Overseas student better at English than the British

October 4th, 2009 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI  

London, October 04 (ANI): A new survey has found that overseas students make less error in English than the British.

A checking of written work produced by final-year British undergraduate students found that, on average, they made 52.2 punctuation, grammatical and spelling mistakes per paper compared to only 18.8 by the international students.

Professor Bernard Lamb, reader in genetics at Imperial College London, and president of the Queen’s English Society, studied the written work of 28 final-year undergraduates.

The students were 18 natives and 10 from overseas- five Singaporeans, four Chinese and one Indonesian.

The study saw two-thirds of the home students making more errors than the worst overseas student.

Main errors included “flourescence” for “fluorescence”, “alot” for “a lot”, “seperate” for “separate”, “yeild” for “yield”, “relevent” for “relevant”, “introduications” for “introductions” and “pail vains” for “pale veins.

The Independent reports, the research stated: “There were hundreds of cases of disagreement in number between subjects and verbs (such as ‘male sterility are useful’, ‘fertility in most breeds have low heritability’),”

Grammatical errors included “done by my partner and I” and “a women”.

On punctuation, it added: “Semicolons were often used to introduce lists. Very few students used colons.

“Some never used possessive apostrophes, and there were many apostrophes used in non-possessive plurals - ‘the cows rectum’ and ‘the harem’s of seals’.

“There were incomplete sentences, lacking a finite verb or a main clause. Illogical or ambiguous statements were frequent - (such as ‘Barr bodies can be used to determine sex (present in females but not in males))’, ‘pass their X chromosome to half their son’ and ‘these colonies are then cross with another yeast strain’.”

The Queen’s English Society has suggested that the errors were due to “widespread deterioration in standards” in promoting the English language in schools.

Professor Lamb said: “We need to raise the very poor standards of English of the home students by more demanding syllabuses and exams, more explicit teaching and examining of English (including grammar, spelling and punctuation) and by consistent correction of errors by teachers of all subjects.

“I conclude that many of our schools do a poor job of motivating their pupils to take English standards seriously and are not teaching basic topics such as grammar, spelling and punctuation effectively.

“Above all, they are not correcting errors. One of my final-year home students told me that I was the only lecturer ever to have corrected her English and that she was grateful for it, unlike some others.

” We need constructive criticism and correction from primary school onwards. We need to tell the country that good English matters.” (ANI)

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