Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More about ignorance

Yesterday's ignorance [mine] was alleviated by some helpful readers of my blog. Today I came face-to-face with an example of ignorance that has me muttering in consternation.

Several weeks about I was interviewed by a young woman [not SO young, she is in her early 30s], a nursing student at the community college. The psychology teacher had her students interview older people. A good idea. The students transcribed their recordings. I worked as a professional transcriber for over 25 years so I know it can be difficult to catch just what is said [but much less difficult if you were the interviewer]. This young woman seemed generally bright enough, a bit awkward as an interviewer but then it's not a familiar position for most people. She was friendly and thoughtful toward me.

The transcript is a mind boggling mess bordering on illiterate. In a half page of single spaced typescript [supposedly a paragraph] the words run on with out a period, comma, capital letter or any other punctuation. Apparently the homonym there/their/they're are all the same and may be spelled any of those ways without regard to meaning. Apostrophes do not exist in either contractions of possessives, know and now and no are interchangeable -- those are only the immediately noticeable problems. Some parts are impossibly garbled and proper names of places are neither capitalized nor spelled correctly. At a few points I cease being June and become Jean.

This makes me worry about young people today. On an Internet social site I frequent I find young women from college students up into thirties, maybe forties, who also don't know their/there/they're or two/to/too or other very common, and easily spelled words. Granted punctuation can be problematic [that's why the Word program has a grammar check function] but surely students must learn early in their schooling that sentences exist and are denoted with capitals at the beginning and periods at the end. Woe is me! Is writing in general going to hell in hand basket? Didn't this girl ever have to write assignments in school? Will anybody teach college students at least what a sentence looks like on the page?


Kass said...

I've encountered the same thing. It boggles the mind. Are we losing language and meaning?

Marie aka Grams said...

Perhaps it is because of all of the shortcuts involved with texting. Anything to hurry and be brief, with no pre-meditation. In our computer literate age, we have lost our ability to be people literate or english literate....maybe.