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`Indian intonation of English is special'

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EXPRESSION MATTERS: Ben McDonald, examiner from Trinity College London, conducting Graded Examinations in Spoken English for students at HMK Public School on Saturday. Photo: Ch Vijaya Bhaskar
EXPRESSION MATTERS: Ben McDonald, examiner from Trinity College London, conducting Graded Examinations in Spoken English for students at HMK Public School on Saturday. Photo: Ch Vijaya Bhaskar

K. Srimali

UK expert all praise for language skills of Indians

  • More students opting for ESOL examination
  • For Trinity, India emerging market

    VIJAYAWADA: The quality of English spoken in India is much superior to what it is in some of the European countries, according to Ben McDonald, an examiner with Trinity College, London.

    Mr. McDonald was speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, taking some time off from the task for which he had come all the way from London: to conduct the Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) for about 60 students of two schools at HMK Public School, Gosala, near here.The GESE is part of the Trinity College's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) examinations, which are fast catching the attention of many young students who are keen on getting an endorsement for their language skills.

    Mr. McDonald, who has a long experience of testing the spoken English skills of students of various levels in different countries, said: "This is my first visit to India as an examiner, and I must say I'm really impressed by the English language skills of Indians."

    Pointing out that the number of people who could speak English in India was more than what it was in the UK, Mr. McDonald said that this fact should give intonation of Indian English some legitimacy.

    "Indian accent is a music in itself. Indians definitely use much less slang than others, and there is also some formality and politeness in the way it is spoken, which, I think, comes from the cultural milieu of Indians," he felt.

    Mr. McDonald said it was gratifying to see more and more schools and students opting for ESOL examinations of Trinity College, and the phenomenon was no longer limited to metro cities and State capitals, which it was when ESOL made an entry into India first time in September 2004.

    What began with just 485 students reached a stage where about 4,000 students were taking a shot at both GESE and the other part of ESOL, i.e. Integrated Skills in English Examination (ISE).

    For Trinity, India was an emerging market along with China.


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