningful and applicable to the times. Some of the seemingly complicated terminologies would not be if the students were taken through the history behind their evolution.

Greg Olupot
Kampala

English evolves and so must its teaching

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