Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stupidest thing I think I've ever heard...

Actually "ever read".  This is beyond stupid

The second paragraph points out why in such a clear way.  "abc" means "this" or "that".  No problems with that.

And what if the person grading the paper doesn't know "text-speak".

Higher education indeed.  Stupid is one word for it.

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23 Comments:

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

Hello Tom, New Zealand is actually following (or leading) Scotland's example here I believe, where: 'The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said the use of phrases like "2b r nt 2b" or "i luv u" in exam papers are allowed as long as candidates showed they understood the subject.', from the end of October 2006.

Whilst I fully understand your frustration here, I am somewhat sympathetic to the sentiment, in that if a clear understanding of the subject at hand is demonstrated they will be given marks, but not full marks, which would necessitate correct spelling.

Interesting too, that the American founding fathers ditched some of the rather ridiculous spelling anomalies of the English language at Constitution time, i.e., color instead of colour, which denotes an evolving, living entity, and not something that should eternally be set in stone. After all, Shakespeare's English bears little resemblance to today's. Though I'm not saying here that spelling should be a totally arbitrary thing, but that some common sense should apply. Maybe not totally stupid, but somewhat confused perhaps.

Sun Nov 12, 04:07:00 PM EST  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

I can't speak for Scotland, but the story regarding New Zealand is false.

What the NZ exam board has said is that the usual rules of 'near misses' will be allowed. If a student in the past wrote about "pigeon English" instead of "pidgin English", for example, that would previously have been overlooked if it was one minor error amongst a long written answer. Same goes for text-speak: if a student includes the very occasional 'b4' instead of 'before', it won't be held against them.

But under no circumstances will students be able to submit entire papers written in the '2b r nt 2b' style. They are expected to write their answers in standard English, but minor "typos" will not be penalised.

Full (correct) story is at:
http://blogs.smh.com.au/sit/archives/2006/11/text_speak.html

Sun Nov 12, 05:15:00 PM EST  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> the American founding fathers ditched some of the rather ridiculous spelling anomalies of the English language at Constitution time, i.e., color instead of colour, which denotes an evolving, living entity, and not something that should eternally be set in stone.

I think that it's more accurate to say that at the time of separation there were no general conventions of spelling in English, and that each side imposed their own standards after the split.

There's some information at Wikipedia on it ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences

Sun Nov 12, 05:48:00 PM EST  

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

I think that it's more accurate to say that at the time of separation there were no general conventions of spelling in English, and that each side imposed their own standards after the split...

You miss my point, methinks :o)

...That the Founding Fathers made a conscious decision to ditch some of the 'conventional' illogicial spellings -- even by that time they were established; so established that they would be disavowed.

Sun Nov 12, 05:59:00 PM EST  

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

illogicial: Oops!... Not an attempt to overturn the conventional!

Sun Nov 12, 06:02:00 PM EST  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

Not the founding fathers but Noah Webster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster

"His goal was to provide a uniquely American approach to training children. His most important improvement, he claimed, was to rescue of "our native tongue" from "the clamor of pedantry" that surrounded English grammar and pronunciation. He complained that the English language had been corrupted by the British aristocracy, which set its own standard for proper spelling and pronunciation. Webster rejected the notion that the study of Greek and Latin must precede the study of English grammar. The appropriate standard for the American language, argued Webster, was "the same republican principles as American civil and ecclesiastical constitutions," which meant that the people-at-large must control the language; popular sovereignty in government must be accompanied by popular usage in language. "The truth is general custom is the rule of speaking—and every deviation from this must be wrong."

Sun Nov 12, 07:23:00 PM EST  

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

David Aldridge said....

Not the founding fathers but Noah Webster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster...

My apologies David, I should have re-checked my references. Thanks for the pointer.

Mon Nov 13, 07:19:00 AM EST  

Blogger shrek said....

is this another one of those "black english" movements that server to devide over language rather than devise standards that are common and uniting? or is it just stupid?

Mon Nov 13, 09:02:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Cameron Thorne said....

The User Friendly comic commented on this story over the weekend. Enjoy:

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20061112

Mon Nov 13, 10:02:00 AM EST  

Blogger Jeff Hunter said....

next thing you know, they'll let kids use calculators on tests!

Mon Nov 13, 04:02:00 PM EST  

Blogger shrek said....

next thing you know, they'll let kids use calculators on tests!

right, they shold only be allowed to use slied-rules.;-)

Tue Nov 14, 07:24:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

LOL buncha old guys :)
leave us kids alone !

Tue Nov 14, 10:00:00 AM EST  

Anonymous RobH said....

remind me why "color instead of colour," is ridiculous (or should it be ridiculos?)

Tue Nov 14, 12:32:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Gary S said....

Shrek said:

"is this another one of those "black english" movements that server to devide over language rather than devise standards that are common and uniting?"

Here's a link to an article about the Great Ebonics Flap. You should only look at it if you are interested in some of the facts behind the Great Ebonics Flap and not the distorted notions that are floating around the swamp of "collective wisdom." A brief quote:

teachers would be "trained to teach students to 'decode' or translate their home language, Ebonics, into the standard English they need to succeed in school and function in America's workplaces."

