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Thread: Grammar, and stuff

  1. #1

    Default Grammar, and stuff

    (I hope this doesn't seem like a rant about 'the good old days'.)
    I've noticed over the last several years the level of... readability of the content here has dropped significantly. I think I've generally been fairly laid-back about it, as I don't mind when people don't capitalise things properly or confuse some common words (they're, their, there; your, you're; etc), or even random jumps in logic. But lately I've seen some posts that I doubt would pass as a text message. My standards are likely higher than many others, which is why it's causing me trouble; I understand that this is my own issue, but I do wonder if anyone else feels this way?

    I believe that our culture is shifting and the way young people write is changing, and while I'm not particularly happy with it, I don't think I could do much to change it. I do try to represent the younger generation as best I can in terms of spelling/grammar/clarity/overall writing sexiness, but I feel like I'm in the minority. I'm not here to call out anyone or make a public statement or anything; I'm simply curious as to what caused this change (mainly in the context of this website). Are there now more people here who aren't native English speakers? Are there more who have a disability or something else that would cause difficulty writing? Has the average age of ADISC shifted downwards (assuming that it is the younger people generally writing this way)? With the increase in content, are people overwhelmed and in a rush to reply, leading to poorly thought-out responses?

    Or have the proportions always been this way, and now that there are more threads, it's more noticeable?

  2. #2

    Default

    I'm new here but I will give this a shot since I have been on many forums in the past. Firstly, size of the forum matters. For instance, more people joining the forum will inevidably lead to more of a vary in writing styles, education level (not age as you have implied,) and cultural backgrounds.

    I really do not agree with your theory about 'youngsters.' I have taught English abroad and I can tell you that it is easier finding a child in southeast Asia that knows what a participial is than it is to find an adult in the United Sates who knows that same knowledge.

    What I think it comes down to, in regards to straight up grammar and spelling mistakes, is: that he first language that we learn, we tend to forget the basics because we know the 'flow' of the language...so we go with our gut. when we go with our gut, we are right until proven wrong, so we are more careless because of our certainty that we just 'know' the language.

    When it comes to abbreviations, I may be able to see your point on how younger people can get sucked into a fad where words are more cool when you shorten them, but that is a societal inevitability...and it will pass, and something will take its place.

    In my opinion, I really don't mind at all...this site is awesome and open...and liberated in many ways. The discussions that take place here don't take place practically anywhere else in the world. And that is just plain cool. Though, to have and sustain that coolness its pretty important to not be as hung up on word formations..rather their message. Now that's not to say that a message like this:

    'c u l8r f d l r"

    should be read by everyone, garsh..just skip it if it annoys you, but I think you have to remember that this is a 'safe place' for people and hindering how they communicate in their safe place is not too cool in my opinion.

    Though the interest that you seem to have for writing and language is awesome. I would say to go into a field that lets you write! It seems like you would be a great fit for a blogger site (those pay nowadays!)

    BA

  3. #3

    Default

    I think the posts you're referring to are just from some people who don't speak English all that well in the first place. A lot of people who come here and type like that learn English better as a result of posting and reading stuff on the site, so if it's a blue name, then just let it go and hope they improve with time. If it's someone who's been here for a few months... probably not so much.

  4. #4

    Default

    It's just laziness, and I tend to respond in kind--by being too lazy to read it. If somebody can't be bothered to conjure a proper sentence, why should I expect them to read one?

    Of course, there is the case of the person who is conspicuously ESL. I make an exception for that person.

  5. #5

    Default

    I've noticed that a lot of our younger members use devises other than computers such as cell phones and game players. I suppose it's easier to type errors using these devises. Having a computer means having a full size keyboard which I prefer. Of course, they could go back and edit their text.

  6. #6

    Default

    I personally consider the level of care given to spelling/grammar/capitalization as a powerful, if not overlooked, element of composition; varying it can be an effective way to control the flow, tone, and formality of writing. And like any writing technique, it's effectiveness depends on how it's used.

