1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Thumbs up Grammar critics unite!

    Grammar critics should aim at the Internet

    In the age of blogging, texting and Twittering, use of language separates the elite from the masses

    By Jim Hume, Times Colonist November 1, 2009

    A note to hand with a subject heading "As She Is Spoke" and a closing line of "Abandon all hope:" Sandwiched between are two brief references to diminishing standards of the English language as used by writers of letters to the editor of the Times Colonist.

    Of specific annoyance to the writer were letters (Oct. 13) referring to Governor General MichaŽlle Jean having "deported herself as Governor General," and one (Oct.16) in which the writer followed "the preposition 'of' with 'Paul and I.' "

    I'm not sure whether the writers of the letters were being blamed for clumsy word use and abuse or whether the complaint was against copy readers at the paper, but I am sure that the person who complained was not aware of the great proofreading truism known as Hartman's Law of Prescriptive Retaliation: Any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one error." Frequent Internet users will know it as Skitt's Law, which states that "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself."

    Both laws are uppermost in my mind as I defend letter writers, editors and rambling columnists with a note to my correspondent about our Governor General "deporting" herself, which I think she does rather well. Deport is one of those weird English words with more than one meaning. It can be used to deport undesirable aliens back to their home countries, or it can be used as in deportment to describe the way one carries oneself. GG MichaŽlle always seems to deport (behave) graciously in office -- even while clearing the debris created by her recently fumbled meaning of "head of state."

    Loyal disciples of Fowler's English Usage may now dissect the preceding paragraph to remind me how many times I have violated the great one's rules.

    On the matter of "Paul and I," well "Paul and me" will certainly earn a Fowler's English Usage gold star but the "I" doesn't bother me as much as it upsets purists. That's probably because it is a sin I have committed frequently and, like all sins, the more often they are committed, the easier they are to justify.

    I am not suggesting that grammar and English critics should reduce their vigilance. Anyone penning words for public consumption needs constant reminders from readers that there are right and wrong ways to say things, and that English as it is writ requires care and attention.

    We, the hacks of journalism -- the last public defenders on a daily basis of a language seriously threatened by a Twittering, texting, blogging world -- need vigilant readers to keep us alert.

    Twittering and texting, so joyfully embraced by so many, appear on their way to creating the first generation of functionally illiterate adults. May heaven forgive us when u n i n me n u lrn tu rd nu inglis as its rit.

    Then there's the blog. Am I the only person who finds it strange to hear complaints about falling standards of English in newspapers from people who find online, unedited, undisciplined blogs wonderfully refreshing?

    Newspapers can be flogged for lapses of the editorial eye or the sometimes-careless use of words, but nobody seems to care about typos, spelling, errors of fact, or the complete abandonment of all grammatical rules by bloggers. That's the Net, we seem to say, and old rules of decency and standards in journalism do no apply.

    Participles may be dangled, infinitives split, prepositions repositioned; theories may be stated as facts and "facts" stated without souces. Most newspapers require two sources to support information. Bloggers do not bother with such picky details. And, unlike the newspaper where there is usually an editor to challenge or question, the blogger and the Twitterer answer to no one.

    My oldest son Stephen -- a lifelong journalist now in his early 60s -- recently wrote: " I fear we are entering a strange kind of post-literate era when most of the population will be functionally illiterate, able to communicate in a kind of rudimentary fashion but not able to understand the basic mechanics of their language. So we return to the age of Chaucer with High English for the literate elite and Low English for the masses. [It] worked in feudal times, might work in neo-feudal times to which we seem determined to return."

    I fear the kid may be right.

    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Was it just me or was that article impossible to read? The writer seems to be trying to artificially bolster his reputation by using odd phrases and the like.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,439

    Default

    Looks like someone has been reading the forums...
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by charlie82 View Post
    Was it just me or was that article impossible to read? The writer seems to be trying to artificially bolster his reputation by using odd phrases and the like.
    It was his use of pendantic metaphore, creating a sense of ambiance that carries a certain flair for the dramatic idium with a touch of comic relief.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Lewiston2FF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Niagara Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,924

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    It was his use of pendantic metaphore, creating a sense of ambiance that carries a certain flair for the dramatic idium with a touch of comic relief.
    Yeah what he said!
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    BULL321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Western, NC
    Posts
    3,432

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    It was his use of pendantic metaphore, creating a sense of ambiance that carries a certain flair for the dramatic idium with a touch of comic relief.
    Yea, What he said.

    Stay Safe
    Bull
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    ďGuys if you get hurt, weíll help you. If you get sick weíll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!Ē
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    VT
    Posts
    360

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    It was his use of pendantic metaphore, creating a sense of ambiance that carries a certain flair for the dramatic idium with a touch of comic relief.
    Damn...you stole my line!

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pvfd27 View Post
    Damn...you stole my line!
    Inspired by Douglas Adams and "Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy".
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Rednecks Unite!!
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-04-2008, 08:01 AM
  2. Grammar Rules
    By dmfireschool in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-05-2007, 10:41 AM
  3. VA FF's Unite!!!
    By TFW1TFW1 in forum Virginia
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-22-2006, 06:16 PM
  4. Goose Hunters Unite!!!!
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-24-2004, 07:23 PM
  5. Hockey Fans Unite!!!!!
    By MOTOWN88 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 06-14-2002, 05:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register