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The Need for Cursive Writing
Posted: 01 January 2013 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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One can use commas to set off nonessential clauses.  Some verb tense shifts are also appropriate.

One may set off dependent clauses with commas, but not independent ones, i.e., a comma splice. “That’s you’re [sic] prerogative” is an independent clause and should be set off with a semicolon. (McKean’s Law in action here.) No one has said anything about shifting tenses.

The issue with the second sentence isn’t that we don’t understand it or recognize the smoke/fire variant. It is that it is illogical; it does not necessarily follow that an indication usually signals the state in question. There are many misleading or false indicators. Besides, you still haven’t presented any such indicators. You’re simply stating opinions unsupported by any facts. If you want to be taken seriously, present the facts first and then your opinions that are supported by those facts.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Both ‘comma splice’ and ‘splice comma’ are found. I’ll grant Richard that the former is more common, but as he goes on to insert an indefinite article in the phrase that’s more commonly seen as When there’s smoke there’s fire, I’d have thought that he’d be better off not trying to score that sort of point.

In any case, it’s not true, is it? Think of all those disco smoke machines.

As for expressing disagreement with Dave, I do so when my opinion differs from his, as do others on the boards. But this is a common internet phenomenon – a new person shows up, expresses views that are ‘daringly original’, is told by various people that those views are inaccurate, and then accuses them of being slavish sheep who fail to acknowledge this new brilliant intellect that has appeared among them. Obviously, it’s more comforting to think that one is a victim of a conspiracy rather than simply so wrong that people come independently to the same conclusion, but that hardly means it’s the case.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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To kurwamac: Physician, heal thyself!!

You take me to task in #24 for writing “drunk’s”, and thereby supposedly offering an illiterate’s version of the plural, “drunks”, in my comment, #16.  Actually, kurwamac, with beautiful, karmic appropriateness, YOU in fact turn out to be the one who might consider mastering grunting instead of tackling English. 

To quote the portion of my post where you spotted my supposed error: “...while they regard the typical bloke’s relationship to language as more like the town drunk’s to the Thunderbird he guzzles from the bottle (and dribbles on his shirt in the process)”

Do I really have to explain to you, kurwamac, that the possessive “drunk’s” was entirely correct in that context?  Obviously, the word “relationship” was understood.  But since your ability to process even slightly complex English sentences is in serious question, let me spell it out for you.

“...while they regard the typical bloke’s relationship to language as more like the town drunk’s (relationship) to the Thunderbird he guzzles from the bottle (and dribbles on his shirt in the process)”

Do you finally get it, kurwamac?

But this little incident is actually an irony within an irony.  First, there’s the irony of kurwamac presuming to correct me when he’s the one in error.  But there’s an additional irony: in the sentence before his display of grammatical ineptitude, he rebukes Richard for “pontificating about correct and incorrect writing” when he (Richard) is himself making errors.  And then in the very next sentence he does it himself!!!! 

God MUST exist to have provided such swift and perfect retribution for a person whose principal ambition in life seems to be cruelly and gratuitously disparaging and humiliating others.  Watching kurwamac hoist on his own petard--- has justice ever been more beautiful?

And speaking of people who (laughably) consider themselves sophisticated scholars of language, what about the Abbott and Costello of this site, sobiest and Faldage?  Did everybody catch their vaudeville act?  Top-banana sobiest required a stern verdict from a word- and letter-counting analysis to finally grasp that Richard and I are two different people, and second-banana Faldage needed sobiest’s assurance that the results were statistically significant before he appeared to grudgingly assent.  These two fancy themselves word-fanciers! Yet how stunningly insensitive must a person be to the use of language to fail to instantly differentiate between Richard’s writing and mine!!!!  Gentlemen, may I recommend you go back to “Dick and Jane at the Beach” and progress very slowly from there--perhaps in thirty or forty years you might have an opinion on language somebody might be interested in.

And bear in mind: instead of sobiest, Faldage and their confreres-in-mocking actually using their minds to fashion reasoned arguments against me and Enlightened Prescriptivism or Richard and his point of view, they are engaged in pathetic attempts to destroy the Arguers rather than the Arguments.

But the kurwamac “drunk’s” incident has me musing in a very sober way:  surely, on a site inhabited by many fanatical grammarians, I’m not the only one who noticed kurwamac’s absurd and ironic error.  And yet none of these observers saw fit to point it out, content to let someone be mocked by kurwamac for a non-mistake—an example of peer pressure corrupting even those “on the sidelines”.

As I’ve watched the gang of regulars (note: Dave’s conduct has been an admirable exception) on this site bully and assault with mockery and disparagement a new target (Richard), I’ve had many thoughts.  A few pertain to the active participants, who now of course are serial offenders.  But their psychopathology is too severe to be discussed in the few words permitted here.  Instead I want to address, once again, as I did in my own “MacDonald’s“ thread a couple of weeks ago, all those of you out there silently watching this gang of regulars mock and belittle their new target, Richard. 

