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Is ATS proof of the dumbing down of America?

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posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:32 AM
reply to post by nj2day

That may be true, but as I mentioned these were not common mistakes in old letters that have been scanned and made available online. I have no idea how to use a semicolon properly, but I throw it in once in a while to do my part

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:36 AM
Words are pointers - much like the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon, so we must look past the words to where they are pointing. (Otherwise we miss the point entirely and think we know what it is we are talking about.)

Language changes and evolves, and is not stationary.
There is no fixed 'right' or 'wrong' - only guide lines which adapt and adjust to its current milieu.

The level of ones intelligence cannot be determined by any test results - whether it be grammatical or mathematical.

What is intelligence anyway? A collection of a body of knowledge of material which is bound to change? Or is it something more alive and conscious?

Seek within the words the heart to which they point, and therefore share in the warmth that is found in the center of all humanity - that which is the very essence of all short what many call 'God'.



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:40 AM
reply to post by maus80

I see your point with the old letters. However, I am optimistic about mankind's future.

How old are the letters you are looking at? It wasn't too long ago that the majority of people weren't educated enough to read and write. Maybe by taking old written communiques we are getting a cross section of a more educated percentage of society; whereas today, most people are literate, and the cross section is much more all encompassing.

note: semicolon use is intentional

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:43 AM
reply to post by dAlen

I completely understand what you are saying, but my point was not to question whether or not someone's intelligence can be assessed by their writing skills. While I agree that language can and should change and evolve, we were all taught the same language in school. Has the way children are taught drastically changed, or the ability to learn? I doubt that it's the former, and I can find no good explanation for the latter. If the ability to learn and utilize the skills we are taught is changing, I would consider that an alarming and extremely negative development in our society.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:48 AM
reply to post by nj2day

I'm talking about letters from WWII, and they represent a fairly good cross-section of the population I would think. You make a very good point though.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:48 AM
reply to post by dAlen

While almost whole heartedly agree with your premise that language is evolving, I must add an addendum:

Words are pointers, but if I were to call the moon something completely unrelated, without the additional indicator of the finger pointing to the moon, no one would have any idea what I was talking about. This is especially true in written word.

Language is evolving, but to some, it is also degenerating. Language is only language as long as one can properly express their ideas and thoughts. Too often these days do you see people who can not express themselves as a result of a lack of vocabulary. This degeneration is what the OP is referring to IMHO.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:52 AM
One thing I prefer about my work computer to this bare bone internet access I use at home is the spell checker.
My fingers move slower than my brain sometimes and I make mistakes. I like to read over my post, make sure it's legible, contains as few typos as I can recognize, and over all is at least to the standards of grammar as I know them.
When it gets heated, sometimes I forget, but to me those posts are sort of embaressing.
If ATS is for debate, you need to be able to present your ideas and opinions as well as you possibly can.
I mean, if you want to share your ideas, it's better not to do it like this:
i hav this gr8 idea for stuffs lol.
I see people tpye like that here, and I pretty much ignore them.
Don't get me wrong, I have been assured that English is a hard language to learn.
I've been working on it for twenty years, and I can agree.
But people who live here, by here I mean the US, should make the effort. Otherwise, why should I read what they say?

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:54 AM
reply to post by maus80

Hrm, WWII letters are certainly a decent cross section of society.

Maybe there is something to be looked into with the popularization of T.V. and the decline of education.

Since people watch TV now, fewer people are reading books. Reading books improves the vocabulary, and shows, by example proper sentence structure and grammar.

When I was in School, several people I knew had never read a novel all the way through, until it was forced on them in English class.

and no... I'm not ancient... Class of '99 here

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 04:57 AM
reply to post by RuneSpider

Unfortunately for language, I have a feeling that in the next decade, when the text messaging generation takes over, we will be seeing more gr8 stuff.

I'm guilty of it to a minor degree, in these last posts I've used IMHO, LOL and OP... all of which are internet shorthand.

Its going to be interesting to watch the impact on language in the future.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:06 AM

Originally posted by goldbomb444
My theory's the internet. The internet isn't known to have great grammar or spelling. I do agree that some of the stuff I try to read is kind of ridiculous though.

Too right, we came here from all backgrounds, and we all accept that we are not the best, at things like grammer etc... But what else can one do, except, just type. If you do not understand, something someone has wrote, why not just ask them.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:11 AM
reply to post by andy1033

Lots of good people in this thread

I also agree with you, the importance is in the content of the message, not the message itself.

however, you have to admit, sometimes it just gets ridiculous. Sometimes people spit out a wall of text that numbs my brain for a few seconds...

