OFTEN or often...?

@krajibg (11934)
Guwahati, India
April 6, 2010 9:51am CST
Hi folks, Just to tell you the truth English is not my first language though my profession is directly associated with this language. Many of us non English speaking people find it difficult to write and speak this language effortlessly. First thing there is no hard and fast rule over spelling pattern and when it comes down to pronunciation level most people find it too fussy to be accustomed to its structure. Say the word 'often'. Some native speakers pronounce it with the 't' sound clearly audible and some keep it silent. What do you follow? Another bothering aspect here is the use appropriate preposition. Most of us often ignore and put whatsoever comes along the stream. 'of', 'by',' 'to', on, 'for', 'in' are few of them. The common mistake we generally make is not adding 'ing' to the verb when we use the preposition 'for' 'He was scolded for being late to the class'. We are not perfectionist but with a little effort we can improve our skill and command over this funny language. Please share your ideas.
3 people like this
15 responses
@mysdianait (65081)
• Italy
6 Apr 10
Hi Rajib! Even those of us who should be able to speak English corectly, because we were born and raised speaking and writing it, are often in difficulty I have many spelling problems and when I have forgotten how to spell a certain word I use another one to avoid a horrendous mistake I pronounce 'often' as 'offen', as though it had two f's and no 't'. My problem is when I am comparing two things. I never know whether I should say that one this is different to or different from another. I knew which way to say it when I was in UK but over the years I have forgotten
2 people like this
@zandi458 (27951)
• Malaysia
6 Apr 10
Hi diana, so you speak more Italian now? Or what do the Italians call their language?
@mysdianait (65081)
• Italy
6 Apr 10
Hi Zandi! Yes I speak, read and write in Italian all day every day here. Only at work in the hotel do I get the occasional chance to speak in English. I have a couple of English friends here but we speak a mixture of both languages when we get together. Thank goodness I have myLot to be able to keep using it!
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi Diana, You upheld a right point that those who are born and brought up English too can not be expected to make the correct usage of this language. Rather a non native speaker or user could out smart him/her. What I feel is, along with regular practice one needs to have love towards it. Say you are now more Italian in our language approach than English but you wright not incorrect English though. Here in India people are used to utter the word 'often' like 'offen' but I have heard the BBC news readers sometime saying 'of(t)en', with the 't' phoneme very much audible. As for 'different' we are more accustomed to using the preposition 'from'. This is a fact that correct and appropriate use of preposition is a challenge for even the best users of this language.
@zandi458 (27951)
• Malaysia
6 Apr 10
I am quite a linguist myself having a fair command of other languages like Mandarin and other chinese dialects besides having to handle our national language ie. Bahasa Malaysia which is not my mother's tongue. As languages go, English is probably the one that has evoked the most comment, criticism and controversy. It is not easy to keep the "purity" of a language intact when other than the natives speak it. And even when all can't speak it properly. Adoptions from other languages, adaptations of English will occur no matter how you try to avoid it. However, while we are about it, why can't we as speakers of this foreign language at least pay a little more attention to syntax, concord, phonetics, semantics and whatever is required in the learning of a language. It wouldn't do anyone any harm to become proficient in one language, at least that would certainly be much more desirable than being a jack of all lauguages and master of none. Glaring examples of incorrect grammar are seen all the time. Take the following two sentences as examples, "I am going to fetch my son to school", "I want to lend a book from the library". It's so easy to get it right from the beginning. Mistakes need to be corrected,and correct word usage demonstrated. Incorrect usage in other situations need to be pointed out too. Another common area of misusage is the use of "as such" as being synonymous with "therefore" or replacing the phrase "in the circumstances". And so on. People do take liberties with the English language. Such a practice can get out of hand, and as time goes by the slipshodness of the whole thing becomes only too apparent. The rot has set in.
1 person likes this
@zandi458 (27951)
• Malaysia
24 Aug 10
It was 5 months ago but I think it is never too late to thank you for this award.
@xfahctor (14128)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
6 Apr 10
First, your command of the English language is quite impressive. My compliments to you. It certainly isn't an easy language to learn, especialy if one is used to a simpler language such as Spanish. The problem is compounded in the U.S. by the fact that there are many dialects and accents here,depending on where one travels. For example, up here in the northern New England where I live, the "t" is sometimes not pronounced in the middle of some words. Up here "often" come out out sounding like "offen". This is the case with a number of letters up here. The "r" on the end of a lot of words is also sometimes dropped up here because of the accent. My state's name, for example, "New Hampshire" is often pronounced up here as "New Hampshah".
