Future English & Future Britain

The state of education across the world

Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Nathan » 08 Oct 2013, 22:47



Heh. I had a grandmother who grew up poor when poor actually meant poor in the 1930s, and whose education ended at age 13 when her school got bombed during the Blitz. She had the most beautifully ornate handwriting though, was a big admirer of RP and fully believed it was better than the way she spoke, and her house had shelves overflowing with books. She never went in an aeroplane or even left England, but right until the end was fully clued up with what was going on in the world.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 08 Oct 2013, 22:51

That story in itself is enough to invalidate the Left's arguments. And yet they persist. Socialism, as Churchill said, "the politics of envy". But eventually Atlas might shrug and the game will be up.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 05 Nov 2013, 13:36

I often want to publicise employment approaches that I receive because the level of written English is so poor, but perhaps it wouldn't be prudent to do that! So here is one I just saw online. This is for a role paying £55-60,000. It is how technical jobs are often advertised: one can tell that the author has heard the buzzwords but doesn't know what they actually mean (worse, the recruiters often claim these as "skills" of their own too, even when the technologies mentioned are competing alternatives).

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 13.19.02.png

It's a fantastic team in a fantastic company, as you can see.

If it wasn't for the spelling error I might have put this in the thread on hyperbole. Hard to believe adults write this stuff sometimes. This is not some PR "job" either - it's a very technical role. Written by a PR/HR person though.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Andreas » 05 Dec 2013, 20:43

A professor in Los Angeles has been accused of racist "micro-aggression" for insisting on proper grammar and spelling:

In a letter sent to colleagues in the department after the sit-in, Rust said students in the demonstration described grammar and spelling corrections he made on their dissertation proposals as a form of "micro-aggression."

"I have attempted to be rather thorough on the papers and am particularly concerned that they do a good job with their bibliographies and citations, and these students apparently don't feel that is appropriate," Rust said in the letter.



http://dailybruin.com/2013/11/20/studen ... l-climate/
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 27 Dec 2013, 20:43

Quite a PC article on uptalk, I thought, here. Academics seek all sorts of deep and positive explanations without considering that uptalk may just be a bit dumb and patronising. There's really no need for every statement to be intoned as a question!
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 14 Feb 2014, 20:42

Great comment to be found on uptalk here:

Emilia wrote:I think you're right about there being a PC element to HRT. It seems to be a strange combination of uncertainty (in the speaker's mind) about what she means and uncertainty as to whether the listener will understand; partly "I'm not very bright, I hope you are getting this" and partly "I'm much brighter than you, are you managing to follow me?". Yes, I'm sure it is a bad thing to do in interviews, as is the new-ish habit of starting every reply, to anything, with "So ...". That really does make people sound thick; "I'm replying but I have no idea how to insert a remark intelligently into a conversation".
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Paul » 15 Feb 2014, 01:17

I know someone who engages in uptalk a lot. He's actually a friend and a very nice chap but he is a silly liberal too. I do tell him so - regularly and we both have fun arguing with each other. I've not pulled him on the uptalk but rather observed it, got mildly annoyed by it and then mellowed and elected to become amused by it instead. I do occasionally say things like 'Oh really?', in just the correct amount of starry-eyed wonder and then wryly observe how pleased he seems by this. How devastated he might be if he realised how I am playing him, with light tackle and just the correct amount of bait.

That sounds rather cruel and I don't mean it so because he is a friend - or rather he's a pupil and still a little lost. Why should I not deign to instruct him by subtle methods - and to do that I have first to observe him? He is about 44 years old now but that's younger than I. We might say he's the oldest student in town. Like I said he's a well-entrenched liberal (lefty) and is very much still in student mode. He does have a university degree.

Definitely his uptalking (it's very regular - is it even constant almost?) is a means whereby he is assuming or inferring an intellectual superiority. It's just that he does it very politely and equably. There is no malice in him at all and he's a very friendly and generous chap. He's also very affluent (job). He also still lives at home with his parents - which contributes to his affluence and maybe various other facets of character too.......... liberalism for sure.

