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home : opinions : opinions August 19, 2014

9/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
Letter: Protection of our 'language' necessary


Our language, indeed, and don't you hate it when a spell-check program changes your correct word into an incorrect one? Such as, "Survey the adds ... they run adds all the time with that mistake."

Maybe there is a difference in types of language use. A living spoken language, such as English, is constantly changing in its uttered usage, its vernacular, its pronunciations in regional dialects, its meanings even and that is acceptable, even inevitable. But spelling should be consistent within that language, and while our texting youngsters should know that they are using lazy abbreviations, poor grammar in general, and acronyms in numbers to rival the federal government, it appears to be the wave of the future.

I don't mind gently chiding my children on their shortcuts, they are very tolerant of the old man in this regard, and I keep hoping that someday they will see the light of literature and return to the proper English that I grew up loving, reading, and even writing. Reading or writing is, or should be in most cases, much like golf and baseball - unhurried, structured, correct, and devoid of shortcuts that "dumb" them down. These can be art-forms at their best, mere communication at the least.

Until hurried people slow a bit and realize this, we may be doomed to the frenzied slang of the "text generation" being seen as legitimate English. As they say in Amish country, "...manure occureth, friend."

Bruce Pack


HSE - Yavapai Reentry Project -UVSplash
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• Letter: What's happening to our language?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Article comment by: Alison Hope

Thank you, @ John Kristin.

I have been an editor for 20 years but long ago stopped being what we call a "grammar nazi," those annoying folks who correct people in mid-sentence or mark up menus.

As long as meaning is conveyed, IMHO, right and wrong are relative. Do you use serial commas (red, white, and blue) or not (red, white and blue)? It depends on whether you are following Chicago or AP style. Is IMHO acceptable as a word? It depends on whether you are using Merriam-Webster's (yes) or the OED (not yet).

What was right even 100 years ago can be wrong today, and vice versa. Let's all just keep evolving, because really, what's the alternative?

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Thank you Bruce,

Quality education starts at home,

When parents teach their children lessons about the consequences of their behavior then quality teachers will be able to teach these children.

Quality students isn't the results of expensive schools, funded teachers unions, over-paid and underperforming school administrators, school boards, teachers and expensive sports programs.

When businesses aren't able to find adequate employees that are punctual, dependable, drug-free, reliable, trustworthiness with a genuine work ethic that has the ability to communicate, read, write and do simple math problems then someone has failed to provide the basics required for survival. Add in proper dress code, personal appearance and the picture gets far more complicated.

If you have a conversation with businesses owners in your community they may be willing to share their hiring frustration with you.

I don't say this to be mean spirited, I say it because it's the message I hear from businesses I work with across the country.

It's time for parents to get back to being parents and to quit being your child's best friend, our nation's future depends on it.

It would be a good first step for parents and their children to have dinner with each other. Though I'm not LDS, I will tell you that many years ago my wife and I adopted a LDS program that our children have told us that made a difference to them and it's called "Family Home Evening" as I remember it being called.

Gary Chamberlain
Cornville AZ-USA
Vietnam veteran

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Article comment by: Pistol Pete

Our language isn't the only thing endangered, our youths won't even need brain cells to think in the future. The "dumbing down of America" has begun.

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tellthe Truth

Are you kiddin' ? Have you been out on the streets lately? There are so many different ways of audible expression that you would have to "live" amongst individual groups for years to understand what's shakin' and whaas "up".

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Article comment by: John Kristin

Our most sophisticated / proper English language today would be almost totally unrecognizable to someone 500 years ago!

it's just called evolution!

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: James Hegland

What is langwidge ,?anyway?? it is just a tool like math etc.There is no big god of langwidge that will strike you down if something is not spelled co rectly. Some of the smartest people on earth , ca,nt speel wearth a hoot. So get over it.

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: The Whole Truth

The days of the encyclopedia and library education are over, the youths only go to the library to sit on the computers and play video games.

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: JM S

Our language is being destroyed by our texting and computer ignorance, don't need to spell anymore.

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: Faint Praise

Like, good letter dude, you know.
But, hey, whatever.

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: Terri Turner

Maybe you need to ask the parents and schools. LOL

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2013
Article comment by: @ Bruce

I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn that in all the years of our children's public school education, not one teacher, even an English teacher, ever made a notation of a spelling error on any kind of a paper, except perhaps on a spelling test.

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