Sunday, September 22, 2013

ENGLISH BITES by MANISH GUPTA: The right way to master English

The New Indian Express published a press release on English Bites, the book written by Manish Gupta -->>

Published: 04th February 2013 12:00 AM
Last Updated: 01st February 2013 03:14 PM
Do you want to know the story of a professional who fell in love with the English language and how he mastered it? Do you want to enrich your vocabulary without using a course book? Do you think stories and anecdotes can inspire you to develop your skills? English Bites! by Manish Gupta is a book that provides readers with tips to learn English vocabulary in context and inspires them to take steps to master the language.
The author, Manish Gupta, is a banking professional with an engineering degree from Punjab Engineering College and an MBA degree from XLRI, Jamshedpur. In the form of anecdotes, Manish explains the difficulties faced by learners of English during the process of mastering the language. His personal experiences and success stories of fighting shyness, overcoming fear, gaining confidence and in the process achieving fluency will definitely inspire readers to change their mindset and convince them to believe that learning the global language need not be a nightmare at all.
If students studying in professional colleges are not proficient in English, they may face many problems including lack of academic progress. He narrates this scenario beautifully in this extract: The subtle nuances and idiosyncrasies of the language took a toll on my academic progress, since they were rapidly clogging up my memory banks, leaving very little space to accommodate the fundamentals of engineering. I nearly came to an impasse — should I clear my critical engineering semester examination or these MBA/MS tests? It was the urge to be recognised as a smooth-talking professional and the prospect of a resultant good life that helped me work harder. Somehow, I managed to squeeze both academics and language into my poor head. And laboured on.
The meanings of the four words in bold in the extract above have been explained at the end of the page. Similarly, on each page the author explains the meanings of hard words used in the text. It helps the reader learn new words in context. The 334-page autobiographical book has 14 chapters and contains the meanings and example sentences of hard words used on each page. How knowing the etymology of words helps the learner master vocabulary is well explained. The title English Bites! is appropriate as one reads through the book they can have a bite of new words and their meanings.
Looking through the glasses of a linguist, I must highlight a few flaws in the book. The author uses many formal, outdated or old-fashioned words in the book. The use of the word amelioration on page 332 is an example: She has also read multiple drafts of this book line by line since its inception, and suggested innumerable ameliorations to my language. The word ameliorate is formal and quite rare in English. There are a few incorrect expressions. Here is an example: my fellow brethren (pg 331). The author states that in English there are many words without vowels and gives a list of such words on pages 84-85. The absence of an explanation on the difference between a vowel and a vowel sound may mislead the reader.
If the book had an Introduction and an Index the reader would find it more user-friendly. The reader should read the Acknowledgements, that appears at the end of the book on pages 331-334, first to understand what inspired the author to write this book.


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