Beyond American English and British English

In late 2000, Domino’s Pizza ran an ad campaign with the tagline Hungry kya? which helped the brand penetrate deep into Indian homes and cities; so much so that this label continues to be associated with all tele-branding and billboard campaigns for the brand. The admixture (pun intended) of English and Hindi proved to be an appealing, innovative, and paying concept, and many other brands skewed their ad campaigns to incorporate Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English), the most recent example being the Hungrooo campaign for Maggie Noodles. English is therefore being “customized” to regional preferences. American English and British English apart, there are region-specific or country-specific variations of the language, and their vocabulary repository is constantly evolving and expanding; it’s Japanglish, Japlish, or Janglish in Japan; Konglish in Korea; Chinglish in China; Hinglish in India; Denglisch in German-speaking countries; Thainglish in Thailand; and so on.

Such variations of English are construed as the ‘misuse of English by non-native speakers’. Conversely, American English and British English are the recognized primary variations of the language, each with some elements of writing style and vocabulary that render it with a character of its own.

We’ll return to the regional adaptations of English in a later post, but first it’s important to dive deep into the points of departure between American English and British English.

American English and British English: The Beginnings

Life was different till about the first half of the 18th century, when English was yet to plateau out into clear regional standardizations. Arguably, Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) and Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) laid the cornerstones of American English and British English respectively. From then on, the clamour (or should we say clamor?) for reforms in the English language increased, with Webster himself leading the changes in the U.S., while Norman or Anglo-French speakers in England played a decisive role in the shaping of British English. Currently, a plethora of dictionaries service the needs of English speakers in U.S. and the UK, with most other countries adopting dictionaries from either group depending on their histories, while few nations like Canada and Australia follow both. With the increasing move to phones and tablets as the information source, it is not surprising to find tens of dictionaries for American English and British English lodged in micro memory slots. No more leafing through hefty volumes for a look up!

Spellings and More

Contrary to the general misconception, the difference between American and British English is much more than variations in the spelling of certain words; it is in fact a difference in writing style. So when an editor is asked to ‘migrate’ a document from British English to American English (or vice versa), it is important to realize that changing –our/–or, -ise/-ize, -re/-er, -ogue/-og (and so on) is addressing just one of the differences between American and British English. The other differences which an editor should take cognizance of include the use of the present perfect tense ‘have/has + past participle’ much more in American English than in British English, singular verb forms immediately after collective nouns in American English and usage-dependent singular or plural forms in British English, delexical verbs have and take in British and American English respectively (consider I’d like to have a bath and I’d like to take a bath as examples), auxiliaries and modals (for instance, needn’t and don’t need to), propositions at and on (at the weekend in British English and on the weekend in American English), and past tense forms (see Table 1).

Infinitive

Simple past
(Br)

Simple past
(Am)

Past participle
(Br)

Past participle
(Am)

burn burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
burned/
burnt
bust bust busted bust busted
dive dived dove/
dived
dived dived
dream dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
dreamed/
dreamt
get got got got gotten
lean leaned/
leant
leaned leaned/
leant
leaned
learn learned/
learnt
learned learned/
learnt
learned
plead pleaded pleaded/
pled
pleaded pleaded/
pled
prove proved proved proved proved/
proven
saw sawed sawed sawn sawn/
sawed
smell smelled/
smelt
smelled smelled/
smelt
smelled
spill spilled/
spilt
spilled spilled/
spilt
spilled
spoil spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
spoiled/
spoilt
stink stank stank/
stunk
stunk stunk
wake woke woke/
waked
woken woken

After Kerry Maxwell and Lindsay Clandfield, “Differences in American and British English Grammar,” accessed at http://www.onestopenglish.com/grammar/grammar-reference/american-english-vs-british-english/differences-in-american-and-british-english-grammar-article/152820.article

This list of differences between American English and British English is by no means exhaustive, but only a representation of the editor’s predicament.

But Where is English Headed?

But the English language is a dynamic entity, constantly evolving and changing as it meanders through time and space. Regional variations are beginning to have a much more telling impact, and it will not be outlandish to imagine tailor-made dictionaries soon seeing the light of day. Hinglish, for example, is already an entry in some prominent dictionaries, which is perhaps a sign of things to come?

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Content Writing

Some people have unique talents, while some have interesting skills. Everyone is a master of something or the other. Where some are outstanding at sports, some are bright in studies. Similarly, some have a natural gift for writing, which when given proper guidance could be turned into a significant career. Content is undeniably sovereign while considering web-verse. Be it web-content, sales writing, SEO writing, magazine article writing, corporate-profile writing, press-release writing, e-books, etc. With so many varieties of areas depending on content writing, one should integrate the proper skills and techniques required for content writing. Besides, by following some specific guidelines for content writing, one can efficiently write a piece of content that not only attracts readers, but also ranks fine on the search engines.

