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Old 8th February 2008, 04:25 PM   #1
Edith
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Default English Proper vs. Proper English

I have got a question for the English speakers on this forum: what is the meaning of 'English proper'?
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:34 PM   #2
Maria S.
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My only guess would be:

English proper nouns (capitalised names) versus common nouns.

But "English proper" by itself I have never heard.

Edith, where did you see that? Or are you testing our knowledge?

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Old 8th February 2008, 07:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edith View Post
I have got a question for the English speakers on this forum: what is the meaning of 'English proper'?
Difficult to know without a context but my gut feeling would be that

Proper English is the way English should be spoken ie The queens English with an RP accent and

English Proper may be the way we actually speak it, nothing like the above and more and more (amongst the young) with the wide use of the moronic interrogative...

... or maybe Ive got ot backwards, who knows?
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Old 8th February 2008, 07:49 PM   #4
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"Any-noun proper" means that the speaker had been talking about that noun but then realised, or wished to emphasise, that there is more than one version and the next thing from that speaker, would be about the authentic, or more widely recognised, noun.

So "English proper"... let me see... a speaker might have been talking about a phrase common in the US but then wished to restate using English as spoken in England
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Old 8th February 2008, 09:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiny View Post
So "English proper"... let me see... a speaker might have been talking about a phrase common in the US but then wished to restate using English as spoken in England
This would mean:

Going from "English proper" to "Proper English" once again.
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Old 8th February 2008, 09:22 PM   #6
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Proper English - stilted, formal.

English proper - I like Chiny's explanation
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Old 8th February 2008, 11:27 PM   #7
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I, too, think it depends on the context. But here is a possibility that I see among Webster's unabridged dictionary's 12 examples:

6) understood in its most restricted sense; strictly so called: usually following the noun modified, as, the population of Cleveland proper (i.e., apart from its suburbs).
(or, in this case, the noun English in its most restricted sense)
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Old 9th February 2008, 02:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmerito View Post
6) understood in its most restricted sense; strictly so called: usually following the noun modified, as, the population of Cleveland proper (i.e., apart from its suburbs).
(or, in this case, the noun English in its most restricted sense)
Nail + Head.
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Old 9th February 2008, 09:59 AM   #9
Edith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maria S. View Post
Edith, where did you see that? Or are you testing our knowledge?

No, I wasn't! If only I could remember where I saw it! I remember looking at some chart involving the history of the English language, but I haven't got a clue where that chart came from!

The thing is, I want to practice my translation skills and I was looking for a proper (no pun intended! ) Dutch translation. As we all know, things often get lost in translation, and context is very important! The 'Cleveland proper' example from Webster's probably calls for a different translation than the 'English proper' one from the chart.

I think they were talking about the original version of English (English proper) and its derivatives (American, Australian and New Zealand English etc.). As far as I can tell there was no value judgment involved but I wanted to be sure.

Thanks guys, for your help!
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Old 9th February 2008, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary View Post
Proper English is the way English should be spoken ie The queens English with an RP accent and
I've been wondering, though: how many British people actually speak this kind of English? I like RP when David Attenborough uses it - it's still somewhat formal, but the man himself is so relaxed! That's one of the reasons why I like him so much.

I'm not able to distinguish all regional accents from the British Isles but it's always easy to tell who's from Scotland or from Ireland! And of course, Cockney is easily recognizable as well, even for a foreigner. The Yorkshire accent used by the farmers in All Creatures Great And Small sounded rather pleasant to me.

Last edited by Edith; 9th February 2008 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 9th February 2008, 02:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
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.... The Yorkshire accent used by the farmers in All Creatures Great And Small sounded rather pleasant to me.
I love that series (and the books)! Makes me want to visit that countryside.
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Old 9th February 2008, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edith View Post
I've been wondering, though: how many British people actually speak this kind of English? I like RP when David Attenborough uses it - it's still somewhat formal, but the man himself is so relaxed! That's one of the reasons why I like him so much.

I'm not able to distinguish all regional accents from the British Isles but it's always easy to tell who's from Scotland or from Ireland! And of course, Cockney is easily recognizable as well, even for a foreigner. The Yorkshire accent used by the farmers in All Creatures Great And Small sounded rather pleasant to me.
The queen's accent and a cockney's accent are very very similar in their pronunciation. Listen to, for example, the way a war-time east Londoner and the queen pronounce "Off". The current south east BBC accent is more dissimilar to the queen's than cockney.
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Old 9th February 2008, 07:24 PM   #13
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So which one does Basil Fawlty speak or James Bond?
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Old 9th February 2008, 08:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deecree View Post
The queen's accent and a cockney's accent are very very similar in their pronunciation.
Let's hope Hyacinth Bucket/Bouquet doesn't read this!!! It would be such a disappointment for her.
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Old 9th February 2008, 08:41 PM   #15
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It depends on whether the original poster is asking about spoken or written English?
A handy link to help with pronunciation that includes audio assistance:
http://esl.about.com/library/listeni...consonants.htm

Google correct English for more help.

Written English is difficult enough for many English people to master, with it's odd spelling quirks and punctuation, so I feel extremely sorry for foreign students of the language.
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Old 9th February 2008, 08:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmerito View Post
I love that series (and the books)! Makes me want to visit that countryside.
I'd love to visit Yorkshire too. James Herriot country!
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Old 9th February 2008, 08:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
It depends on whether the original poster is asking about spoken or written English?
A handy link to help with pronunciation that includes audio assistance:
http://esl.about.com/library/listeni...consonants.htm

Google correct English for more help.

Written English is difficult enough for many English people to master, with it's odd spelling quirks and punctuation, so I feel extremely sorry for foreign students of the language.
Don't feel sorry for the people in Holland - our official spelling changes every ten years or so, which drives me absolutely crazy. Once you've mastered the intricacies of English spelling, you've got little more to worry about.

Thanks for the audio link! I'm going to bookmark it for further reference.
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Old 9th February 2008, 08:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edith View Post
Don't feel sorry for the people in Holland - our official spelling changes every ten years or so, which drives me absolutely crazy. Once you've mastered the intricacies of English spelling, you've got little more to worry about.

Thanks for the audio link! I'm going to bookmark it for further reference.
Fewer and fewer English students are leaving school with the ability to spell!
I can't imagine a language that changes it's spelling though, how on earth do you manage? I have a friend who lives there, but he's never mentioned that to me, I must remember to ask him when next we chat.
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Old 9th February 2008, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
A handy link to help with pronunciation that includes audio assistance:
http://esl.about.com/library/listeni...consonants.htm
No dark (velarised) l in that list, though.
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Old 9th February 2008, 09:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastephen View Post
No dark (velarised) l in that list, though.
An example of which would be?
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