English in the Information
Society
Grammar
Saskia Nolte
Der Binnenmarkt ist das Herz der Europäischen Union. Aber viele
Europäer können mit dem Begriff wenig anfangen.
 The domestic market is the heart of the European Union. But a
great many Europeans cannot do much with this concept /
aren’t familiar with this concept.
lex:
*inland, *home, *internal, *inner ( domestic) market
*center ( heart)
*trade ( market)
*expression, *word ( concept)
*how to handle this *expression; *don’t know, *do not know
what it is about; *do not get an idea of ( cannot do much
with, aren’t familiar with)
Die Studenten-Organisation setzt sich für die Rechte der Arbeiter
in Textilfabriken der Ditten Welt ein.
 This student organization is fighting for the rights of workers in
textile factories in the Third World.
sp:
*third world ( Third World)
prep:
*of ( in) the Third World
coh:
*the ( this) organization
lex:
*stand up for ( work for, fight for)
aspect:
*works/ fights for ( is working/fighting for)
Es war der ehrgeizige Versuch eines visionären Franzosen, Europa aus
der Phase der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Lähmung zu befreien.
 It was the ambitious attempt of a visionary Frenchman to free
Europe from a phase of political and economic paralysis /
immobilization.
lex:
*try ( attempt)
*futuristic ( visionary)
*financial, *economical ( economic)
*palsy, *paralyzing, *stagnation, *handicap, *standstill ( paralysis)
*rescue, *relieve, *release ( liberate, free)
*state, *stage ( phase, era, period)
prep:
*free of ( from) a phase
det:
*a ( zero) paralysis
*an ( the) ambitious attempt
tense:
*had been ( was … attempt)
Grammatically wrong or merely a matter of style? How
important are these changes for comprehension?
• The heuristic advantage of the differentiation is particularly
salient in cases in which publics become involved as third parties
bringing about the peculiar dynamics of modern competition as
a “fight of all for all” (Simmel).
 The heuristic advantage of the differentiation is particularly
salient in cases in which the public becomes involved as a third
party, which brings about the special dynamics of modern
competition as a “fight of all for all” (Simmel).
• The sociology of knowledge should analyze the communicative
conflicts about conjectured borders of knowledge because they
allow studying the repression and marginalization of erring
statements which are involved in any kind of knowledge
production.
 The sociology of knowledge would profit from an analysis of the
communicative conflicts about the conjectural limits of
knowledge because these conflicts allow the study of the
repression and marginalization of erroneous statements, which
are involved in the production of knowledge of all sorts.
How wide should/could International
English be?
• Basic English (Ogden)
“The question of intelligibility is one which has
generally been neglected by an undue
insistence on correctness” (Ogden, 1968).
• Reduced grammatical system
Sentence structure
• The General Word Order: Subject- Verb- Object
• Questions: formed by inversion and do
Nouns
• Plurals are formed with a trailing -s. The normal
exceptions of standard English also apply, notably -es
and -ies
• Compound words may be combined from two nouns
(milkman) or a noun and a directive (sundown).
Adjectives (Qualifiers)
• Comparison is expressed with more and most; -er and est are alternative suffixes
• Negative adjectives are formed with prefix un• Adverbs use suffix -ly
Operation Words (Verbs)
• 10 operators: make, put, take, keep, let, give, get, go,
come, do
+ 3 operator auxiliaries (have, be, seem)
+ directive (preposition)
= equivalents of roughly 200 simple English verbs
Auxiliaries
may: possibility/permission
will and have: to form compound tenses
be: passive voice
will: only auxiliary for futurity
Pronouns
• operators and pronouns have to be congruent in case,
number and gender
Tense
…“a matter of common sense”
How wide should/could International
English be?
• Basic Global English (Grzega)
– a (fast) start for learners of English, open for
developing larger skills of all kinds of Englishes
– reduced but still natural, not artificial English
– English for international contexts (with a guarantee of
international intelligibility)
“BGE should only offer the most basic and most
frequent grammatical patterns of English”
(Grzega, 2005).
 only 20 grammar rules
Prerequisite: Differentiation of seven word classes
(Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs,
Conjunctions and Prepositions)
1. Sentence Structure: Agent- Verb- Patient/object of
the Action
2. Singular vs. Plural
3. Definite and indefinite article
4. Personal pronouns
5. Other pronouns
6. Simple present (Irregularities: be, have, do)
7. Progressive
8. Simple past and present perfect
9. Progressive used for background and frame actions
10. Future
11. Passive
12. Auxiliaries (most important be, have, do)
13. Relative clauses and relative pronouns
14. Adverbs
15. Comparison
16. Negation
17. Interrogative and imperative sentences
18. Prepositional constructions with verbs
19. Subordinate clause
20. Conjunctions
 “Obviously, violations against grammatical rules of
standard English do not seem to lead to any serious
communicative breakdowns”.
 “Native and advanced non-native speakers of English
are asked to accept the variants presented as rightful
variants in international contexts” (Grzega, 2005)
How much Variation can there be in
English in the Information Society?
Works Cited
Ogden, C.K. Basic English: International Second Language.
New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968.
Grzega, J. “Towards Global English Via Basic Global English
(BGE)” The Journal for EuroLinguistiX, Vol. 2, 2005. p. 65-164.
<http://www1.kueichstaett.de/SLF/EngluVglSW/ELiX/grzega054.pdf>

Notes from Session 11, June 30, 2010