In order to help you in improving your content writing skills, the present post on ‘Content Writing’ provides some basic points to keep in mind while writing any content.

Points to Remember for Content Writing

Clear and Concise

  • Ensure that the content is understandable and to the point.
  • Before starting to write, always be clear about the target audience.
  • For example, while writing a product description for any household electronic instrument, avoid using showy words and phrases. Instead, use simple words and phrases that can be easily understood.
  • While, writing content about any software or similar product, which usually has potential clients being IT firms, etc., try using a bit of complexity in your content.
  • Always ensure to get down to business at once. The content should reveal the frame that particular product would present to the business.

Explore

  • Ensure that you are well-versed on the topic you are writing the content on.
  • In case of any doubts, don’t hesitate in searching and exploring the vast knowledge provided on the internet.
  • Preferably spend some time in researching and exploring on the concerned topic in order to incorporate certain points about which the general audience knows.
  • In order to avoid putting any kind of repetition or plagiarism or outdated information, it is always safer to conduct a bit of research before content writing.

SEO

  • Search engine optimisation, better known as, SEO services provide the way to popularise your website or business in the world of prospects and global exposure provided by the internet.
  • SEO services assist the website for securing a high search engine ranking, which is one of the most significant means for your prospective clients to track you.
  • Naturally, the emphasis should be on excellence and quality, but one should not forget the search-engine factor.
  • Avoid filling the content with unnecessary keywords. Instead, ensure to include as many keywords as possible as long as it doesn’t seem to be too apparent.

Content writing may seem an easy job, but it has got depth that needs to be explored. Hence, content writing should be approached with a reasonable bit of carefulness. Certain websites and service providers demand certain types of content. So, while conducting your exploration and SEO, do give consideration to the quality of your content.

By keeping in mind these basic points, one can for sure do really well in content writing. Although content writing is not rocket science, it still needs some research and caution in order to produce an impressive piece of content.

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Works Cited Page in MLA Style

MLA-style formatted research or academic papers should have a ‘Works Cited’ page. This works cited page in MLA style should begin as a separate page at the last part of the paper. The present article on ‘Works Cited Page in MLA Style’ presents useful tips to help you learn the modes by which you can format the works cited page in MLA style.

Some of the most basic formatting features of the Works Cited page are discussed below.

Tips for Formatting Works Cited Page in MLA Style

General rules

  • Keep 2.5 cm margins. Insert the last name and page number in the header as in the rest of the paper.
  • Entitle the section as ‘Works Cited’. The title should be centre aligned on the first line of the page.
  • The title should be typed in a standard font and size. It should not be underlined, put in quotation marks or italics.
  • Ensure to double-space the whole manuscript. Avoid inserting extra lines in-between the entries.
  • Ensure to capitalise every word in the titles of the texts, excluding articles, prepositions and conjunctions.
  • Ensure to list all entries in the alphabetical order.
  • For the titles of autonomously published works, like books or journals, use italics or underlining.
  • For the titles of manuscripts published as part of collections, like poems, articles, etc., use quotation marks.
  • Ensure to use a hanging indent for each new entry.

General Entries in a Works Cited Page in MLA Style

  • Book with a Single Author:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. City: Publisher, Year.

  • Book with More than One Author:

First Author’s Last Name, First Name, and Second Author’s First Name Last Name. Title of Work. City: Publisher, Year.

  • Journal Article:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal. Volume Number.Issue Number (Date): Page numbers.

  • Work in Anthology or Collected Works:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Work. Ed. First Name Last Name. City: Publisher, Year. Page numbers.

  • Entire Anthology or Collected Works:

Last Name, First Name, ed. Title of Work. City: Publisher, Year.

  • Article with No Author:

“Entry Name.” Title of Work. Edition. Year.

  • On-line Sources:

Author’s name. “Title of Document.” Data about the printed version of the publication. Data about the electronic version of the publication. Last Accessed Date.

  • Text from On-line Academic Journal:

Last Name, First Name. “Article’s Name.” Data about the print version of the publication. Data about the electronic version of the publication. Last Accessed Date and Page URL.

  • Article from On-line Encyclopaedia:

Last Name, First Name. “Article’s Name.” Data about the electronic version of the publication. Last Accessed Date and Page URL.

  • Full Internet Site:

Title of Site. Name of Editor of Site. Electronic Data. Last Accessed Date and Page URL.

