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Old 04-17-2012, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Middle America
17,837 posts, read 15,309,885 times
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"Language is evolving" is a pitiful excuse for being uneducated in the basics of spoken and written communication. One can embrace regional slang and still not stumble, slack-jawed and blank-faced, when asked whether a given word is an adjective or a noun. One can say, "gonna," and still know what the proper word is. Learning the rules, what is correct and why it is correct, and what is incorrect and why it is incorrect aren't things that take away from the spirit of language and communication.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:06 AM
 
19,192 posts, read 7,399,099 times
Reputation: 8249
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
This is just one of many articles about UNC School of Journalism's decision to lessen the testing requirements for proper grammar and spelling. This makes me very sad. Has spellcheck made us all lazy? I wince when I read the newspaper and see how proper grammar and sentence structure has given way to "cram as much info as you can in 1 sentence."

When my kids come home with atrocious spelling on their papers and it has not been corrected, teacher tells me they just don't think spelling is as important as my generation did. The thing is to get them to try. I just don't get it.

How do you feel? Am I out of touch with "modern teaching"? Won't sentence structure, spelling and grammar always be important for good communication?

http://www2.nbc17.com/news/orange-county/2012/apr/04/unc-journalism-school-drops-spelling-part-test (broken link)
Well, their grades look better!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:04 AM
 
2,907 posts, read 4,192,820 times
Reputation: 3979
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
"Language is evolving" is a pitiful excuse for being uneducated in the basics of spoken and written communication. One can embrace regional slang and still not stumble, slack-jawed and blank-faced, when asked whether a given word is an adjective or a noun. One can say, "gonna," and still know what the proper word is. Learning the rules, what is correct and why it is correct, and what is incorrect and why it is incorrect aren't things that take away from the spirit of language and communication.
My point on evolving language is not connected to being uneducated, but instead with the way society is constantly changing and what goes along with those changes. It is more about people being far more relaxed about how they communicate but not about whether they are capable of speaking more formally in a more grammatically correct manner or not.

There have always been those who, when they speak, will sound like a bumbling fool and there always will be.
Many say that our former president was always a bumbling fool especially when it came to public speaking, but he certainly wasn't uneducated.

Anyway, proper spelling, grammar and communication skills are still being taught in the schools in our area. The students are still expected to learn and use them. The difference is these things are not being taught in the same way as they used to be. They are not learning to diagram sentences, but they certainly are still taught the same thing I learned in elementary school in the 60's......so I don't see things being dumbed down in what is taught. I only see the way people choose to communicate on a daily basis as being far less formal than when I was a child.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
10,381 posts, read 9,965,524 times
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When I was in elementary school in the late 1950s, we not only learned the rules of grammar, we had to learn phonics, including the diacritical marks that dictionaries use to show how a word is pronounced. There was this funny theory that we could then go to a dictionary, look up an unfamiliar word, and be able to pronounce it correctly.

We were taught to spell, and we diagrammed sentences.

Points were deducted for errors in spelling and grammar in compositions, not just in English classes but in anything you wrote in any subject.

My parents graduated from rural Georgia high schools in the 1940s. Their education really was mostly the three Rs. They both spoke and wrote with proper grammar and spelling.

I have some love notes written between my grandmother and grandfather. Although they were written in pencil on whatever paper was available, they contained proper spelling and grammar. This is in rural Georgia in the early twentieth century.

Yes, language evolves, thee and thou give way to you. But spelling is now standardized. I do not foresee a day when you may legitimately spell a word any way you would like just because you never learned the standard spelling or use the wrong tense of a verb because you were never taught the proper one.

Happily, you can forget learning those dastardly diacritical marks, because now you can look your unfamiliar word up on the internet and listen to someone speak it for you.

If we default on teaching the structure and function of our language, inevitably everything we read will sound like the poorly translated instructions that tell you how to assemble your child's toy that was made in Japan.

I disagree with the poster who says that technical writers do not need to be proficient in the subtleties of language because copy editors will catch their mistakes. If anything, such writing must be exquisitely clear and say exactly what it means. There is no room for reading between the lines.

I shudder to think that some educators think "getting the idea down on paper" is the only goal of writing.

Fortunately, there are some institutions that emphasize writing well. They still think that the art of language is important. The schools my sons attended do so.

Perhaps we will still turn out wordsmiths in the future after all.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Texas
112 posts, read 213,350 times
Reputation: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
One can embrace regional slang and still not stumble, slack-jawed and blank-faced, when asked whether a given word is an adjective or a noun. One can say, "gonna," and still know what the proper word is. Learning the rules, what is correct and why it is correct, and what is incorrect and why it is incorrect aren't things that take away from the spirit of language and communication.

When we lived in England, I always told my English SD that she couldn't use the word "me" as in me mum; me dad; me book, etc unless she could tell me how she would correctly write that bit in a sentence. At least she knew that it is written as: my mum; my dad; my book. etc.

