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Modest Proposal for Improving the English Language

The most obvious way to improve the English language is to make spelling and pronunciation agree with each other. Isn't that the whole point in having an alphabet?

The old excuse used to be, "But new readers won't be able to read the books published some time ago." But eventually that excuse will be obsolete, as information becomes stored digitally. 

But a more timely complaint for me is the difficulty in understanding people's questions on internet discussion forums.  Is English the poster's third language? Or maybe they just don't know how to type.

Actually, most confusion is due to one syndrome: they ask a question in sentence #1, which has three or four nouns in it. Then sentence #2 refers to "it".  It what? The reader can't tell which noun in sentence #1 the pronoun in sentence #2 is referring to. It becomes a reinvention of Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on first?" comedy routine.

Why does it even use them? Perhaps that sentence would have been clearer if it had said, "Why does the English language even have pronouns?" Is it really that laborious to type out the noun?  

Pronouns are just a type of abbreviation. It is my contention that 95% of abbreviations are injurious to two people understanding each other. But, you say, we want to make communication concise. Indeed we do, but there are many other ways to do that, such as eliminating digressions, dumb jokes, or bullshit in general.

I'm not sure of the best way to eliminate this scourge. But since public discussion forums have a fair bit of software to them, why don't they offer the capability of underlining pronouns when doing your spell-checking? A little balloon could remind you to use a noun. 

Or maybe the moderator should just block the post or comment. 

Perhaps Verizon should charge customers by the number of pronouns they use, instead of gigabytes of data. 

And don't even get me started on the current fashion of eliminating commas that are needed to delineate clauses. Come to think of it, that is just one more example of the disease of abbreviation.

Comments

  1. The other abbreviation fashion that rubs me the wrong way are the e e cummings & t s eliot wannabes. Typing without using Capital Letters is a sign if intellectualism, or something. I hate 'it'. HA

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  2. Like you I dislike writing that flouts the conventions of spelling, punctuation, etc. But non-capitalization is more a form of leveling and informality than of abbreviation.

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  3. Encourage patents to take their children out of Government controlled schools before they are completely dumbed down.

    Stop following the Government food pyramiad.

    Return children to traditional foods and one room school rooms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be more interesting to look at things in the world, and leave politics out of it.

      Delete

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