  • Complete On-line Book:

Author’s Name. Title of Work. Name of editor, compiler or translator. Electronic Publication Data. Last Accessed Date and Page URL.

The above mentioned formatting styles are the most basic styles used for formatting the Works Cited page in MLA Style. By following these basic tips you can learn and get familiar with the proper and correct formatting style of the ‘Works Cited’ page.

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MLA Style Formatting

In every field of research, there is a need to borrow facts or figures from other scholarly studies. Based on the requirement, the conventions used in various papers may vary. The MLA style follows a set of guidelines set by the Modern Language Association. This style is widely used in the field of humanities, especially in English, philosophy, foreign languages, and religious studies. High school and college writing assignments mostly follow this standardized writing style. Generally, MLA style of formatting is considered to be simpler and more concise compared to other styles.

Basic Guidelines for MLA Style of Formatting

  • The standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper should be always used.
  • Set a margin of 1-inch on all sides of the document.
  • Give an indent of half inch/5 spaces (or you can give a tab) for the first line of each paragraph. Do not give extra space between the paragraphs.
  • The entire text should be double-spaced.
  • Use a clear font, such as Times New Roman and the point size should be 10-12 point.
  • All the pages should be numbered (in some cases, there might be specific instructions not to number the first page). Place the page numbers on the top right-hand corner of the page and align them flush right. Your last name must precede the page number.
  • The title should be centered. Do not give extra space above or below the title of your paper.
  • You need not set a separate title page unless specified.
  • Do not use boldface in an MLA paper unless specified.
  • In case of a quoted sentence, punctuation (a period or comma) should be placed inside the quotation marks.
  • Endnotes, if any, should be set on a separate page just before the ‘Works Cited’ page.

These basic guidelines are provided just to give you an outline idea about the structure of the MLA style of formatting. For further details, you can refer to the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual.

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Guidelines for Writing Scientific Article

Good design and simple writing style of a scientific article are very important for getting the work published in a scientific journal. Nowadays, all are busy in their work; they need something that is easy to read and understand quickly. Therefore, it is effective to write a scientific article in a clear and simple way, with as much information as can be provided in a straight-forward and concise style. Following are described the guidelines for writing scientific article in an effective manner.

Effective Guidelines for Writing Scientific Article

Writing the Abstract

  • Abstract is the brief report of the whole article. It should highlight the major and important points covered in the article.
  • Writing the abstract includes summarizing the whole article while providing as much information as possible.
  • Identify the chief objectives, results, discussions and conclusions, and gather them in a single paragraph.
  • Exclude background information, literature review, account of methods, and extra words and phrases.
  • Re-read and revise the abstract to ensure that it conveys only the vital information.

Developing the Outline

  • The idea of an outline is to separate and arrange the topics and arguments of the whole article into smaller tasks in a logical form before writing the final article.
  • Prepare a fundamental message of the article by summarising the paper in one sentence (20-25 words).
  • Describe the sampling method employed and the materials and methods used to conduct the study.
  • Identify the major results and findings. List them in note form.
  • Define the chief conclusions and implications arising from the study.
  • Identify the limitations of the study results. What changes in practice, approaches or techniques would you recommend.
  • List every key point separately. Organize them chronologically by order of importance. Organising method should be plain and coherent.
  • Identify the references pertaining to each and every key point.
  • Prepare the introduction by reading the notes made in the outline. Introduction should begin with the main message, describing the purpose/objective of the study, how the study was conducted, what were the results and their implications.

Preparing the First Draft of Article

  • Combine all the information, i.e., data, references, tables, figures, etc.
  • Decide the journal to which you plan to submit the article. Write and format the article according to the targeted journal.
  • While writing the first draft, include all the chief points and information. Ignore the incomplete sentences and incorrect grammar at this stage.
  • Express yourself clearly through your writing by writing what you understand and how you understand it.
  • Use the headings from the prepared outline. Attempt to write the article in parts. Treat each section as a short article.
  • Take a break from the work. Read the prepared first draft with a fresh approach and viewpoint.
  • Edit or modify or delete, but be prepared to revise the article several times to make the final draft.
  • Wherever possible and applicable, use short sentences, simple and clear words and phrases, small paragraphs denoting single idea.
  • Proofread for clarity and readability. Re-read sentences and paragraphs for lucidity. For a scientific article, paragraphs of about 150 words in length are considered most favorable.
  • Ensure consistency and regularity. An article with more than one author often shares the writing procedures. However, the writing style should be consistent and regular.

The above mentioned guidelines for writing scientific article provide the most basic and common guidelines used while writing any scientific article. By following these guidelines for writing scientific article, one can learn and know how to write scientific articles in an effective and attractive manner.

