Fluency versus Accuracy – Some Thoughts

What is more important: fluency or accuracy? I’m aware of the artificiality of the opposition. It makes no sense to set the two against each other. There is no either – or.

However, the two concepts do sometimes seem to linger in the minds of foreign language speakers. Every once in a while there are participants in class who hardly say anything. Now this may just be due to the nature of their personality: they are less imposing or more laid back, prefer to listen to others before they utter their own opinion etc. Continue reading

What is ‘Sollbruchstelle’ in English?

The translation you get from googling ‘Sollbruchstelle’ is predetermined breaking point. However, when I googled that phrase to find out more, not much came up. In English, as I eventually found out, the phenomenon of manufacturers intentionally limiting a products lifespan is called ‘planned obsolescence’. A ‘pre-determined breaking point’ in any case is just one means to an end of achieving what the wider term of planned obsolescence describes. So from a linguistic point, one is the sub-category of the other, i.e. the two terms stand in a hierarchical semantic relationship to each other.

The Pons dictionary definition of ‘obsolescence’ is: the state of becoming old-fashioned and no longer useful (=becoming obsolete). ‘Planned obsolescence’ as a term encompasses more than just the printer that stops working after so and so many pages, but also marketing strategies of short lived fashion design (e.g. clothes and cars). Continue reading