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posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 07:56 AM
Is it just me, or has the general public completely given up on having a vocabulary exceeding that of a 9-year-old? Now, I'm going to admit, I have a love for words and so my SPECIFIC use of words may seem a little strange in some cases. However; I can't hold a decent conversation with a person anymore without being stopped 900 times a sentence to be asked what the words I am using mean!

The other day I was talking to a couple of friends and I was stopped at least 15 times during a discussion that should have lasted about 10 minutes had I not been stopped. These are the words I remember having to explain:


And it's not just in regular conversation either. I can't stand the way people talk on the internet! Why is the web an excuse to pretend like you have little to no IQ at all? I don't really mind when people use things like "LOL" or "ROFL" or any of the regular abbreviations, but what bothers me are the "LAWLZ", "LOLZ", "LOXORZ", "ROFFLE" and the other "misspellings" of abbreviated phrases. What the hell is that about!?

Could someone explain to me just what the concept is behind 20 exclamation points coming after a phrase and having a random group of 1's in there like this:
OMG I HAXXORED YOUZ!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!1!!!

More importantly: why is it acceptable to place random x's in the middle of a word?

Or even more importantly- what is the benefit of typing like this:
WhAt TiMe ArE wE gOnNa LeAvE?

Why are there alternating caps?

The most hated of all? Oh well that would just have to be when people SAY "lol" to me in a (expletive) conversation rather than just laughing! Are you retarded? Do you even remember what "lol" means and why it's used? I've actually had people speak "XD" to me. That's a (expletive:swear
EMOTICON! Who's idea was it to start SPEAKING emoticons? Because if I ever find that person, I am going to kick their ass.

What exactly do these people MEAN when they say "ROFL" to you in person? And, you know what? It takes the same amount of time to SAY "brb" as it does to say the words "be right back".

What is the matter with people?


posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 11:11 AM
Well, the trend towards indulging one's time in the various electronic media available to us all had led many (most?) to abandon actual reading. This results in decreased understanding of not only vocabulary, but spelling, grammar, and comprehension as well. It's a kind of dumbing down that our society has been succumbing to, and the scariest part is that now entire generations have been raised to adopt this new form of expression and the resulting intellectual lameness as acceptable communication.

Sad, really.

Believe me, I'm feeling it with you.

posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 11:24 AM
reply to post by martalen

Oh don't even get me started on reading in general! I like reading and find it to be a nice use of my time, often carrying a book with me to read in moments of spare time. Now, for the longest time, I can't talk about books in public or dare ask someone if they read something. The most common answer I get it "I don't read, that's for losers".

I can't stand it! Someone came up to me in a LIBRARY and asked me what I was doing reading there! Really? In a library? This person said "people don't read here, you just come here for computers".

The result of this is that I have been pushed to online forums dedicated to specific authors or books just so that I can have a conversation that doesn't include the words "I have a big screen TV, I don't read".

posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 12:47 PM
I personally developed my skill at having two levels of conversation....

Now my mom's a smart lady, but not well educated, so I tend to avoid more esoteric words when speaking with her... Same thing for someone I appraise as having a lower education... I don't call attention to it, just a subtle mental shift.

Of course, I slip up now and then, and blurt out something I'll have to define, but for the most part, I do ok with the self-censorship (a lot like never cussing in front of your parents...I was brought up not to do it, and to this day, I've only done so accidentally). When I do slip, my mom thinks I'm trying to sound smart... I just prefer to keep her in the dark, so as not to make her feel dumb...because she isn't, just not that well-read...

I have a big screen too, but even the biggest and sharpest screen cannot compare to the canvas of your imagination as you picture a story unfold while reading a book... Nonreaders just don't get that. Personally, there's always a book I'm reading on lunch breaks, when waiting for something, etc.

posted on Jan, 15 2009 @ 03:26 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

I can understand shifting to a different "set" of vocabulary norms for different people, do it quite often myself...especially when swearing is involved

But I will never...not EVER start using things like "LAWLZ" in every day speech instead of just laughing. That infuriates me.

