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Most of my answers would have any one of these sentences -

As a native speaker, this sounds off to me
As a native speaker, I'd say....
No native speaker would ever say...
In AmE, we say ..... but not sure about BrE
In BrE, we say.... but not sure about AmE.
This is typical Indianized... and the list is endless...

At times, it's ever surprisingly funny. Though the asker and answerer are non-native speakers and the scene is happening in a non-English speaking country, the native speakers try to make me understand how would a native speaker would take it and speak it. Check out here. The conversation here is in between my teammate (fortunately non-native speaker) and me and I'm asking general English and check out David Hall's comment - it seems like you don't want to learn how a native speaker interprets "in one day" but instead are looking for someone to agree with your interpretation of the phrase. Yes, I don't want to learn because the question arose from the conversation between two non native speakers, we did not have a video conference or live telecast that the native speakers were watching, giving grades or had something to do with it!

On the other hand, context plays a crucial role and that's what native speakers have been telling. I'm asking them -what is context? Is context something that whatever happens anywhere should be first taken to the native speaking countries and transformed into how the native would speak? Is that the context? I'm sorry, it's migration! When I said that the environment is Indian, the conversation is between Indians and everything happened in India and whatever I'm asking and learning, I'll tell to Indian and if Indians don't understand how so-called native would take it (because he's an Indian!), what's the use? If you are a native speaker and think that the context is Indian dialect, answer it accordingly (or at least in International English) because learning from your answer the Indians will speak to each other and NOT you or a native speaker. If you don't know how to answer that way, leave the question.

Another thing I observed is if anything sounds off or they have not heard it, the natives would simply downvote it denying that's not the rule or is not correct. The humiliation happens when they are given the reference of an authentic book, written by a grammarian (of course, native), they find no escape. The only resort is to tell it further - Maybe, but as a native, I'll never practise it or it's not that common. It's something that if they are not aware of the word/phrase, to them, that does not exist.. The example is - here.

Peter shore downvoted the answer as he is a native speaker and simply that sounded off to him! He says...

I downvoted. This is wrong in one important respect. There is no grammatical rule that you need to put the plural subject last; at least, no grammatical rule that is used by native speakers. When two or more subjects are connected by or, you put the subjects in whatever order you want, and make the verb agree with the subject closest to it.

After some time, he says...

I removed the downvote. I found this rule on the web on an ESL site, so some ESL classes really do use this rule. However, let me say that this is a "rule" that I don't believe any native speakers follow.

Furthermore, the comments...

Lots of native speakers believe in totally nonsensical grammar rules AND Native speakers are often rather unaware of grammar. - from another native speaker.

Imagine the situation of a non-native speaker but very sincere person like me.

a) First, I need to check whether the source (now even a grammar book!) is written by a native. Because if I believe non-native (say Indian author or chief editor) I'm not sure whether it's accepted (check my previous examples of Where did you do your degree from which is even used in reputed Indian Newspaper but then my answer was deleted saying Indian English that way would convey wrong message)
b) Okay, after confirming that the author is a native speaker, I'll have to check though something is under the title rule, should it be considered as a rule or simply as a guideline.
c) Well, if it's guideline, should I follow it or not because in my latest example of the Blue Book for Punctuation, natives said that that's merely a guideline so it does not go that way!
d) Fine, it's rule and guideline both but then though it's written by a grammarian (native), I should further check whether it's used in daily practice or is it a popular word or phrase because if it even sounds off, the answer is crossed (the latest example of downvote by Peter Shor).

So, a non-native like me should learn English from the books written by native only, and should confirm whether it sounds okay (though written by a native grammarian!) to the natives! Above all, if so-called natives don't know grammar, why do they comment or answer. Okay, no one can stop them but why others upvoting and encouraging their stance? Why don't you make a system that downvote does not happen without leaving a comment? Let those so-called natives come up with their statement and I answer them right there? Why downvoting anonymously, do they live in cognito? In fact, they are far better than me in the language, should they teach, opine or criticize anonymously?

