Disappointment with the grammar and spelling of some TA users

I've noticed that many of the forum discussions that TA has tweeted lately have contained glaring grammatical and spelling errors.  I find this disappointing and even personally embarrassing as it inevitably reflects not only on the original poster but on the forum as a whole and, by extension, the larger atheist community.  I know written communication isn't everything, and it certainly isn't a high priority among the public generally, but we should try to meet a higher standard.  Given the unlikelihood that individual posters will suddenly take more care when writing, I think the operators of the site's Twitter feed should consider not tweeting discussion titles with serious errors.

That's one poster's opinion, for whatever it's worth.

Tags: grammar, spelling

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"For any to answer that question, would be to imply that they can account for the reasoning of everyone so inclined..."

I've already clarified that the question is about a perceived cultural trend, not individuals.

"If they're understood by the one with whom they're communicating,"

There are degrees of understanding, and poor language skills increase the 'if' in how well ideas are understood. If they care about being understood, improving communication would naturally be of benefit.

"If not, they realize they can always clarify, when called upon to do so..."

There are a number of problems associated with doing that, which is why it is better to leave it as the exception. First, if someone gets the wrong impression from your first attempt, it is difficult to reverse that impression. Second, if you lacked the ability to express the idea due to inability, that inability won't simply dissolve on the next attempt. Third, you won't always be called upon to do so.

In the case you cited I was not called upon for clarification. If the clarification is not read by Obfuskation, that is my fault for not getting it right the first time.

"...how to string a line of words together in such a way as to violate no arbitrary rules, by some authority figure who asserted there was only one correct way to express oneself in a fluid, ever-evolving language."

It isn't arbitrary. Language has to be more proscriptive than not in order to work. No one states that there is only one way to express oneself in English. Also, many people were not taught English well in their formative years yet still learn later in life. As long as the fundamental literacy skills are there, basic grammar and sentence structure should be manageable to learn.

"...then I can only hope that the trait of being overly concerned about poor language skills, may be as well."

If your implication is that I am overly concerned, I am not. Language skills just happens to be the current topic of conversation, and I am responding from my viewpoint much the same as you.

And since, as you, yourself, have pointed out, we're just expressing opinions, you don't have to agree with mine, any more than I, with yours.

Of course not.

Actually, upon further thought, I've yet to agree with more than two or three of any of your comments. I find them to be highly critical the vast majority of the time. In fact, I'm reminded of the poem, or prose - depending on your viewpoint - of Dorothy Law Nolte, who wrote, "Children Learn What They Live," and in which she said, "If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn." Words to live by --

My message went walkabout

Some people choose other priorities - I am just lucky that I luv language - not real good at it - but I enjoy it - but there are also people, and I am not talking about those who are just lazy or lousy education - I am talking about people whose brains are wired differently. I am with a bloke, whose IQ would be twice mine - and he cannot spell - dictionaries and automatic corrections are his god - put me on a maths site, or for me to try and learn how to programme - Ha, couldn't do it if my life depended on it - horses for courses - I am not on twitter etc. I think this is where a lot of this shorthand is coming from - and it does my head in, when trying to work out what on earth they are talking about.

Knot shur wat U meen --http://api.ning.com/files/uso0NvsEja148qMhgTl5tcWI-occJ79jQ2Z-m*UHkmJUfwm0R4ANrFKHS2jyJmoRHF13Bsf5ewFRdxSMCaNajbLQIZ2nJ5s4/icon_roflmao.gif

@Kris - There is always some really stupid tampering within the school system here. The thought was that children need to get their story across, without their essay coming back with red all over it. It was thought that would/could diminish a child's confidence?????  I don't know how long it was enforced. Now they are doing away with cursive writing. Kids these days, would not know how to post, in a letter box, a hand written letter. Everything done by electronics, and so much is being lost. I am a worse speller now, than when I was younger. It is automatically 'fixed' - I remember as a kid, there were a couple of really bad stutterers around. It must have been so tedious and embarrassing for them. When a stutter or speech impediment is caught early, a life of misery can be avoided. It may be just under the surface, and come out again, as you say, when stressed or tired, but in the normal course of a day, it is all good, and the bullies don't get a shot at them.

I know from personal experience - and that's really the only perspective from which anyone can speak - that when I'm writing, every time I have to stop to consider which grammatical rule applies, is like throwing a speed bump into the flow of thought.

The phenomenon is reminiscent of a line I recall from years past, from the TV show, "Happy Days," in which "Fonzie" had quit the garage and had taken the job of driving, of all things, an ice-cream truck. He complained, "I just get it up to 60, and I gotta stop for some kid on a street corner, waving a dime!"

As for cursive writing, I like it, and I would vote to keep it - however, except for my signature, I print everything I write by hand, because my handwriting is atrocious, but having done design work, my printing skills are not. Yet I've seen some handwriting - mostly that of girls - that could well be considered works of art, and I would miss that.

I must ask, however, when (and what) was the last book you read that was written in cursive? Why do you suppose that is?

Even electronically, on my computer, I have fonts that would let me write posts all day in flowing cursive, yet TA's software, its HTML, will not recognize it and should I attempt to copy and paste it from a text program, will change it to a standard font that TA's software recognizes.

I don't have an answer, except that possibly cursive writing is dying. Though I never use it, I would still miss it, but then all generations tend to yearn for things past.

The argument is either valid, or it's not.

I understand the line of reasoning to which many of you subscribe, that content is more important than form and that posters who struggle with language are not likely to suddenly improve.  I tried to acknowledged such concerns in my original post.

A particular aspect of the issue that concerns me is the appearance of this site's Twitter feed, and I think a good solution to the problem of too many errors in thread titles would be for the tweeter(s) to edit such tweets.

I think there is a middle ground between spelling/grammar "Nazism" and complete disregard for spelling and grammar conventions, and I think editors are in a good position to occupy that middle ground.

@David - my comments were directed solely to what goes on here.

I have no idea what goes on, on Twitter, as I don't "tweet;" very few things of importance can be said within 140 characters or less. I'm sure I must have an account, as I continue to receive Richard Dawkins' "tweets," but even he doesn't have the space to say anything really significant. I'm really not sure why he bothers.

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