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 04:11 PM
I, too will shift my vocabulary accordingly.
And since my current job is working w/kids, I need to shift my speech mannerisms on the "cuss" words as well. In return, I get to hear 14yr olds say: "That's my BFFL ('biffle')!" I just gotta hope that I really am detecting a joking tone, and that maybe there's hope for them.

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 10:39 AM
Hope springs eternal my friend. Real words hold no meaning anymore apparently. Neither do commas or periods or capital letters. And apparently it's a-ok to place twenty exclamation points at the end of a sentence...and hell throw a couple of 1's in there while you're at it!

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 01:56 PM
Schools see a lot of children writing essays as if they were emailing their friends, full of lol and such. What do they do to correct this? Nothing at all. I heard they want to start bending the rules and accepting this sort of writing as the norm instead of fixing it. Hooray for lol being a word in the dictionary! Probably.

Well I spose language is always evolving, both written and spoken. Look how the English is in the US now compared to the UK.

I wonder if earlier generations were equally annoyed by our parents grammar. The "dumbing down" has been going on for a long time.

posted on Jan, 17 2009 @ 05:13 PM

Originally posted by Sara1
Schools see a lot of children writing essays as if they were emailing their friends, full of lol and such. What do they do to correct this? Nothing at all. I heard they want to start bending the rules and accepting this sort of writing as the norm instead of fixing it. Hooray for lol being a word in the dictionary! Probably.

Well I spose language is always evolving, both written and spoken. Look how the English is in the US now compared to the UK.

I wonder if earlier generations were equally annoyed by our parents grammar. The "dumbing down" has been going on for a long time.

If that's true that is very sad to know. If this keeps up then the English dictionary will need some serious revision. Sounds to me there won't be any future journalists, writers, or anything that deals with real language.

Maybe they'll be some serious Hell to pay for that. America will be reduced to dribbling morons in no time. :shk:

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 01:20 PM
reply to post by TasteTheMagick

One thing I try to do is crossword and other puzzles. They keep my mind alert, and sometimes you learn new words. They also make me use the dictionary, and that is never a bad thing.

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 02:27 PM

Very interesting topic you are musing upon here. For I too have noticed the trend line on vocabulary.

As the old man taught me some years ago, peoples vocabulary today consists of some 1000 to 1200 words and most of them four letter words.
At first I was incredulous at this revelation by the old man but over time I came to realize he was correct. Our language capabilities for many of us are at a newspaper level or below.

Our thinking, our vocabulary, our very emotions today have become peer group, television/movie thinking, television/movie vocabulary, Television/movie emotions. And now for the final insult has degenerated to computer/movie/television all of the above.
It seems we are being hijacked.

The old man taught me to go find books which are at least 100 years old. I was astonished to find the extent of the vocabulary of the people writing books in those days. What he told me was that of the people back then who could read and write, it was not uncommon for a person to have a vocabulary of some 4,000 to 4,500 words and know what they meant and not all of them four letter words. This became obvious when I found these aged books. I now have some of them in my personal library.

I too like to read when I have time..both at work and at home. The problem is finding decent material of which to read. I am currently struggling my way through Milton's "Paradise Lost." I will admit even his writing style troubles my patience.
However..I have recently given up on Fredrick Nietzsche and his "Genealogy of Morals." Something about his writing style I found to be inert...dead. A matter of personal taste.

Nonetheless, it is finding good material and the time to read it which is the problem now days. Lots of stuff out there to read. Much of it is in the four letter word arena.

When one learns to enjoy eventually directs ones time and energies into something which will benefit them. The vocabulary will soon follow if one is of any fortitude outside of "instant gratification." For good reading and reading skills are anything but instant gratification. Nor is putting the learning from such reading to use...instant gratification.

Being a watcher ..from computer skills as well as television/movie skills more along the lines of instant gratification. The fingerprint of vocabulary skills testifies to this religion of instant gratification.

