Grammar Debate

I know no one probably checks this anymore but this article was too relevant to this class for me not to post it here, at least for Professor Vee:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/13/is-our-children-learning-enough-grammar-to-get-hired/its-not-just-grammar-its-clear-thinking

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#IgotthetweetslikeGrassley

To appeal to voters, especially media-savvy and young voters, many politicians are now using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes, however, their ignorance of writing conventions on these sites just ends up making them seem like they’re they’re trying too hard. For example, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley recently got criticized for his awkward abbreviations on Twitter. This article on Politico collects his 12 “best” tweets–that is, his 12 most awkward Tweets. Here are two examples:

1. “Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law” (April 7).

2. “P” (April 7).

Sen. Grassley’s unintentionally funny tweets attracted the attention of political satirist Stephen Colbert, who launched the hashtag #IgotthetweetslikeGrassley and said on his show: “This isn’t just tweeting! It’s avant garde stream of consciousness poetry!” Inspired, Colbert then tweeted: “i m so xitEd 2 twt l1ke mY h3ro gr asslee u ess A!!! you ez Ey!!#igotthetweetslikegrassley“.

This conversation about 78 year old Senator Grassley’s tweets connects to the conversation we had about Naomi Baron’s work on txting. In class, you all asserted that you didn’t abbreviate very much when texting or tweeting, and sometimes found it obnoxious when others did. As the Stanford Study on Writing indicated, your generation is savvy about audience and kairos–knowing who you’re writing to and what kind of language is appropriate for that situation. What’s funny about Grassley’s tweets isn’t just his strange abbreviations, but the fact that he reads his kairos wrong: for example, he criticizes the President by saying the “Am ppl r not stupid” [the American people are not stupid]. While it’s fine if he criticizes the President, it seems inappropriate for him to do it in such a txtspeak kind of way.

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Profanity and Language Play (Blog Post 2 of 3)

On September 13, 2010, the BP Public Relations fake Twitter account(@bpglobalpr) tweeted:
“Someone told us @KanyeWest gave a toast to us last night. It’s nice
to be appreciated Mr. West. #bpstreetcred”

This tweet is referring to Kanye West’s song “Runaway,” in which he sings:

“So I think it’s time for us to have a toast
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags
Let’s have a toast for the assholes
Let’s have a toast for the scumbags
Every one of them that I know
Let’s have a toast for the jerk-offs
That’ll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Runaway fast as you can”

What do you think is Kanye West’s objective in excessively using profane words with the same meaning in his lyrics? Keep in mind Pinker’s discussion of euphemism (making something sound better) and dysphemism (making something sound worse) in your response.

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Technology and Language Change (Blog post 4 of 4)

The article “GR8 news: We’re entering a new era of literacy” by Erin Anderssen, took an opposite stance on the effects of texting and internet usage compared to Naomi Baron’s article “Whatever”. Do you think texting and a proliferation of online writing has positively or negatively affected your own personal writing, or writing for our generation? Draw your answer from personal examples as well as the readings.

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Technology and Language Change (Blog Post 3 of 4)

In the article, “GR8 news: We’re entering a new era of literacy,” Erin Anderssen says, “It’s not Plato versus Google. It’s Plato and Google.”  What does this quote mean to you?  Have you taken the same approach Anderssen mentions?  Has this idea (or would it have) helped your writing skills?  Be sure to touch upon your own personal writing experiences in your response.

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Technology and Language Change (Blog Post 2 of 4)

““Over the past fifty years,” writes Naomi Baron in “Always On,”
“American society has become increasingly informal.”  This change in
our culture can be seen across the whole of our society, from “the way
chairs are arranged in classrooms” to “the way we write.”  Do you
agree with Baron that society has become more informal, or do you see
the evolution another way?  What do you feel caused this change?  And,
from the standpoint of education/language, how do feel this newfound
informality will affect future teachers, including you?”

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Technology and Language Change (Blog Post 1 of 4)

In the chapter “Whatever” in Always On, Baron explains “as faculty, we have been trained to celebrate what our students have to say and encourage them to express themselves—literally in their own words.” (Baron 170)  Do you agree with this statement?  Should we encourage our students to express themselves even if that includes “text talk” and other slang in formal assignments?  As a teacher what steps might you take to encourage or discourage this type of writing?

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Global English (Blog Post 4 of 4)

As we have previously discussed, it is important to celebrate–not merely tolerate–diversity in the classroom, which most readily applies to teachings of the English language. This idea, though, was neglected in all of the readings for this week, as speakers of other native languages were essentially taught to be ashamed of their own language and culture. These readings, then, have seemingly exemplified the idea that the implementation of a global language holds various negative attributes. Is there anything that we, as future teachers, can do to help change the situations in places like India and Kenya? Have these readings furthered your beliefs about what a global language would do to the world? Have your opinions changed? And finally, if you think that this can all be related to Webster’s radical proposals regarding the English language, take note of that here.

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