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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Are you speaking or asking? Pardon my rant.

At the risk of sounding like a cranky old lady, what is it with the weird intonation of almost everyone under 30?  It hit me today that, even on NPR (which, I believe, is slowly sinking into the morass of bad media), reporters all have that irritating habit of putting the inflection on the end of their sentence, making it not so much a statement as a question.  After listening to an hour of this, I have to turn off the radio.  I long for strong speakers, with professional, moderated voices.  Thinking of Walter Cronkite makes me feel all teary.  It seems we are surrounded by young men and women who have a slightly flat, whiny tone and sound so querulous.  I find myself muttering, "Oh, just spit it out, will you?"  See?  I am asking a question there. 

As I was growing up, dinner was served at 6 p.m. sharp (Eastern Standard Time).  Part of the dining experience - besides practicing our good manners:  no elbows on the table, no fidgeting - was the "Word for the Day".  My father pronounced it and we were expected to look it up and use it.  I am old enough to have missed New Math (thank goodness), but learned to write cursive by slowly forming the letters in chalk on the blackboard, and practiced, practiced, practiced good grammar.  What was learned at school, was stressed at home.  So I literally cringe when I hear, "Me and Mike went..."  Me went? 

And don't even get me started on "invite", as in, "Did you send him an invite?"  I plead guilty to jazzy punctuation, but, alas and alack (smidgen of Shakespeare in HS), this old fogey is getting left behind in the literary and grammatical dust.

7 comments:

  1. If basic grammar is still being taught in our schools, obviously each child in the classroom is busily texting a friend two rows over and NOT paying attention to the teacher.

    Correct speech and good manners seem to have gone the way of the dinosaurs. I think it is sad.

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  2. And there it is... Mama Pea, sadly basic grammar is not being taught properly in schools anymore. I'm afraid to begin... there's the "d'nealian alphabet" now, essentially a way of printing letters so that the teachers don't have to teach cursive later, and as parents we get scolded if we teach them printing and cursive writing separately. When I'm able someday, I will actually show you how ridiculous children's printing is. I'm not sure what grade your husband taught, but he is most likely familiar with the look of this. Phonics are non-existent. "Sight Words" are taught instead - this is plain memorizing, so if they student never memorized the word, they will never know how to spell it. This is turning out terrible spellers who appear to be illiterate as adults if they were to have to write on paper instead of using spellcheck. I am fanatical about spelling, punctuation and grammar and so is my mother! She is obviously the reason why! Susan, now you have got me ranting too! I do have to plead guilty as a Minnesotan to turning everything into a question, eh? :)

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  3. Well, Erin & Mama Pea, every "eh?" I've heard was spoken with a twinkling eye. And a twinkling eye is a sure sign of natural intelligence. Amen. I have worked for big real estate developers, legal partners, etc., and they all couldn't spell to save their lives. And then there are the bloggers who don't bother to even proof their post or use spell check. I think it's an insult to their readers, not to have taken the time. Whoa, Nelly. I'm getting hot under the collar here. Time for a *nice* break! It's frustratin, ain't it?

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  4. This comment is on writing. I process paperwork for newly hired employees. The young people today cannot write. I joke that they are all practicing to become doctors. When I was in school in the "olden days" we were graded on penmanship. I can remember wasting a lot of paper trying to get my writing to look perfect.

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  5. Judy, that is so true. In a few years, none of the young people will know how to write. They all type. And in code, at that. It's a shame - there are so many lovely words out there. I love good penmanship.

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  6. My SIL is a teacher for our local community college and she is constantly telling me how frustrated she gets grading papers. I have begged her to scan and share one with me because I am mortified of the things she says.

    For example, one student wrote and entire paper using text language. U for You, R for Are etc.

    Are you kidding me??? I think I would lose it!

    When I worked for a large company, I was asked to proof all of my bosses out going letters. I called it "word-smithing" becuase I had to change everything!! Everything! I am not grammar genius and I am sure I have made mistakes in this comment even -spelling or grammar. But PLEASE, he was making 6 figures!

    Ok, done. Please don't count my errors against me as a moron. :)

    And Erin...I have never even heard of half those things you talked about! What???

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