All non-native speakers have a common sense (including me) and we'd ask specifically IF we require AmE or BrE, we'll specify it. Or else, we need a neutral approach and not those both dialects' that themselves already have plenty of disputes since ages! One of my friends asked me, "Do we need to copy natives for whatever they do or speak?" Cannot we have neutral correct English? And, I was really speechless!

Is this forum localized? Influenced by native speakers? Isn't there something called International English or for that sake Indian English? Do non-native speakers need to copy or blindly follow what the native speaker says?

Leave English for a while, I'm a native speaker for Hindi language and it's obvious that no one else speaks more fluent Hindi than I do. BUT when it comes to a perfect grammar and syntax, I have flaws in my Hindi. Will all agree that just being a native speaker makes everything you speak/write a flawless piece of information? There cannot be any mistake? And above all the thing that just sounds off mean it should be upvoted and agreed by other native speakers and again, as native speakers support and comment in the same answer, the answer becomes even stronger leaving aside the non-native speaker's way of answering (though it has logic and references from the authentic sources).

The worst example is here. From where have you done your Bachelors? is absolutely fine here, in India. And I answered it my way. The only sin I committed is I din' mention it happens in India and the bombarding started. The sentence is used in Indian newspapers, reputed magazines and even in institutes and colleges. Even more, the asker is Indian/Pakistani. This simply means that I should stop learning from Indian newspapers and reputed magazines because all articles are written by Indians and I'm afraid, which part of their writing may sound off to a native speaker! Furthermore, the same thing explained by some native speaker with just a line It's Indian way to speak ... would have several votes up and the answer is chosen! Because the sentence in question sounds off or a native would not speak it that way and as a result, my answer got 6 downvotes for that. Cheers.

Heck, if I'm an Indian, how do I guess everything that what I know is Indian or American? Well, this means for every answer of mine, I should either write IMHO or In India, I'd say like this. And trust me, then on I started practicing it! But then a Brit again commented here!

This simply means - I should mention that IMO and should first check every sentence, word, syntax and approach whether it's American or British. I'm afraid, I would not be able to answer any question then!

Of course, this forum is handled, maintained and moderated mostly by native speakers (and it should be) but then neutralism is what the quality one should have while commenting or downvoting answers by non-native speakers. Had I been a native-speaker, I'd be more generous and would appreciate non-native speakers more as they really try hard learning the language.

Last note - no bitter feelings to the natives and I'm ready for the downvotes or deletion of this post as the matter is in natives' hands. But then whoever is the authority, keep in mind that I really work hard. English is my passion and throughout my graduation, I've struggled a lot (because even the graduation happens in regional language here!). I've been a victim of mockery and insults among English speakers here and that gave too much pain to my heart. I then rose myself up to whatever level I am today. So, to me, every comment of yours is literally taken and I' very serious (or sensitive?) about it.

The latest update: Most of my answers are deleted so links may not prove my point.

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    Do you consider yourself a native English speaker, or not? It's hard to tell by what you have written here. – J.R. Mar 20 '14 at 16:01
  • @J.R. who claims that? And what does my 'being a native' make difference here? – Maulik V Mar 21 '14 at 4:50
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    I didn't claim anything. I asked a simple question. – J.R. Mar 21 '14 at 10:12
  • @J.R. Of course, I'm not. You should have caught that in no time looking at my writing! – Maulik V Mar 21 '14 at 10:15
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    @MaulikV: I'd see it as a compliment! :) – oerkelens Mar 21 '14 at 12:12
  • @oerkelens what would you see as a compliment? the downvotes without comments? Or someone disagreeing with you saying As a native, that sounded off to him? – Maulik V Mar 21 '14 at 12:19
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    Maulik - Try again. I don't think @oerkelens was referring to either one of those things. Try rereading the whole dialog here :^) – J.R. Mar 21 '14 at 12:29
  • @J.R. A comment below the answer may refer to both - the comments and the question itself! Since everything here is about the negativity, it's quite obvious that I went with the flow. And were you asking me as a native speaker, seriously? It was a tongue-in-cheek remark, wasn't it? I need rest I think. – Maulik V Mar 21 '14 at 12:36
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    Tongue-in-cheek? Nothing of the sort. I don't believe American English is superior to Australian English, or that British English is superior to Canadian English. Indian English is a variant of English, so why couldn't a native of India regard themselves as a native English speaker? I don't know what language your parents spoke in the home. RE: Since everything here is about the negativity... Look again. The only "negativity" in these comments is the negativity you assumed, imagined, and injected. – J.R. Mar 21 '14 at 12:43
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Woah! Hold your horses, think of your heart! :)