People lie to themselves. They think, “Hey, if an incident reaches truly outrageous proportions, of course I’d take some action to stop it.” Really?  Why must you Silent Ones wait for ugly and immoral behavior to become “truly outrageous” to speak up?  Maybe that’s just a rationalization, to mitigate the cowardliness of your current inaction. It’s likely that truly outrageous behavior would only make you more frightened to intervene than you already are.

I really don’t think most of you Silent Ones are “bad” people, just incredibly afraid of defying the crowd.  Human beings’ greatest flaw may be exactly that.  I remember in college reading about Asch’s experiments on group pressure and conformity, and being truly sickened by my fellow inhabitants of the planet, and even more so by the thought that I might be just like them.

I resolved then never to be intimidated by the “group” (more properly termed ‘gang’ or ‘mob’ in most cases, including this one), and more importantly, whenever possible to act on behalf of anyone being bullied, mocked, or otherwise victimized by a gang.  And so I call out the regulars of this site who have bullied and mocked instead of debating, I revile you as despicable people who clearly need to disparage others in a (probably futile) attempt to elevate yourselves.  Go read about the pre-Civil War South, where the strongest supporters of slavery were the lowest status whites who didn’t own any slaves at all!  But they desperately wanted somebody in society they could deem “inferior” and mock and deride.  Read about it, you regulars, and see yourselves!!

And more importantly, to all you witnesses choosing to remain mute as you observe the gang’s latest disgraceful acts: you may not recognize it, but your soul is paying a price for your silence.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Apologies. I do merely skim your rants. Most other people here have you on ignore, so they probably didn’t have the chance to point it out.

I should have pointed out that you misspelt ‘McDonald’s’, instead.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 11:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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To Mr. Wilton:

I don’t believe I submitted anything anecdotal.  What I submitted was based on empirical evidence; based on my observations and experience.  I can submit countless experiences I’ve had with teenagers and young adults that would corroborate my position.  These are not isolated incidences. What about film and Television?  I think anyone can make a reasonable assessment on the decline of language by observing the media in general. Don’t you think?

Your focus is on data, but not on general observation. But I feel that if I presented you with SAT vocabulary scores, which would support my argument, you would nevertheless adhere to your position, because I feel that your position is based on an ideological principle rather than a pragmatic one. The Washington Post published an article last September addressing SAT reading scores hitting an alarming four-decade low. These exams included vocabulary and sentence structure.

The impetus for my initial posting was for my own edification. I want to learn why the elephant in the room is ignored and why the obdurate refusal for common sense. It always seems that these debates end up in circumlocutory discourse and ultimately to a dead end.  I think I’ve submitted enough information from other authorities that runs counter to your opinion. It seems that this battle is being fought with only opinions. Have you submitted any data? What evidence do you have to support your claim?

Respectfully, I think your position is illogical. Newspapers, academic magazines and numerous books have been written about the decline in verbal ability and grammar, but you insist on data. The reality is that if SAT verbal test scores were excellent it would not alter the fact that language is deteriorating.
It’s similar to someone who demands data on crime statistics because he doesn’t believe that the crime rate has multiplied even though there are murders and burglaries every day in his neighborhood.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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To Mr. Wilton:

Use commas to set off nonessential clauses. A nonessential (nonrestrictive clause) is a subordinate clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. (Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition)

I’m a little confused; I thought you were a non-traditionalist, grammar playing a subordinate role to language communication.  I thought the debate concerned vocabulary and cursive writing, not grammar and typos. Is this the standard operating procedure when one side starts to lose the battle on the initial debate? Must I now search for typos and venial grammatical errors to support my position or perhaps to obfuscate my diminishing credibility?

Where there’s smoke there’s fire is an idiomatic expression. How can I support it with facts? Are you serious?  I submitted a few opinion pieces on the decline of language. I agree with those articles, as I do with many others; you apparently do not.  What I’ve read and what I’ve experienced establishes my position, which I think is more convincing than yours. The smoke, from the idiomatic expression, refers to the numerous articles written concerning language deterioration. Why have so many articles been written about bad language if it is nonexistent?  If I could produce data to support my argument the entire debate would continue to be under the influence of opinion. We can only argue opinions not facts.

Therefore, if you think that Jackie Collins is a better writer than William Faulkner you have a right to that opinion.  That is the absurdity of opinions when they have no foundation.  You can never argue that Faulkner is a woman and Collins is a man, but you can stubbornly argue to your dying day that you think Collins is a superior writer.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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All the “evidence” you’ve submitted has been anecdotal, based on casual, uncontrolled observation. Are the students you observe a repesentational sample? How have you eliminated confirmation bias? What are your objective measures for this supposed decline? Casual observation is useful in formulating questions for study, but it’s not evidenciary. The same goes for opinion pieces. Lots of people opine on the sorry state of the language, but when you ask for facts to support their opinions, they fall silent. Informed opinion is welcome. Uninformed opinion is worse than useless.

