Graded Language: Help or Hurt?

During teacher training, we were taught how to grade our language so that it was appropriate for our students’ level. But I recently realized that although I was unaware of it, I’ve been doing this for years with my friends who speak English as a second language. Now I’m more conscious of what words, expressions and grammar expressions are appropriate according to level. But in the past I remember simply speaking slower, enunciating a little clearer and not using as much slang. For the first time today though I began to question how effective this is. Although it may be necessary in the classroom, does it really make a difference outside the classroom? I did it unconsciously because I thought I was helping my friends to understand me better. But was I really doing them any favours? Was I helping them to learn real, everyday, spoken, native English or rather limiting their language growth and knowledge of new words and expressions? I think it depends on the person, their goals for language learning and their language level. What are your experiences with graded language? Do you use it or have you found it helpful when learning a language? I also found an interesting article on how to grade your language over the phone. Speaking on the phone in a second language can be incredibly difficult so I’d argue that grading your language while on the phone can be immensely helpful. Your thoughts?


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