PROOF-READING

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PROOF-READING

Postby bthomas66 » Sep 24, 2013 10:52 am

I am a 68 year old chartered accountant, semi-retired, living in Oxford England and wish to use one of my 3 skills [which are caving, cycling and proof-reading; oh and financial accountancy].

I realise that caving publications may not need fulsome accuracy and great grammar but there must be some room for me, somewhere, somehow. There is a place for me, so please do help me out, fellow speleologists. I can also contribute an article or three, which will not be that serious.
Oh and I branched out into biospeleology and made a claim to fame and fortune in 1968 with a snail found in Pollnagollum, County Clare, Eire.

Thank you - Brian Thomas
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby ohiocaver » Oct 28, 2013 10:03 am

Your Irish snail discovery (if not previously published) might be of interest to the JOURNAL OF CAVE & KARST STUDIES. You can contact Malcolm Field, via the JCKS portal (http://caves.org/pub/journal/index.htm), with an article on that discovery. JCKS is NSS's scientific publication and follows academic guidelines.
And I'm sure there are several independent book writers or cavers with articles of their own who might be looking for proof-reading help. Keep in mind, of course, that we use American English (we don't do a lot of potholing here!). But this is the right place to drum up interest. :cavechat:
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby Tlaloc » Oct 29, 2013 10:34 am

Caving publications DO need proofreading. Frequently the English in them is so bad it's painful. Often the authors use horrible conventions like describing past events in the present tense or worse - mixing the past and present tense in the same article. I would like to see editors be much more heavy-handed in editing the English in caving publications.

In the USA, even in our dictionaries, the word is "realize". My guides to style specify that that you should write out the numbers one to ten and then use numbers, so you have "three" skills. Almost no American would know the meaning of the word "fullsome". Correct grammar in cave articles would be good. In England your team go to a game. Americans use the principal of subject-verb agreement, so a team goes to a game. I'm sure that you are extremely literate. I'm not trying to be abrasive. My point is that British and American English are different Languages.

"England and America are two countries separated by a common language." - George Bernard Shaw.

If I was the Ayatolla of caving I would require that all publications be written in some Standard English (probably American) because it's the most universally comprehensible:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_English

Unfortunately it would be hard to find authors capable of doing this.

I have no cultural agenda. My concern about English dialects is that some of them have diverged enough so that they're incomprehensible to the speakers of others. For example, when I travel to some Caribbean islands or to Scotland I can't understand the "English" being spoken. This defeats the most basic purpose of a language - to communicate.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby GroundquestMSA » Oct 29, 2013 1:18 pm

Tlaloc wrote:I have no cultural agenda. My concern about English dialects is that some of them have diverged enough so that they're incomprehensible to the speakers of others.


In that case, why the correction of the numeric "3," or the British spelling of realize? Are these hard to understand? :big grin:

Tlaloc wrote:Almost no American would know the meaning of the word "fullsome".


Likely not, since there is no such word (that I know of). The modern "fulsome," on the other hand, is no more British than American, and any American ignorance of its meaning is due to our increasingly miniscule vocabulary in general. Grammar is extremely arbitrary, as seen by its rapid evolution. There's no sense in getting worked up over what are ultimately very temporary standards. We can harp on (to borrow an old British phrase) each other's grammar all day. We all make mistakes. A lot of them get published. So what?

Incidentally, Scotland and the Carribean Islands are the only places I've been, outside of the U.S. I find the differences in grammar, vocabulary and accent very fascinating, if occasionally challenging.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby LukeM » Oct 29, 2013 3:34 pm

Are there really that many people that have trouble with British writing? It hardly seems a high expectation to have of a readership.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby gindling » Oct 29, 2013 6:16 pm

Hello Brian. You are always welcome to help out with proof-reading the Alpine Karst publications for us! And we could publish some articles as well. Im sure some of the karst areas in the British Isles could be considered alpine. Next issue out late summer 2014. Email me at b_gindling@yahoo.com if you are interested and check out past issues at alpinekarst.org. Cheers.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby ohiocaver » Nov 21, 2013 7:19 am

On the other hand, at the start of a trip into a cave, when a British friend handed me his wallet and asked me to stick it in my boot -- well, I was temporarily confused. A half-second before I told him to stick it in his own damn boot, the light went on and I stowed it in the car's trunk. It's not an unbridgeable, unintelligible gap...it just interrupts the flow of comprehension. :laughing:
That said, cross-language proofing is not an impossible job. One of my regular freelance assignments is proofing documents and white papers generated in India, Hong Kong and GB in British English into US English. And there are many times I need to consult with the author to find out what he/she meant. My guess is that Brian is aware of the differences and can make that jump just fine...as long as he is willing to walk a mile in an American's "boots".
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby NZcaver » Nov 22, 2013 3:03 am

LukeM wrote:Are there really that many people that have trouble with British writing? It hardly seems a high expectation to have of a readership.