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Formatting Research Paper in APA Style

APA style of formatting is one of the most widely used styles used to format research and thesis papers. In order to format research paper in APA style, one must essentially learn and get acquainted with the basic guidelines of APA formatting and style guide. As such, the fundamental guidelines for formatting research paper in APA style have been provided in details below.

Guidelines for Formatting Research Paper in APA Style

Document Setting

  • Page Margins: 1 inch margins on all sides.
  • Fonts: Preferably, 12 point, Times New Roman or Courier for text and Arial for figures.
  • Spacing: Text to be double-spaced throughout the paper.
  • Text Alignment: Text should be left aligned, with a ragged right margin. Do not hyphenate words.
  • Paragraph Indentation: First line of every paragraph should be indented.
  • Page Numbers: Starting with the title page, each page should be numbered.

Major Sections

While formatting research paper in APA style, the sections should be arranged in proper order: Title page, Abstract, Main Body, References, Appendixes, Tables, Figure Captions, Figures.

However, the major sections include: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, References.

Running Head

Running head is a short version of the paper’s full title, which is helpful for readers to spot the titles for published articles. Running head’s title should be in CAPITAL letters and within 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation). The running head should be present in each page, with the title “Running head” mentioned only on the title page, and not in the rest of the paper. The title should be left aligned, and page numbers right aligned.

Title Page

Title page should be the first page of manuscript, enlisting the title of the paper, author’s name and institutional affiliation, without mentioning titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD). APA formatting suggests that the title should be centre aligned and positioned in the upper half of the page. Besides, it should be limited to 12 words in length, without any abbreviations or trivial words, and should not be bolded, underlined, or italicised.

Author note

Author’s note provides the general information about the authors involved in the research. It includes the author’s departmental and institutional affiliation, changes in affiliation (if any), acknowledgments, funding sources, special circumstances and contact information, like postal address or e-mail.

Abstract and Keywords

Abstract should present a very clear and concise summary of the whole research paper. It helps the readers to swiftly assess the main idea and purpose of the research. Abstract should be limited to 150-250 words, with all acronyms and abbreviations defined properly.

A list of selected keywords should be provided in the abstract section, helping researchers to find your work in databases. The title “Keywords” should be italicised, and the sentence should be indented like the rest of the paper.

Section Heading

  • 1st level heading: Centre aligned, bold, and upper and lower case.
  • 2nd level heading: Left aligned, bold, and upper and lower case.
  • 3rd level heading: Indented 0.5” from the left margin, bold, and lower case (first word excluded).

References

References provide the information needed to find any cited source. All in-text citations should be provided in the reference list. Reference list should be arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, or the first word in citation. All names should be cited for less than six authors, while for six or more authors, the first author’s name is followed by “et al.”. In-text citations (direct quotes) should mention author(s)’s name, publication year, and page number(s).

Tables and Figures

Each table should start on a new page. The table title and caption should be left aligned, while only the table caption should be italicised.

Figures captions should be provided separately on a new page. The figure label should be italicised and not the figure caption. Each figure should start on a new page, provided at the end of the paper.

Appendices

Appendices are short contents that complement the research paper, but are not directly related to the text. Usually, appendices are mentioned in the body of the paper. In case of more than one appendix, use a capital letter, like Appendix A, Appendix B, etc., to identify them separately.

Above mentioned guidelines will help you to learn and get familiar with formatting research paper in APA style. However, it would be suggested to seek guidance from your instructor for his final word on the format and style needed to format the assigned paper.

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Scale Classification Bases

Scale Classification Bases

The Scale Classification Bases can be categorized on the following bases.