So the idea was not to legitimize 'Ebonics,' but to use it as a basis to teach standard
English. How does this "server to devide over language?" (Warning: the linked article is hosted at Stanford University. Make sure you don't get any left-wing cooties.)

Tue Nov 14, 01:33:00 PM EST  

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

RobH said...
remind me why "color instead of colour,"...


Nope, not what I was saying, rather quite the reverse, though ‘colour’ isn’t quite ridiculous, but was just one example of how a rather nonsensical spelling was ditched, i.e., is there a pronunciation difference between ‘tenor’ and ‘colour’ in English as spoken on this side of the pond (unless you're a native French speaker)?

There are much more egregious examples: ptarmigan & tar & termite, psychological & scythe & sight & site, read & read, red & read, read & reed, psalm & salt & psalter, cushion & motion, tissue & bishop, vision & fishing, mnemonics & nemesis, etc., etc.

Manageable for (some) native speakers (though certainly not all), but a nightmare, I'd imagine, for non-native speakers. Therefore I applaud any attempt to introduce some sense, regularity and uniformity into English language spelling, however difficult that might be; and that is not saying that spelling should be an arbitrary concept, just logical and consistent.

Tue Nov 14, 02:35:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Graham Day said....

Ok, I can talk for Scotland... if for no other reason other than that I live there and am familiar with the controversy.

I don't know the detail with regard to New Zealand, but in Scotland the position of the examining board was that if you exhibited the knowledge, then you should get credit for the knowledge. If you didn't express that knowledge appropriately (e.g. by using "text language" rather than proper English) then you would lose marks.

The example (and this isn't an actual question, let's simplify to illustrate) was: a question might be "what is Hamlet's famous quote"... the answer is "to be or not to be". You might have 2 marks for that question: 1 mark for the answer "to be or not to be"... the other for spelling it correctly. And "spelling it incorrectly" might be "2b r nt 2b", or it might be "toooo bee or not too beee"; they will still lose the mark.

But, they should still get the credit for having the core knowledge.

Much as DBAs get credit for not knowing the answer straight away, but we know where to find the answer...

Tue Nov 14, 04:30:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

You grumpy old men.

(I'm 38 :-)


This is typical human behavior. New stuff is bad - what we were taught is what our children should be taught etc.
Maybe it's effective - we can write more in less time. We can read more in less time...

We don't write in 17th century style do we ?

Don't get me wrong - I don't like it. But is it bad ? And why is it bad ? Are they bad people ? Or is it against our rusted beliefsystem.

Language changes.

Bart

Wed Nov 15, 02:35:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Language can change, we do that all of the time.

"the web" - that did not exist
"the internet" - same there

bits, bytes, baud, .....

new words come in, spellings morph over time.

However, "l33t" speak or IM speak or whatever you want to call it in professional communication - is not professional, showing intelligence, or smart to do.

Wed Nov 15, 04:59:00 AM EST  

Blogger Phil said....

Er...

G11N (Globalization)
I18N (Internationalization)
L10N (Localization)
T9N (Translation)

I'm no big fan of text-speak (heck, I can't read it) but we do tend to abbreviate (e-mail), create acronyms-turned-words (SQL, FUD), hijack existing words (spam, web), and coin new words (internet) an awful lot in the computer industry.

To the 'average Joe' our jargon is just as impenetrable as text-speak...

Wed Nov 15, 11:06:00 AM EST  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

When the pendulum swings the other way they'll ban symbolics and all mathematics and logic will have to be written in correct English... right?

You'll have to change all those Einstein graphics and everyone will sound like the scarecrow after he's given a brain.

word: faxak

Wed Nov 15, 01:23:00 PM EST  

Blogger SeanMacGC said....

Tom Kyte said...

However, "l33t" speak or IM speak or whatever you want to call it in professional communication - is not professional, showing intelligence, or smart to do.

I agree, anything that garbles or mangles communcation cannot be a good thing. I think, however, that 'text-speak' is now almost universally understood amongst the younger examination-taking generation, and that's where the examining boards are coming from, given that it is the lingua franca of an ever growing number.

That's the rather unfortunate reality, and personally, I blame the originators of text messaging, setting it at a pitifully small 160 characters! :o)

Fri Nov 17, 01:15:00 PM EST  

Blogger Juan Carlos Reyes said....

Hi Tom, I have a different point about this idea,

Spanish is a language which overcomplicate, meanwhile some english language experts are trying to make it easier, spanish language experts are trying to keep it complicate.
To try to make a language easier is smart.
I have a good ortography in spanish, but I learn this is not the more important. Now I don't give too much importance.
I had read book about 1,700 in spanish, what was a good orthography then, is bad now.
What is good or bad orthography changes across centuries in a way I didn't imagine at least in spanish.

The reason because I agree with it is because is allowing to simplify english moving to a faster way to write.
Don't personalize the problem, don't think in that lazy guys, think instead in a tendency, a tendency to develop and incorporate in the language some kind of stenography.
Don't think in what is better, else in what is more efficient, if you think the language english as pl/sql and how to optimize it and make it more efficient it can change your point of view.
:) Have a nice day, even when you think this is a stupid comment.

Fri Nov 17, 05:27:00 PM EST  

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