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  #1  
December 5th, 2012, 09:01 AM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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Here's a particularly eloquently written blog post on a subject that's been debated here frequently in the past: the role that critiques of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. should (or shouldn't) play in intellectual discussion: Literacy Privilege: How I Learned to Check Mine Instead of Making Fun of People’s Grammar on the Internet « Painting the Grey Area This author's position is essentially that strict adherence to 'standard' rules of grammar and syntax, and insistence on the use of those rules during the course of a debate, is just another tool for marginalizing the least privileged members of our society. Only she says it much better than I could. Here are a couple of quotes I found particularly compelling:

Quote:
Judgements about what counts as “right”, “good” and “correct” in writing and grammar always – ALWAYS – align with characteristics of the dialects spoken by privileged, mostly wealthy, mostly white people. We make these judgements based on learned biases, as well as a certain emotional attachment to our own way of doing things. But when people study dialects in an objective, scientific way (which is what cunning linguists actually do), they find that low-prestige dialects, such as African-American Vernacular English or Cockney English, have fully-formed grammar rules of their own that make just as much sense as any others. They are perfectly valid and functional forms of communication used by millions of people. The only difference is that they don’t have people running around telling everyone else to do it their way.
Quote:
Do I sound angry? That’s because I am. I’m angry that linguistic elitism is so deeply embedded in our social discourse with so little critical analysis. I’m angry that it took me four years of being slapped in the face with the daily realities of poor literacy skills before I finally relinquished my own prescriptive bayonet. As a member of a marginalized group myself, I am hyperconscious of other, more well-recognized types of privilege – male privilege, white privilege, straight privilege, able-bodied privilege.
What do you all think? I realize that several of our formerly most vocal members on this particular subject are gone now, but I'm still curious to hear your opinions.
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  #2  
December 5th, 2012, 10:40 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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Wow, that was a great read. Thanks a lot for sharing. I would have guessed maybe 10 to 20 percent. Can't believe it's half. Pretty eye opening indeed.
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  #3  
December 5th, 2012, 08:38 PM
Frozenoj's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I think that when people use grammar that is so far off from mine, it is difficult to read. Maybe my privileged while people grammar is hard for them to read too. I won't call people out on their grammar because I don't see how that is going to help, but I will skip past posts that are hard for me to read.
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  #4  
January 17th, 2013, 04:20 PM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozenoj View Post
I think that when people use grammar that is so far off from mine, it is difficult to read. Maybe my privileged while people grammar is hard for them to read too. I won't call people out on their grammar because I don't see how that is going to help, but I will skip past posts that are hard for me to read.
Ditto this. Also, the reality is that those with less education struggle more with grammar than those with more education. Sometimes when someone's argument is almost incoherent due to bad grammar, I may not give their thoughts as much consideration as say, someone who clearly is educated. However, I'm not talking nit picking grammar. I'm talking the, "You be idiot! Two plus two is sevun you idiot! I'm write and you are wrong." You know, the bull-headed people who, during debate, can't see anyone else's basic logic an refuse to admit wrong, even when you've provided substantial evidence. Example: I had one person tell me that there is no such thing as a wound that occurs after death. I referred her to several scientific explanations on what postmortem wounds are. She continued to insist I was wrong and they didn't exist. So while I wouldn't bring up their grammar as "evidence" they don't know what they are talking about (because many people with poor grammar ARE still very intelligent), it will make me more likely to find what they are saying doubtful or think that perhaps they were misinformed or misunderstood something. Nowadays, though, most people have horrible grammar because the school system fails to teach it. Where I live, people are entering high school unable to read. Also, I don't see myself "privileged" over others. There are plenty of people who got the same exact education I have but still have poor grammar, logic, and reasoning skills. I don't like seeing those people blame their income or skin color, etc, when they got *the same exact education I did*. Also, we were pretty poor growing up. It's not like my parents were rich and thus I magically had excellent grammar despite having the same education as them.
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  #5  
January 17th, 2013, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frozenoj View Post
I think that when people use grammar that is so far off from mine, it is difficult to read. Maybe my privileged while people grammar is hard for them to read too. I won't call people out on their grammar because I don't see how that is going to help, but I will skip past posts that are hard for me to read.
ditto.


I can't say much about privileged white people, half of my graduating class, all of whom had the same education (though their home life may have differed) write terribly. They speak fine, but for some reason it doesn't happen when they write. I can't figure out if it's laziness or what.... but seriously sometimes I've wondered just how these people managed to pass their final English exam. Some of these kids took advanced courses and were in the top 50 grade wise.

I don't type perfectly, I do try though. I type very quickly, and am prone to typos. On JM it's not a huge deal, I can edit and go back. On Facebook I often don't care, I still communicate better than about 90% of my friends. My grammar sucks, and I know it. Not nearly enough time was spent on proper technique, I learned more about basic grammar and the parts of speech in French class than in English.
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