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Il était une fois la grammaire


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, punctuation had a mission: giving sense to our discourse.

Believe it or not, there was a time when semi-colons and colons were not only used to represent smiley faces such as ; ) or : ).

As mobile phones and social networks gain popularity, people, especially those aged 25 and under, tend to neglect grammar. Their goal is to type as fast as possible and say as much as possible with a limited number of characters. That can be explained by the fact that text messages used to be charged by the character, and in addition, some social networks (such as Twitter) have a 140 character limit for each post. Some people would rather say it all in one go, instead of using #PT and #NT references.

As a consequence, text message style writing went from a bad habit to a fully integrated reflex, slowly but surely jeopardizing our elementary school teachers’ efforts in grammar.

As you open up your Facebook home page, you will notice that some of your friends – depending on their age – write the words just as they pronounce them. They will eventually forget about basic grammar and spelling rules. The difference between possessives and conjugated verbs is the mistake they more commonly make, urging the reader to throw a dictionary at their face.

However, the most important issue of all is the fact that teachers on a wider scale have to put up with this, and now try to fix it.

Hopefully there are still some people out there who are fond of languages and grammar, and who do highlight some of the mistakes online. They are given a rather patronizing nickname: “grammar-Nazis”. Hear, I mean, here is a definition of “grammar-Nazi” as found in the Urban Dictionary:

A grammar-Nazi is a person who’s strict about the use of words, improper spelling of words, and when and where there should be commas, apostrophes, and what not. They are the geeks of literature and think they are the guardians of language. They proclaim themselves to be some of the most intelligent beings ‘proven’ by the fact that ‘people with higher vocabularies and proper spelling have average higher IQ scores’ and other unfounded proclamations.
It is known that some of the most genius men in history were poor spellers. In fact, Albert Einstein was such a horrible speller, he was thought to be mentally retarded early in his life.”

No other comment on my side…

Oumou C.


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