    Of course, deliberate disregard for writing conventions isn't prevalent in academic, informational, or narrative writing. These generally require a level of clarity and formality that is compromised by improper spelling and grammar. Online forums, however, are less formal environments in which "improper" spelling and grammar can be effectively employed. For example:

    - Disregard for writing conventions can lend an air of informality to a post - something you may want if a particular forum or topic doesn't warrant a high level of formality or a serious tone.
    - It can make a post seem more spontaneous.
    - It can indicate nonchalance or lack of interest in a topic. ("I don't care about what you have to say enough to even use proper capitalization in my reply")
    - The written word often differs from how we actually speak. Dropping proper punctuation and sentence structure can make a post read and flow a bit more like actual speech, and thus give it a more "conversational" tone.
    - An obviously deliberate disregard for spelling and grammar in a statement can be used to indicate sarcasm.
    - Technically incorrect but commonly used phrases (e.g. "y u no") are akin to spoken colloquialisms, but specific to internet culture rather than a region or country.
    - PUTTING THINGS IN ALL CAPS = YELLING, or emphasis on a particular word.

    Obviously, there are times when it's more effective to adhere closely to correct writing conventions. For instance, you may not want to give your condolences to someone who's just discovered their dog is dead LIEK DIS. If you're presenting a logical argument, you need to be as clear and concise as possible; you should also sound like you know what you're talking about, because people have a tendency to irrationally overlook the content of a post on account of the smallest grammatical or spelling error.


    Okay, sorry that was really long. But I want to make a point that there's good reasons to make writing "mistakes" (I do it all the time, lol). Yes, I agree that, at it's worst, improper spelling/grammar can be incredibly annoying and unreadable, but that's not always the case. The convention of not giving a crap about spelling or grammar in informal settings such as text messages or chat is, for better or worse, widely accepted by this generation. So, I would attribute the decline in readability to that more than a general inability to write. Many posters who CAN write quite well don't because they consider the forum an informal setting.

  7. #7

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by babyavi View Post
    I'm new here but I will give this a shot since I have been on many forums in the past. Firstly, size of the forum matters. For instance, more people joining the forum will inevidably lead to more of a vary in writing styles, education level (not age as you have implied,) and cultural backgrounds.

    I really do not agree with your theory about 'youngsters.' I have taught English abroad and I can tell you that it is easier finding a child in southeast Asia that knows what a participial is than it is to find an adult in the United Sates who knows that same knowledge.

    What I think it comes down to, in regards to straight up grammar and spelling mistakes, is: that he first language that we learn, we tend to forget the basics because we know the 'flow' of the language...so we go with our gut. when we go with our gut, we are right until proven wrong, so we are more careless because of our certainty that we just 'know' the language.
    So in your experience, those who learn English as a second language (at least those in a certain region) know the mechanics better of those who speak it natively? I could see how this would be true; I had to take French last year, which required me to brush up on some concepts in English. Even something as simple as "What is a sentence?"

    I should probably take the "English as a second language" off that list... from what I've seen, those people put plenty of effort into their posts; it's just a little difficult to untangle until I get the hang of reading it. I'd say they're even a bit easier to make out than what appear to be the 'lazier' posts.



    Quote Originally Posted by babyavi View Post
    When it comes to abbreviations, I may be able to see your point on how younger people can get sucked into a fad where words are more cool when you shorten them, but that is a societal inevitability...and it will pass, and something will take its place.

    In my opinion, I really don't mind at all...this site is awesome and open...and liberated in many ways. The discussions that take place here don't take place practically anywhere else in the world. And that is just plain cool. Though, to have and sustain that coolness its pretty important to not be as hung up on word formations..rather their message. Now that's not to say that a message like this:

    'c u l8r f d l r"

    should be read by everyone, garsh..just skip it if it annoys you, but I think you have to remember that this is a 'safe place' for people and hindering how they communicate in their safe place is not too cool in my opinion.
    I'm not attempting to hinder how anyone communicates here. I'm simply curious as to why they communicate the way they do. If I had it my way, then yes, everyone would write in a more readable (to me) fashion, but of course I don't rule the world (or even this board). The abbreviations aren't typically what get to me; usually it's the massive amount of spelling mistakes. It takes much more time to process and understand than something written more 'properly'. As for the topics, some of them I do find very interesting (that's the main reason I'm still here!). Some of them get rather repetitive after a few years, but I like to share what I've learnt from my experiences, if that could help anyone. And of course I'm still learning new things here pretty often.



