Student project about English for UK immigrants

This student project is related to plain English and social inclusion.

Project keywords: global English, immigrants, international English, international readers, language accuracy, language quality, non-native readers, plain English, social inclusion, UK government policy.

Research question

For international readers in the UK, how much clearer is international English than plain English?

International readers are people who read English as second language. International readers are also known as non-native readers.

International English is optimized for an international audience. International English is also known as global English, internationalized English, and worldwide English.

Previous work

In the UK, many immigrants do not know English very well. Guidance for Local Authorities on Translation of Publications explains that the UK government policy is to write in English, if practical (http://resources.cohesioninstitute.org.uk/Publications/Documents/Document/Default.aspx?recordId=60).

Many organizations use plain English. However, plain English is not designed for international readers. For example, in Plain English? A Study of Plain English Vocabulary and International Audiences, Emily A Thrush shows that international readers struggle to understand phrasal verbs (www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-77497899.html).

In 2008, John R Kohl published The Global English Style Guide: writing clear, translatable documentation for a global market. For an introduction, read 'The Global English Style Guide: a review'.

Kohl gives hundreds of grammatical guidelines for English that help to increase the clarity of text for international readers.

Project summary

Ask international readers to evaluate pairs of texts. Compare examples of plain English text with an internationalized version of the text.

If possible, use plain English text from local authority websites. Use text that is approved by an organization that sells plain English services. In the UK, three commercial organizations sell an approval service for plain English:

TechScribe will make the results public. Therefore, you must get copyright approval from the copyright owner. If necessary, TechScribe can help you to get permission to use the text.

TechScribe can write the equivalent international English text, or you can write the equivalent international English text.

Speak to your project adviser to make sure that the project is suitable. If you have questions, or if you want to work on the project, then contact Mike Unwalla.

See also

Student project: with free machine translation, is international English better than plain English?

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