Monday, September 27, 2010

News on Education


Usually, I watch only two stations here in the DFW area for news: NBC Channel 5 and CBS Channel 11. On one of the local news casts today, on a story concerning the problems that educators face, those in the story and those reporting the story made the following errors (among many that I have now forgotten) in English:

"Dey wuz" [They WERE]
"... where dey wuz going to." [THEY WERE GOING. NO "to" is necessary.]

I quit listening after that and switched over to another channel. That was really embarrassing to hear supposedly educated newscasters and educators use such horrible English. After all, how can the comment on the poor education that "dem kids" are receiving when they themselves cannot properly use the language.

Perhaps ALL of them (educators and news casters alike) should return to class in another state, (say, California or Nebraska or a city like Boston or Chicago) and RE-train themselves in the English language. The way that the language is taught and spoken here in the DFW area is both alarming and depressing - at the same time.

I think that the biggest offenders here in DFW are the following:
  • mis-pronouncing words (Wuz for Was, Day for They, Dem for Them)
  • Ending a sentence in a verb or preposition
  • split infinitives
  • using an adjective for an adverb ("He done real good on the test." Even, "He did really good on the test." is not proper English. "He really did well on the test.") "He was driving bad." rather than "He was driving poorly." Adverbs are used to modify a verb and usually end in "ly". Just a guide.
I don't know which is the most common mistake - probably the pronunciation of words. Even NBC nightly news is guilty of really poor grammer and speech. Maybe that's why I listen to them; to prove to myself that even the "big boys and girls" make really common mistakes when excited or animated.

Please, at the Rules Fest, PLEASE allow an English grammarian to look over your presentation for obvious mistakes. Make the speech for them and have them correct your pronunciation of the words into what is sometimes referred to as "Nebraskan English" (if you are an American - USA) or "Posh English" (if you are European.) I doesn't matter how intelligent you are; if you don't speak properly in front of your peers they will think that you are not terribly bright.

Oh, and if I make a mistake, PLEASE correct me privately later. Remember, nobody is perfect - not even linguistic majors. (I have the evidence on file.) And, for some reason, when excited and speaking at a high rate of speed, I sometimes revert to old habits.



woolfel said...

It's not poor grammar, it's the local "flavor" showing. Boston accent is different than new york accent, which is different than southern accent. :)

Charles Young said...

James, the draft presentations (those that we have, not including Prezis) are up on the committee's Google newsgroup to which you should have access, so if you are offering... ;-)

Oh, and you've capitalised (sorry, 'capitalized') 'No' unnecessarily, which is terribly confusing to Posh English speakers like myself as it has the appearance of shouting. I'm far too posh to shout :-)

...but not too posh to use emoticons...

Anonymous said...

check the TCO analysis of drools vs ILOG that IBM presented:

James Owen said...


There was a time when using all capitals was a means of emphasis. Unfortunately, the "net" came along and using all capitals was "shouting" and very poor manners. Ergo, since this is the net, please replace the all capitalization (or capitalisation) with word and word. Does that meet with "posh" English? :-)