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Proposal: English Language Learners

My basic issue is that ELU is for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts.

ELL is supposed to be for English learners

And we still have no site for the most common kind of visitors: For English users:

  • Engineers striving for a good word to describe given situation in documentation.
  • Aspiring writers who are not sure about a correctness of their grammar in given sentence.
  • Students, whose work has been turned in with an error underlined, and they can't guess the nature of the error.
  • Managers worried about using jargon in their formal documents.
  • Researchers stumbling upon a sentence that contains ambiguity or an error, trying to untangle and understand it.

In other words, the people for whom the language is not a hobby, nor the subject of their job, and simultaneously not a new new, steep mountain they must scale. Common people for whom the language is a daily tool.

Of course I'm totally against creating a third English site. Personally, I'd welcome them on ELU. But it seems this is not going to happen - ELU is in tight grip of people very adamant about maintaining their tagline; the site's purpose is to serve at least serious enthusiasts and scholars, not common language users.

Thus, my plea for broadening the scope of ELL to include both learners and common users.

While ELU strives for the role of an English counterpart to "theoretical CS", ELL should be the English counterpart to StackOverflow.com

What I'm worried about is that EL&U name currently may confuse users into thinking ELL is "simple English"(for learners) and ELU is "intermediate and advanced"(for users and enthusiasts/experts) while in fact ELU strives to be strictly "advanced"(for enthusiasts/experts) and so ELL should be "simple and intermediate"(for learners and users). I think the difference should be more clearly stated in the name of ELU - something like "Study of the English Language" or similar and give ELL a more broad name.

Just to clarify, this is not an attempt at Hijack - these are apparently the very feelings of ELU "staff", where their "general name" attracts the wrong kind of audience.

  • Does the answer at discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/a/7955/60291 help with this? – Andrew Leach Dec 11 '12 at 11:56
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    @AndrewLeach: I was at once reminded of my first post on ELU meta: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/3290 - where questions about subtle differences are being closed as general reference, throwing the useless dictionary at the asker, and requests for general rules are met with refusal and demand to narrow down the scope of the question to a single specific context. While I agree with your sentiment, ELU does not. Learning differences and rules is very important, and few will have skill/patience to meet high demands like in meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/3013/9505 – SF. Dec 11 '12 at 13:11
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    + I am very much in sympathy with the notion of "broadening the scope of ELL" to the audiences you name. I also feel that it's time we stopped "drawing lines" and looking over our shoulders at ELU and started defining ourselves positively. I'd frankly be a lot happier about my upvote if you killed all the references to ELU and let this be about Us and not Them. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 12 '12 at 15:31
  • @StoneyB: I wish it was that simple. The main concern is that there shouldn't be any sites with significant overlap. If we don't take steps now, ELU will keep getting the landslide of users thanks to the name, and will keep closing most of their "inept and inadequate" questions due to wrong scope. It seems the lines are well drawn already, it's just the technicalities on top (like site names) that are confusing and need work. – SF. Dec 12 '12 at 17:47
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    Or they'll migrate them ... But we're not allowed to address "branding" yet - I've had a posting on that topic removed as premature. And we can't speak for ELU here. So I say let's decide who we are, and leave it to them to decide who they are (and I speak as one who intends to be active on both). In any case, I wholeheartedly agree that we're not just for "learners", if that means only EFLs and struggling high-school students. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 12 '12 at 17:54
  • Support the idea of a site for "Users of the English Language" with questions about their own usage and grammatical/syntactical issues with/queries about things they have read. I've just been looking at the proposed Latin site and found myself differentiating between "use" and "usage" (also between "language" and "words/phrases") in an effort not to close off avenues of enquiry. – ErosOK Dec 16 '12 at 21:52
  • Would you consider queries about "standard English" "academic register" and "jargon busting"? – ErosOK Dec 16 '12 at 21:53
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    One could consider that the "Engineers striving for a good word to describe [a] given situation in documentation" are also learning. That fits, doesn't it? – barbara beeton Dec 26 '12 at 13:35

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