Friday, October 30, 2015

English Usage, Choice of Words, Phoniness, and Returning Home



I took an online quiz that purported (NOT purposed, as a Duggar would say) to discern my age by the way I supposedly speak. The closest approximation of how a person talks that could be gleaned from such a source would probably be accomplished by allowing some search engine to scan one's twitter account or some similar source. There are obviously flaws in such a method, as how one speaks and how one writes, even for twitter, are often quite different. In my particular case, my writing doesn't differ from my manner of speech in a dramatic fashion except for the noticeable lack of typographical errors in my oral communications. In written communications that matter, such as in written assignments for school, emails to professors and advisors, and in similar missives, I proofread before I send. In my blog and in tweets, I sometimes figuratively tell typographical accuracy and the usage police who point out errors in such to go to hell. 

What the quiz did was to take the answers I gave regarding which words from a highly finite  selection I would use and to make a generalization based on my self-report. I was relatively honest, or at least as honest as I could be when, in most cases, none of the choices offered were words I would actually use. I was forced to choose in most case between trite words and phrases and to designate which were least offensive to my ears. 

In some cases people would give false answers either to sound more educated or, I suspect, in  truly sad cases. to sound younger than they actually are. I don't think anyone I would count among my friends, no matter what his or her age might be, could be justly accused of such a thing.

All of this notwithstanding, the computer-generated scorer of the quiz guessed my age at twenty-five. I'm comfortable with that. I do not need a computer to tell me that I'm younger than my chronological age.

I'm home for the very first time since starting school in late August. I chose this weekend to return home because A) it's my Godchild's birthday and B) my uncle chartered a private plane for his son to fly home and back, so I rode along for free. My bed i my condo at school is equally comfortable as is my bed in my parents' home, but there's something extra comforting about my room at home. I'm glad I'm not here every night and I'm grateful for the space going to school hundreds of miles away affords me, but still it's nice to be here for three nights.

Some people of both genders are obsessed with perpetuating the illusion of youth.

12 comments:

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    1. It's short as vacations go, but I WILL enjoy it.

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    2. I don't think that I told you this but I love it every time you reply to me. So how do I feel when you reply to me? I feel like I won the million dollar lottery. Really!

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  4. My dear brilliant friend fell into alcoholism. For the last 5 years of her life she sat at home and drank and surfed the net policing others' grammar. (Her mom was an English teacher.)

    In alcoholic dementia - Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome - language skills are the last thing to go. I think of her attempt to impose grammatical order on the internet, having lost control of everything else, when I read those snarky "grammar police" comments. I wonder how many are in her same condition.

    la perla

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    1. la perla,

      That's an incredibly interesting perspective. From now on I'll wonder that, too, whenever i read a Grammar Nazi comment.

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  5. I am a pretty good proofreader and errors usually jump out at me. Except my own, of course. Turning into an alcoholic grammar Nazi sounds like an interesting way to spend some of my retirement should I be lucky enough to actually retire.

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    1. Jono, I think you should go for it. I will follow your proofreading Nazi career with much enjoyment.

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  6. Enjoy your weekend home, since breaks are seemingly far and few between these days. And Happy Birthday to Andrew!

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    1. Becca,

      I didn't bring any materials at all so it would be tough for me to study even if I tried, which I don't plan to do. I'm going through a bit of withdrawal but it's OK. Friends are here both from school and not from school. Jared came home for Andrew's birthday, too. He's probably less than 40 miles from me but we never travel the distance to see each other because we're both always studying. Matthew's been to see him once, but I last saw him when I was buying my new violin in the city.

      Andrew had a great birthday party and didn't cry once through the whole thing. His baby sister made up for it by crying almost anytime anyone looked at her. She does not have Andrew's easy-going personality. My dad says she's just like I was at her age.

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