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The decreasing standards of written English

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jaybee, 20 Jul 2021.

  1. Bluecube

    Mobster

    Joined: 20 Feb 2011

    Posts: 2,648

    I tried but couldn’t understand most of them as the standards of written English have deteriorated so much
     
  2. Chris Beard

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Apr 2006

    Posts: 1,895

    Brilliance - but no, he was just a very angry man
     
  3. Jean-F

    Mobster

    Joined: 14 Apr 2017

    Posts: 3,074

    Location: London

    I refer the Honourable Member to my posts # 222 and # 169.

    Confucius say, “Dg will go far.”
     
  4. djshauny1

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 May 2011

    Posts: 3,432

    :D
     
  5. jaybee

    Soldato

    Joined: 10 Jul 2008

    Posts: 5,720

    The thing I see often on social media are walls of text with literally no capitals, commas or full stops at all. Literally a wall of text from first to last word. I saw one the other day on a car group where the owner of a garage comes on to defend himself. It was very hard to understand.
     
  6. Tuppy_Glossop

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Feb 2012

    Posts: 2,992

    Location: 2

    Claude Shannon was the mathematician father of Information Theory, which is concerned with digital communication. It overlaps real human communication in many senses. Shannon studied how differences between messages and, furthermore, the structure of these differences, was critical to the amount of useful information conveyed. When you talk about the merits of conformity and non-conformity to grammatical, punctuation, and spelling rules I can definitely get on board. If you follow the strict rules and everybody understands them, you should be able to accurately convey some quite complex information, even if not everybody in the real world really knows (or follows) all the rules. However, in another sense, one is limited by these very rules. There is an upper limit on the information that can be conveyed within the fixed framework, given the size of a message. Not adhering to the rules will leave you somewhere else in the solution space, and you may have performed worse, or better, than the rules system typically achieves or maximally allows. In the real world, people often break the rules for a pleasing comic effect, and in some jokes it definitely brings comedy due to ambiguity.

    I mentioned Genetic Algorithms because they attempt to be rule-agnostic as they search for a better machine learning solution for modelling a data set. They jump around in an apparently-random manner, which is broadly parallel with random genetic mutations and associated selection advantages or disadvantages. This must also apply to written and spoken words, so if you talk randomly you could chance across a better way to convey your message. The question is simply one of how long it takes (i.e. the efficiency of the approach). Which led me to the typing monkeys apocryphal tale.

    I will conclude that staying within the framework of rules is probably most efficient unless one is extremely lucky. Future work might be a hybrid approach, where you pick only relevant words and randomise other aspects.
     
  7. Chris Beard

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Apr 2006

    Posts: 1,895

    I follow now, thank you.

    I agree - language does evolve over time. Even with regards to the strict rules (e.g. new words to the dictionary every year).

    For my part I hope we can stop being snobby about things like less and fewer - no meaning is lost, it's just about feeling superior and putting others down.
     
  8. Tuppy_Glossop

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Feb 2012

    Posts: 2,992

    Location: 2

    Less and fewer is a great example. I wouldn't weaponise it to put anybody down (unless they are in GD and claiming to be the Mack Daddy of English and get it wrong, obvs!), but as long as it might be associated with a good education by anyone, and for as long as there are no negative repercussions from the correct usage, I would encourage it gently in youngsters I care about.
     
  9. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,310

    The disadvantage is that the door will always go over the balance point, as you have to open it further than that to get anything out.

    Enough people mistakenly think they understand right and wrong only to end up in court, alongside those who definitely understand but commit crimes in spite of that.
    The big book lays out the specifics of what right and wrong is, rather than relying on the very vague assertion of being nice that you could interpret to mean pretty much anything you like.

    It is still a very specific movement with specific aims against specific issues. It's not the "Hey Everyone Be Nice" movement.

    If they don't respect a note highlighting the specific issue, they certainly won't give a **** about some wishy-washy millenial harping on about being "nice and respectful", and any ideas you have about sitting them down in a Safe Space to discuss the behavioural/cultural matters that lead to them forgetting to shut the fridge will just see you being heavily ridiculed for the rest of your career...

    There's nothing deep about it, it's just how the world works - In lieu of wasting time going round and telling each individual personally, or raising it in a departmental meeting, a simple note is not only the most sensible option, but also the way people do it. That's why train platforms have signs saying MIND THE GAP, and coffee comes in cups that warn you their contents are hot. They don't simply say, "Oh, be careful, yeh"... :rolleyes:
     
  10. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,248

    Your are the pesonification of 'dont try and teach an old dog new tricks' :D
     
  11. CaptainRAVE

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 21 Nov 2004

    Posts: 39,603

    Standards across the board. Kids can’t access half the exam questions they are given purely because they can’t turn what is in their mind into a sentence.

    Common sense has gone out the window too. The number of times I’ve seen ‘pick A, B or C’ and they write a completely different letter down - it blows my mind. ‘Tick three boxes’ (words like ‘three’ are even in bold on modern exam papers) - they tick one…

    Our exam system is more dumbed down than ever. You can get half the Biology A Level paper wrong, get an A* and then train to become a doctor.

    Our current Year 12s will never have sat a ‘real’ exam. Their GCSEs were cancelled and they’ll be told what’s on their A Level exam paper next year. It shows in their maturity level too and they know what with teacher predicted grades they can blame everyone but themselves.
     
  12. Jean-F

    Mobster

    Joined: 14 Apr 2017

    Posts: 3,074

    Location: London

    Withdrawn, I’ll rephrase, someone who’s made excessive use of a sun bed,
    giving something a bashing is a colloquialism for excess of something.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jul 2021
  13. Tuppy_Glossop

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Feb 2012

    Posts: 2,992

    Location: 2

    I meant on the way back to closed from fully open :p
     
  14. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,310

    In those cases, the issue is that they don't push hard enough to cross the balance point, but don't actually notice as they're on their way out the kitchen or something.

    More like, 'Don't try and fix what isn't broken'.
    I get what you're saying and why you say it, but you're just one in a long line of people I've watched try and fail. The problem is that your 'new tricks' don't actually address the issue and often don't even apply, because you havent taken the time to understand the situation and how you'll only make it worse.
    Old dogs learn new tricks very easily, so long as the teacher themselves isn't ignorant of the context.
     
  15. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,248

    Well my method clearly works because the fridge door is always closed.
     
  16. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,310

    Or you just work in a small office with people who aren't preoccupied with serious work.
    And yet I bet you still have other such specific signage around to address the various other issues that every workplace has, even if they're just standard H&S posters.
     
  17. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,248

    I actually work from home so I only have to remind my wife to be respectful.
     
  18. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,310

    She actually needs reminding?
    Either you are; 1) in a very unfortunate circumstance of matrimony and the only reminder needed is to remind you that you have to first earn her respect, or 2) you need to buy a new wife.
     
  19. dLockers

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Jan 2010

    Posts: 8,248

    I just discussed with her and we decided to just leave the door ajar.
     
  20. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,310

    By 'we', I presume from her lack of respect for you, that you really mean 'she' decided...