Taste The are witnessing the fruits of a religion surrounding you. It is not accidental but deliberate. For reading, comprehension, and putting the fruits of this reading comprehension to work for ones benefit is a discipline. Watching is not discipline. Watching is often nothing more than wildlife.




without thinking-Amusement.

Amusement is something fed to us to prevent thinking. Thinking is difficult as is developing substantial vocabulary skills.

It is all around us TasteTheMagick. Some of these peoples are becoming our leaders today. Perish the thought!!


[edit on 18-1-2009 by orangetom1999]

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 06:31 PM
Sara1: It's sad that the school systems could even consider allowing this! I just got out of high school last year and we were always told that writing any kind of "txt speak" was not allowed in our papers. I remember my classmates would complain, but I really don't think that things like that should become part of a working vocabulary. I understand that language evolves, but this kind of thing isn't evolution, it's linguistic inbreeding.

Ronnie K.: Don't worry about those language jobs there. I know that there are, at least, a few people that still care enough about their dreams of writing novels and news exposés to keep their vocabularies from deteriorating.

orangetom1999: You contributed a fantastic post. I think you really hit on with everything that I was thinking when I started the thread. I have some suggestions for you, and while they're nowhere near the 100 year mark, they are great.

Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace
Against the Day- Thomas Pynchon
House of Leaves- Mark Z. Danielewski

posted on Jan, 18 2009 @ 07:14 PM
reply to post by TasteTheMagick


Thanks for the reply. Very interesting book selection you offered in your post.

I looked them up on the web and these titles give rise to a question I am want to ask you and hope I am not being indiscreet in the asking.

Are you familiar with Occult Principles and patterns. By this I mean what is not obvious to the untrained eye or soul if you like. The patterns, the paradigms. Solving the patterns..the paradigm. To be able to see that which is not seen by the naked or ordinary eye??
The mention of colours in House of Leaves caused or hinted at this principle/pattern though it was reflected in the other books in a different manner.

Hope my question is not indiscreet. If so my apologies in advance.

I would like to add that in reference to the comments on one of the books you mentioned, that mathematics and geometry themselves are indeed a language. A language with definite rules and structures defining their usage. Communication can be done using numbers and number groups and even symbols and shapes in geometry. If you do not obey the rules and disciplines, communications or miscommunication will take place. It is the same with the discipline of the written language. These are all written languages which can be used do describe an idea, a concept, a result, or goal outside of our individual experiences and knowledge's. We can, one to another, communicate in this manner. It is just a matter of having the discipline/disciplines.


[edit on 18-1-2009 by orangetom1999]

posted on Jan, 19 2009 @ 08:51 AM
I'm with you here, the most irritating thing about the people that surround me is their vocabulary, I constantly have to 'dumb down' conversations when other people walk into the room. I got my friend into reading; we are both interested in informative/action novels. (Not those stupid little 100 page things, try 700-800) You know, the type where there are real places, logical events and multi-lingual puzzles, but a fictional plot? Take a look at Matthew Reilly if you're interested...

To get myself back on topic, personally I hate it when people say things like 'I dun this thing where I...' Dun is NOT a word!

I can tolerate the odd mishap but seriously saying dun instead of did or srs instead of serious is just annoying. If I was talking to someone in person instead of over the internet and they said 'BRB' or 'lol' they would get a clap on the back of the head.

Dumbing down conversations is the only way to avoid the 'What does that mean?' and 'Why are you speaking like that? You trying to sound smart?' reactions, it isn't trying to sound smart, it is just being smart enough to use words over four letters!

I read a lot, and have written a few stories for fun, which are somewhere in the ATS archives. The only time I don't want to read is when I have one or two chapters left in a book and don't want to finish it so I have time to buy another. Most kids I know are great at math and poor at English, I am the opposite, although I think being good at either is great and can get you into high places, I would rather excel in language than math. People will say that math can help you more in life, but I still think lingual skills are important.

