Saturday, July 9, 2011

Use of Substandard English

I was directed to a page today and it was about existentialism; however peppered through the essay was words such as "yr, cuz, " and so on. It threw me out of the loop of the meaning the author was trying to explain in his or her explanation of philosophy. It was set on a high level and it took all of my attention to understand what the meaning of the essay was and then I was stopped by these silly substandard English words. For instance, "yr" can mean your or year and so on. By reading in context I assumed it meant "your". It was extra work and it prevented me from following the logic of thought in the work itself. It also gave me the impression that the author was a youngster which may or may not be the case. It detracted from his or her ideas.

When writers blog, they go out all over the world and many people are using English that they were taught in the universities and there are readers out there of different ages who do not have the definitions of what is current in the younger set of readers in the USA. That is why all who write on the Internet should use standard English so all can be understood. That is why authors should write in standard English. No one would want to buy a book and find out it is written in a form of English that only those who were brought up in Australia can understand. It would make no sense.

When I was teaching high school in the USA, I always taught in standard English because I would explain to my students that they would be getting jobs in which most would need to be understood by all levels of society. They would need to know Standard English to get a job and to survive in college should they elect to continue their education. If they want to speak another language with their friends, that was their choice and not a problem as long as they could be fluent in Standard English. At one time, I could speak Spanish and can to some degree to get along in places in the USA where Spanish is only used.

It was in this vein, I taught English in its simpler form so that students could write and edit their resumes and letters of introduction so that they could express themselves on the Internet or to their future employers. As an employer myself, I have received letters from prospective employees in which I had no idea what the letter writer was trying to say. This is a disservice to the letter writer and not very difficult to learn. Most students were afraid to put anything down because of past experiences in school. I spent more time just trying to get them to just try and work on it from there. Starting from the beginning is learning Standard English in the first place when communicating with the world at large.

Well, I won't bore you with my pet peeves anymore. Needless to say not only did the paper on existentialism bore me but it angered me that I had to try so hard to figure out what he or she was trying to say that I might have missed something important only because the writer was too much in a hurry to not use the necessary words that would have pushed the essay into the light of an educated paper instead of the gobbledygook that was the result.

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