I was reading an article the other day which suggested that native English speakers need to learn how speak English with non-native English speakers.

It seems pretty obvious to this writer that we need to adapt the way we speak – to some degree – to every single person we speak to, even if they’re also native English speakers. That’s what communication is all about; adapting our vocabulary, phrasing and colloquialisms to the person and situation at hand. This is what all communicators do naturally, talking more slowly to non-native speakers, avoiding idiom, softening accents, and so on.

Those that don’t do this are small-minded, either because they don’t understand the basics of communication or they don;t care to make life easier for the person they’re in dialogue with.

Non-native English speakers may find written English easier to understand, because it’s more formal, they can take their time with it and revisit the sentence if they want, or look a word up for a translation. Spoke English offers none of these luxuries, unless you help out. Written and spoken English are also two different, and diverging, languages, each subject to different forces like speed of change and formalising regulations.

So, speaking with or writing for  non-native English speakers is like speaking with or writing for any speaker. It;s basic sales and marketing. You adapt your content to your audience.

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