Correcting people's English

@ElicBxn (60771)
United States
October 26, 2007 4:38pm CST
I was reading someone's post this morning and I had to go check & see where this person was from. I was surprised to find out that they live in the States so I assume they are native English speakers. I try to stem my desire to correct people when they make such a mess of the language that it is hard to understand them, and I do realize that there are many on mylot that are from other countries and English isn't their first language. I know I don't have a whole lot of skill with English grammar, more of an instinct for it as a native speaker rather than the education for it. But when someone makes such a muddle of their discussion that I'm wondering if they'd like some help, ONLY to discover that English is probably their first language it leaves me despairing for this country! What are they TEACHING people these days that they can get out of school with such poor skills? Or are they getting out of school? I know that the drop out rate seems to be on the rise, although that might just be because I know a few now. So, people who are not native speakers, don't be offended, I don't expect your English skills to be the same as a native speaker of the language. I sure can't speak what the rest of you are speaking at home! But let me ask, are you finding that young people today speaking your native language are making a mess of it? Do you find yourself wondering if the speaker is learning the language as a second language when you hear them speak or find something they've written? I hope I have not embarrassed the person who's discussion brought this to mind, that was not my intention. I have checked other people's profiles to find out if English is their native tongue, this is just the worst I've seen for someone who is located in the states.
6 people like this
17 responses
• Malaysia
27 Oct 07
Hi, ElicBxn. It could be the case that the person in question has newly migrated to the States from a foreign country and has just started learning the language. America accepts immigrants from all over the world.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
If you have read some of my responses, you will find that the post in question was about someone who had lived in a town for years, moved away & come back and other problems with family all living there. So I doubt that this is someone newly arrived in the States. But, like the considerateguy you are, you have to consider it. I did consider it, actually, went back & tried to re-read the post and got enough to know that this person, even if not born in the U.S. has lived here more than long enough to put together a reasonable sentence/discussion and, in this case, failed. Maybe they were angry, but even then they should try to post a coherent discussion.
• Malaysia
29 Oct 07
Well, there could be any number of reasons for the person's inability to communicate fluently. My background in psychology has taught me never to judge a book by its cover. Perhaps he is mentally unstable or was in a terrible hurry or just had a traumatic day. I will never know I guess until I personally meet him, which of is of course highly unlikely to happen.
@laurika (4536)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Elic, it doesn't really mean if you have in your profile USA you have to be native speaker.I am European living in USA and have it in my profile too.So it doesn't really mean you got all native speakers out there.but tell you the truth, I would like that, if someone would correct my english.because i would learn much faster that way and specially when people say it nice to you and not mean.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I think that if someone isn't a native speaker is probably less likely to take offence if I were to come across a discussion you started that didn't make much sense because of your grammer. I started this because I have every reason to believe, due to the fact that the person has lived many years in a small town, surrounded by lots of family, that they probably are native speakers. And, hun, your use of English seems pretty good, just a bit of work needs to be put in on the punctuation. We put 2 spaces after a period so we know a new sentence is started. We also tend to put articals before certain things. So specifically you sentence "I am European living in USA and have it in my profile too." would be: "I am (a) European living in (the) USA and have it in my profile too." BUT, having said that, the sentence was still perfectly understandable without the articals.
@laurika (4536)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Yeah this is what I have problems with, all those aricles.We don't have it in my language , so I am all the time confused if to used it and how to use it.
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I don't know about other countries but in the states, which is where I'm from, the english language seems to change with time. I find myself lost in it too when the young ones talk for it seems they have a language all their own. Even certain workers in certain jobs such as this one guy who told my parents the other day that he almost bought the farm. I was wondering what the heck? Come to find out, this guy is a truck driver and that he almost hit somebody in the rear end. Had he hit that person, he'd have had to pay out a lot of money. Well not him but his insurance company would have. So it's everywhere in the states. I don't know about any other country but I would imagine it would be the same. Maybe not.
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Ahhh. How interesting. Makes a person think and appreciate what the true meaning is. Thanks for telling me.
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I so agree with you. I too check peoples profile when I cant understand them. I know when I was going to school we had english and we were taught well. It might be different now its been so long since Ive been in school.LOL But I must say I do get frustriated when I see what a mess some people are making of it too. I have no desire to talk these people.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I just couldn't read all of this person's post because the English was so mangled! Of course, since they were talking about family problems & I can honestly say that my family was as nearly "Ozzy & Harriet" as you could have & still be a normal family that I'm not sure I could've really helped. Most of my knowlege about family problems come from "book learning" rather than real experience.
@izathewzia (5142)
• Philippines
27 Oct 07
It is also a problem here in our country. The quality of education is getting poorer. There are a lot of college graduates who canot communicate- speak and write- properly. They lack skills but they graduated with a degree. It made me wonder, how and why?
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Humm, I was going to say, "I'm glad to see the dumbing down isn't just affecting the U.S." but that sounds soooo bad. I'm actually sorry this "dumbing down" is happening, I'm sorry to see it affecting your country as well. I wish it wasn't happening to this country, but... well, a dumbed down population is easier to control AND The LIBERALS run the schools!