I am not some old man who thinks that 'technology is killing our culture', not that I have anything at all against the elderly, I think the only time I don't dumb myself down is when I am speaking to an aged man or woman. I am fourteen, and [I]I[/I] think that speech is depleting in quality, I have read some of my brother's text messages and the largest word I have seen that was not abbreviated was someone's name, I have a phone but I don't use it, it is more of an 'I missed the bus' thing than a form of communication, I hate the thing and I think it is what dumbs people down.

Basically, you will just have to bear it and express your knowledge and love for language in fun and more creative ways, try writing your own stories or poems, it works for me. Also, ATS/BTS are great when you are looking for intelligent people who can hold a conversation for over five posts/minutes.

Well, I could go for a while but I think I’ll stop here...

Edit: Just to point out, I find a lack in grammatical skills more irritating than a shortened vocabulary.


[edit on 19/1/2009 by roswell1]

posted on Jan, 19 2009 @ 02:35 PM
reply to post by roswell1


Very interesting post for one so young. Well stated.

This awareness of the vocabulary of peoples has caused me to look closer at people in certain settings.

For example I watch women at the stores for what they purchase, what they purchase to read and ask myself the difference in them as individuals.
How they act or conduct themselves or don't act or conduct themselves.
I also watch their children and how they act or don't act as well.

Same thing with the men. What they read or don't read...what comes out of their mouths or not comes out. How they conduct themselves or don't conduct themselves. Also how they act or react around children or their children. Same thing as the women.

Most of the males I know, when they read a newspaper, tend first to turn to the sports page. This is the portion of the newspaper I first discard. Little interest in it.

These are little tell tale things about how a person thinks or does not think. Vocabulary has to do with the ability of a person to think and or communicate this thinking/value system to others.

I understand the concept that there are certain words and even abbreviations pertaining to certain fields or certain diciplines. Most outside of these fields/diciplines would not understand these cue words or abbreviations. It is so in the world of Ham Radio operators to which I also belong. I tend not to use these words or abbreviations outside of this arena.
Same with our occupations. Certain words are pertinent to our occupations especially if we must use language to give a proper turnover to an oncoming shift. If one is not precise and accurate, much can be lost in the turnover. Language abilities can be critical here, particularly in a highly technical job. The medical field is a textbook example where accurate patient turnovers and documentation is critical. We can easily be talking life and death here.

I too do not think it is technology which is killing our culture. For technology has made our lives easier, more comfortable, and our labors less strenuous.
I do think that some of us take technology for granted to the point where we would not know how to function without it. This to me is a symptom of being dumbed down to where we would not know how to function without technology. We do not have the thinking or analytical abilities to function without much of it.

I agree with what you have stated Roswell1 in that we will have to bear it. What I do is look carefully in my observations of people. I look for those with potential to comprehend the ideas we are discussing here. I work quietly to plant a seed of such a concept as we are discussing and then watch for signs it has taken root. That these people can comprehend and build on the seed I have carefully planted.

I have stated this before in other ATS/BTS posts and have planted this very seed in the minds of several young peoples who have potential. I asked them how many people do they know personally who cannot describe a concept, and idea, a moral quality outside of some movie or television program they have seen. Have they noticed that many of these people have television/movie thinking, television/movie values, television/movie emotions. They have no real original thinking of their own. They obviously live second hand lives. They are on a drug and don't even realize it. They are running a program. They are like a xerox punch in 50 and get 50 copies of the same stamped out thinking ..through a movie/television prism. In like manner to lacking vocabulary skills, this too cannot be accidental.

And we wonder how far this goes with vocabulary. We wonder why we are confronted with so many "drama queens " around us daily.

Find out for yourselves how many of these drama queen, second hand types have an extensive vocabulary.

Well, I am running down rabid trails here.

Good Roswell1 that you are working on your vocabulary and grammar skills. My grammar is horrible but I do like to read. English and math were not my forte in school. History was more to my liking.
Over my years I have begrudgingly been forced to make friends with math as it has unceremoniously returned to bite me on the backside when I was the least prepared. And in like manner I have come to begrudgingly respect math as a definite language skill.