I largely agree with you, that answers should not be localised outside the context of the question. That is, unless the OP asks for specific AmE, BrE, AuE or InE, the answers should be as general as possible.

As for:

Is this forum localized? Influenced by native speakers? Isn't there something called International English or for that sake Indian English? Do non-native speakers need to copy or blindly follow what the native speaker says?

I have created the "Indian English" tag here, and I think that it is very useful to tag questions that relate to Indian English accordingly.

Indian English is not to be confused with "Hinglish" or whatever negative connotations many "native" speakers seem to have of it. It is a form of English as spoken in India, and in that regard it has potentially more speakers than any other form of English. There are even native speakers of it.

I think it wouldn't hurt to make it a bit more clear from time to time that English is not only "correct" if it is spoken by Brits or Americans, or if it is so-called Standard English.

An Indian man who bought a new dress and shows you his bottom might make a Brit feel uncomfortable, but that same Brit will make an American feel as uncomfortable asking him if he has a rubber or if he wants to come outside for a fag.

I do agree that AmE and BrE often seem to be thought of as the "only" forms of native English that are "correct", and although there are definitely many cases where localised interpretations and opinions are useful (if I have a question about Hemingway, chances are the answer lies in a particular use of AmE), they are certainly not the answer to everything.

However, I think there is also a responsibility of the asker of the question to specify in what context an answer is sought. So use the appropriate tags, and indicate in the question that you are looking for an answer in that context.

And in general, I would like to encourage speakers of other Englishes (other than BrE, AmE or Standard English) to be a bit more proud of their English. After all, English is spoken the world over, and it is one of the few languages to exhibit such a wide variety of beautiful cultural, historical and linguistic influences while still staying a lingua franca for all its proficient speakers.

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    That's inspiring. +1 – Maulik V Mar 21 '14 at 10:04
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    @oerkelens: I really like your reply to this query. You have spoken of how English has universal appeal, and anything that has universal appeal is wont to be acclimatised according to its particular geography. There is no need to feel hurt, people! – Neil D'Silva Mar 21 '14 at 16:24
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    Wait, who said that British English is correct? I thought American English was the only correct form. :-) – Jay Feb 4 '15 at 14:38
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    @Jay: no problem, mate. Many people make that mistake, it's totally understandable. Same way that Brits think that Greenwich is the centre of the world, and Australians think they walk upright. – oerkelens Feb 4 '15 at 15:33
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Though the asker and answerer are non-native speakers and the scene is happening in a non-English speaking country, the native speakers try to make me understand how would a native speaker would take it and speak it.

I disagree.

I would put it this way: The native speakers are trying to explain to anyone who happens to visit the site how a native speaker would take it and speak it. This site is aimed at helping English learners understand English better, and that includes how native speakers would perceive certain phrases.


I've never tried to mock you – or anyone else on this site. However, the site is supposed to be a reliable reference for English Learners. If someone provides an answer that seems like bad advice for the English learner, then I will point out problems with that answer. Such comments are not directed at anyone personally; I'm not going to mock anyone, but I'm not going to coddle anyone, either. If you don't want a downvote or a negative comment, then be sure of your answer, and bolster it with verifiable examples. Insofar as I know, the entire Stack Exchange works that way.

What makes English so interesting is that it varies so much from region to region – not just from nation to nation, but even from fishing towns to farming towns in the same country. Learning about those differences and quirks in the language is one of the most rewarding aspects of being active in this community.

Well, this means for every answer of mine, I should either write "IMHO..." or, "In India, I'd say like this..."