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:13 AM
If the other side of this particular coin is an erosion of reading comprehension, that is just as disturbing. That isn't a personal attack on anyone, but neither was the op.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:23 AM

Originally posted by nj2day
When I was in School, several people I knew had never read a novel all the way through, until it was forced on them in English class.

and no... I'm not ancient... Class of '99 here

I honestly hadn't met anyone who would openly admit to that until at least a few years after high school. How would anyone even get that far in school without reading a book? Class of 98 here.

If this is a natural erosion, it is sad. If it is an intentional, guided erosion, I'm worried because it seems to be working! That would be sad and scary. My original point I guess was to question if we are seeing proof all around us that "dumbing down" conspiracy theories might be true.

I volunteer sometimes at the local Salvation Army store, and when I try to talk to the kids who are doing community service there, I am often completely blown away by their complete ignorance to the world around them. I realize that this is not a good cross-section of the pop., but still...why the funk would they not know who our VP is??

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:24 AM
Must we be so prescriptive people?

Language changes, end of story. One of the major influences in our time is technology. Speed of communication is becoming more and more important hence abbreviations and missing out letters. We can understand what is being said most of the time so the language used has done the job.

Apostrophes are a dying art. So many people simply don't know how to use them and have probably never heard of the words 'possessive' and 'ommissive' in relation to apostrophes.

If we think back to the times when English was being influenced more by other languages there was equal unease with the language. Caxton himself spent years trying to standardise our language before eventually realising that it was never going to happen and realising that descriptivism was the way forward.

Homophones are everywhere in English which makes things particularly interesting, but you know what the writer means by taking into account the context - which you do automatically as a reader - so it's not really a biggie, is it?

We all like to read what may be termed 'proper' English by some, but at the end of the day I think we just have to go with the flow. Texting, email, and forums are all affecting the way we use written English and I see it's impact in work every day. Many of my colleagues despair over it but, being the language geek that I am, I accept it as inevitable. I may mark someone lower for using 'incorrect' language - but that's only because the exam board tell me to.

The only thing that does make me cringe is when I hear someone say 'LOL' out loud.

Anyway, here's an amusing story, from Caxton's introduction to the Eneydos, on the topic of language change...makes me smile I every time I read it...

And certaynly our langage now vsed varyeth ferre from that whiche was vsed and spoken whan I was borne/ For we englysshe men / ben borne vnder the domynacyon of the mone, whiche is neuer stedfaste / but euer wauerynge / wexynge one season / and waneth & dyscreaseth another season / And that comyn englysshe that is spoken in one shyre varyeth from a nother. In so moche that in my dayes happened that certayne marchauntes were in a shippe in tamyes, for to haue sayled ouer the see into zelande / and for lacke of wynde, thei taryed atte forlond, and wente to lande for to refreshe them; And one of theym named sheffelde, a mercer, cam in-to an hows and exed for mete; and specyally he axyd after eggys; And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, for he also coude speke no frenshe, but wolde haue egges / and she vndestode hym not / And thenne at laste a nother sayd that he wolde have eyren / then the good wyf sayd that she vndestod hym wel / Loo, what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, egges or eyren / certaynly it is harde to playse euery man / by cause of dyuersite & chaunge of langage…

Good, ain't it?



[edit on 26-10-2008 by machinegun_go_go]

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:36 AM
reply to post by maus80

as long as the message is conveyed clearly, grammar is of no importance. I purposely spell words incorrectly to illustrate this all the time.

i answered your query in my first post by the way . . .

Originally posted by JPhish
Also, there are some on this forum whom intentionally spell words incorrectly.(seems to be a treasured pastime for dis-info agents)

here are a few words that i purposely misspell

rehd (past tense of read)
blinde (unable to see)
winde (turn something)
teer (salt water that comes from your eyes)
its' (possessive for it)
baer (endure something distressful)

i have a others . . .

reply to post by Ian McLean

"an individuals' intelligence" is my preferred way to write it. There can be no misconception by the reader. Possession is obvious do to the apostrophe. By trailing the apostrophe, it can not be mistaken as "individual is". I do this purposely; especially when wryting plays which are to be rehd aloud. Instead of having to read the entire sentence first; which slows things down. This enables the reader to recite the lines more quickly.

"due", intentionally misspelled again to further illustrate my point . . .

words are only combinations of letters with meaning attached to them. The meaning is all that matters. instead of focusing on grammar and spelling, you should try wryting a book to get ideas out to the public in an attempt to alter peoples' minds for the best interest of the planet.

all of you are worried about grammar and spelling . . . when the world has gone to hell. Nice to know where everyones priorities are . . .

bringing method to the madness since 1987 . . .

