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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Language and the Multiplication Table

Poking my nose in it



Here's what you do: As was the example with the Wise Latina, read the classics in the cannon of western literature. You may want to sample the Brontës, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Bram Stoker, Jane Austen. Walt Whitman and many others. Also, do please remove the "likes" and "you knows", "alrights" and "to for too's" from your vernacular. That should help, in my humble opinion.

Response on Facebook for a repost from the New York Times.




Dear Writer,


We believe you are rather too simplistic in suggesting such a plan of reading usually pursued at college level at the best universities where English is either taught or used as medium of instruction.

You have to be aware that the problem of low standards in language skills in this nation is very complicated and has many tentacles. Ours being a country of immigrants and widespread inequality, it is very much obvious to all and sundry that a few will have access to the best education and the vast majority will be left to fend for themselves as regards the above-mentioned problems. (actually, in the link below )

You cannot possibly demand to equalize your own linguistic skills with those which the wider world seems to think is acceptable for optimum communication. They may very well have their sights at the level next to the ground.

We suggest in the strongest possible terms that you undertake a research - sociological, and perhaps demographic - to better situate your commentary. While we applaud your own efforts to express yourself with magestical aplomb, we still think we have a long road ahead concerning our language and mathematical skills.

Also, while sitting prettily in your own Ivory Tower, with access to a vast library, bear in mind that for some, outdoor undertakings have much more flair that the moldy pages of the collector's items you treasure.

As we say (tongue in cheek): "Go get a life!"

Signed: Joe and Jane Smith, formerly known as Doe.


The Link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/education/11educ.html?WT.mc_id=ED-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-PRP-031010-CR-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

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