Internet English

Figure 1.--

The basis language of HBC is of course English as most HBC contributors are American, English, and Australians. HBC is aware that many readers have accessed HBC using English as a second language. There are of course differences between American and British English, although we cam usually figure out the differences. (I was once told my a Pakistani Brit-Rail employee that I spoke very poor English.) HBC's policy (although imperfectly implemented to date) is to seek internet English as a standard. Internet English is a form that all English speakers can understand, where ever they come from and whether they are native English speakers or speak language as a secondary language. Internet English also translates better on the various on-line translation services. HBC readers are encouraged to inform HBC is they encounter sentences that thery can not understand. We will then work on those pages and provide any foreign langauge explanations provided.

Simple Sentences

One feature of Internet English is a simple sentence structure. We believe in short simple sentences written in the active voice. In this regard our editorial guidance is rather like those employed in jurnalism. We also try to begin our sentences with the subject which is normally the most important part of a sentence. These simple sentences structures are no only easier for non native-English speakes to read, but they also translate better in online translation services.

Word Choice

We try to be careful in our word choice. Some words can be quite confusing to even native English speakers from different countries. In this case we try to select the most standard terms. We do not always successfully employ these selections, but this is our goal.

Here are a few examples.
Primary school: Americans normally say "elementary" school for the first few years of school. More common around the world and fully understandable in America, is "primary" school. Primary school also provides a paralell structure for secondary school.
University: We generally use "university" for post secondary academic studies. This sounds a bit pompous to the American ear which more commonly uses "college". The use of college, however, would confuse European and South American readers who use "college" to mean secondary schools (colleges/colegios).

American-British Usage

Many but not all of the confusions over English usage comes from the differences between Amerivan and British English. Many Americans and Brits do not know all of these differences and they can also be confushing to other native english speakers as well as non-native Ebnglish speakers learning English as a second language.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: July 19, 2002
Last updated: July 19, 2002