Keep up the good work on your vocabulary skills. Look for people in whom you can plant seeds of ideas ..including the necessity of good and extensive vocabulary. It will reap rewards for all of us in the long run.
Teach others to recognize this trait of vocabulary in others and themselves plant the seeds.

I was in court the other day giving testimony. I was astonished as to how many people appear before a judge and use language at a newspaper level or lower. Poor language skills is a clue and cue as to credibility of a witness. A lawyer in a predatory manner will pick up on this and come in quickly for the attack if they detect a weakness. Something to think about in the nature of vocabulary.

A person who has a good grasp of vocabulary has the basics to extend their diciplines well beyond the point of merely becoming "wildlife in its natural habitat." Much more than a xerox copy of what we see surrounding us daily. Vocabulary is the key to further diciplines in life. It has the potential, properly used, to separate us from the wildlife out here.

The tell tale proof of this is that in times past an educated person would be asked " in what discipline did you major or in what field were you educated?" One hardly hears this expression or concept nowadays. It becomes obvious that many peoples today with degrees are not all that educated..especially in basic vocabulary.

I remember watching an interview with Bebe Netanyahu where he was speaking English and in describing the workings of the Israeli parliament. He used the expression that the parliament was "reticent" to act on a certain issue. Wow!! Ive never heard our leaders use such a word. What is the matter with our politicians?? Most of our leaders fall way short of such language abilities. I salute Bebe for this skill.

Thanks to all for their posts on this topic,

posted on Jan, 19 2009 @ 04:13 PM
I know what all those words mean ^_^
I always try to use decent vocabulary on ATS, which isn't hard, as my vocabulary is pretty decent all the time.
Probably because I had to memorize all those definitions for standardized tests.
I do use "lol" though, because it looks better than using "Hahahahahahahaha"

posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:21 PM
I don't mind when people use the abbreviations while discussing something over the internet. I only find it annoying when "LOL" moves into face to face conversation. I don't think most people actually remember the words they have to memorize for the standardized tests, probably because they don't really care enough to learn the words themselves. I think it's really become more of a, "what is the least amount of work I can do for the most credit?" type of thing. It's rare to find someone with an interest in the possibilities of language anymore.

You sound a lot like myself four years ago; I wouldn't expect many changes in the way people use the word "dun", I've found that to be quite an annoyance myself. Well that, and the use of the word "fixin'", I despise that word. I'm definitely going to check out Matthew Reilly, you sparked my interest with that one. I write independently in much of my free time and I've put some of it up on the internet in various places, but I'm one of those people that criticizes themselves so harshly that I really don't think any of my own stuff is good.

posted on Jan, 23 2009 @ 11:14 PM
Taste The Magic and Roswell1,

I will give you an example of Occult thinking performance and behavior in line with vocabulary and which is carefully hidden and often right in front of us daily.

I use this illustration because our vocabulary can effect our ability to solve daily problems. I have used this example several times in the last six months here on ATS/BTS to show thinking patterns/thinking awareness.

How many people do you know who tend to use examples from some movie they have watched or a television program to describe a moral idea or precept. To describe some concept of value. Their thinking is movie/television thinking, movie television emotions. They have no real experience themselves outside of what they pick up in movies and television. They live second hand/vicarious lives and are not even aware of it. Even their vocabulary follows suit.

Would it be possible to lead a people around on a string like puppets if they don't have much of an education. Their primary source of education is television and peer group. Would this be possible in an education system financed by a body politic who also promote this trend and are themselves so obviously in bed with Hollywood and television.
Is a lot of public education today ..a television/movie education??

Do you know any of these people I am describing who have second hand values and thinking?? Are many of them the politicians and leaders of today??

Would the body financing public education want us dumbed down such that we are more easily controllable and dependent on them...not ourselves?? Would for such a concept to take place over many years needs be an occult concept and practice?? Hidden/concealed/esoteric from those it intends to control?? Is politics in fact Occult??

