Friday, June 25, 2010

More Anguished English

The name of this post is from yet another book on language. The focus here is a continuation of Losing Our Language, and the words that current high schoolers can't be bothered to write correctly. They write the way they text, and it shows badly. I've read a number of student scribblings and notes passed between them this past week, and here are some more frightening spellings and usages I've found. First, the words as I found them.

1. veternarian
2. ferrit
3. weisel
4. pear
5. cesar
6. consentrate
7. scarry
8. neithin
9. w.e.
10. fone
11. dieing
12. iight
13. gud
14. medeum
15. wat
16. thot
17. probly
18. wead
19. letten

And now the translations, with commentary...
1. veterinarian -- this one's not too bad. It's just normal kid phonetic misspelling. I don't quite expect it on the high school level, but a dropped vowel isn't too bad.
2. ferret -- more bad phonics. If you really loved ferrets, you could spell the word. Likewise, if you are hateful enough to call someone a "faggot", at least don't spell it "fagit" or some other poor phonetic variation; then you're not just a jerk, you're a stupid one.
3. weasel -- a weasel is a slender rodent. A Weisel is a renowned author and Auschwitz survivor.
4. you might be thinking "what's wrong with this? That's a word!" Would you believe the word she meant was "pier"?
5. Caesar -- what's most depressing about this is it was a note written right next to text in the book that had the name printed correctly.
6. concentrate -- kids get really confused when two different letters make the same sound. It was probably a bad idea the English ever adopted the letter "c".
7. scary -- scary is when a thing frightens you; scarry is when that thing is covered in flesh wounds, or is a children's book author who chronicles life in Busy Town.
8. anything -- I kid you not, I had to look at this again for five minutes before realizing what it meant. I kept trying to sound it out: "nay-thin? nee-i-thin?" You only save one letter by typing N-E-thing, and you risk confusing the entire English-speaking populace. I'm really shuddering in fear now for all the foreign students learning English among peers like these!
9. whatever -- in a similar category as above. In some circumstances, abbreviating might be acceptable, but generally I see it slashed. In the note wherein I found this usage, the word "whatever" was used 3 times, and each was spelled or notated differently. It appeared as "w.e.", "w/e", and "whatever"(!) alternately. If you are going to misuse something, at least be consistent! And the fact you COULD and DID spell out "whatever" means you very well SHOULD have, lazy!
10. phone -- I could spell this word in second grade. Please.
11. dying -- basic suffix rules are lost on this student
12. alright -- Now, I understand if you're using it in an informal slangy way, you may say "a'ight". But that's how you write it in such cases: with an apostrophe. I could even understand it without the apostrophe, though it would give me pause. But two "i"s tells me that this person may not even understand the connection between the words. I saw this usage on at least two seperate occasions.
13. good -- dear, it does no gud, nor is it kyoot, to intentionally spel this waye. gud gohllee. I can't even think of an instance where a rhyme for "good" is spelt with just a plain "u".
14. medium -- Last I checked, Patricia Arquette was not starring in Medeum. And to pluralize that spelling would be a Greek tragedy.
15. what -- there are no words.
16. thought -- Even Tweety Bird wouldn't spell it t-h-o-t.
17. probably -- this is understandable, given current spoken usage. I prefer it to "prolly" anyway.
18. weed -- Okay, it was amusing. I found this note in a book that was torn up, so I put it back together just for kicks. It was about how some guy was smoking weed, and the three or four times the word was used it was spelled W-E-A-D. Like an Elmer Fudd poster for literacy. See kids? Drugs kill the part of your brain that make you spell competently. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?
19. letting -- One step away from "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin"

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon

    I enjoyed your post. I think you would like Though I'm not sure the mistakes listed on that website will amuse you, or depress you.