Linguistic Vegetarianism

It CAN be difficult to make language comprehensible to novices. People who are educated usually talk in a sophisticated way, and it’s hard for them to simplify. It’s the case of “What is your final destination today?” versus “Where are you going?” I will be doing a training this summer to help teachers communicate in a meaningful way with novice-low speakers, so I’m thinking about this a lot, and designing the training games I’ll use with them.

I am glad that I trained as an interpreter in an environment where I had to keep up in my L2. There’s no way I could ever be as eloquent as my classmates who were native Chinese speakers. The only advantage I had was the ability to break things down into small pieces rapidly. This helps me with stories, because at the end of the day “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Cinderella who lived with an ugly stepmother and two evil stepsisters” is actually “There is a girl. Her name is Cinderella. She is pretty and good. Her mother is bad. Her sisters are bad” underneath.

I’m a storytelling vegetarian — I strip the meat off the bones. That’s how you talk to novices.

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