Maybe he also uptalks at home to his now quite aged parents. I can't see him being dominant in the usual sense of that word but maybe he is intellectually so.

When he talks to me and ends a sentence with that upward lilt (and even raised eyebrows) it's definite that he's inferring something along the lines of:

'Did you know that? Probably you didn't. No matter, there's no shame in that to me (and he would be truthful there because he's nice) and after all, I don't mind telling you.'

Yes it can be seen as infuriating and with someone other than a friend I would soon see it as arch and patronising. But in my case I can treat it as amusing.

It's quite ignorant in fact though, one could say, but that's only if one could prove intent in the matter of smugness or malicious superiority. The fact is that my pet liberal actually believes his own goodness and righteousness but wishes to impart the good news with the best of intent. It's hard to feel aggrieved with that. I just want to save the guy from bad ideas. His situation in life shields him from a lot of reality.

So my interpretation of uptalk is that the practitioner is assuming superiority of intellect (knowledge) over his or her listener, usually because they're PC and liberal. They know best.

The mention in the article that it may be linked to inferiority (agree with me, lack of belief, seeking approval) is a novel concept too. I hadn't thought of that, but I shall.... That's another layer of psychology as applied to liberals then. They're quite complex people when it comes down to it. It must be all the propaganda.

So the recounting of a Friday night might come out as: ‘We like thought we’d see that film about slavery and I was like totally not sure I was up for it and so I like asked my boyfriend and he like said, you know, whatever? In the end we like you know stayed in and ordered a pizza?


Gosh how terrible is that?
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 15 Feb 2014, 23:12

It really is an irritating thing, but I think these days one has to accept that people do it simply because "everyone's doing it". They're not being deliberately affected or pretentious. A lot of people will be young enough that they really don't remember life being any other way!

However, I can remember. It started in the late 90s. It took over everybody I knew, like a plague. I think it was either Friends or Ally McBeal that caused the change.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Jonathan » 19 Feb 2014, 08:58

I never interpreted uptalk as condescending or patronizing, as in questioning the listener's ability to understand.

To me it always seemed borrowed from another social context - that of a teenager relating some event to her peers, and requiring and expecting constant approval and expression of interest. The uptalker seems to need his interlocutor to constantly be saying "yes...oh my... you don't say... uh-huh...uh-huh... OMG..." to be able to carry on his end of the conversation.

This type of communication protocol (for lack of a better term) is suited to discussing trivia, but not for a serious conversation. A serious report or argument will span several sentences, and elicit a thoughtful reply, not an endless stream of shallow approval. This habit also suggests that the speaker is not bothering to think more than half a sentence ahead before speaking.

This is why I personally find it so irritating to be on the receiving end of it. I'm trying to concentrate on what you're saying, but I'm being interrupted by your constant requests for encouragement. Just get on with it already!
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 19 Feb 2014, 18:21

I agree with every word of that, Jonathan, especially the last paragraph. I'm always thinking "just tell me what you want to tell me!"
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 09 Jun 2014, 18:12

Right now there's a minor controversy going on with a primary school in Devon that is sending some of its all-white pupil population to a multi-racial school in London, so as to help enlighten these culturally-impoverished white English kids as to the colourful reality of multiculturalism.

What interests me, apart from everything else in this case, is the quite remarkable illiteracy of the school's headteacher. You can see it in this newsletter.

I don't like taking this apart, because obviously the job of headteacher is a busy one and there is much more to it than writing immaculate letters to parents, but I will do it anyway because it really doesn't seem right that a headteacher should have this low literacy level, or carelessness. What chance do the kids have?

Dear Parents,

I hope you all had a great half term. The extra few days this week were good [what?] so I hope you were able to make the most of them.

We have received lots of interest in our advert looking for a replacement for Mrs Kenneally, [new sentence] we will carry out interviews in the next few week. I’ll keep you up to date [hyphenated] with our progress.

