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Author Topic: For all you English Majors out there  (Read 1999 times)

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Offline TransgirlensteinTopic starter

For all you English Majors out there
« on: September 10, 2008, 03:42:32 AM »
I read this in a paper on the tube yestreday and sadly don't have it in front of me or a link to it but:

A retired Professor is going to present a theory today to a board.  His theory?  We should start teaching children to spell words the way they sound.  So you would become u, your would become ur and so on.  For the love of the Gods, why?!

He claims that we should go with the times.  Great, so we should make ourselves more lazy as a society?  Yes, this truly will end well..

Offline Lilias

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2008, 04:36:43 AM »
I very nearly pitched a fit at that.

I'm an EFL teacher, non-native speaker, and my English is better than most natives' I know. Simply because I learned it with proper grammar, which kids don't get taught anymore. My 14-year-old stepdaughter gets my blood pressure off the chart when she asks me to proofread her homework and I see contraptions like 'wouldof' and 'dono' - which her teachers are not supposed to correct for fear of 'inducing feelings of failure.'

There's a word that fits precisely what such an attitude is: Mollycoddling.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2008, 09:39:35 AM »
My dad's a retired English major. He'd say shoot the bastard.
Damnit I love my bastardized language the way it is! It's my bastardized language.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2008, 10:13:56 AM »
Ever see the movie IDIOTCRACY it was funny, but this makes me think that stupid dumbed down future is underway.

That is sad.

Or should that be-

Evr se the mov-e IDIOTCRACY it waz fun-e, but this maks me thingk that stupId dummed doWn futur is underway. (um I could not see this as proper college writing)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2008, 10:32:42 AM »
I can't see that as proper fifth grade writing. I mean I haven't written anything that bad since first grade. I used u for you and mi instead my but hey I was six.

Offline Zoe Twinscythe

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2008, 11:01:01 AM »
...Please dear whoever's listening, DO NOT let this happen. I'd rather adopt another language than make Netspeak the offical American language. Jeez, can you even imagine the laugh the other countries and world leaders would have over that?

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2008, 11:39:20 AM »
*cries*  *gears up to assassinate said idiot*

Offline Paradox

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2008, 01:24:06 PM »
*cries*  *gears up to assassinate said idiot*

..but, your name is spelled phonetically, so wouldn't you support this?

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2008, 02:48:25 PM »
..but, your name is spelled phonetically, so wouldn't you support this?

No. . .it was spelled that way by mistake at first.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 03:40:13 PM »
I blame it on improper speech. For the most part English is phonetic, but kids aren't learning to say the words correctly so it's hard for them to spell it correctly.

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2008, 12:00:41 PM »
I was a math major, and I find that idea offensive.  If they even try to implement that in my daughter's school, I will have the rest of the parents organized like a shot - and I'm not the most social person offline.  Although I will point out that 'proposals' like this have come and been laughed off before.

Offline cattycutie

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2008, 12:40:46 PM »
Why?
I mean, fair enough, it's difficult to spell, and grammar's pretty hard. Thing is though, it's all about being TAUGHT it correctly. I love the English language the way it is.

Offline Sherona

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2008, 12:47:01 PM »
As a English second language speaker, I have to ask Inkidu, how is English already primarily phonic? There are so many silent letters, so many exceptions like "I before E except after C" and then there are those "The I sound is made as Ayyyye when the word ends in a vowel.. but it sounds like eh when it doesn't..examples Like and Lick.."


I find english rules on spelling very difficult to keep straight, but I also detest the idea that anyone with any intelligence, as presumably a professor has, would think it a GOOD thing.

Offline Storiwyr

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2008, 01:37:06 PM »
I agree Sherona. I'm a native speaker, and have always had a natural flair for spelling. But it certainly is not an easy thing in English. In so many other languages it's just "This letter makes this sound, without exception." In English it's "This letter can make about 10 different sounds, depending on our mood!"

That said, I'm rather fond of it the way it is.

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2008, 03:10:29 PM »
I agree Sherona. I'm a native speaker, and have always had a natural flair for spelling. But it certainly is not an easy thing in English. In so many other languages it's just "This letter makes this sound, without exception." In English it's "This letter can make about 10 different sounds, depending on our mood!"

That said, I'm rather fond of it the way it is.

It's like the t-shirt I've seen:  Hukd on fonix werkt for me.  (That hurt to type O_o)

Offline Revolverman

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2008, 03:14:02 PM »
ok, while I think alot taught in English is useless, the idea that we need to dumb down the language itself is really sad. I mean, why not tell the world our kids are too dumb to know there native language? I mean, could you see this shit happening with German, or Punjabi?

