Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rolling with the homies

In class yesterday, we had a short, off-topic discussion on what was appropriate language to use and what wasn't. Our professorwas letting us know what was appropriate language to write on reports, and her personal pet peeves (e.g. "Me and my boyfriend were out on Friday."). One of our classmates tried to point out that language is "a living thing" and she shouldn't be prescriptive about it, which I didn't think was a valid point. After all, try telling the head of your hospital to allow the phrase "It's a whole nother subject" in your report because he shouldn't use the rules of grammar...

This quickly led to another off-topic discussion about what were appropriate therapy targets for people who were minorities in the culture, and ebonics came up as an example. At which point my professor,
a very cheerful fiftyish white woman in a conservative outfit, began to speak in street slang: "I be talkin' like this to keep the bruthas off my back!"

She might seem like a typical upper-middle class academic, but she's from the streets. For real.

6 comments:

Sylvana said...

For reports, the language should be proper, but for everyday speaking, I think it's ok to be slack.

The Doc said...

Sylvana, I'm in agreement. I'm a stickler when it comes to formal writing, and if I got a report that was full of colloquialisms, I'd really re-consider my view of that supposed "professional". For professional spoken communication, between professionals or to clients, it's also better to use 'proper grammar'. I've stopped so far as to require tense and marker agreement in friendly conversation, though: no need to be anal about it, after all...



...although I do hate the fact that some people don't know the difference between "should've" and "should of"...

ORF said...

My friend B is a grad student at Rutgers in NJ and is teaching a writing comp class to freshmen right now. She sends me tidbits from their term papers on ocassion and man, are they bad bad bad!!! People just do NOT know how to write these days. Good grammar is super de duper important and while I agree that it's ok to use slang, et alia when speaking, it is NOT ok to do that kind of thing in any professional/educational type of writing. I totally blame email for the death of the art of grammar.

ORF said...

Oh, also, this story is like that scene in Airplane when Barbara Billingsley's character starts speaking Jive to the "bruthas" on the plane. HAHAAHAHA!

Jeans said...

Proper grammar and writing skills are very important. Take it away, Strong Bad.


Y-O-U-R

Y-O-U apostrophe R-E

they're as different as night and day
don't you think that night and day are different

Otto Man said...

Personally, I think people who put an apostrophe in "its" when they mean the possessive pronoun should be taken into a public square and drawn and quartered.

It's the sensible thing to do.