Friday, 5 March 2010

Mind your language

I am writing this in response to a note posted by one of my friend on Facebook. I gave a second thought before commenting directly to his note, this long post should be shared with everyone who want to improve their language.

Good grammar is very important to give good first impression to the reader. Proper use of language will also improve the presentation of the paper. No matter how good the work is, but it will become useless if the researcher fails to present his/her work to the target audiences due to improper use of language and grammatical error. It will make the report looks not professional to the reader and it will be a laughing stock to the informed reader if this problem is not taken seriously. The lecturer must have expected your friend to have language proficiency that is on par with the status as a university student. Harsh comment from lecturer is expected but the comment is totally impersonal in nature, they just want their student to improve. That's all. Looking at the current scenario in any publications by UTP students, the level of English is very poor. Take MPPUTP as example, frankly I look down on them due to spelling errors, silly grammar and word usage mistakes in their publication. Poor language=poor in professionalism. Remember, the first impression matters. If the language is hard to understand, how the readers can understand what are being fed by the writer in his/her writings? In my situation as an engineering student, the language is very important (although I am not studying linguistic or any courses that are language-intensive) as the reports are very technical in nature. A very critical language check is important to make sure the reader would not misunderstand our points. There are numerous ways of improving our language proficiency.

  1. First, we can do a lot of reading that are RELEVANT to our field. It is pointless to read a Tom Clancy's novels if your main business is to publish technical papers on Electrical Engineering. Take note on how the points are presented, how the sentences are constructed and the jargon used.
  2. Secondly, improve our word power. One interesting way is by watching movies of that language with assistance of subtitles in THAT language. For example, if you watch an English movie, make sure that the subtitles are in English too. Sometime, spoken words in the dialogs are hard to be recognized, with the assistance of subtitles, we can easily find the meaning in dictionaries (my favorite and fast dictionary is Google with search string: define:"your words").
  3. When writing your report, please make sure all the grammatical and spelling errors are checked before printing. Make full use of your word editor software's grammar and spell checks features like those found in Microsoft Word (just press F7 and make the necessary corrections, there are reasons why red and green jagged underline below your words).
  4. Prior submitting your writing to the intended reader, please have someone who are known to have good command of language to proof-read your writing first. We cannot rely on the spell/grammar checks feature found in the word editor only.
  5. These are some guides to improve our language that I practice myself. I am not that good in language but I am always trying to improve my proficiency in language especially in English and Bahasa Melayu. I believe that no matter how good we are in our work, if we fails to translate it into words (verbally or written), then it will be no use to others.

p/s: Struggling with my FYP II progress report I. "Your report are not up to my expectations" - Z, my SV. Just tough it up and accept with open mind. :)

1 comment:

Nurul Farhana said...

btw, good luck with report stuff~ ^_^