1. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    Is This a Global Trend?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by datahound2u, Dec 18, 2015.

    I live in the U.S., but I know that this community circles the globe, so I would like to know if this apparent trend in my country is also overtaking other countries.

    I don't know if this has always been the case, or if I am just "stuck" on it and consider it a trend, but I continue to be amazed at just how poorly so many people tend to write. I'm not talking about writers, but just teens and adults in general, those who have finished their primary and secondary educations. I am far from being an English snob, and I was never an 'A' student in that area, and all net-speak aside, it seems to me that there are far more people who genuinely write atrociously than those who used to be considered average. I feel like that bar of acceptable standards has taken a nosedive over the past decade or so.

    Do you think this is attributable to people not knowing any better or to them caring less?

    If you live in the U.S., what are your perceptions? If you live elsewhere, please tell me it's better there!
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  2. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm in the US, and I'm often surprised (not in a good way) at the writing quality of business emails and job postings, especially the latter. Look, I get that not everyone knows all the rules of grammar, and that's fine. I also understand that not everyone likes to write, or cares enough to go over their sentences and make perfectly sure that everything is correct. I get that people are "busy" (which, by the way, is an "excuse" that really, really irritates the Jesus out of me...everyone is busy).

    But, I mean, God. Really? If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, then write like one. But you're right, it's getting to the point where it doesn't matter anymore. I can understand the shift to more casual speech, even in the office, as long as it's...you know...intelligible. I'm not hung up on tradition (like, seriously, at all). But when my grammatically correct emails are getting "edited" by higher-ups, telling me to change certain parts to things that are actually wrong, well, yeah, that grinds my gears a bit.
     
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  3. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    The post-literate order has come to pass, I believe. Attraction to STEM careers and entertainment mediums are the main culprits, as I see it.

    #millennialtruthnow
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ... and it was already present prior to the internet.

    Ever have one of those teachers/professors who asks everyone to hand their paper to the person to their left to have it looked over by that person prior to turning the paper in? I had a few of those and I always abhorred the practice. Firstly, it let me see that others were handing in papers that seemed to be written by 3rd graders, and secondly, I would get my paper back marked with "errors" by the person who had looked it over, which were not errors, but simply diction and syntax well above that person's capacity to comprehend. I noticed this most especially when I moved from Hawaii (excellent educational system) to Florida (one of the worst educational systems in America in the 80's).

    Now, why did this happen? I'm sure it's a mixture of many things. When I was in grade school we were still taught to outline sentences. I understand that this is no longer the case and has not been the case for some time. Try explaining to someone why a plural noun that is part of a prepositional phrase cannot drive verb agreement of the main verb in a sentence, and what you often get is a strange hand gesture meant to ward off evil, for surely you have just spoken in the language of Mordor.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes! This! It boggles me how people in fairly high positions have such poor writing skills. It just makes them look bad. I've even noticed this in official legal documents. :eek:
     
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  6. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    Yes! Would it not be utterly delightful if we could gather some of our more famous (or is it infamous?) politicians and corporate CEOs, plop them all in a room without their speech writers and other staffers, tell them to write something, with the promise of publishing their prose on the Internet?

    But it probably wouldn't matter. Given the way most folks tend to write nowadays, it would probably look perfectly acceptable. :(
     
  7. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    The great irony is that most jobs require excellent written and oral communication skills, according to their postings.
     
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  8. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    When job offers start advertising for "really good righting and speaking scills" I think I'll look into self-employment!
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    People in STEM careers need to be able to write. I blame the intense testing focus in schools, though that's just a theory. I'd bet that with the standardized tests and focus on standardized tests, actual writing is rare.
     
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  10. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    No doubt, but I think people are more asymmetrical in their focus of study than they are trying to be well-rounded students, which I think is unfortunate especially before post-secondary education. I knew taking bio and calc would bring down my average, applying to university, but I did so anyways because I went into psych.
     
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  11. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    That's a very good point, @BrianIff. I went into the military right out of high school, so I took courses at several universities (this is prior to online courses) as I was being bounced around the world and still trying to earn a bachelor's degree. I ended up doing my last two years at a religious school, since it was closest to my base. Even though my major was accounting, their BS degree program required a good number of off-major courses. I was at first horrified when I saw the number of "boring" courses that I would have to take; but in hindsight, those courses really helped to round out not only my education, but my overall mindset as well.
     
