Refactoring workshop: "those whose mother language is not English"[change source]
This is kind of spontaneous, but I'm curious if it will work or not. I'm trying to learn and apply the techniques at Wikipedia:How to write Simple English pages, particularly on refactoring. Here's the sentence I'm breaking down:
- For those whose mother language is not English, it is much easier to understand the contents of the programs.
If you're a non-native English speaker, is this sentence clear to you? How could we make it clearer?
I've thought some alternatives without a whose clause:
- If your first language is not English, it is much easier to understand the contents of the programs.
- It is much easier to understand the contents of the programs, especially if your first language is not English.
- The programs are much easier to understand.
I like the last one. Is Special English easier for English speakers too? Sure, why not? I mean, I'm a native English speaker, but simple English is still easier to understand than complex English. :)
While we're at it, where did this idiom "mother language" come from? It's not common in US English, although I understand it. It would be preferable in US English to say native language or even first language. If mother language isn't a common English idiom and isn't literal, then why is it in SE Wikipedia? Note that the article "mother tongue" was moved to first language. The term first language is clear and not idiomatic, so it's better for SE.
I thought I might see Makaton (sign language used alongside simple spoken English and symbols, also has sets of words like basic English) mentioned on a page about 'special' English.Kathybramley (talk) 07:43, 30 March 2011 (UTC)