Monday, February 13, 2012

Overheard in the Hallway:

RX: "I believe that anybody who spells 'speech' as 'S-P-E-A-C-H' should lose their First Amendment rights, because they obviously don't know how to operate the language."

Me: "Well, I'm definitely pro-First Amendment, but I'm in favor of reasonable restrictions, such as mandatory training and proof of ability to use the language if you want to exercise your First Amendment rights in public..."

RX: "I mean, it's not like the government doesn't go out of its way to offer training classes. They'll even give you your first twelve years for free."
Of course this was all tongue-in-cheek. Mostly.


Phillip said...

Oh, this should cause some good riffs... Like paying an exorbitant tax on a high-capacity speaking device (PA System), or requiring proof of ability to recognize irrelevancies.

Fodder4Thought said...

They provide training, sure, but public speaking would be tightly constrained and god help you if you say something that wasn't in the syllabus.

BobG said...

"They'll even give you your first twelve years for free."

Yep, and you get what you pay for.

Pathfinder said...

"Of course this was all tongue-in-cheek. Mostly."

Especially the "free" part?????

Anonymous said...

I am continually surprised by the frequency online of "there" for "their," "hear" for "here," "it's" for its, "etc. (To paraphrase what Dave Barry once wrote, an apostrophe is a signal that an "s" is coming.)

I can forgive, sort of, mixed tense, dangling participles and incorrect antecendents, because English is not a simple language, and in our modern world it's spoken a great deal more than written. The online world, especially, suffers from the immediacy of post and comment, something from which I, admittedly, am far from immune.

I'll refrain from commenting on spell checkers and voice-to-text conversion software.

In my primary school days we had to diagram sentences, a skill I've long since lost but for which I am still aware of the need; in my son's primary school days the prevailing wisdom seemed to be "what's a sentence?"

I'm inclined to agree with Roberta's sentiment, in that if one cannot communicate accurately one's right to communicate should be suspect, and, potentially, abrogated, pending remediation.

I will say this, however: From time to time I've suspected our Queen of Snark to have taken unauthorized liberties with grammar; each time, however, research has indicated that she is within the boundaries of propriety, although on occasion, interpretation of the rules of grammar has required some degree of flexibility to allow a unique approach to point-making.

In that regard I admit to being very substantially impressed, especially considering the self-directed education which delivered that level of expertise.

More proof of the great value of broad experience of all things.

global village idiot said...

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my pea sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when I rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checker's Hour
spelling mite decline,
And if we're lacks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are no fault's with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a ware.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped word's fare two hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays,
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting too pleas.

Orwell's Rules for Effective Writing:
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


Anonymous said...

I agree! They should "loose" there rights!

Robert said...

It must be nice to have someone nearby that enjoys the earnest discussion of ideas...

Robin said...

You know ... you two don't have a "stream of consciousness", you got a river.

Joseph said...

On Usenet, I would sometimes recommend deporting everybody who can't spell.

Angus McThag said...

Why would I use a long word where a diminutive one will suffice?

Tam said...

McThag wins the internets for the day! :D

David said...

"Proof of ability to use the language if you exercise your First Amendment rights in public"...would put most of the media out of work (not saying that's a bad thing). And I am sooo stealing that poem!

Borepatch said...

I don't like First Amendment Open Carry. Quite frankly, it's scary when a lot of people do it, and just think about how you could start a panic this way.

John B said...

Well I'd say the first twelve years are on the taxpayer! I threatened a teacher that I'd come down and get my $400 levy assessment out of his hide, if I didn't get a better quality of student from him.

When was the last time anyone from District 81 went on to MIT, Cal-Tech, or even Harvard, or Yale?

Hint! It would have made front page news on our local fishwrap!