1 person likes this
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
6 Apr 10
hi xfahctor, first of all thanks for your compliment. but the fact is that I am still learning English. As we know English is broadly divided into three major categories. British English, American English and Australian English. The differences are not so wide but there is visible and clear difference in the accent specially between British and American English. Apart from some lexical differences the pronunciation differs quite apparently and explicitly. Where the British people keep the sound 'r' if it is at the end of the word or followed by vowel sounds silent, the American people make the 'r' sound quite sonorous and audible therefore. But if the 'r' is at the end of the word and preceding vowel sound even the British people make it audible. For example 'This car is mine' one has to make it audible and can not leave silent. Similarly the word 'often' too is pronounced both with the 't' sound present or absent. In India we retain the 't' while uttering 'often'. Thanks for sharing.
@dawnald (84071)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Apr 10
Easy for me. lol
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi dawn, I can guess only what is easy for you. But for most others it is not so easy.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84071)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Apr 10
Even for native speakers it isn't always easy...
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
You are right dawn.....
@Canellita (12056)
• United States
12 Jul 10
Rajib, every word has a pronunciation guide with its definition in the dictionary. Anyone who has a question about the proper way to pronounce a word can now hear many words properly articulated online.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
13 Jul 10
Hi Canellita, thanks for joining an old discussion. The the Net provides almost everything these days, to be honest I have not downloaded any soft were or the like from the Net so that I could hear any word pronounced correctly or in the safe mode. I know tat the Oxford Dictionary now provides with a CD where there is everything. Starting from the semantics and usage to the pronunciation of each and every word. Then it would surely be helpful for those of us who are not sure about the word meaning and its pronunciation and one needs just to go online. Thanks once again.
@Canellita (12056)
• United States
13 Jul 10
You don't have to download anything or even purchase the dictionary anymore. You can hear the word pronounced online.
@zhouxi (1756)
• China
24 Apr 10
hi,there.english is really useful tool.with this tool we can exchange though we have different culture background and difference native languages.it's difficult for me to master it .i also like it .i like the feelings of being understand though it's not my major study area.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
13 Jul 10
Hi zhouxi, Sorry for the late response. Actually there was a big gap between posting this discussion and my resuming at Mylot. Now when I checked back saw your response lying just uncared. well, none can write of the importance of the English Language these days. even those of us whose native language is not English are affected more or less. People are trying to communicate in English without caring much if mistakes in the compositions are there. I do not say I have mastered this Language but can handle in much better way. Thanks for dropping and sharing...
1 person likes this
@zhouxi (1756)
• China
13 Jul 10
i have forgot my respond.today i find there are mistakes there.
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
Let me guess. I think you are a Filipino (like me) for acquiring such as very good command of English. We Filipinos are very meticulous on our usage of english grammar but I think most Americans are not particular with it.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi internikk, I am afraid you are wrong in your guess. I am not a Filipino but we share one thing that is we are Asian. I am an Indian. I have been learning English Language and have not mastered it yet. I know most of you Filipinos are good in English though this might not be your first language.
@celticeagle (122952)
• Boise, Idaho
7 Apr 10
My big beif is how people write in emails and online in general. No capitol letters at the beginning of sentences and no caps with people names or proper nouns. It gets old. I think people, for the most part, on here that are using Englis as a second language do try to speak correctly.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi celti, You have raised very interesting aspect of the usage of English. Without Capital in the beginning of a sentence or a proper noun they go writing English and we accept them as well. But the story does not end there only. I feel taken aback as to why people do not feel the necessity of polishing their language. This is not only in the oral form but one needs to write too. And when thing comes down to writing we expect a coherent and polished input. Do not you think so?
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (122952)
• Boise, Idaho
7 Apr 10
I know what you mean and agree. It is sad to see such important things decline so. It is a sign of our times for sure.
@williamjisir (22900)
• China
27 Feb 11
Hello krajibg. I do often hear the sound of t in the word often by most native speakers, though t can be silent. Also it is difficult for us non-native speakers to correctly use prepositions, which is a very difficult word of speech in use. As to the learning of a foreign language, a better way for us to do is to practise as often as possible. Thank you for the knowledgeable discussion. Take care.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
27 Feb 11
Hi there, As we are oriented to the British English we tend to keep the 't' sound silent whereas the American English speakers make it audible. So for us both are correct.