You're overreacting. If you know something is local, then say so; that's a courtesy, and it makes for a better answer. As an example, there are parts of this country where, if somebody thinks something is very excellent, they call it wicked pissah. It's valid English, but I wouldn't put it in a general answer here, because I know it's not well-known outside that area.

But pretend I didn't know it was only used in just one area. In that case, I might put it down in an answer!

If you want to tell other students how much you like your professor, you should tell them he's a wicked pissah lecturer.

When the comments started coming in ("Where did you hear that? That doesn't sound like a compliment..."), how should I react? Claim I'm being mocked? Pout, because my version of English is being criticized by "native speakers?" Instead, I'd either delete my answer, or, if I think it can still add something to the conversation, I would modify it:

Where I'm from, they use the phrase wicked pissah to talk about something that's highly regarded, although that's evidently a localized term, and probably shouldn't be used outside the area where it's readily recognized. In Boston, a student might be able to say, "He's a wicked pissah lecturer," but that may not be good general advice.

What's local and what's universal is not a binary state, but a spectrum. All of it can be interesting if you have an open mind.

As for your answer that you've linked to (the one you've dubbed your "worst example"), here is what you wrote:

The word from is a preposition and generally does not go at the end of the sentence. Nevertheless, the grammarians have been debating on the same since years! However, placing prepositions at the end of the sentence, in some cases, makes better sense.

From where have you done your Bachelors? - Correct and preferred.
Where have you done your Bachelors from? - Correct but generally not preferred.

I was one of the downvoters of that question. However, before I downvoted, I left a comment:

Your answer here (a) talks about ending a sentence with a preposition [not a valid concern]; (b) labels an awkward, stilted version as "Correct and preferred" [not true]; (c) uses the archaic word whence [novel and quaint, but not very helpful for everyday conversation]. In short, even though you have inserted caveats in the right places, I still think your answer here could be more misleading than helpful for the English learner.

Instead of addressing any of these concerns with an improvement in your answer, you quibbled. You left the part about ending a sentence with a preposition in bold, (which, in case you didn't know, means that you are saying something emphatically, as if you are pounding your fist on the table).

My comments to you – like all the rest of my comments – have been made in a spirit of trying to help you, along with helping any other English learner who might be visiting this site. You are very active on ELL (which is commendable), but you seem to get offended rather easily when people criticize your answers and comments. Your language in this question seems more of a rant than a rational concern – particularly your repeated use of bold print. Remember, this site works because everyone critiques each other.

When I said that the enviornment is Indian, the conversation is between Indians and everything happened in India and whatever I'm asking and learning, I'll tell to Indian and if Indians don't understand how so-called native would take it (because he's an Indian!), what's the use? If you are a native speaker and think that the context is Indian dialect, answer it accordingly (or at least in International English) because learning from your answer the Indians will speak to each other and NOT you or a native speaker. If you don't know how to answer that way, leave the question.

No. If you're not prepared to accept answers from all walks of the English-speaking world, then don't ask the question. At least, don't ask it here. You don't get to pick and choose who provides an answer, and who doesn't – that goes both ways.

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I think it is inevitable that most answers on this site will be from native speakers of English. We post answers to try to help those who are learning the language. It is unfortunate, but also inevitable, that many of those posting answers will concentrate on their own local form of the language.

Although I am English, I have been fortunate enough to have travelled widely. I have experience of many misunderstandings between people of different countries, both of whom have English as their first language. Let alone between people for whom it is not their first language! In my personal experience, the variations in Indian English can be some of the most confusing.

Anyone posting answers here is trying to help and will, or at least should, take into account the language expertise of the questioner. Also, the culture. You speak of being mocked on the site. I would hope nobody here would do that deliberately. It is likely that a form of words that is common in, say, Australian English may be considered rude to a native Indian. That is more down to the culture, where Indians do use more polite forms of the language in normal speech than do many others.

There are several questions about localisation over on ELU.

Similarly with voting. Voters will cast their votes according to personal experience, which will be coloured by their own locality.

All I can say is, keep asking, keep answering. The more any Indianisms or Caribbeanisms or whatver are pointed out, the better this site as a whole will be.

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