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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Speaking from Experience


This paper recapitulates the address given on the second day of the conference by the author as a representative of the hosting department. It is based on my personal experience as a lifelong learner of English and university professor, rather than on expert research on the subject. I recall the most embarrassing English errors I made during my teaching career, present evidence of the power of preconceived notions in judging language performance from my childhood and from my son’s youth, and provide examples of varying language use by English native speakers that present problems for the concept of linguistic “correctness.” I conclude by stressing the value of linguistic diversity found in the U.S. and the wisdom of nurturing the richness of linguistic heritages this country possesses.

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