[(i edited the hell out of this post numerous times!)edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]

[edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 05:45 AM

Originally posted by machinegun_go_go
If we think back to the times when English was being influenced more by other languages there was equal unease with the language. Caxton himself spent years trying to standardise our language before eventually realising that it was never going to happen and realising that descriptivism was the way forward.

Yeah, the Merriam-Websters dictionary has a hard time keeping up & they're even computerized now.

Still, it's not impossible: The current Korean language was literally made up in one fell swoop to embrace efficiency & comprehension. Linguists have even taken efforts to create the Klingon & Vulcan languages (from Star Trek).

Heck, there's even a created international language already existing, known as Esperanto! Everybody who has already heard about Esperanto before now, raise your hands!
Not too many, I see...Well, if anyone is interested, here's a link where you can start to learn Esperanto. There you can get help in a large range of other languages.

Gee, why do you think that the idea of people learning an international language isn't more widely known than it is right now? Because it goes in with the agenda of enforced ignorance between people around the world...The NWO thrives on ignorance because it's the only thing that props up their illusion of control!

But still, the idea of creating an entire written language from scratch as if it had been "developing" all along is not really a new idea: From what I understand of Mesopotamia & Egypt, they've been actively conducting trade since at least 3250 BC. Even then, Mesopotamia may have developed their cuneiform maybe 100-200 years before Egypt had their hieroglyphs. Yet, I also think it's possible that, even though Egypt may have taken the concept of the written word from Mesopotamia, they had very quickly developed their own style very quickly & completely without any actual cuneiform "influence" over their style.

Originally posted by nj2day

no... I'm not ancient... Class of '99 here

I can also assure you that it was just as bad in my time too...Class of '79. Yeah, one of my life's ambitions was to be a dirty-minded old man...I got the "dirty-minded" part down pat real quick, but I've pretty much got the "old" part locked down too.

But even as early as grade-school reading classes, I was always way ahead of everybody else & my comprehension was very good. Even the teacher tried to get me to slow down...If I'd had the "dirty-minded" part back then, I'd maybe told her to "F" off & let me read at my own speed, "BIT.."

Teacher got some revenge though...On a test, she marked one of my answers wrong when the question clearly asked my opinion.

Sheesh! It's no wonder that American education system is so far down on the worldwide list!

Edited to add a bit about the Esperanto language that I'd forgotten earlier.

[edit on 26-10-2008 by MidnightDStroyer]

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 06:30 AM
I find terrible grammatical errors here. English grammar is dying a slow and painful death. Time to bring in the "Wren and Martin" grammar books that we used to pore over as kids with my mother...people need urgent grammar lessons! Please give them some lessons in spelling as well. *sigh*

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 06:40 AM
I think the evidence of dumbing down is not to be found only in bad grammar and spelling, but in bad logic and non-critical thinking. The notion of critical thinking is often bandied about by "debunkers", who use even worse logic to illustrate their so-called critical thinking. I appreciate that many people might not have English as first language, so it's the absurd logic that really strikes me.

At University I did a course in symbolic logic and propositional logic and it's always on my mind when reading posts. In symbolic logic you break an argument down into small chunks, almost like a maths statement. In exams, we would be given sets of statements and would have to write is out symbolically and determine if it was true or not. Note, "valid" or "logical" only means that based on the premise(s) the conclusion is valid.
For example, all humans have brains, John is a human, therefore John has a brain is logically valid. Whereas, some humans like pizza, John is a human, therefore John likes pizza, is not a valid argument. Neither is the argument some UFO videos are hoaxes, some UFO videos are filmed in Mexico, this UFO video was filmed in Mexico, therefore this UFO video is a hoax.

I wish more people on ATS were familiar with symbolic logic so that we could quickly point out when fallacious arguments are used. I believe that this kind of wolly thinking arises because people watch too much TV, where programs like History channel and Mythbusters use bad logic all the time.

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 06:47 AM

Originally posted by JPhish
i believe an individuals' intelligence should never be "called into question" do to grammatical errors.

This is currently most annoying to me.

"do to", "with all do respect". This really angers me. Have people stopped thinking about what they are saying? Do you not question yourself if a word you are using makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the sentence you have created?!

posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 06:50 AM
reply to post by triplesod

i already baited several people in this thread with my PURPOSELY misspelled and misused words. Even after i stated in my initial post that people use altered/poor grammar/spelling intentionally . . .

but nice work reading the whole thread and not regurgitating what others say.~

by the way, when i'm being sarcastic, i use little tildas . . .

i'd like to add that this thread is very beneficial to the world~

[edit on 10/26/2008 by JPhish]

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