18 May 2009

Where They At?

You know, you should never use "you" in your writing. Too casual. WT Hopping Frog do you think is going on when you get those ABC's and DEF's together and it actually means something 2U? Nothing, really, IMO. Just casual chatter.

I wouldn't defend it as being an intellectually highbrow endeavour when I talk with you on my blog. If your threshold for poor grammar is lower than mine, you're welcome to go elsewhere. Whatever. (See? Fragment. Don't like? Too bad. LOL)

I'm sure that, were I looking to "tag" a building with graffiti, that my primary concern would be not getting caught rather than embarking on some intellectually stimulating discussion in the free marketplace of ideas. So I had to laugh when I read this post at Joanne Jacobs' about a roving grammarian adding fliers to graffiti to help the "artists" do better next time. I'm sure that people who deface property for fun are open to learning proper English and appreciate the free lesson. Though my head swam as I read the following comment excerpted here:

"How about replacing some of those pointless Teacher Ed classes with studies in linguistics? 'Where da bitches at?' is indisputably grammatical in the African American Vernacular English (AAVE) dialect, and indisputably appropriate for an informal genre such as graffiti. It’s sad that Language Arts (English) teachers are often uninformed and uncurious about the facts of language use. What teachers can and should do is help such students to *add* another dialect, Standard American English, and learn the contexts in which its use is appropriate and advantageous."

Oh, boy.

So... there can't be "proper" and "improper" grammar any more. It isn't even a matter any more WHERE one may speak in slang... it's just your "culture" that you speak improperly. Oh, excuse me! DIFFERENTLY.

Where the common sense at?

By this logic, there is also a Stereotypical Oriental American Vernacular English (SOAVE) that leaves out several articles, as in the phrase, "You get good job? Much Money?" or the Movie-Native American English Language (M-NAVEL) in which one wonders how "heap big much-um money you get-um from job. How." Or the Valley-girl American Vernacular English (VAVE) which, like, totally uses "you know" and all that like, totally regularly. Or the Good Ol' Boy (GOB) dialect that necessitates a rousing "YEEE-haw!" at the end of every country song and/or NASCAR race. And of course we have the Buzzword Or No Employment (BONE) language, which changes every few years but commonly uses "synergy" and "proactive" measures to alter itself to the political climate.

How insulting. How stereotyping of people! I suppose this school of thought came from good motives, as in, we ought not look DOWN on people whose English is not "standard." Further, I can't say I haven't found some "non-standard" English phrases fun and colourful. Or used them myself! I have a real pet peeve for the double negative, but I can certainly listen to the gist of what someone else is saying without reaching for my red marker.

What am I saying? Tolerance, maybe? Understanding? A time to have "consequences" for bad grammar and a time just to listen to what the other person is conveying in his own way?

Um, I hope I don't need to specify that "Where da bitches at?" is probably not going to fit that li'l ol' rubric, though. Nor yet graffiti.


  1. OMG! This is so frustrating isn't it. It reminds me of this movement in the church to remove symbols, words, songs, sacraments that cause something called the "cringe factor" in non-Christians. The theory is if we make the church less churchy we will attract more non-believers. Unbelievable! When did standing up for things like proper language or Holy Sacraments become so politically incorrect.

    I don't understand the concept. What is confrontational about having a standard?

  2. I've noticed that my grammer has gotten a lot worst since I started blogging. My brain is turning into blog mush.

  3. Bonnie, I hope you don't use the name of Jesus while you are praying. That is just over the top. :p

    DF, I don't know that that is necessarily true... I think that blogs are more "conversational," for the most part, as opposed to business writing. How can someone whose brain has turned to mush invent things like the title of "Baby Disney"?

  4. Yep, blogging is conversational, relaxed, and friendly. But, I still do my best to be accurate, correct, and "standard" [laughing].

    And, by the by, M-NAVEL cracked me up.



    Mrs C., One thing I am looking forward to with homeschooling my boys is that I was am terrible with punctuation and other things. In school I always had a terrible time with that. I never even learned to understand it. So I really am looking forward to having the guidance while trying to teach it to my boys. I don't know why I never caught on. I just remember really struggling and telling my teacher but she could really care less. I just flunked that part of the class everytime.

  6. Mrs C., just to be fair, when I'm praying I say all the names. Dear Buddha, Allah, God, Mary, and Joseph Smith, please bless this food. I wouldn't want to hurt any of their feelings. I even feel bad like I'm leaving the devil out. Hee hee....


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