    Quote Originally Posted by babyavi View Post
    Though the interest that you seem to have for writing and language is awesome. I would say to go into a field that lets you write! It seems like you would be a great fit for a blogger site (those pay nowadays!)

    BA
    I have an interest for many things, but writing is one I've been neglecting lately. :/ I'm studying biochemistry right now, actually (I'm definitely a science person), and most of my spare time goes towards music-making. I'm not quite sure I could cut it in the professional writing field.

    Welcome to ADISC, by the way! I'm glad you find it interesting, and I hope you'll continue to add your perspective to the mix. (:

  8. #8
    Peachy

    Default

    I think it's just a matter of conincidence coupled with changing use of language. 100 years ago, people rarely wrote at all. Most of their communication was done orally. Any written communication was most likely the result of professionals - newspaper writers, book authors, administrative employees etc.

    Nowadays, everyone has a cell phone with 24/7 internet access, and people keep hammering away on it all day every day. We write a LOT more than any other previous generation, and not only professionals, but any John Doe publishes walls'o'text on facebook for everyone to see. Not 5 years ago, people in groups would talk to each other. Nowadays, they sit in a circle and go taptaptaptap on their phones. Just imagine how many lines of text everyone produces in a day! And most of it gets published somewhere. So while the number of people too incompetent to use proper grammar and spelling hasn't increased much over the years, you simply see those people more often because they're as much a part of the internet as those with profound typing skills. And the internet is (still?) a text-based medium.
    And then there's obviously the people who feel encouraged 2 b lazy!

    Peachy

  9. #9

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Point View Post
    I think the posts you're referring to are just from some people who don't speak English all that well in the first place. A lot of people who come here and type like that learn English better as a result of posting and reading stuff on the site, so if it's a blue name, then just let it go and hope they improve with time. If it's someone who's been here for a few months... probably not so much.
    Have you seen this happen? If someone had the motivation to learn, it seems like it would be a good way to do it. I don't generally pay attention to usernames unless they've been around for a while or have a cool avatar. x.x; Hopefully that's true!



    Quote Originally Posted by Moka View Post
    ...
    Okay, sorry that was really long. But I want to make a point that there's good reasons to make writing "mistakes" (I do it all the time, lol). Yes, I agree that, at it's worst, improper spelling/grammar can be incredibly annoying and unreadable, but that's not always the case. The convention of not giving a crap about spelling or grammar in informal settings such as text messages or chat is, for better or worse, widely accepted by this generation. So, I would attribute the decline in readability to that more than a general inability to write. Many posters who CAN write quite well don't because they consider the forum an informal setting.
    I've never considered that, actually! It makes sense, though. Generally I think I tend to view this place as semi-formal, in that I can be a bit more free with my language than somewhere like a classroom or with a complete stranger, but I'm still not as open as I am with my friends. Well, even with chatting with my friends over the Internet, I still use proper English. We all do, actually. Hrm. I suppose with a different set of standards, though, viewing ADISC as completely informal would allow people to 'loosen up' quite a bit. Maybe it's peer pressure? I used to type a lot more loosely when talking to people online, because everyone around me was doing it. It took some time to break out of it.

    In any case, I had just assumed everyone else would think the same way as me, which is a rather bad thing to do. :/ Thanks for pointing that out!

  10. #10
    Supersam1223

    Default Grammar, and stuff



    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    I've noticed that a lot of our younger members use devises other than computers such as cell phones and game players. I suppose it's easier to type errors using these devises. Having a computer means having a full size keyboard which I prefer. Of course, they could go back and edit their text.
    It annoys me when people say this because I make most of my posts from an iPod, and I don't have any issues with typos. All it required is a skim-read to check for errors.

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