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Steve:

You make your point eloquently, grammatically, syntactically correctly.
Reading it I am impressed that you know the language well and use it well.
I have a favorable impression of you through your use of the written word,
just as I would have if I met you personally, found you well-groomed and
polite. This is not unimportant!

John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
Assistant Professor, Mathematics                    --Werner Heisenberg
Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
Honolulu, Hawaii                                    --Bill Walton


On Fri, 4 Dec 1998, Steve Runge wrote:

> James C. Valkenburg wrote:
>
> >I still find it hard to fall
> >into step with folks who believe that we can allow our children to write
> >as they please without correcting spelling, etc.
>
> >Communication theory was developed in order to focus us on what is
> >essential for good commuications in a technological arena.
>
>
> Illustrative example! If the point of *commuication* is to make a point,
> let's make sure our "little darlings" are *commuicating* as well as
> proofreading. (I think I also saw a few unclear pronoun references, an
> unattributed quote, and a subject/verb agreement problem.) The fact is,
> these "mistakes" don't matter. Your communication was clear, James, in spite
> of them. Sure, they gave me a point of leverage to use against you in a
> dirty-trick, ad-grammarium kind of argumentation, but they didn't obscure
> your meaning.
>
> My point is that spelling, grammar, and usage are partly involved in clarity
> and partly involved in power-relations. Misspellings and grammar and usage
> errors are used as pressure-points against a person, much in the way a
> distinctive dialect might be, I suspect more often than they are simply
> impeding clarity. I'm not saying we shouldn't teach grammar, but let's make
> sure we're schooling students of writing in the realpolitik of grammar and
> usage, and not just bludgeoning them with red-marks that seem more
> derivative of medieval penitence than instructional technique.
>
> I don't wholly buy whole language, either, but let's not ride the pendulum
> back to skill-and-drill exercises. Let's continue in what seems like a
> productive direction: grammar, spelling, syntax, usage, and semantics IN A
> MEANINGFUL CONTEXT. Use whatever works. There's some good stuff in Whole
> Language, just as there was some good stuff in Warriner's grammar, circa
> 1980.
>
> The more any of us contributes to polarizing and labels, the more "us" and
> "them" gets in the way of dialogue between university-level educators and
> k-12'ers. Communication is more about meaningful dialogue than grammatically
> correct diatribe.
>
> Respectfully,
>
> Steve Runge
> Academic Skills Coordinator
> St. Lawrence U.
> Canton, NY 13617
> [log in to unmask]
>