Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A lesson in language

I've spoken about this topic before but I think it needs to be said again. Chances are it will need to be said in the future again. And it'll never have an impact and nobody will change, but I'm going to feel it anyway. That's the magic of a blog. I can say whatever I want. You can not like it all you want. You can't dare shut  me up. You can make your own blog. You can leave me comments, but I can still say what I want. On with the show…

You may have noticed that last week my Facebook count went from about 1,000,000 to 0. The last post before my strike, break, hiatus, etc had said that I was going into Facebook hibernation because I could no longer take the stupidity and lack of education. It only lasted a week because regardless of that, there's a lot of information to be found there.

That, however, is not a free pass to idiocy. Let me make one thing clear. I understand mistakes. I'm not without my own flaws. I have just as many as the next guy, if not more. I'm also not infallible. Even things I know how to do, I sometimes get wrong. We all err. What I'm talking about is the inability to use knowledge that started getting poured into at age 5. I'm talking about foundational information about basic spelling, sentence structure, word usage and English mechanics. This is not taught only at college. This is not taught in first grade and left alone for the next 11 years. This is started early on and built on throughout your education and reiterated and reinforced. You're reminded of it constantly. Yet it seems to be of so little importance to so many people that I fear for where we are headed. If our generation cares so little; what will we pass on to the next?

I mentioned some of these the last time:

• too = also. "I'll be there too." Think of the extra person/item/etc as the extra O.
• you're = you are. the ' should clue you in that it used to be 2 words
• their = ownership. I'm going to there house is not correct - at all.

Then there's things like:

• i could of gone, but didn't. Could of. Think about that. Does it make any sense?  It's could've. Another ' there. What did we just learn that means? It was 2 words. Could have.
• Gone. Use gone… not went. I could have went. WRONG. I went. We went. He/she/it went. I/You/We/He/She/It could've gone.
• Then and than. Then is a timeline. This happened and then this happened. Than compares. This is better than that.

Forget slang in type. We speak in slang because it's faster and we're lazy. If you're making 1000 posts per day and still type slowly, work on it. Typing in this nonsense language makes you look like an idiot. Someone on Facebook made a post about not jumping off a bridge if his friends did. Rather he'd be at the bottom to catch them. Here is a friend's response (a friend who is an adult with a legitimate career type job):
"id b at tha bottom to catch em then answer my phone rite b4 dey landed lmao j/p"

There is a huge difference between using shorthand and sounding like an ignorant fool. I say things like "gonna" instead of "going to." I understand shorthand. It makes sense. The above quote is not shorthand. Tha and the are the same amount of letters.

The real issue at hand is not the typos. It's not even the lack of education or the mistakes in and of themselves. Our educational system has its flaws. English is said to be the most difficult language to learn because of all the exceptions to all the rules. This, however, is also not a free pass to idiocy.

I take issue with the lack of caring. People make mistakes and don't care. People make mistakes and are almost proud of them. If you correct someone, you're a spelling Nazi; you're an asshole. You get told "Who cares if I spell shit wrong?" Well…um… an employer might. Who cares if they meant to say "you're hired," but said, "you're not hired." By not caring, I'm also including the people who make light of it. This happens in 2 ways. The first is when people make excuses, "Oh I was typing and not paying attention and must have mis-hit a key," to which I reply "Really? The last 37 times in a row? No, you just don't know the usage." The other way is when people aren't sure if you're talking about them, but they know they're guilty and say, "Oh that bothers you? I can't imagine what you think of what I say then." So you know you do it, but you're going to be dismissive about it? That basically says, "I do it too. It annoys you. I'm not going to stop. I hope you don't tell me directly how it makes you feel."

I've also been told, "It's the Internet. It doesn't matter." Au contraire. It matters even more on the Internet. Why? Because the entire globe can see it. Because we are looked upon as lazy, self-indulgent Americans. Because we are no longer the world's greatest superpower. We're broke, we're are war, we're pushy with our politics and now… now we're stupid too. Yet, for caring about seeing people I know sound like intelligent, functioning members of society I'm the pedantic, pontificating, pretentious (anymore P words?) asshole.

So if you see me stop responding to you online; if I delete you; or if I disappear for chunks of time - it's because while you're saying things like "im goin to there house for dis party," I'm off bettering myself because I like being smart. I like making money. I like being respected. I've never been proud of mistakes and I've never understood why it was cool to sound dumb.

I'm sure in six months I'll be frustrated enough to do this all over again.

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