Future English & Future Britain

The state of education across the world

Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Mike » 03 Aug 2013, 12:24

Lamebrained Academic Poser wrote:But we have perhaps a mistaken notion that the way in which we write is the right way and that the way in which young people write through their SMS texting language is not the right way.

If there is a generation who believe that SMS language is a better way of expressing emotion than our way, then are we absolutely sure that they are making a mistake and we are not?


Just how many questions are begged here? Let's see...

1. So the expression of emotion is the only reason for writing?

2. How do you know that "generation" believe this anyway?

3. Has this generation gained enough life experience to be able to arrive at such a judgement properly?

4. Have they been exposed to enough of the richness of literature in their education to dismiss more complex forms of writing as superfluous to the modern world?

5. Would it be ultimately to their benefit, or their detriment, to bypass the "traditional linguistic rules"?

That's just off the top of my head, give me a while and I'd give you a dozen more, but it's not worth it. Such transparent nonsense is just par for the course in the world of humanities academia, and in my experience even intelligent students these days are too cowed (or, for that matter, flattered) to expose such drivel for what it really is - pure posing, of the most vapid and hypocritical kind.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Jonathan » 06 Aug 2013, 18:39

Mike - the fact that he wrote his argument in proper English, as oposd 2 abrev'ed sms-spk is enuf 2 prv he liar.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 20 Aug 2013, 19:29

If you're on Twitter, this man is atypical of its users and, as you can see, well worth following!

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 20.26.06.png
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 21 Aug 2013, 13:23

Here is an example of a sentence from a professional e-mail I have just received:

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Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 14.18.32.png (10.36 KiB) Viewed 5167 times

This is fairly typical of any written communication these days. This young girl (with an English name) is actually trying to ask me about my daily charge for training services. Fantastic!
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 23 Aug 2013, 12:26

My wife is pretty sure she was sitting near this young actress on the train last night (she's from Preston in the UK), so I found this video of her. Apparently (if it was her) she spoke incessantly to a young man she had "friended" (or "friend-zoned", as the parlance goes!) all the way, though not about profound matters.

I wanted to post this because I think it's yet another example of a young girl whose views of what is the "right" way to be have been conditioned by prevailing culture and our education system.

She wants to speak about there being "strong women" to play and about "having a pint with Lucrezia Borigas". Thus, on the inside she's trying to be de-feminised, while remaining feminine on the outside. Perhaps she thinks women are generally just as capable of being fighter pilots as men are.

Most obviously of all, this girl would be well-spoken but sadly she downwardly aspires, dropping all of her 't's. (That's why I decided to put this post in this thread.)

When I hear actors speak I'm usually reminded that all they do is dress up and memorise lines, delivering them with varying levels of realism. They also pretend to be other people throughout their lives. Once upon a time they were just considered entertainers and not worshipped, their opinions were not sought on global economic matters and the like. They are entitled to those opinions (and sometimes they might be right), of course, but we shouldn't expect them to be particularly profound, especially among the young.

Addition:

As I met my wife she warned me to two steer clear of two loud, suited thugs, whom she said had been mocking the station announcer because he spoke well (it might have been a recording). They were bellowing and running around like children. It's true that had I caught their gaze for even a moment they might have well have felt affronted and issued a challenge. Thus, I can to some degree understand well spoken people staying quiet or even disguising their diction when out and about in public, but not when in positions of power or in safe environments.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 02 Sep 2013, 23:13

I haven't yet had the chance to read all of this essay, but I have read enough to note these things:

  • It's a landmark essay.
  • TD is compared with Orwell for very good reason.
  • Orwell is right.
  • Given the examples he cites there, Orwell would be appalled almost to the point of disbelief at the generally low standard of written and spoken English today. Our Scandinavian neighbours usually speak our language better than we do.

On the final point there, this decline has no doubt occurred partly as a result of mass immigration and partly as a result of us having a benefits system which rewards the least intelligent and the most irresponsible people for having the most children. But the decline has also been deliberately encouraged by an aggressive, "progressive" Left who monopolise the education system and insist on prizes for all. As we have previously noted, many teachers can hardly even speak or spell properly themselves - perhaps that is why they insist on such egalitarianism.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 03 Sep 2013, 12:01

Brian Gambles, director of the Library of Birmingham wrote:I think people are totally unaware of the extent of the treasures here, the Shakespeare collection is just one of the jewels in the crown.


I have just submitted a complaint to the BBC about this article. Almost every quotation in it uses commas instead of full stops.

Once I'd done that, I went to read another article and found similar things.

I've lost count of the amount of times I've tried contacting them. There have been incidents where we have rang several times a day to get information and they've just had a blasé attitude.


Then there was this problem, which I wrote about before:
Parents may be doing these things out of the best intentions but the problem here is that firstly, by telling the child to keep quiet, they will not get a chance to recover from the ordeal.

In this case the illiteracy makes the final clause read as if it is referring to the parents not getting a chance to recover, when in fact it is referring to the child not getting a chance to recover. This is rather an important distinction, one would have thought!

