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Old 05-23-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
dickgregory
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Am I the only one who gets annoyed with sloppy language use?


I'm not talking about folks who use English as a second language. They usually do a lot better with my language than I ever would with theirs.

I'm also not talking about occasional typos or intentional word mangling (like thunk instead of thought), or acronyms, or numeric abbreviations.

I recently saw a post that contained 10 spelling errors in four lines. I have seen others where there was no punctuation, no capitalization, and no paragraph breaks.

While the human brain has an amazing capability to make adjustments for imprecise language, such usage is harder to understand, and can often lead to ambiguity. If some of these posters write their programs or scripts the way they write English, I would be surprised if they could get anything to work.

Why can't we be as careful with our natural language as we are with the automated ones? Or are we just to lazy to use a little self-discipline?

EDIT: Thanks cybergal for pointing out where I blew my own standard. The last sentence above should read "Or are we just too lazy to use a little self-discipline?"

Last edited by dickgregory; 05-23-2007 at 03:52 PM.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 10:55 AM   #2
Xian
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Most posts I see here are well written and express their points nicely. There's a few bad eggs, but oh well.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:03 AM   #3
dickgregory
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You're right, most posts are well written. As for describing the others as bad eggs, that is not my primary intention. I'm just hoping to make people aware of the benefits of using more precise presentation in their communication.

Thanks for the reply.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:05 AM   #4
brianL
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No, you're not the only one.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:14 AM   #5
rshaw
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and the spell check button lives right below the message input box. why more people don't use it is beyond me
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:19 AM   #6
dickgregory
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Is there any way that we can issue a gentle suggestion to people to do better? I really don't want to embarrass anyone or discourage them from participating. Putting someone on the defensive is generally not a constructive action.

Maybe we could create a sticky post with some carefully worded guidelines, and include a link in replies to these posts. I would be willing to help with authoring such a sticky post, of course subject to any suggestions for modification.

Any feedback from a Mod?
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:22 AM   #7
hacker supreme
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I is not being botherd by bad languidge.
I rights well as it is, is I not?

</being_facetious>

Yes, sloppy language use is really annoying. I especially hate leet-speak and IRC-type talking.
It irritates me no end.
(Yes, I know `hate' is a very strong negative word, but currently I can't think of any other word to sum up how annoying they are. Incidentally, I have an English exam in a few weeks, and I know some people are going to fill it with `right', `yeh', `lol', etc. but that's their loss.)

EDIT: dickgregory: but how many of these who don't take the time to check their usage of the English language are going to take the time to read a sticky?

Reason for edit 1: Adding a point
Reason for edit 2: tryping erot.

Last edited by hacker supreme; 05-23-2007 at 11:23 AM.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:34 AM   #8
dickgregory
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Even the best fisherman doesn't catch all the fish. Some improvement will be better than nothing.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:41 AM   #9
theYinYeti
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I remember when I was less fluent with English; it sometimes was really difficult for me to understand some posts, which now I would hardly call badly written, just "could be better".

So for the ease of reading of forein people (well, not English-speaking), it would indeed be better if all would make the effort of writing correctly...

However, I actually find that on theses boards, or other international linux-related boards, this topic is not really an issue, so maybe, just maybe, people who program do care more than others for good writing LOL

The worst I've seen is on TV-station blogs, or many other non-techie boards/blogs. It's OK here IMO.

Yves.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 11:49 AM   #10
daihard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dickgregory
I'm not talking about folks who use English as a second language. They usually do a lot better with my language than I ever would with theirs.
If they do better, it may be because English is not their first language.

I learned English as a second language. In school, we were taught to be very careful with the spelling, punctuation, etc. Mistakes would cost us points in the exams. They may even cost you an opportunity to go to a reputable university.

I had no such pressure in Japanese, my first language. Sure, we did have Japanese classes, but their focus was on reading and interpreting the Japanese literature as well as learning the Chinese characters. There was very little time spent on the actual Japanese grammar.

If you ask me to write a short essay in English and in Japanese, I'm 100% sure the Japanese version would contain a lot more typos and grammatical errors than the English version. Kinda sad, when you think about it...
 
Old 05-23-2007, 12:03 PM   #11
ECRocker
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Usually, I'm really picky about my language (c++ or java code). Everything should have proper tabs, and lined up perfectly. Things like that which make my programs barable to read...
 
Old 05-23-2007, 12:14 PM   #12
PatrickMay16
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Daihard, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you, and when did you start learning English?

Just wondering. I'm interested in how long it takes to become good at a new language.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 12:18 PM   #13
pixellany
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I was raised by college professors and authors--thus I have a bit of the language snob in me.

Some of the stuff you see here is simply juvenile--young people have their own language in chat rooms and text messaging. I suspect (hope) that some of this wears off with age.

Beyond this--at least in the US--there is a serious educational issue. For years we have practiced "social promotion"--passing kids on who don't know the basics. There are some alarming statistics about what our high school seniors do not know.

As an engineering manager, I am appalled at the number of people with college degrees who can not write comprehensible english prose.

Yes--there really is a problem. Can it be fixed? For the long haul, yes. For the short term, admonishing someone to write more clearly may have limited impact--they are doing what they have learned.

At least MAYBE we cud gt the kids 2 stop the chat-room bb tok--wot u tink???
 
Old 05-23-2007, 01:42 PM   #14
dickgregory
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany
At least MAYBE we cud gt the kids 2 stop the chat-room bb tok--wot u tink???
I actually don't have a problem with this type of language mangling. The abbreviations are usually obvious, and the necessary punctuation is there. This sort of thing is conscious and not done out of sheer ignorance or carelessness. It's when real words and sentences are mangled that I get upset.

Some of my favorite things to hate:
  • no paragraph breaks
  • no capitalization
  • seperate (There is a rat in sepARATe)
  • their instead of there or they're
  • to instead of too
  • dosen't
  • more than 1 word per 20 spelled wrong (Occasional typos are ok)

pleeze lern too spel.
 
Old 05-23-2007, 01:52 PM   #15
vtel57
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Yes, Dick. It aggravates me to no end. However, I've learned to overlook it. I had to... it was having a detrimental effect on my blood pressure.
 
  


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