Thanks to my “jigar,” Zafar Niazi for handling your questions efficiently. I usually turn to other things after writing my post. I can see your comments and questions around 10 pm, or in the morning. Nice of Zafar to take over my job in my absence.
For those of you who are interested in correct pronunciation, I would like to recommend speaking dictionary. It is an electronic device like a cellphone or calculator. I saw one about 25 years ago. It was owned by one of my female students of MA. She told me it had cost around Rs 3000.
It is very easy to use. Like a cellphone SMS you click a word, and then press the key marked ‘speak’. The device speaks out the word. Not only that, the screen also shows the meanings of the word and its various forms.
It’s such a nice little gadget, you see. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-1 Oct 2018
While discussing pronunciation let me make it clear that a person born and educated in Pakistan cannot pronounce all English words EXACTLY as the British do. We can pronounce correctly, but only a person born in England can pronounce English words exactly,
It is quite natural about every language. Only natives can pronounce all words exactly. For instance, a Pashtun can’t pronounce the words کھانا کھایا . He will say something like کانا کایا
A Lahorite cannot pronounce the Seraeki words ڈال ، چنڑاں accurately.
Seraeki, Pashtu or Sindhi speakers cannot pronounce the words ددھ (دودھ) ، گھٹ ، بھائی جی as Punjabi speakers do.
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-2 Oct 2018
During British rule thousands of Englishmen lived here. Many of them picked up Urdu, But they could not pronounce ت andڑ etc correctly,
Actually it is an issue of vocal organs ( throat, lips, teeth, nose, palate etc) which produce various sounds. In childhood the vocal organs are soft. So they easily adopt the sounds of the mother-tongue. In mature age the vocal organs become stiff, so they cannot adopt new sounds.
Anyway, the good news for you is that Pakistani pronunciation of English words is recognised by the British as a variation of English pronunciation. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-3 Oct 2018
Yesterday I said the British recognise our pronunciation as a variation of English pronunciation.
Yes, they don’t laugh at our hard ‘d’ s , ‘t’ s and ‘r’ s.
The British pronunciation of ‘d’ is something between د and ڈ.
Similarly they pronounce ‘t’ as something between ت and ٹ.
It means their pronunciation is soft as compared with ours.
As for ‘r’ they just touch it, when it comes at the end of a word like teacher, driver etc. We pronounce these words as teacherrr , driverrrr 😄 etc. Their pronunciation of these words sounds like teacha, driva.
Now tell me honestly, is this discussion of pronunciation boring you ??? .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-4 Oct 2018
The word ACCENT refers to distinctive manner of pronunciation specific to a certain area or community. Several accents of English are current in various parts of England.
In Pakistan also there are various accents of the local languages.
For instance, the word for “write/writes” in Mianwalian language is spoken as “likhainda” in Mianwali city, “likhaina” in Daudkhel, and “likheenda” in Wan Bhachran area. These three variations are accents which indicate the area to which a speaker belongs. In the same way there are various accents of Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi.
I hope I have made the idea of accent clear to you. From tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH, we’ll pass on to the next issue in speaking English, It is, INTONATION, I hope you remember. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-5 Oct 2018
INTONATION is another important issue in speaking. Intonation means rise and fall of voice in speaking. For instance when we say headmaster in Urdu, Punjabi etc, we speak “master” louder than “head”, like headMASTER. The correct English intonation is HEADmaster.
Listening is the only way to learn correct intonation, as it is a matter of voice.
Intonation also means rise and fall of voice in a sentence. We may call it tone or impression of the sentence. Interestingly Pashto intonation is closer to English than Punjabi, Sindhi or Balochi intonation. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-6 Oct 2018
FLUENCY is another major issue in speaking English.
Fluency means ability to speak freely, easily and quickly. It comes with practice. Just listening is not enough. Fluency comes with listening and speaking in answer to what we hear.
Unfortunately our system of education does not emphasise practice in speaking. That is why our students are shy and reluctant in speaking.
When I was teaching MA classes in Government College, Mianwali, I never spoke a single Urdu sentence in the classroom. Neither did I allow the students to speak Urdu or any other language except English.
” If you have to ask any questions, please do so in English,” I used to say to every new class.
I was disappointed. They never asked any question, because they were afraid of making errors. Isn’t it a pity that the students who had studied English as a compulsory subject for 9 years (from Class Six to BA) couldn’t speak even a single sentence in English ???
To be honest, it was not their fault, because their teachers over those 9 years never spoke English in the classroom.
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-7 Oct 2018
To acquire fluency you must first learn the language.
Learning through listening is almost impossible in Pakistan, because people around us don’t speak English The easiest option available is reading. By reading you gradually learn the language, and can speak correctly, though not fluently. The process is slow, but there is no other choice.
When you have learnt the language, you only need practice to become fluent.
Some of you have expressed fears about Tenses etc. That means learning grammar. I have repeatedly said, and let me tell you once again that GRAMMAR CANNOT TEACH YOU LANGUAGE. Just like you have learnt your mother-tongue and Urdu without the help of grammar, you can also learn English, if you keep up reading.