Unfortunately we didn’t receive any applications for our catering assistant so our school meals delivery this term are [should be "is"] still on hold. I do have another possible solution so I am still optimistic that we will have everything in place by the end of term. Again I will keep you posted.

We welcomed a new pupil at the end of last half term, [new sentence] Charlie has joined Ash Class and it is lovely to see him. I would like to say a proper welcome in our newsletter this week.

We continue to monitor and improve the school security and during the day the gate leading to the car park has been left open on a number of occasions. We recognise that our school site is very open and we need to be extra carefully [careful] with the gates. Therefore we will be fitting a padlock on the playground gate between 9.15am and 3.15pm. Between those times if you need to come onto school premises please report to the office first.

Yesterday the junior children took part in the ‘ [should be speech mark, not apostrophe]Cathedral Day[needs closing speech mark]. It was an opportunity to work alongside other schools and to explore the Cathedral and its hidden treasures. The children were brilliantly behaved [should be hyphenated; "brilliantly" is ridiculous] and gained so much from the opportunity [yuck]. The benefits from first hand [should be hyphenated] experiences and practical learning are invaluable.

So with this in mind, we have booked a visit from Zoolab on Wednesday. They are a company which bring in a large array of insects, reptiles and general creepy crawlies [should be hyphenated]. They will allow a real close up [should be hyphenated, and the word "look" is missing] from [for] the children and it [the subject] links with each classes [class's] Science learning. Unfortunately these visits aren’t free and therefore I will need to ask for a contribution of £1 per pupil.

How are your plants growing? Before the half term [should be hyphenated] the children came [went] home with a plant in a can. We were wondering how they were getting on? If you would like to send a picture in [in a picture] of your child next to their growing plants, we would like to keep a little board of growing achievements. If you use your edible produce too can you take a picture? We can print it out and put it on the board. Please send pictures to the office. Thank you.

Have you any Sainsbury vouchers left lurking in your bags or drawers? We still need a few more to purchase what we require. Again [please] send them to the office.

Congratulations to Shannan McGuirk for achieving her lifeguarding qualification. It took a whole week of her time and we are so lucky to be able to [redundant] have Shannan become our regular, reliable lifeguard.

Sports Day next week, [new sentence] hope you will be joining us.

Have a good weekend,

With regards,
Mrs Hammett
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 09 Jun 2014, 19:09

That is unbelievably incompetent. I believe she should be sacked for having such a poor standard of written English, one that should not even be acceptable from her pupils. Well annotated, by the way.

Recently I have been receiving communication from an estate agent. All first name terms in this multi-thousand pound transaction, as usual. "Kind Regards" incorrectly capitalised, commas instead of full stops - sometimes the e-mails have no punctuation at all. Then the agent also has the cheek to charge £600 as an "admin fee".

We are obviously in a very serious state of decline in the UK now.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 24 Aug 2014, 20:31

I watched My Fair Lady the other day. Great film.

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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 16 Jun 2015, 09:08

Just a further note on the dumbing down of English expression these days.

I am currently reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, and the words chosen in the dialogue between characters are simply of a level one would never hear today. It is embarrassing for our civilisation, or what's left of it, and even adults would be ridiculed for using such precise and elegant language in public today.

Just as "I'm very well" has morphed into the egotistic "I'm good", another manner of speech I have noticed is that when asked what they would like at a sandwich shop, for example, the English will not say "May I have" (of course - this would now attract ridicule) nor even "Can I have" - but it is now "Can I get" - "get" is the word of choice now. It's subtle, but indicative of something, I think, and something rather unattractive.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 16 Jun 2015, 17:23

Gavin, if you have time, you may wish to read through some of the entries on Bruce Charlton's Intelligence, Personality and Genius blog.

One of Charlton's main contentions is that the average Victorian had an IQ of 115, which, needless to say, is significantly higher than that of the average Brit in 2015.

Charlton's assertions would certainly give credence to the points you make about linguistic elegance and preciseness.
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