Re: Hyphenation for ESL audiences?

Subject: Re: Hyphenation for ESL audiences?
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 09:29:27 -0600

On 20 Aug 2003 at 15:00, Marshall, Anna wrote:

> When you're writing and editing material for audiences who speak
> English as a secondary language, do you tend more or less toward
> hyphenation? Specifically, I'm looking for info on compound adjectives
> or nouns that could go either way hyphenation-wise. Examples:
> Freeze prevention strategies
> Cold chain storage

I have tutored ESL students through our library's literacy program,
and, my answer would be the quintessential "It depends upon your
audience". At what level are the students?

If it's a remedial group, then I might skip excessive punctuation.
Otherwise, I would punctuate the document as if I were writing for
an audience whose first language was English. The main reason
hyphenation is used is to make the writer's meaning clearer, and
who needs things explained more clearly than someone who's not a
native English speaker?

I have taught students who picked up on English
grammar/punctuation rules quickly, and who would have called me
on it had I not used the correct form. I had one particularly bright
student who would call me on all sorts of things. To this day, I
cannot talk about Center Street without thinking about the time he
asked "why are you calling it Sinner Street". I quickly learned to
watch my pronunciation ;)

Dana W.
(why? because I'm originally from the South and grew up with sloppy
speech, that's why!)

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