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Subject: Re: Why Johnny can't spell ( 11 of 58 )
Posted by Jon Nelson

DNA wrote: {I couldn't agree more, and I apologise if I gave the wrong impression. Absolutely it is the education system that is at fault - and ours is not far behind yours in its downward plunge. In fact it's of particular concern o me because I'm intending to move with my family to California this year...}

Got a beach house, huh? Good move. :^)

Then: {I was talking to Stephen Pinker a few months ago (the author of The Language Instinct). He made the point that a big mistake had been made in assuming that we learnt to read and write in the same way that we learn to speak.}

I'd like to offer a corollary to that theorem -- since the internet is a place where very little editing or proofing of material is used prior to "publishing," people tend to write the way they speak. Wham-o, instant convention problem. Since we all speak very differently, what comes out is not all that easy to read. With all the dialects and languages we've got, not to mention personalities, it's amazing we understand each other at all online, and frequently we don't. :^) Emoticons are also evidence that we are trying to type the way we talk, since there is no emotion inherent in plain type.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I blame the nature of the internet on the lack of grammar and correct spelling found online. Are "real-life" American (USA) students and professionals as bad as what is generally seen on the internet[1]? I don't *think* so, but that's just in my experience (don't get me started on geography, though -- apparently a few of my own country's citizens think New Mexico is outside the USA). I agree completely that the schools are, in general, to blame. Technology (i.e. telecommunications and the 'information age'), on the other hand, has played a HUGE role in the deterioration of strict adherence to grammar and spelling rules, IMHO. If I were to wave my hands over my crystal ball here, I'd say it looks like technology is not only breaking down the differences between cultures, it is removing the rules and the conventions of the written word and replacing them those of the spoken one. Strange, innit? Heyl, wotcha gon' do 'bout it, n'ways? Mahzwell ju's go wit it, lahk readin' o' Willi'm Folknuh. :^)

[1] I'm pointing the finger at myself as much as anywhere else -- I'm an American professional, and I make quite a few typo's as well as questionable grammar choices. What saves me is that I try to review my posts before I send them, and even without a spellchecker on this clunky old web browser, I still manage to catch the majority of my misspellings, though I have an odd penchant for saying "carp" instead of "crap," something that may not be all that coincidental considering to my taste for the fish.

- Jon Nelson
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