Some supporting figures

People regularly tell me that they keep hearing natives use the words and phrases I say should be avoided. Which we do; the question is how often. Here are some figures to help back it up.

The largest body of text I have easily available that I can be 100% certain is absolutely uncontaminated, fluid native speech is my own writing. Okay, novels aren’t necessarily the material you want to be comparing a scientific paper against, but the prevalences of the words listed below are so dramatically different from Dunglish that I think the point is clear enough. These are the occurrences in approximately 230,000 words (say 700 pages) of writing:

  • timely – zero
  • insight – zero (in the singular, 2 in the plural)
  • optimal, optimally – zero
  • enable – 1
  • indicate – 2
  • trajectory – zero
  • support – 7
  • contribute – 12
  • ambition – zero
  • of value – zero
  • the way in which – zero
  • of importance – zero
  • equip – 1
  • relation – 2
  • persons – 3
  • manner – zero
  • so-called – zero (in the sense of “known as”)

Back after a couple of weeks’ holiday – the first time we’ve been able to get out of the country for a couple of years! And in other news, I’m going to be doing a webinar based on this blog in October for the Dutch translation and interpretation society.

Prevalence: — n/a
Frequency: — n/a
Native: — n/a

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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