Our discussion has entered a very interesting phase. I know you will ask questions. Well, I’m ready to answer any question from you on this subject. My next post (tomorrow) will answer the questions which you ask. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-8 Oct 2018
Instead of questions I got some beautiful suggestions from Zafar Niazi, Tariq Iqbal Khan and Asad Khan. Zafar has suggested talking to oneself for practice. Easiest thing to do, a bit embarrassing though it may seem in the beginning. No need to feel embarrassed. I am sure you love to sing to yourself when you are alone, at least in the bathroom.😄 Then why should talking to yourself be awkward ? A very helpful suggestion by Zafar if you take it seriously.
Tariq Iqbal Khan suggests talking to your kids in English. That too is a very good suggestion though only married people can follow it.
In beautiful English, Asad Khan offers some very nice suggestions. I wish you all to read his comment on my last night’s post.
Dear Mashooq Khoso says it is impossible to write correct English without learning grammar. I can’t agree with him. Would like one of you to address his apprehensions..MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-9 Oct 2018
Mashooq Khoso still insists that study of grammar is an essential requirement for writing English. I wrote a lot on this subject in my earlier posts about 3 years back. I once again assert that knowledge of grammar is not an essential requirement for speaking or writing English.
To satisfy my brilliant student, let me address him directly.
Mashooq Beta, your mother-tongue is Sindhi, but you can speak and write Urdu very well. Did you learn Urdu with the help of grammar ? Certainly not. You acquired your command of Urdu mainly by reading books, newspapers etc. Why not learn English that way?
Not that I am against teaching grammar. Those of you who were my students at college, know that I had a very good reputation for teaching grammar. But I taught it only because it was a part of the examination. I never said you can’t learn English without grammar. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 10 Oct 2018
Let WRITING ENGLISH be topic of our discussion from today.
If you look at the editorial pages of our English newspapers, you will see that quite a number of Pakistanis write beautiful English. We find very fine specimens of good English in letters to the editor as well as columns.
On the downside, I have seen many students of MA English writing miserably poor English. My experience as examiner for Intermediate, BA and MA was sometimes quite embarrassing. I often wondered how the candidate managed to get through Matriculation.
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH..MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-11 Oct 2018
Two basic requirements of writing are
1. Vocabulary ( words and phrases )
2. Knowledge of sentence structures.
Regular reading is the best way to acquire knowledge of sentence structures as well as vocabulary. The more you read, the better you write. There is no shortcut.
Listening too is a source of vocabulary, but the range of vocabulary and sentence structures used in everyday conversation is pretty limited.
More of this tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 12 Oct 2018
English vocabulary is very rich in synonyms (words with the same meaning). For instance look at some of the synonyms of BIG;
Big = large, huge, immense, stupendous, prodigious, enormous.
In everyday writing we have to choose the words in current (common) use so that the reader may easily understand what we say.
In formal ( public or official ) writing we have to use the specific (special or technical) words.
For instance a judge never writes ” The accused is set free ”
He will write ” The accused is exonerated or acquitted” .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 13 Oct 2018
Newspaper is the best source of vocabulary in current use. English is creating as well as absorbing new words everyday.
Even dictionaries cannot keep pace with this speed. Mostly new words and phrases first appear in newspapers.
Quite familiar words have been replaced by new, easier words. For instance
investigation —- probe
emphasise ——- stress
negotiations —— dialogue
problem ——- issue
There are many more.
Investigation, emphasise, negotiations, problem etc are now rarely or less frequently used.
The typical language used by newspapers is known as journalese. Earlier it was not considered standard English. But now it is recognised as standard English all over the world.
That is why I insistently advise you to read English newspapers. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 14 Oct 2018
English is remarkable for variety of sentence structures. We can convey the same idea in more than one ways. For instance :
- I called him twice, but he didn’t respond.
2; He didn’t respond, though I called twice.
- I called twice. Still he didn’t respond.
This variety lends beauty to expression. Instead of repeating the same sentence form we can use various forms in a letter or article etc.
Some more examples tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-16 Oct 2018
Look at the following different ways of conveying the same idea :
- I’ll not forgive him unless he apologises.
- Unless he apologises, I ‘ll not forgive him.
- I ‘ll not forgive him until he apologises.
- I’ll forgive him only if he apologises.
Some more such examples tomorrow, IN SHA ALLAH. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 17 Oct 2018
And now look at the following sentences :
- I’ll leave for Lahore today.
2. I am leaving for Lahore today.
3. I leave for Lahore today.
These sentences have exactly the same meaning. Interesting, isn’t it ?
Where are your grammar and Tenses ???
As I often say, English is moving ahead too fast for grammar and dictionaries to keep pace with it.
Reading newspapers can keep you updated about the latest developments in the language. MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-18 Oct 2018
Our friend Farhan Kamran sticks to the view that we cannot write without the help of grammar. He asks ” Can we say
I am knowing the answer tomorrow.
Of course we cannot, though grammar tells us that Participle form of Verb ( ing form ) used with “is” “are” “am” makes Present Continuous Tense. It means grammatically it is correct to say “I am knowing. ”
But USAGE tells us it is incorrect to use the Verb “know” in continuous form.
