English, a dif­fi­cult lan­guage

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Mal­phia Hon­wane

A FEW years ago when I was still a communications stu­dent, I learnt about a new phrase called se­man­tic noise.

The phrase refers to any form of dis­tur­bance in the trans­mis­sion of a mes­sage that in­ter­feres with the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the mes­sage due to am­bi­gu­ity in words, sen­tences or sym­bols used.

I have noted with great con­cern a high num­ber of black grad­u­ates who are strug­gling to crack the world of em­ploy­ment.

As lousy as it may sound, I must high­light that the English lan­guage is a ma­jor contributor to the fail­ure of these prospec­tive em­ploy­ees.

Most of us who come from ru­ral ar­eas had it hard learn­ing English.

The truth is, there are teach­ers in ru­ral ar­eas who can­not speak proper English and this af­fects their pupils. The learn­ers grow up think­ing that English is a very dif­fi­cult lan­guage and can­not be learnt be­cause even some of their teach­ers can­not speak it.

The fact that job in­ter­views are con­ducted mainly in English makes it dif­fi­cult for can­di­dates to ex­press them­selves to the fullest.

What is more tragic is that in most cases, can­di­dates are judged by their abil­ity to ex­press them­selves and not nec­es­sar­ily their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and skills.

Pri­or­ity is given to those who have an ex­cel­lent com­mand of English as it is per­ceived to be a sign of in­tel­li­gence.

If can­di­dates were in­ter­viewed in their home lan­guages, more es­pe­cially for jobs that pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to English, many of those who are cur­rently un­em­ployed would be work­ing to­day. Hat­field, Pre­to­ria

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