in touch with real speech
In touch with real speech

38 – Lifetime achievement award – Ron Carter

At The British Council’s annual awards ceremony the ELTons, Professor Ron Carter was given the lifetime achievement award. Unfortunately, because of illness, he was not able to attend in person, but his friend and longtime colleague Chris Kennedy read his acceptance speech (beautifully). Below is an extract from the acceptance speech, which I find particularly important … ‘don’t be dazzled, there is a lot we don’t know’.

Each year we see, as witnessed at the ELTons, astonishing levels of pedagogic and technical innovation in all aspects of course materials. The field we are in is exciting. My main hope for the future is that we do also continue to keep a precise description of the English language in our sights. It is easy to think we know a lot about the English language, and of course we do. But there is a risk that dazzled, and rightly so, by ever more creative technologies, that we may take for granted our knowledge of the English language. For there is a lot we don’t know, especially about the spoken language, about language beyond the level of the sentence, and about its newest forms in e-communication. We all need to continue learning about the English language in all its globally relevant forms.

You can see the full acceptance speech here, starting about 01:25:45.

Richard can be contacted at

Tel: 07790 629859