Fed up with the TOEFL failures

Web writers should all do a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and people should learn not to hire persons who have no language skill whatsoever. I think it’s the upcoming East part of the world that is now invading appearing on the internet with sentences like

New scheme was noticed running in wild targeting those that do money transfers online. Although online banks employ various security measures, they still can be tricked. New “Server Error Messages” scam combines spam, trojans, phishing and a lot of insolence to empty bank accounts of its victims.

If this looks correct to you, grab an “English 101” book now. The Yoda’s Yodas of the world seem to have united, but I say: if you don’t even know what a definite article is you definitely shouldn’t be writing one. Is there a name for this (like LOLCatz, but this one would be without the LOL)?

Update: well I just thought of a name for it – Noartspeak. As in: no article speak. Pronounce it as Nort-speak. I would define it as “writing or speaking English where all articles (a, the, an, etc) are removed from the sentence.


We all had a great laugh at the show, where the quiz master asked the questions in Noartspeak


We all had great laugh at show, where quiz master asked questions in Noartspeak


12 thoughts on “Fed up with the TOEFL failures

    1. Well I never said I would score 100%. I am not a native English speaker, but neither am I paid to write this article. That was my point. I am not pointing at the writers here, they have no clue and they’re not to blame, I am blaming the companies who hire these writers, since I found this particular article on a commercial tech website.

  1. Amazingly, many for whom English IS a native language can not score higher than a 2 on the TOEFL (My score was 3.4+, which I was told was the highest possible at that time).

    I know that it is difficult for some whose languages use few if any article forms especially in colloquial form (Russian being one example that I’ve been given) to use definite articles correctly or to recognize during redaction that definite articles are missing from sentences where formal idiom would require their presence. I suspect that a new pidgin is arising as a result – whether it is something more than that I will leave to the linguits 🙂

  2. @trejay

    OMG yes it’s hilarious. I know I am not a native speaker and I have to look up some words, but at least I do. I also know my grammar may sometimes lack from oversight. I do know the basic rules though…

    I was pointed out recently I use “‘s” sometimes inappropriately. I know it means ‘… is’ bit still my Dutch roots creep in… In Dutch the plural of photo (“foto”) is photo’s. This is to prevent it from being pronounced as ‘toss’.

    However, just because you can point out one oversight on my behalf doesn’t mean I would fail this test. If you know of a TOEFL test online point me to it, I’d love to take it.

    Also, the “it’s” in the other sentence looks fine to me when it’s read as “it is”. Can you point out that one in more detail?

  3. Hi again, yes, you are right on “it’s” (the apostrophe is needed to show there is a letter missing, as you say). However, the sentence as a whole (“I think it’s the upcoming East part of the world that is now invading the internet with sentences like…”) sounds (a) offensive (b) wrong People from the East are not “invading” the internet at all, only participating in it. The only question is are you in favour of them doing so (in spite of their occasional mistakes) or against?

  4. Trejay, I think you’re taking the sentence as racism perhaps, but it’s definitely not meant like that. Invading may be a wrong choice of words, it does feel like that. Just like a kid finds it invading when his mom reads his public Facebook or Myspace page. I’m completely in favour of people enjoying and joining the internet, but I also am in favor of grammar and spelling checks. Maybe it’ll take a while and software will improve. This textbox already does spelling checking in FireFox (in the wrong language though, Dutch, I have no clue why).

    If you browse Yahoo answers you’ll notice a lot less mistakes, and I recently added an answer, and was surprised by the quality of spelling, grammar and style suggestions given by the text editor in the page.

    I just find reading these Noart-speak texts incredibly annoying, it’s like something’s oddly off. Some people may have this feeling when reading my common mistakes.

    I still believe most Noart-speak writers have no idea about their flaw, and are willing to learn and improve. I do think large websites should employ an editorial process to at least present properly written articles.

  5. [quote]but it’s definitely not meant like that[/quote]
    = a perfect example of how written communication can be tricky.

    I would like to see ‘West’ part of the world attempt writing in some other language other than their native.
    A lot of people out there are using online translators just to spread their message; not to try and impress you with their English speaking/writing skills.

    You better worry about the youth with IQ of …http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww
    your ‘natives’.

  6. I don’t like the tone of this article at all. Words can often say more about their author than about their targets.
    If you don’t mean/want to be a racist (or just a simple ‘i-was-here-first’ smart guy), then it’s simple – don’t use words that make you one.
    I know very well what is the word “invade” but I don’t believe at all that you really meant it in its most benign form.
    Writing on the web is hard, the words stay forever; even if said in the excitement of the moment. It’s much different than having a quarrel with your pal in the coffee shop.

    To me, it’s all the same if someone speaks English with a few THEs more or less. It’s important what he/she says.
    Language is a live thing and in 20 years from now, maybe definite articles will get out of Oxford dictionaries too. Languages that don’t adapt to times – die.

    1. I am happy with all people on the internet doing their best at their level. I still recommend commercial companies who hire people to write for them to have professionals for those jobs, who do know their English. It makes for a much more pleasurable reading experience not to have to be puzzled about what is meant, and constantly have to ignore the various faults.

      Try reading the manual with your cheap microwave that was not only assembled in China, but where Chinese with on English skills also wrote the manual. This actually happened with some expensive USA brand articles I bought, because apparently the maker thought the manual was not that important.

      Language is important if you need to convey a message clearly.

      I will rewrite this article to make it more clear that I am not trying to offend the world populatio. I know billions of people are not native speakers and not professional writers, and I do not wish to offend them!.

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