Offline Neroon

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2008, 06:17:57 PM »
It is the regular cry of those who wish to ignore standards that we should make things easier for everyone, that we must make the language more accessible.  This is a ridiculous position to take as, if you don't enforce the rules of language on the young, the will cease to find the glories of literature accessible.  Already the young complain they find Shakespeare too difficult to understand.  The people who ask us to "dumb-down" the language- itself a dreadful abuse of English- risk denying a generation of their birthrights.

Already the creeping destruction of our language is going ahead: in school text-books and examination syllabi (themselves made more accessible by being renamed as specifications) foetus has become fetus, sulphur has become sulfur and mediaeval is now medieval.  It's only a matter of time until we find our language "colored" "thru" by increasing "number's" of errors so that the "affect" "their" will be one of increasing incomprehensibilty.

I would say that Clive James expresses the problem far better than I ever could, here:

http://www.clivejames.com/audio/english-language

Offline Sherona

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2008, 06:33:51 PM »
*smiles* One could argue that Colored, Medieval, Fetus were just Americanized Englsih, a language of itself and thus not wrong. Just different. I can hardly consider Americanized English as dumbed down as U and R and L337 is.

Though I can say that your example of shakespear apt. I was astonished, as a child and reared in a very christian home, to find that not all 10 year olds could read Old English as found in teh New King James version of the christian "bible". I had thought it was pretty easy, and never imagined it was confusing to read Thees and Thous, shalt and whists..its probably all in perception..I bet Shakespear might be more then a little confused by our speech patterns.


Offline cattycutie

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2008, 02:04:25 AM »
I'm somewhat disappointed that nobody so far's supported the idea; I think that could've made a very interesting debate.
I do admit that the language is difficult, particularly to a second language speaker. Surely then, if Sherona can grip it so very well, intelligence aside, why can't kids who have been brought up here use the apostrophe?

Thing is, if we're willing to change the one thing that DEFINITELY links every single English speaker in the world, what're they going to do next?
The universal language of most things, if I'm not mistaken, is English, so why would we change that for a few kids who can't spell or use punctuation, rather than TEACHING these kids how to do it properly?!
Maybe it's just me. Like Storiwyr, I have something of a talent for spelling (not so much punctuation; I think overuse of the comma's one of my weak points. Anyone noticed?), so maybe I'm intolerant of those that don't. *Shrug*

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2008, 06:44:41 AM »
Technically, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more people, but English is sort of the modern equivalent of the 'lingua franca' or trade-speak.  This is a stronger reason not to change it, since I doubt that the UK, Canada, and Australia are going to be on board with this (as other places where English is the primary language - sorry, Quebec).

Unfortunately, the apostrophe mis-use isn't limited to the kids.  I've seen signs on businesses reading "Ladder's For Sale" - which probably means that one single ladder is for sale and the rest aren't?

Offline cattycutie

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2008, 10:30:01 AM »
Bad grammar from a van close to home. "No job to small!" It really annoys me, just because WHY?!
Superlative, people, SUPERLATIVE!!

Offline Valerian

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2008, 10:40:07 AM »
I suspect that professor's been reading Mark Twain... or if he hasn't he should be.

A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
by Mark Twain

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet.  The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.  Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.
Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.
       
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.


I won't even get into the issue of how words sound different depending on what part of the country you live in, even if everyone is speaking English...

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2008, 01:14:56 PM »
Bad grammar from a van close to home. "No job to small!" It really annoys me, just because WHY?!
Superlative, people, SUPERLATIVE!!

Maybe it's just size discrimination, and you have to be *gestures* yay high to have a job?

Offline Mathim

Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2008, 11:50:56 AM »
Even if we did that (and we'd have to be admitting defeat and allowing for the further dumbing-down of society) then we shouldn't be the first to do it. Some other language should dumb itself down first, we'd be even stupider if we were the pioneers of doing such a thing.

Frankly, I'd have a hard time adjusting to that anyway. I'm so used to writing intelligently, my brain would probably do the same thing that left-handers do when they are forced to write with their right hands; my friend said it messed him up mentally just slightly. But still, I don't do drugs or anything because I want to keep as my of my brain cells intact as possible and this would be a mass-murder of them.

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Re: For all you English Majors out there
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2008, 12:55:13 PM »
The only possibilities I can see would be if Spanish replaced 'Si' with 'C', or German replaced 'sie/Sie' (she, they, formal you) with 'z/Z'  Naturally, this makes it extremely unlikely that another language would dumb-down, so yes - let them go first.   ;D

My internal proofreader goes bonkers when exposed to chat-speak, L33t, or those cat macros.  Not that I dislike the captions once I puzzle them out, but why make it so hard to read?