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  12. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    BS, like BS, or B.Sc.? :p ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  13. datahound2u
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    datahound2u Member

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    I didn't even perceive that as I was writing it! Now I'm literally laughing out loud! Point taken. (And it was the latter that I meant - but I'm sure you already knew that.)
     
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  14. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    It also sometimes has to do with the writer's attitude toward the writing. I have a relative who is a very highly-placed government official. I'm told that his reports, briefs and other workplace efforts are things of beauty, but if you received a personal email from him, you'd conclude he was a complete dunce.
     
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  15. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    This is all true, as far as it goes, but I wonder how much of it is really a matter of people being worse writers than they used to be, and how much of it is a matter of more people doing more writing than they used to.

    I just wonder how much the Internet, and especially email, has changed things. Email has replaced a lot of communication that used to happen verbally (in person or over the phone). In fact, I would wager that email has even created more written work than used to be necessary. And its sort of intangible and user-friendly nature makes everyone take it less seriously than they would if they were probably writing out a letter on a typewriter or by hand. Or so I imagine.

    I can think of two effects this would have:

    1) People who used to not have to write much at all now have to, and a lot.
    2) All of us are writing more, which means we have less time to take to carefully think about what we're saying and how we're saying it.

    I can also see how this sort of thing might be self-reinforcing, i.e as more bad writing is put out there, it becomes more acceptable, so people think even less about it.

    I guess tl;dr version is: it may be that people aren't worse writers overall, we're just finally noticing how bad they've always been.
     
  16. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whilst I agree with the rebellion's key points re the Engrish Langage. I feel, do, at times, feel our own strategies of survival, my dear, my treasured language survivalists, I feel they are, in of themselves, often self-defeating strategies - boxing glove delivered to our own face defeating strategies. For example, our dear king, our @Wreybies, I mean, sir, I mean -

    THIS IS VERGING ON DETESTED TEFL DECONSTRUCTIONALISM SPEAK [sic,] HIC. Have you lost your spectacles? Death to TEFL. Pass me the Rubik's cube.

    ... ... ...

    I applied for an upgrade with the firm today.

    The wife proof-read my application three times. I began, initially, like a blog entry, all a 'striving constantly to deliver the most productively delicious situations for you my sirs, executives, my loves, boys. '

    Finally, she sighed. My fail in paper, my wife in the dressing gown, she sighed, brought me down from lofty heights of failure, and typed me up, brought me down to her bullet points, their basic instincts, those foul and grim silver-backs in their suits. One day, one day I'll show them communication mmm

    Face it lit loves, we are a tiny minority worse than Quietists, even, your call - any obscure 19c Russian cult, any cult, your call.
     
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  17. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I'm going to have to disassociate myself from you @matwoolf if you continue to throw your ESL and farming weight around. [;
     
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  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, poppet. :bigwink: I was raised on military bases and donned my own uniform, all fetish-like in dark basements, as soon as age allowed. Structure and symmetry is like porn to me, and I've no shame in the fapping. :whistle::-D
     
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  19. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    When my students complain that the text book is hard to read, I remind them it was written by economist/physicist/mathematicians and not English majors.
     
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  20. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Oh my god, don't get me started on pedagogy. :)
     
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  21. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    You realize that in college students are only required to taken English 101/102 to graduate, right? And that said class is generally taught by a Grad Student who has better things to do with their time? And that said grad student is not a native speaker of English? And that if said graduate student is in the US for the first time and it's their first semester of Grad School, they probably don't even speak English?

    That's what happened to me. My Teacher was a first semester graduate student from France who didn't speak English well enough to lecture. We showed up, read the book, and all of us passed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  22. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Allow me to whine here . . .
    As a college instructor I have 220 students in my class. I can't assign writing assignments because there is no way I can feasibly grade them. Granted only 1/2 the class will complete any given assignment, but if you assign a 10 page term paper and 110 students complete the assignment that's 1100 pages that must be read and graded in a period of 72 hours. That's an impossible task.

    Mush easier to run answer sheets through a scantron.
     
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  23. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Scientists have better writing skills than most other people do...
     
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  24. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hence the benefit of going to a small liberal arts college. I probably wrote 20 papers of at least 10 pages of length before I graduated. My writing skills dramatically improved during my time there.
     
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  25. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    You're right. A lot of scientists must write well. My point is that there are a lot of lines of work out there that don't need writing, leaving composition proficiency to a matter of personal appetite. OP mentions the past ten years, and seeing as how competitive things are, my observation is that people go lop-sided in their education.
     
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