Another example :
Grammar tells us that “had” should be followed by Past Participle ( Third form) of the Verb.
But we can’t say “You had better consulted a doctor”
The correct form of this sentence is
You had better consult a doctor.
So, you see it is not GRAMMAR, but USAGE that guides us to write correct English.
I could write several other examples, but I hope what I have said is enough to satisfy Mr Farhan. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-19 Oct 2018
A Day to Celebrate with Pride
My son, Prof Muhammad Akram Ali Malik,
presenting his paper at
4th International Conference of Linguistics
hosted by Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi
and Higher Education Commission —- MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-20 Oct 2018
Some more ways of conveying an idea:
- I couldn’t attend the meeting because I was ill.
2, I couldn’t attend the meeting as I was ill.
3, As I was ill, I couldn’t attend the meeting.
4. Since I was ill, I couldn’t attend the meeting
5. I couldn’t attend the meeting since I was ill.
6, I was ill, so I couldn’t attend the meeting.
7. Being ill, I couldn’t attend the meeting.. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-21 Oct 2018
Let’s go out in search of our sweetie, my worthy colleague and your respected teacher, Zafar Niazi.
Haven’t seen him online for quite some time. What could it be ? Too busy ?? Sick of nasty comments on his political posts by patwaris and khilaris ???
But he ought to realise he’s missed by all right thinking people. He’s the boldest among us. Moreover he is highly creative, imaginative and sagacious. Some of his posts teach us the art of living a useful life. I particularly cherish the little narratives he writes to elicit beautiful lessons. I love his Urdu and English posts as much as his helpful input to my English posts.
Hey, Zafar, come on, yaar. We’re waiting for you in the street. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 22 Oct 2018
Two persons can be compared in the following three ways :
- Arshad is more intelligent than Aslam.
2, Aslam is less intelligent than Arshad.
3, Aslam is not as intelligent as Arshad. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 23 Oct 2018
Some more examples of conveying an idea / opinion in more than one ways:
- Work hard, otherwise you will fail.
2. Work hard, or you will fail.
3. You will fail if you do not work hard.
4. You must work hard to avoid failure. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 24 Oct 2018
Some more variety of expression:
- He is not only honest, but also humble.
2, Not only is he honest, he is also humble,
3. He is humble as well as honest.
4. He is honest, and humble too. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-25 Oct 2018
Just tell me whether this sentence is correct or incorrect. Give reasons for your answer :
- It is high time you consulted a doctor. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK-26 Oct 2018
In an interesting comment on my last night’s post, Syed Aqeel Shah points out a female foreign colleague’s confusion about Irregular Verbs. He says she uses the Past and Participle Forms of Irregular Verbs by adding -d or -ed, as in Regular Verbs. For instance, she says
I boughted myself this book.
My child weeped so much.
True that grammar gives us a rule about making Past or Past Participle Forms of Regular Verbs ( Verbs which take -d, or -ed )
ask asked asked
play played played
closed closed closed etc
But grammar has no control over Irregular Verbs. For instance
make made made
take took taken
bake baked baked
set set set
get got got / gotten
go went gone, etc
My advice for the lady :
The solution for your problem does not lie in grammar. You can learn such things only through regular reading.
.MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 27 Oct 2018
Vocabulary building is an important issue in learning English. For everyday conversation and writing you need not have a vast vocabulary. All you need is words and phrases in current use.
That brings us back to the need for reading newspapers. A newspaper offers you a rich variety of vocabulary in current use.
New words and phrases are coming into use so fast that even the best dictionaries can’t keep pace with the latest additions to vocabulary. Mostly these new words and phrases firs appear in newspapers. As each new word and phrase comes to you in a certain context, you can easily guess the meaning. No need to go to a dictionary for the meaning of every new word or phrase that you come across in a news item or article. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 28 Oct 2018
Memorising vocabulary is no problem. Your brain stores the new words and phrases that you learn through reading, and gives them back to you when you speak or write. It stores only words and phrases that are commonly used. Unfamiliar words and phrases that are rarely used go the “Recycle Bin” of the mind, and take some effort to recall.
I hope you know what ” Recycle Bin” is. It is a sort of folder in the computer. When you delete a download, it goes to the “Recycle Bin” . You can bring it back when you need it.
I request Zafar Niazi to answer your further questions about this post. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 29 Oct 2018
Like grammar, use of dictionary is also not an essential requirement for learning English.
I have read hundreds of English novels but, speaking honestly, I never used a dictionary. Had I used a dictionary I couldn’t have read so much. I would soon get tired, and give up. Even without using a dictionary I have, by the Grace of ALLAH, acquired quite a vast vocabulary just through reading.
I know some of you would find it hard to agree with me. But I again assert that you need not depend on a dictionary if you are serious and sincere about learning English. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 30 Oct 2018
Let’s have a little assignment today :
Write just 5 sentences to introduce yourself.
I’ll give my comments about each answer around 10 pm. .MUNAWAR ALI MALIK- 31 Oct 2018