(when DD started school and was learning the alphabet, they were teaching that the Y sound is pronounced as E - and that explained to me where they got the me)
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:08 PM
 
1,428 posts, read 1,940,139 times
Reputation: 1435
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
"Language is evolving" is a pitiful excuse for being uneducated in the basics of spoken and written communication. One can embrace regional slang and still not stumble, slack-jawed and blank-faced, when asked whether a given word is an adjective or a noun. One can say, "gonna," and still know what the proper word is. Learning the rules, what is correct and why it is correct, and what is incorrect and why it is incorrect aren't things that take away from the spirit of language and communication.
I agree. When we as teachers choose not to teach our students correct grammar, we are, in effect, deciding FOR them that they will be condemned to speaking only one "language" -- and that's probably not the language they'll need to speak in order to have choices in their educations or careers.

If I wanna speak street to ma peeps so they get me, Imma do that. I can also switch. I want to allow my students to have exactly the same linguistic flexibility and not be limited to the one that will keep them in precisely the same socioeconomic position they're in now.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Middle America
17,837 posts, read 15,309,885 times
Reputation: 20822
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypocore View Post
My point on evolving language is not connected to being uneducated, but instead with the way society is constantly changing and what goes along with those changes. It is more about people being far more relaxed about how they communicate but not about whether they are capable of speaking more formally in a more grammatically correct manner or not.

There have always been those who, when they speak, will sound like a bumbling fool and there always will be.
Many say that our former president was always a bumbling fool especially when it came to public speaking, but he certainly wasn't uneducated.

Anyway, proper spelling, grammar and communication skills are still being taught in the schools in our area. The students are still expected to learn and use them. The difference is these things are not being taught in the same way as they used to be. They are not learning to diagram sentences, but they certainly are still taught the same thing I learned in elementary school in the 60's......so I don't see things being dumbed down in what is taught. I only see the way people choose to communicate on a daily basis as being far less formal than when I was a child.

This is not my experience, unfortunately. I teach (following years in a writing and editing career, no less), and I get students regularly who have not been taught the basics. I don't know that sentence diagramming is particularly functional for most people (there may be the odd one here and there who do get a lot out of the practice, but there are better ways for most to learn). But I absolutely see things on a daily basis that are evidence of dumbing things down...including the fact that many of my fellow teachers are ignorant of proper grammar and spelling. Just today, I watched a colleague write something on the board using the wrong "to," and did not in any way, shape, or form realize that she was incorrect. I also, again, this very day, listened to an educator tell students she "didn't even know what an adverb was." I wish such ignorance of simple, basic things wasn't so commonplace, but it is.

My favorite exuse is, "Well, I wasn't an ENGLISH major..."

I suppose, because I didn't major in mathematics, it follows that I shouldn't be expected to know how to count, make change, recognize denominations of bills or coins, or tell time.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
26,167 posts, read 17,435,558 times
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I'm really glad to see there are some who agree with me about proper (Not formal) language, spelling and grammar. Together we may be able to save some kids from sounding like illiterate fools when they go on job interviews.

I agree with the poster who wrote about her grandparents in GA who could speak and write so well. My grandparents weren't "educated" either but they were well spoken and were determined that their own children were too. If there is no one to pass down the proper way to speak and all any kid gets in school is "try your best spelling" then the English language is not evolving. It is doomed.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
10,381 posts, read 9,965,524 times
Reputation: 10289
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I'm really glad to see there are some who agree with me about proper (Not formal) language, spelling and grammar. Together we may be able to save some kids from sounding like illiterate fools when they go on job interviews.

I agree with the poster who wrote about her grandparents in GA who could speak and write so well. My grandparents weren't "educated" either but they were well spoken and were determined that their own children were too. If there is no one to pass down the proper way to speak and all any kid gets in school is "try your best spelling" then the English language is not evolving. It is doomed.
What do we do when we have no teachers who speak standard English? How do they teach it if they do not know it themselves? What do you do when your child hears the proper way to speak at home, uses proper language on a test, then has it marked wrong because the teacher does not know any better?

One of my mother's teachers was very well respected in her town. Mom used to talk about her, including Miss (not Ms!) Regina Pinkston's interpretation of poetry and Shakespeare. Bet your britches spelling and grammar counted in Miss Regina's classes.

Miss Regina also inspired others to teach. To me, that is the ultimate indicator of a great educator.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:46 PM
 
9,285 posts, read 5,545,713 times
Reputation: 9285
I think this thread is pointless without being more specific what we are talking about.

First, the ability to communicate well verbally is a completely different skill set than writing. So which are we talking about here?

Second, what exactly are we talking about with the "dumbing down"? Some people think that if you do not know what "subjunctive" means its is as bad as saying affect when you mean effect. So what are we referring to specifically.
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