Print

Print


Hello Martha and Fellow LRNASSTers --

On Tue, 8 Dec 1998, you wrote:

>...Since this topic was introduced, I've been irritated by the superior
> tone that I've detected in some of the posts. (Also, I've been amused by
> some of the grammatical errors and misspellings in some of them.)

   You appear to have indicated in your posting that you were "irritated by
the superior tone in some of the posts" and "amused by some of the
grammatical errors" made by the authors of those posts.

   It is interesting to see how effectively *written* language can be
used to imply that one writer can be irritated by another writer's superior
tone, while simultaneously inferring her own superiority by being
"amused" by the grammatical mistakes of the latter. (insert friendly grin
here)

   Words are loaded weapons.  Among other things, they can be benign, or
malevolent.  It seems to me that one should take care to ensure that one's
aim is certain, when words are pointed at other people. (Can you tell
it's the end of the semester?)

   Personally, I did not get the impression that any of the LRNASSTers who
posted notes about the topic of "Spoken English" were implying that a
person's propensity toward use of a dialectical deviation from formal
American English made that person any less deserving of a college
education than anyone else.  Rather, I read varying opinions that
only hit around the edges of this very large issue that, in one way or
another, affects all of us who work in higher education.  Additionally, I
got the impression that the writers of those posts were engaged in efforts to
assist their students in a direction that they felt would positively impact
the students' opportunities for academic, intellectual, and social
success. I appreciated the occasional humorous hue that colored some
of the posts.

   I often wonder what will be the long term result of a national
tolerance for, and encouragement of, extreme dialectical differences in the
speaking and writing of American English.  Hypothetically at least, one
possible outcome might be that people from one American state might
eventually be unable to communicate with people from another.  Or, the
divided-city syndrome, reminiscent of the Ellis Island immigration era
might be another result.  How will we communicate with one another?  Sign
language?  Esperanto?  Quien sabe?

   Lest anyone mistake my point here and consider me an elitist, I should
mention that Old West humor and cowboy poetry are favorite forms of literature
for me.  Given the opportunity, because of my cowboy/horseman/farmer heritage,
I can speak and write the dialect peculiar to some of those people with the
best of them.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to know that dialect
and to be able to pass it on to my daughters.

   Howsomever, I shore don't want them li'l girls to be a-talkin' like
they was born in a root cellar and never brung up!  That would not be a
good thing -- neither for them, nor for nobody else for that matter.
See what I'm drivin' at here?   I knows that if my girls is to be
successful in this world, they got to get an education.  And part of that
education is learnin' how to talk right when they has to .  If either of
them buttons ever decides to slope back to the lingo they was raised
with, that's jake with me.  'Long as they knows how to speak CORRECTLY
when it's 'propriate.  When the time comes for them to rattle their
hocks toward another range, as their Papa, I want to be pure-dee sure and
for certain that that they is possessed of all the skills they need to
make a good catch on whatever they throws their rope at.  And talkin'
right is sure enough one of them skills.  Leastways, that's the way the
stick floats for this ol' boy.

And that's how the cow ate the cabbage on that deal.

Pat Schutz