Tuesday, January 31, 2006

of course...

yesterday i couldn't think of anything to write about that anyone would find interesting. today ideas kept popping in my head. but i'm not going to write 20 different posts and i'm not going to write a novel. so i'm going with what i was thinking about last night when i fell asleep. which is funny, because it's much less exciting than some of the stuff that happened today.

last night i read yet ANOTHER article about how emails/text messaging/caffeine are ruining the english language. someone was bitching about how students are turning in papers to schools with text messaging abbreviations. initially i agreed with them. thought it was a travesty. felt that there was a place for one thing and a place for the other. when you're trying to text quickly, blap out a message on the phone. but when you're writing a paper for english class, use proper grammar and spelling and punctuation. and i do still believe that in a school environment part of the object is to instill knowledge. and i also believe part of the object is also to give the students a familiarity with what it's like to have to follow rules and give them some discipline. to prepare them for life if you will. at the same time the purpose of the written word it so convey ideas and feelings. so i'm not feeling guilty about my screwed up ways of typing when i'm emailing or blogging or doing whatever. not that i was missing sleep or anything before, but there were times when i'd cringe a little when looking at something i'd written. "well, at least most of the words are spelled correctly!"

i used to think of teachers as standards bearers. they force us to toe a line and i used to think that was good. but now i'm wondering if they're not stifling us some. but i guess one of the distinctions between me and a 15 year old kid is that while i know how to properly use the english language in its written form, i just knowingly decide not to at times. when you read this, you're getting a window into how i think. not just what i'm thinking, but how i'm actually processing things in my noggin. i do very little editing before i publish (i know, it shows...). and i think that's what the point of a language is. so i think there needs to be a middle ground. not all of the slang and emoticons are bad, especially given the new technologies. but there is still something to be said for having a common basis so that you have a better chance of being understood by your target audience. i think it'd be interesting to see a teacher who would let students turn in assignments with different objectives. if you're turning in a creative writing assignment you should get graded on content and presentation. while your grammar and spelling might not be according to the MLA standards, were they used in a way that helped to convey your message? and then have papers that are an exercise in the proper use of certain formats.

although it's funny to think of what "MLA" stands for. the Modern Language Association. if you're going to call yourself "Modern" shouldn't you reflect uhm... current use of the language? or else aren't you just the Historic Language Association? "Founded in 1883 by teachers and scholars, the Modern Language Association" (from their website www.mla.org )

see? i told you it wasn't very exciting. this is the kind of stuff that knocks me right out...


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