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How we learn English Two English Languages Everyone has had problems using English language as effectively as it should be used Many if not most of our problems with English develop when we forget that there are two closely related but essentially different kinds of English - spoken English and written English To use the language effectively we have to be able to switch from one of its forms to the other with ease If these two forms of English were identical we could simply apply one set of rules to both and many of our problems would disappear But unfortunately spoken English and written English is not the same thing And you simply cant ignore their differences When we speak we dont have to worry about spelling punctuation and capitalization or neatness and legibility But when we write these things become very important When we speak we can correct ourselves immediately if our listener doesnt understand But when we write our writing must stand alone and explain itself without us When we speak our words vanish in the air But when we write they remain for everyone to see Small wonder that speaking seems so easy and natural writing so difficult and forced Small wonder too that others are more critical of the way you write than of the way you speak Because people from different parts of the country and different backgrounds speak English differently its very difficult if not impossible to establish hard-and-fast rules for a standard spoken English But while people may expect varieties of spoken English to sound different they expect written English to look the same This is why fairly rigid and universal standards for written English have been established and why these standards are taught in schools In fact the sort of good English an educated person is expected to use is called Standard
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