For example, the decline in SAT scores is completely explained by more people taking the test than four decades ago. As college admissions opens up to less well-prepared and economically disadvantaged students, the test scores will inevitably decline. Once you control for this factor the decline disappears.

Use commas to set off nonessential clauses. A nonessential (nonrestrictive clause) is a subordinate clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. (Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition)

The key word in that manual is “subordinate.” You set off an independent clause with commas, i.e., a comma splice, not a subordinate one. And note that I did not bring up any typos or grammar errors in your writing until you started arguing those points. Nor do we typically take posters to task for such errors, unless, as Kurwamac pointed out, they are pontificating about correct grammar and writing. If the pontificator is making basic errors like confusing “your” and “you’re” and failing to understand what a subordinate clause is while claiming to teach writing at university levle, then it becomes hard to take that person seriously and pointing out such errors is fair game.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Newspapers, academic magazines and numerous books have been written about the decline in verbal ability and grammar, but you insist on data.


Of course they have – and have been ever since literacy became widespread enough to give rise to the expectation that everyone ought to be able to talk and write ‘proper’; much as people have consistently been griping on paper about ‘the decline of manners and morality in youth since I were a lad’ since paper was invented. Modern Youth and the English Language have officially been going to hell together in a handcart for centuries.  Why should our century be any different?

The reality is that if SAT verbal test scores were excellent it would not alter the fact that language is deteriorating.
It’s similar to someone who demands data on crime statistics because he doesn’t believe that the crime rate has multiplied even though there are murders and burglaries every day in his neighborhood.

And so he should. If he doesn’t get data, how can he possibly know that there really are more murders and burglaries than the used to be, and that he just isn’t hearing more about the same number of murders and burglaries because the local newspaper makes more fuss about them than it used to? Or that a local gang has simply shifted its activities a few blocks and started to impinge on him and people he knows? Or that a gang previously engaged in industrial theft has switched to domestic burglary and street robbery? Or any of the numerous reasons why his personal impression of an increase in crime might be quite misleading?

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Posted: 02 January 2013 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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To Mr. Wilton:

There seems to be a miscommunication or you’re getting into semantics with the various clause nomenclatures.  First, I did not set off an independent clause with “commas” (plural) as you stated. I set off a nonessential clause with one comma. I already submitted a grammar’s book rule on that:  Use commas to set off nonessential clauses. A nonessential clause (nonrestrictive) clause is a subordinate clause that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. My clause was nonessential; therefore, it was set off with a comma. What is the perplexity? I understand the rules governing the usage of the pronouns “that” and “which”; please don’t edify me on their usage as this discourse has descended to juvenile repartee.

I must assume that you don’t really read my postings, but just peruse them to detect grammatical errors and typos. My assumption is based on the fact that you never answer my questions nor can you invalidate what I’ve presented; you just repeatedly ask for facts and data.

I do believe that you don’t take posters to task for grammatical errors, but only if they don’t argue your position. I never pontificated about grammar, as I informed a reader in one of my previous postings.  I was being accused of a grammatical error and I defended it. Is that pontificating? You read my posting, because you responded to it, nevertheless, you claim that I was pontificating. I also submitted my opinion on language, which runs counter to yours.  You also spewed out your opinion and ranted about Ms.Avery’s article regarding cursive writing. Were you pontificating?

Your surreptitious bracketed sic over my typo “you’re” was also a veiled attempt to ridicule by drawing attention to it. It’s quite obvious that I made a typographical error and I am not confused by the possessive form “your” with the contraction “you’re”.  Just as you, I must assume, know how to spell Level, since you erred by writing “…university levle…in your last posing. Were you confused on its spelling? Or your misuse of “like” as a conjunction: “If the pontificator is making errors like confusing “you’re” and “you’re” and failing to understand what a subordinate clause…” Like is not a conjunction, nor should it be followed by a clause. It introduces a prepositional phrase.  I must assume that someone with your credentials would know this. You do see how sophomoric this banter is.  I am a little disappointed, however, in your behavior and I find it a little odd considering your position.

Furthermore, I never claimed to teach writing at a university level, as you claimed I did.  You must be confusing someone’s posts with mine.  When or where did I make such a claim?

I find it interesting that no one on Wordorigins has articulated an agreement to my position. After all, numerous academics and many with impressive credentials countenance my argument.  My position is not atypical but seemingly it is repudiated on this website.

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Posted: 03 January 2013 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Like minds are attracted to each other. We’re the “Language Isn’t Going To Hell” crackpots.

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