“Let’s Eat Grandma!”

Well, that’s what I though of when reading a couple of blogposts today. It’s taken from a page that I “like” on Facebook: ‘Let’s eat Grandma!’ or, ‘Let’s eat, Grandma!’ Punctuation saves lives. Yes, I also “like” The correct usage of “You’re”, “Your”, “There”, “Their” and “They’re”, just like I probably would click the “Like” button of I find a fanpage on the correct usage of “new”/“knew”, “right”/“rite”/“write”, “where”/“were”/“we’re”, “its”/“it’s”, “sue”/“sew”, and “to”/“too”/“two”/“2”. And yes, I also think that people legal age and up still using an eloquent text speak should grow the fuck up – YOU LEARNED HOW TO SPELL IN PRIMARY SCHOOL! (*cough* pardon me my French and high volume).

Just for the sake of it, I think I should mention that primary school up here includes the 9th and the optional 10th form, and that part of the tests when concluding this is dictation; it’s one of the five compulsory tests (at least when I finished the 9th form back in 1999). You would think that somewhere in between nine and 11 years of school, depending on whether or not you’re taking preschool and/or the 10th form, would equip you to spell correctly, right?
Oh, and did I mention that English isn’t my first language? All things considered, I believe it’s my third (unless we’re talking formal classes – then it’s my second. In that case I should know Latin, too, but that’s not the entire truth).

This is why I agree with many commenters of the SciFi/SyFy Channel post that it’s frustrating and demeaning that SciFi should be spelled SyFy because some big-shot thinks it will attract more people. Frustrating because it alienates the actual core viewers, demeaning because it seems that others wouldn’t know how to spell “science fiction” or its abbrevation to save their lives (at least in the eyes of those responsible of the name change). Either you’re a nerd/geek (supposedly) or you don’t know how to spell.

Honestly, I don’t consider myself a nerd/geek in the world of science fiction (for my non-Christian/atheist friends/acquintances/readers: stop giggling – I call upon my constitutional right to have as many “invisible friends” as I want to), but I do believe that I know how to spell. In six different languages (some with dialects/accents), even. If I don’t know or am insecure of the spelling of a word, I’m usually able to deliver a qualified guess (in up to nine different languages, I dare say). I do enjoy my occasional fix of Star Trek: The Next Generation (or should I just say ST:TNG), but I feel that the joke is on me if I have to go to a channel calling itself SyFy to get that fix. Actually, as it’s spelled out, the litteral meaning of it in my language is a no-go within sewing!

Anyway. While reading the comments, I came across a link to another post about taking nicknames or common abbrevations as the official name. Well, I don’t think that’s necessary, either! The story about YMCA officially becoming The Y seems off to me as it’s an abbrevation of an abbrevation! Just like the abbrevation KFC would be meaningless without the full name – Kentucky Fried Chicken (nope, the Chicken isn’t Kitchen Fresh!).
Just to illustrate it (albeit with an extreme example), I’d like to quote the Danish comedian Thomas Hartmann in the role of the (eco)stoned hippie, Buller: “Your real name isn’t what you’re nicknamed. If that was the case, my mom’s real name would be Fat Bitch.”

Coming to the article about the people protesting against how the English language is spelled, I see their point and partially agree on Eddie Izzard’s “that’s trying to cheat at scrabble”. Still, I’m not sure that that is necessarily the reason why there’s such a huge part of the American population who have trouble learning to read, write, and spell.
To be frank, I know I wasn’t in the back of the line when it came to linguistic talent/intelligence. Yet I can’t help but thinking that if I am able to juggle two handfuls of living, non-fictional languages (with dialects, silent letters, and odd spellings and pronounciations) the way I can, then why is it so difficult for natives to handle what may be the most popular dialect of such a common language as their one and only language? And speaking of sewing – should sewing or sueing have the right to be spelled sooing?

Knowing a language and appreciating the crowd you already have seems like such simple and easy things to do in my optics. Not that you have to be able to speak Shakespearean English, quote the King James Version when quoting the Bible, actually UNDERSTANDING the KJV (there are other more understandable versions), or settle for a crowd that isn’t there – but if you’re able to communicate, be it with white trash trailer park lingo or in Old English, and if you have a crowd big enough for everything to go splendidly, then why not concentrate on developing on that basis?

Well, that’s just me thinking out loud. Thank you for reading.

Sources
Deepwell Bridge: A Nerd-Rage Rant! Subject: Spelling lessons
I hope you know what you’re doing…: I’m Legally Changing My Name to B-Phone.
Slate Magazine: What does KFC stand for now? by Seth Stevenson.
The Spec: Enuf is enuf. Enough is too much (originally from Associated Press).
Eddie Izzard: Being Bilingual (“Dress to Kill”).

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bradenbost
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 15:06:48

    Well put. I love that you’ve brought up the organizations that want to re-write the English language, because I wrote on that, too:

    http://bradenbost.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/the-case-to-leave-english-as-it-is/

    I think at the end of all that can be discussed from what you’ve mentioned, what gets to me the most is people’s vicious defense of their “right” to not know how to spell or use proper grammar. I seriously doubt this is anything new–meaning it’s likely just as many people have had this kind of problem in just about every generation of every society with a written language and an education system–but in this modern age of the internet, where everyone has a voice, and over-blown self importance, where everyone thinks they need to pursue some kind of cause, and entitlement, where everyone thinks doing something their way is fine as long as they don’t hurt anyone, it becomes more annoying.

    Thanks for using my post in yours. Have a good week!

    Reply

  2. Trackback: It’s called grammar. | Freya's Halls

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