English, Motherfucker - Do You Speak It?

Friday, April 8, 2011
You know, I'm not particularly militant when it comes to grammar. I don't scan the Internet, looking for instances of grammar misuse so I can pounce like some sort of grammar Nazi sniffing out those who pollute the world with the misuse of "affect" and "effect." I'm quite sure I leave participles dangling all over the place, and just yesterday I used the word "sprinklered" in a sentence.

But I do have some expectation that people should be able to speak and write coherently in their native language.

Yes, in their native language. I have nothing but respect for bilingual individuals - the ability to learn another language has always escaped me, so I tend to believe that skill is really quite amazing.

What irks me are people who were born to English speaking parents, who are educated in English speaking schools, many of them college educated, and they apparently lack the ability to speak or write their own language in some sort of coherent way.

That's right - I'm looking at you, who use the word "irregardless." Or you, who enunciates the word "asking" like it's spelled "axing." Or my personal favorite - those whose comments on-line are filled with misspellings, caps-lock and ellipses. Because believe me, nothing says "illiterate, ill-informed douchebag*" like Internet commentary full of caps-lock and ellipses.

I don't expect everyone to be master craftsmen when it comes to writing or speaking publicly. These are skills like any other, and they require practice and education to master. But right, wrong or indifferent, people are going to judge you in some part on the grounds of your mastery of these basic skills. Skills you should have learned during your primary education. Isn't a little effort worth your while?
 
__________
*Still wondering - is "douchebag" one word or two? 

12 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

* Either is correct, but douchebag as one word is more common in usage.

http://onlineslangdictionary.com/definition+of/douchebag

You're welcome.

Or rather...

Your WELC0ME

Alex said...

* I would think two since it is a bag for douching. For the sake of insulting I assume it is intended as a comparison implying the subject's value is equal to or less than that of a douching bag, so assume it would follow in that vein.

I reserve the right to be wrong. :-)

Jeri said...

I also reserve the right to overuse and abuse the em dash as a form of creative expression. ;)

Nathan said...

OF COURSE DOUCHEBAG IS ONE FUCKING WORD...WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU????!!???!!

GET A FUCKING ENGLISH-DOUCHEBAG DICTIONARY!!11!1ll!

...OMFG THE WORK I HAVE TO DO TO KEEP THE INTERNET WORKING THE WAY I WANT IT TO.

Janiece said...

I love my readers...

Stacey said...

I feel your pain. On a regular basis I have to peer review for school. OMG you wouldn't believe how poorly written the submissions are. I just finished explaining to someone how you can't "commit assisted suicide".
I adore your readers as well.

John the Scientist said...

One caveat to affect and effect. If you are a scientist, native English speaker or not, you'd better know the fucking difference.

And if you are a Goddamn TEACHER, you'd better know the difference. Honest to dog the STATE DEPT OF EDUCATION in my state sent out science materials that were wrong, and teachers who didn't konw their stuff well enough ACTUALLY HAD STUDENTS CHANGE IT TO THE WRONG UASAGE (I saw the fucking white out on the poster in the hall).

Yeah, those caps are justified. :p

Vagabond said...

According to the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia, douchebag is one word when used as a pejorative.

pushish - one of those non-words the Hot Chick hates

beatrice in Paris said...

I saw a documentary about an isolated community of African Americans on an island off the coast of one of the Carolinas. Their language hadn't changed much in 300 years. Their vocabulary hadn't been influenced by the "outside" world. One of the pronounciations (damn did I spell that right?) that remained the same was "axing" for "asking". So I guess some people are being old fashioned?

How about "nuclear"? Love the Bush pronounciation?

BTW, m--f-- is the second most vulgar word after cunt and before fuck. I've been doing research for an English class. One of my students was learning Eminem lyrics without really knowing what she was saying.

Janiece said...

Beatrice, I typically don't use the word "cunt," as I, too, find it pretty vulgar.

The F Bomb, now - that's a different matter. Obviously. :-)

Carol Elaine said...

Don't dis my ellipses...

And -- like Jeri -- I, too, am fond of the em dash (mainly to visually break up my overuse of commas and parentheses), though on the internet it all too often is actually a hyphen. Mainly because I am lazy.

neurondoc said...

I adore ellipses and em dashes. Does that make me a bad person?