@paula27661 (15898)
• Australia
16 Apr 10
I think, dream and speak in English most of the time and yet it is not my first language. You have probably read in my posts that I came to Australia from Italy when I was ten years old and, because I was placed in a English speaking classroom immediately I found it was a matter of survival to learn the language and I did it easily because I was only ten! I do not think English is as difficult as say, Italian because of its vast number of verbs and odd pronunciations. Being fluent in both languages I would have to say that Italian would more difficult to learn. By the way you are doing a fantastic job with your English rajib!
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
22 Apr 10
Yes Paula, I remember your account that you are not born English. In the same way we too have found the road to safety so far this language is concerned. I do agree that Italian and Sanskrit are much more difficult languages compared to English and still a good many people fail to find ways as to how to master this English Language. This has limited verbs when we compare to the language mentioned above. But do know why this is still difficult for too many souls. Thanks for the compliment Paula.
1 person likes this
• India
13 Apr 10
b]Hello my friend krajibg Ji,[/b] I am with you with all your obeservations coming true. But remembe this funny language is commanding the whole World today. We communicate with each other. No one is doing any reserach work, before aoption. We only worry to express ou5r selves.But i promise to follow, what you teach in your class. Is there any explanation for deffering pronounciation for "BUT", AND "PUT", or even with many more such observation. May God bless You and have a great time.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
22 Apr 10
Hi MGBU Jee, Thanks for your words here. We must agree to the fact that this funny language is the only way to communicate word-wise. No doubt there are other language too but no alternative for the universal communication has been found other than English. As for the different pronunciation between BUT and PUT I must add that there is no governing rule as to why it is so. And this why this a funny language. There are so many such cases and the list would be too long to hang here.
@stanley777 (7251)
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
often--you don't have to pronounce the t..there are rules for using the right preposition..
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi stanley, Yes, all know there are rules for everything and one is supposed to follow them. If not it would be something that would not go your way or the like. You can not outright negate that there is no need to articulate 't' in 'Often'. I have heard people making the 't' phone audible when they say it. And both are correct. This is now up to you whether to say it this way or that way.
@neildc (17251)
• Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines
7 Apr 10
we have almost the same view of the English language. of course, even if we had been to college, sometimes, we really cannot make us of the exact term, pronunciation, spelling, grammar, etc. because, in the first place, it is foreign to us. we were not born English.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi neidc, The primary objective of any language is to communicate. In the pristine age people would communicate with gesture more than anything else for language had not developed as yet. Now things are different and we have our own languages and each language has its properties like morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and all. Only proper use of them would make the language meaningful and worth communication. Verbal communication with a lots of errors can be accepted to some extent but if it is written one and requires high standard input of the language aspects we have to proceed accordingly. The pronunciation of the word 'often' in most non English countries is accomplished without the 't' audible. But there are people who make the 't' very much audible. Its up to us what we would adopt for ourselves.
@bubbletush (1333)
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
I pronounce the word often with the "t" audible. I think that is the proper way to pronounce it. Although it is very impressive to hear someone talk with a good command of english, I still believe that as long as people understand each other using simple english or a not so good command of the language, as long as people can relay the message he is trying to convey, it is okay. I am sensitive enough to give consideration to people who do not speak good english especially those from countries who do not use english as their first language. With regards to preposition, I do really have a problem using them. I do get confused most of the time. I just go with what sounds good when I'm in doubt.
@krajibg (11934)
• Guwahati, India
7 Apr 10
Hi bubbletush, Well the actual purpose of any language or dialect is to communicate. If that is not hampered all is well. But lets compare the use of language to that of our living style. We can go with two square meals and two or three pairs of dresses and shoes regardless the amount of money we have. Then why we have proclivity towards high standard of living ? This is so because we can afford to have all the ease and thus there comes the difference between our living and their living. On the same note if sources are open for you why not try to modify your language to rather a higher form? The more correctly you write and speak the better would be the communication and inter personal relationship. Well, even in our country 'Often' is pronounced with 't' sound there.
@bettydeng5 (1709)
• China
7 Apr 10
yes, it's difficult for us to speak english as a native if we aren't be english speaking people. I often learn english as per the expression regulations, but I found it difficult for me to learn the pronunciation, and I often confused the pronunciation.