  1. Subject orientation: In this, a scale is designed to measure the characteristics of the respondent who completes it or to estimate the stimulus object that is presented to the respondent.
  2. Response form: In this, the scales can be classified as categorical or comparative. Categorical scales (rating scales) are used when a respondent scores some object without direct reference to other objects. Comparative scales (ranking scales) are used when the respondent is asked to compare two or more objects.
  3. Degree of subjectivity: In this, the scale data is based on whether we measure subjective personal preferences or just make non-preference judgements. In the former case, the respondent is asked to select which person or solution he favors to be employed, whereas in the latter case he is simply asked to judge which person or solution will be more effective without reflecting any personal preference.
  4.  Scale properties: In this, the scales can be classified as nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio scales. Nominal scales merely classify without indicating order, distance or unique origin. Ordinal scales indicate magnitude relationships of ‘more than’ or ‘less than’, but indicate no distance or unique origin. Interval scales have both order and distance values, but no unique origin. Whereas, ratio scales possess all these features.
  5. Number of dimensions: In this, the scales are classified as ‘uni-dimensional’ or ‘multi-dimensional’. In the former, only one attribute of the respondent or object is measured, whereas multi-dimensional scaling recognizes that an object might be described better by using the concept of an attribute space of ‘n’ dimensions, rather than a single-dimension continuum.
  6. Scale construction techniques: This can be developed by the following five techniques.
  • Arbitrary approach: In this, the scales are developed on ad hoc basis. It is the most widely used approach.
  • Consensus approach: In this, a panel of judges evaluates the items chosen for inclusion in the instrument regarding whether they are relevant to the topic area and unambiguous in implication.
  • Item analysis approach: In this, a number of individual items are developed into a test that is given to a group of respondents. Post administering the test, total scores are evaluated, and the individual items are analyzed to determine which items discriminate between persons or objects with high and low total scores.
  • Cumulative scales: These are chosen on the basis of their conforming to some ranking of items with ascending and descending discriminating power.
  • Factor scales: This can be constructed on the basis of inter-correlations of items indicating a common factor accounts for the relationship between items.

 

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Scaling techniques for researcher

Scaling techniques for researcher

During research especially when the concepts we want to measure are complex and abstract and there are no standardized measurement tools available, we face problems of measurement. Alternatively, when we are measuring something which can lead to subject bias like attitudes and opinions, there is a problem of their valid measurement. A similar problem may be faced in a lesser degree while measuring physical or institutional concepts. Therefore, knowledge of some such procedures which may enable accurate measurement of abstract concepts is extremely essential.

Scaling techniques are immensely beneficial for a researcher.

Scaling is the process of assigning numbers to various degrees of attitudes, preferences, opinion, and other concepts. Scaling is defined as a procedure for the assignment of numbers (or other symbols) to a property of objects in order to impart some of the characteristics of numbers to the properties in question.

Scaling can be done in two ways: (i) making a judgement about an individuals characteristics and then placing him on a scale which is defined in terms of that characteristic, and (ii) constructing questionnaires where individual’s responses score assign them a place on a scale. A scale is a continuum, consisting of the highest point and the lowest point along with several intermediate points between these two extremities. These scale-point positions are hierarchically related to each other. Numbers for measuring the degree of differences in the attitudes or opinions are assigned to individuals corresponding to their positions in a scale. Therefore, the term ‘scaling’ implies procedures for determination of quantitative measures of subjective abstract concepts.

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Technique of Developing Measurement Tools

Technique of Developing Measurement Tools:

a)  Concept development: This is the first step. In this case, the researcher should have a complete understanding of all the important concepts relevant to his study. This step is more applicable to theoretical studies compared to practical studies where the basic concepts are already established beforehand.

b)  Specification of concept dimensions: Here, the researcher is required to specify the dimensions of the concepts, which were developed in the first stage. This is achieved either by adopting an intuitive approach or by an empirical correlation of the individual dimensions with that concept and/or other concepts.

c)  Indicator selection: In this step, the researcher has to develop the indicators that help in measuring the elements of the concept. These indicators include questionnaires, scales, and other devices, which help to measure the respondents opinion, mindset, knowledge, etc. Using more than one indicator lands stability and improves the validity of the scores.

Index formation: Here, the researcher combines the different indicators into an index. In case, there are several dimensions of a concept the researcher needs to combine them.

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Test of Practicality of a measuring instrument

Test of Practicality of a measuring instrument

The practicality attribute of a measuring instrument can be estimated regarding its economy, convenience and interpretability. From the operational point of view, the measuring instrument needs to be practical. In other words, it should be economical, convenient and interpreted.

Economy consideration suggests that some mutual benefit is required between the ideal research project and that which the budget can afford. The length of measuring instrument is an important area where economic pressures are swiftly felt. Even though more items give better reliability, in the interest of limiting the interview or observation time, we have to take only few items for the study purpose. Similarly, the data-collection methods, which are to be used, occasionally depend upon economic factors.

Convenience test suggests that the measuring instrument should be easily manageable. For this purpose, one should pay proper attention to the layout of the measuring instrument. For example, a questionnaire with clear instructions and illustrated examples is comparatively more effective and easier to complete than the questionnaire that lacks these features. Interpretability consideration is especially important when persons other than the designers of the test are to interpret the results. In order to be interpretable, the measuring instrument must be supplemented by the following:

  1. detailed instructions for administering the test,
  2. scoring keys,
  3. evidence about the reliability, and
  4. guides for using the test and interpreting results.
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