I haven't complained about the second article. Maybe I should, but the subject matter (child grooming within the British Sikh community) doesn't seem the right place for this kind of nitpicking.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 04 Sep 2013, 02:06

The BBC have replied to my (admittedly rather spiky) complaint about their use of commas. Of course, their conclusion is that they have done nothing wrong and everything is just fine.

Elliott wrote:This article, which will be read by many people less well-educated than BBC journalists, uses commas where it should use full stops. This is an increasingly visible symptom of illiteracy. As I say, people who don't know any better will look to the BBC for guidance. If they see you doing it, they'll naturally think it is correct. Please set a better example. The offending commas are all within quotations. Here are just two examples:

"We had a long debate about whether to call this a 'library' or not, the whole idea of the 'library' concept needs reinventing"

"The business model of books and information doesn't add up any more, this is really a knowledge hub"

Each of those should be two separate sentences.

Please consider training your journalists in proper punctuation. The BBC should be a reliable beacon of literacy, not going along with the decline.


The BBC wrote:Many thanks for your mail.

I have looked carefully at this story and I believe both sets of sentences could be viewed as correct either with a comma or with a full stop between them. I would propose, therefore, to leave them as they are.

Best wishes and many thanks for your feedback.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 04 Sep 2013, 07:56

The BBC wrote:Many thanks for your mail.

I have looked carefully at this story and I believe both sets of sentences could be viewed as correct either with a comma or with a full stop between them. I would propose, therefore, to leave them as they are.

Best wishes and many thanks for your feedback.


Having responded to Elliott's message, our friend from the BBC heard a beep on his mobile phone, it was a text message from Tom Chivers, later the pair met up in a London bar, discussed their respective days and came to the conclusion that they were right about everything, they felt good, very good.

Elliott, in all seriousness, what can you say about a reply like that?
It's obvious that the man from the BBC was unable to say how both sentences were correct. That's because he wouldn't be able to.

Once again, one of Dalrymple's favourite phrases comes to mind: a fish rots from the head down.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 04 Sep 2013, 09:05

I should say that the BBC reply was written by a woman, Charlie. (And I've been led to believe that they're usually better with language than men!)

You're right, of course. Her reply merely indicates ignorance. For somebody to think that commas and full stops are interchangeable, in any situation let alone these two examples, can only mean that they actually don't know what the punctuation marks are for.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Mike » 03 Oct 2013, 10:00

Another pampered Guardianista joins the grammar-equals-oppression bandwagon in a particularly laughable piece. (I might add, however, that it has caused Samuel L. Jackson to go up in my estimation considerably.) It's not worth pointing out the absurdity of all this for the umpteenth time, but the first (and most highly-recommended) comment is worth a read, for a chuckle. Profanity excluded.

I must be frequenting the wrong Internet forums (No! Wait! Fora!) because while I often see people make grammatical mistakes, and sometimes see other people call them on it (and occasionally call them on it myself when I feel like being a bit of an a**hole), I've never seen anyone be "shut down" or "excluded" because of such a mistake.

I myself usually don't point out people's grammatical mistakes, but I certainly notice them and they certainly p**s me off. It has nothing to do with elitism. It is not an unreasonable expectation that a native speaker of English will follow its rules, because:

1. The rules are not hard. They really aren't. You don't have to have gone to Oxford to be able to grasp them.

2. The rules are there for a reason. They are there for the sake of clarity, nuance, and beauty.

Go Sam Jackson! The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the misuse of the apostrophe and the mangling of the mother tongue. Blessed is he who in the name of clarity and good grammar shepherds the verb through the valley of darkness.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Caleb » 04 Oct 2013, 00:27

I have a friend who mangles his English all over the place. Recently, I've been hassling him about it, and his other friends have chimed in with the usual anti-grammar arguments (namely, that grammar won't save the world). Yesterday, however, he were discussing a complex issue and he wrote something that I genuinely didn't understand because of how he wrote it. I thought I knew what he was saying, but I didn't want to misinterpret him. I asked him for clarification, but he hasn't replied to me yet.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 08 Oct 2013, 22:10

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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 08 Oct 2013, 22:17

I don't think I can bring myself to read the Guardian article (and you can skip the BBC one) but it's true: despite being higher qualified than ever, almost 10 million adults in England and Northern Ireland have the literacy skills of children (not Dutch children, either). I suppose many of them are now working for the civil service or the BBC. Labour's strategy of grade inflation plus copious benefits obviously didn't work, then.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 08 Oct 2013, 22:29

Gavin wrote:I don't think I can bring myself to read the Guardian article.


Quite! Although the Graun's headline was enough.

Gavin wrote:...but it's true: despite being higher qualified than ever, almost 10 million adults in England and Northern Ireland have the literacy skills of children (not Dutch children, either).


What's even sadder is that some of those Dutch children will probably speak and write better English than the aforementioned British citizens - children and adults.
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