Author Topic: Third updated edition of “English Plain and Simple” now off the press  (Read 8264 times)

Joe Carillo

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September 14, 2023—Now off the press this week is the third updated edition of Jose Carillo’s best-selling book English Plain and Simple: No-Nonsense Ways to Learn Today’s Global Language. Hailed by leading academicians, journalists, and critics upon its release in 2005 as “a charmer of a book that delights as well as instructs,” it won the National Book Award for linguistics from the Manila Critics Circle that same year.

The Manila Times Publishing Corp. announced this week that the new edition of the 500-page book is now being distributed to major bookstores nationwide, with copies also made available for direct volume deliveries to institutional and corporate buyers and interested individual distributors.

English Plain and Simple brings together the author’s first collection of grammar lessons and advice that originally appeared in his long-running Manila Times column that started coming out six days a week in 2002. Two more volumes drawing material from his Times columns followed, namely The 10 Most Annoying English Grammar Errors (2008) and Give Your English the Winning Edge (2009).

The third  revised edition of English Plain and Simple is now available this week and a new edition
of Give your English the Winning Edge is scheduled for release this coming October.

In his foreword to English Plain and Simple, Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, Ph.D, professor emeritus of English at the University of the Philippines and Hall of Famer of the Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature, says: “There are many guides to English that the avid student can pick up, but quite a few, I think, actually do more harm than good as ponderous rulebooks meant for rote memorization. But every now and then comes a charmer of a book that delights as well as it instructs. English Plain and Simple is one such gem, for which we have the pseudonymous Mr. Carillo to thank. Whether he was walking me through the hierarchy of adjectives or discovering Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carillo never failed to show me something new and cause me to smile in recognition of a shared experience.”

In the latest edition of English Plain and Simple, the author finally reveals his identity after over 20 years of using Jose Carillo as pen name and explains why he used it. He is the veteran newspaper journalist and communications executive Carlos O. Llorin Jr., a former college newspaper editor-in-chief (the weekly Dawn, University of the East), marketing field researcher (Asia Research Inc.), national newspaper reporter (Philippines Herald), and ad agency public relations manager (J. Romero & Associates). He worked for San Miguel Corporation for 18 years as editorial services head, audio-visual group head, senior communications assistant, and product manager, then as corporate communications manager for rhe company's Magnolia Divison with the rank of assistant vice president.

He won nine major Philippine industry awards as editor in chief of the company’s monthly magazine Kaunlaran and fortnightly newsletter. As executive director of San Miguel’s Magnolia Youth Achievement Awards, he won a Gold Quill Award from the U.S.-based International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in 1989 and the Golden World Award from the U.K.-based International Public Relations Association (IPRA) in 1990.

Llorin took optional early retirement as assistant vice president for communications of San Miguel’s Magnolia Division in 1993, later running the English-language services company Asia Herald Inc. as general manager for five years until 2007. Currently, aside from writing his weekly column in The Manila Times, he is an independent writer and book editor as well as editing and communication consultant for corporate, institutional, and individual clients.

Describing the rationale for writing his three English-usage books, Carlos Llorin Jr. says: “As with my weekly columns in the Manila Times, they aim to help nonnative English speakers improve their written English without having to go back to the classroom and, frankly, also to make Filipinos keenly aware that if their English is bad, it’s largely due to the Philippine culture’s fervid addiction to legalese. This done, his English-usage books then gently walk the reader through the basic and practical and later the finer aspects of English grammar and semantics, revisiting all of the parts of speech and their rudiments—from nouns and pronouns. The emphasis is to train themselves to think, speak, and write in clear and simple English. (Read the related feature article below about the author's rationale for writing his English-usage books, "The problem with our English according to Jose Carillo.")

The problem with our English according to Jose Carillo   

When Jose Carillo’s English-language services company ran a want ad for editors sometime in 2003, close to 100 applicants applied by e-mail. Practically all of them had at least an AB degree in English, mass communication, or the social sciences; three were magna cum laudes and six cum laudes; and 10 even had Master’s degrees. Disconcertingly, however, most of their job application letters were worded and constructed in unbelievably strange, convoluted, stilted English like this one that's reproduced here verbatim:

“Dear Sir/Madam:   

“Greetings in Peace!   

“Responding with utmost immediacy to your job opportunity ad published on January 6,    ____ in the __________, I wish to  inform you of my fervor interest in applying for the position of Editor. I am an AB graduate of the University of ______ with distinct recognition as a leader and achiever in the field of debating and as editor-in-chief of the student publication, journals, and other newsletters of the academe.   

[The applicant then gives a glowing three-paragraph work experience description.]

“For your evaluation, I am enclosing my résumé as an attachment as a first step in exploring the possibilities of employment in your client’s organization. I would appreciate hearing from you soon.

“Thank you for your consideration and God Bless.”

In his book English Plain and Simple whose third revised edition was released this week, Jose Carillo says the English of such job application letters is obviously not the English to use when you want to present yourself in the most favorable way to a prospective employer.    

He says: “The truth is that many of us who write in English distrust our own ability to present ourselves in a good light. No matter how educated or experienced we are, we often instinctively assume the persona and voice of someone else when we sit down to write. We take refuge in some pseudo-legal mumbo-jumbo that we think will impress our reader or listener.

“And once we get started in this legal-sounding language, we get snared and become addicted to it. Instead of writing as we would talk, we habitually grasp at these arcane words and phrases in the mistaken belief that like some mantra, they will miraculously make things happen for us.”   

Jose Carillo likewise observes that the English of not a few Ph.Ds with a “publish or perish” mindset often verges on gibberish—long, pompous, confused, and empty—like this hardly comprehensible official report, published verbatim in a daily newspaper, by an education official writing on Philippine education indicators:    

“Teachers’ skills, training, development and welfare with __ percent of the sample attest to their importance in validating the significant effect of teachers’ welfare on the students. Skills training, welfare and development translated into further studies, seminars and benefits are the determinants of Friday sickness (in cases of teachers posted in far-flung barrios, where teachers will usually miss Friday classes, indicative of their dedication to the learning process of their ward) and the gruesome test of dedication and commitment.”   

Carillo’s bestselling book English Plain and Simple, which won the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle upon its publication in 2005, makes every effort to address this very serious and embarrassing communication inadequacy. It provides systematic but easy-to-follow instructions in English writing that students and teachers alike need to continually develop so they can  communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly, simply, and confidently to particular audiences.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2023, 02:21:55 AM by Joe Carillo »