One facet of words and vocabulary I enjoy, when I have the time, is looking up the etymology of words. How they came into being from the olde languages. I was surprised to run across the Latin word "impedimenta" as meaning baggage. I suppose the world impediment can be construed as baggage and thus holding us back.
There are numerous others of course and this is also how I ran across the breakdown of the word Amuse or Amusement. This too was an eye opener. In observing peoples I've had numerous occasions for the etymology of the word Amuse/Amusement to be reinforced.

Roswell1, I too do not think technology is killing our culture. I think basic human nature is killing our culture. I have nothing against technology but technology is not an excuse to stop learning. Do not become to dependent on technology. Learn to do things the olde manual way if necessary.
I keep a two way radio around with a morse code keyer for emergencies if necessary. I taught myself to use it if needed. I can do this with a flashlight as well. I keep one around with the olde push button switch on it for morse code. I even know how to build my own antennas if needed.

I want to point out something to you two here and hope I am not stepping out of line.

For those of us who of our jobs..or tasks for the future is to look for others out here among the "wildlife " of this world. Others with potential to understand these concepts of which we speak. To carefully seek them out and measure for potential. To plant a seed and see if they understand the relationship of vocabulary and words to the ability to formulate thinking and thinking in complex dimensions, outside the box so to speak.
Or are most of them out here Instant Gratification types??
You are looking for the square peg in the round hole who can grasp such concepts, such relationships, such puzzle solving abilities. The ability to think and express oneself outside the box of four letter words, four letter vocabulary, four letter emotions.
You become a farmer and plant seeds against next years crop, next years harvest, or even a harvest several years down the road.
I can assure you that such an investment is anything but instant gratification as is anything of real value out here in this world.

I have taught this concept of people describing the values of their lives by a movie or television program they have watched to a couple of peoples I know and have measured for their thinking abilities. They have returned to me over the last few months and told me of how often they hear people following this very pattern now that it has been shown to them. Soon enough I will stress to them the thinking from the view of vocabulary and tie this in to the first pattern concerning vicarious lives.

Oh and for you, TasteTheMagick, reading is not for losers. Not at all. Reading is for winners. A good vocabulary too is for winners. When you get into areas where professional peoples preside the absence of vocabulary skills is very telling as is someone who can use something other than four letter words. When you have to do public speech and lesson presentations it shows very rapidly what level of vocabulary one has. Is this not sometimes called Power Point?? I may have this in error as I am not all that computer literate but still learning. I will soon be taking a class on this kind of presentation combined with public speaking.
Nonetheless computer presentations along with speaking/teaching seem to be much in use today. We use this format often in giving briefings to different crews.

I hope this offers some food for thought.

Thanks to all for their posts,

[edit on 23-1-2009 by orangetom1999]

posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 10:35 AM

I am fourteen, and [I]I[/I] think that speech is depleting in quality, I have read some of my brother's text messages and the largest word I have seen that was not abbreviated was someone's name, I have a phone but I don't use it, it is more of an 'I missed the bus' thing than a form of communication, I hate the thing and I think it is what dumbs people down.

Your lingual function through the typing utensil is highly advanced. Speaking of the matter of which people are only good at Mathematics, or the English language, I have found the truth of the matter about myself. I am supremely distinguished in both localities.

But seriously, people in the real world simply don't care about speaking in proper English. I mean, done and 'dun' mean the same thing, correct? Doesn't exactly give them anything to gain by saying it either way, does it? Only difference is, the word 'dun' is more casual to them, more 'real' to them, why? Because this improper English points to a greater issue with society, people are too caught up in the latest gadgets and gizmos, their minds are saturated with advertisements and this materialistic, consumer world. The poor language we are discussing is merely a side effect.

As for books, I don't need books. We need PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC PAPERS, DAMMIT (Or similar). It's where Science, Mathematics, and English come together. You know, crap like this.

[edit on 25/1/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:32 PM
Well I agree with the alternating caps. Its actually really annoying.

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