In my experience living in different states around the US for over a decade - yes. Recently I've been watching an on-demand British series with American friends, and regularly have to translate/explain terms. A few of the more colo(u)rful idioms I even have to look up myself, as obviously UK has some different colloquialisms to NZ. I sometimes dabble in technical writing and proofing, and while mostly US-centric I do consciously try to adjust terms to be more easily understandable by the broader English language population.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby Phil Winkler » Nov 22, 2013 8:51 am

My mother sent me this book when I serving in Vietnam with the Aussies.
http://www.textfiles.com/humor/strine.txt

It is a hoot. And it helps to say them out loud to understand the definition.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby LukeM » Nov 22, 2013 9:34 am

NZcaver wrote:
LukeM wrote:Are there really that many people that have trouble with British writing? It hardly seems a high expectation to have of a readership.

In my experience living in different states around the US for over a decade - yes. Recently I've been watching an on-demand British series with American friends, and regularly have to translate/explain terms. A few of the more colo(u)rful idioms I even have to look up myself, as obviously UK has some different colloquialisms to NZ. I sometimes dabble in technical writing and proofing, and while mostly US-centric I do consciously try to adjust terms to be more easily understandable by the broader English language population.


Yeah, I guess you're right. Having grown up with British sitcoms on public TV and enjoying comedy from the likes of Monty Python I think I unknowingly picked up on a lot of that.

Even so, I think the average caver is capable of inferring the meaning of an odd colloquialism here and there through context. For a technical manual, there's no excuse for not translating, but in something like a caving article I guess I just enjoy the "flavor" that comes with different variants of the English language.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 22, 2013 8:11 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:My mother sent me this book when I serving in Vietnam with the Aussies.
http://www.textfiles.com/humor/strine.txt

It is a hoot. And it helps to say them out loud to understand the definition.


Quite amusing Phil. Reminds me of a decent old book I read called The Story of English. Learning about where English came from and how many different forms it takes worldwide makes it hard to fuss too much about common usages that are technically improper.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 22, 2013 9:46 pm

NZcaver wrote: I sometimes dabble in technical writing and proofing, and while mostly US-centric I do consciously try to adjust terms to be more easily understandable by the broader English language population.


Any examples of terms that cause confusion in such settings? Watching a tv show or listening to informal speech can be challenging, but I've not noticed many unfamiliar phrases when reading British newspapers or websites.

C. K. Stead wrote of NZ English, calling it a "carefully modulated murmer" or something like that. He says that New Zealanders are insecure about their accent and its similarity to Australian speech. "If you don't move your lips or your jaw much, some of the sound tends to go up into the nasal cavities, and what happens to it there is seldome pleasant. If, as I do, you speak New Zealand English, certain kinds of orotund utterance are not possible without faking, so it's best to just aim for clarity and confidence."
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby NZcaver » Nov 23, 2013 7:33 am

Phil Winkler wrote:My mother sent me this book when I serving in Vietnam with the Aussies.
http://www.textfiles.com/humor/strine.txt

I remember that book. My father owned a copy.

GroundquestMSA wrote:Any examples of terms that cause confusion in such settings?

Where to begin? Not all are familiar with common terms such as trunk/book, hood/bonnet, and parking lot/car park. Cavers and their biners/krabs, coveralls/overalls, dome/aven, popcorn/cave-coral, etc. Also small details in the vernacular that a native of one English dialect might not process naturally. Not just the colorful terms like bogans, chavs, ponces, nobs, screws and so forth, but also mundane examples where one English dialect might refer to the point where two lengths of wire are connected as a joint, where speakers of US English might think that was odd.

C. K. Stead wrote of NZ English, calling it a "carefully modulated murmer" or something like that. He says that New Zealanders are insecure about their accent and its similarity to Australian speech. "If you don't move your lips or your jaw much, some of the sound tends to go up into the nasal cavities, and what happens to it there is seldome pleasant. If, as I do, you speak New Zealand English, certain kinds of orotund utterance are not possible without faking, so it's best to just aim for clarity and confidence."

Ah yes, C.K. Stead makes some astute observations. Many New Zealand males are terrible mumblers, and many Kiwi women exhibit a grating nasal whine which often has upward inflections of excitement thrown in at the ends of sentences. After going long periods without this aural symphony, it is like nails on a blackboard (chalkboard) to my ears until they re-acclimate. Except with my family and friends of course, they can do no wrong. There is also the New Zealand rapid speaking trait, which is an attribute my mother ironically used to associate with Americans. All this, and we're still better than the Ockers stalking strine. Yes, I am a critic. Just don't get me started on the varied accents and verbal peculiarities of these United States, slack-jawed slow-drawling yokels and all. Y'all.
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby Alex Sproul » Nov 23, 2013 11:51 am

Three Little Pigs – Shakespeare Style :laughing:
http://biggeekdad.com/2011/11/the-three-little-pigs/
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Re: PROOF-READING

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 23, 2013 8:54 pm

NZcaver wrote:Just don't get me started on the varied accents and verbal peculiarities of these United States, slack-jawed slow-drawling yokels and all. Y'all.


Go ahead and start. I had good fun a few days ago talking to my Scottish aunt(-in-law?) about American neglect of the letter "t". We tend to skip the t or turn it into a d or a vauge glottal stop when it appears in words like toilet, often, water, and a million others. She says that waiters at resturaunts are regularly stumped when she asks for waTer.

I love exploring different accents and vocabularies. Occasionally they sound somewhat awful (the Buchanan (they pronounce it Buck Hannon) Co. VA accent comes to mind), but I don't think anyone needs to be too apologetic about the way they speak English.
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