• India
27 Oct 07
i guess u r touching a very delicate topic dear..i understand ur frustration about native person not speaking/writing good english but u r forgetting the fact that America is a multi-cultural country so it is not necessary that if anybody is from Ameria means that they are the native of the land.in this world of globalisation people migrating to places is very common.and for them not speaking/writng good english is their problem.and u shud be proud that atleast they are attempting to learn an alien language.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Again, if the discussion hadn't mentioned long term living in an area of the U.S., I might've considered that this person was new to learning the language. AND, if this person had mentioned long term living in a part of the U.S. where another language rather than English might be more common (and I live in Texas so I'm not unaware of this) then I probably wouldn't have started this discussion. The fact is, that there certain mistakes made by someone that is learning the language as a 2nd or 5th language that were not in this person's discussion. No, these mistakes were the sort of things you find when someone just doesn't know how to write clearly, not trying to communicate in a non-native language. I'd bring over a quote from the discussion, but I don't want that person to become embarrassed by having others find it.
@Seraphine (385)
• Finland
27 Oct 07
I've often wondered what kind of language education people in English-speaking countries get, cause a lot of people from those countries that I've been in contact with have had horrible English, and many people from non-English countries have been able to write surprisingly well. English for me is my 3rd language, and strangely enough I constantly find myself having a much better grasp of the language than so many others who should know it better than me.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I agree. I think you are getting what I am trying to get across. And if I am complaining about someone's English skills when I have a language learning disablity, then you must understand how BAD this failure to communicate must be! I do have to spend some some time composing some sentences because I want them to make sense. Still I probably make more sense, because my education was from 40 yrs ago, then some young people today.
@Debs_place (10526)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I personally am ashamed of being an American when I see the literacy levels that Americans write at. Now I am not an English major and do not claim to be so, but some of what I see is awful. When I see the people that are from other countries, who are trying to learn a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or more language and their grammar and spelling is better then native Americans and then they apologize for their english or grammar, I am overwhelmed by their humility. I do get aggravated when I can't make heads or tails of an question or response.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
Thanks, Debs, this is what I mean. I don't expect the level of English in someone who isn't a native speaker to be the same as one who is. But I have found, here on mylot that many are superiour. Especially considering that this may be their 3rd, 4th or even 6th or more language. And, trust me, I know how difficult English is to learn since I've been associated with someone who has tried to teach others to speak it.
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
27 Oct 07
Everything, including people, and language, is continually evolving. The English Language evolved from a mixture of Latin, Greek, Northern European, French, and God knows what other ancient tongues. Its always been changing and it always will! Americans don't want to speak English, so they don't try to keep it pure. They try to Americanise it. They change spellings like Neighbour to Neighbor, Labour to Labor, and God Bless em!they enjoy doing it! Please do not belabour Americans because of their English language skills. Spanish Americans raise 5 kids to the English Americans 2, and in 50 years the United States will be a Spanish speaking country.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I don't really care if its pure or "correct", just understandable! When a post takes more than one read just to figure out what the person is trying to say, then they should really consider taking another look at what they are saying. I'm really not trying to make this person speak pure English. I sometimes feel like telling people that through (as in passing from one place to another) means one thing and is not threw (as in tossing something in the air.) But since I almost always use the abrevation "thru" instead of through and almost always use "tho" instead of "though" and "thot" instead of "thought." And no, I doubt we'll be a spanish speaking country in 50 years. In the 1880's they considered making the U.S. a german speaking one, but that failed too.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I really do understand what you're getting at and I'll get to that but first I have a question for you. It's just a question, I don't mean any offense. How can you tell just by looking at a person's profile what their native language is? I know people list where they currently live but that means nothing in terms of their native language. Just beause they live here now does not automatially mean English is their native language. They may have moved here a year ago for all you know. Now to address the issue of people mangling the language even though it really is their native language... It is a sad thing. But there are schools out there that are over crowded and under staffed and under funded who can not possibly keep track of every student's education. And there are also families and hildren who never stay put long enough for anyone to keep track of anything. Then there are also those who simply have the wrong environment and grow up not caring about their education.
@ElicBxn (60771)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I would agree, if the discussion hadn't implied that the person was with their family and in a town they had grown up in. I did consider that, really I did. As for moving around, again, I agree, but this person hadn't moved around, and I do know people that have & yet have NO problems with their language skills. I do think there might be some serious blame put on the family in this case, I have seen parents who seem to WANT their children to fail, so they won't be better than they are - people like that should've been fixed BEFORE being allowed to breed in MHO. I have seen it else where, my roomie's jerk she happened to be related to & the first female he had kids with are of that ilk. And, don't you know, the 2 elder failures are reproducing!
@KrisNY (7592)
• United States
12 Nov 07
To be honest, if I am reading a discussion that I cannot understand- I do not finish it. I have limited time here and I’m not wasting it trying to figure out what someone is trying to say. It does bother me when it’s written by people from the states. I am huge for correcting people regardless- I try not to. Certain people in my life speak awful. I try not to correct- but I think hey maybe they will get it and not make the mistake again.
• India
27 Oct 07
after joining myl;ot i have improved a lot on my typing skills and also a lot on my english.....i am able to type continuously without any break...before i used to think of a sentence before writing it down....but now the words flow very easily....thanks to mylot.....
• Singapore
27 Oct 07
LOL, this is funny and mightily interesting. It is often something I have wondered myself. Personally, I don't think it is a recent trend. It has been around for as long as I can remember - unless you belong to the colonial era (or should we consider it a recent trend... hmm...), it is not a given that you will speak/write your native language well. This, in fact, is not only for English. It applies to other languages as well. Looks like language just isn't everyone's cup of tea! :P
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
27 Oct 07
I know what you are talking about.You can usually tell when someone is not using proper english due to the fact they are not skilled in english, but i see some that are born and raised here using awful bad grammer...Im not talking about typo's i have done that myself,im talking about their english is so bad that you cannot even make out what they are saying.I do understand that you are not talking about those with limited skills due to language barriers..At least they are trying their best,but some of our own act as though they have never been in school long enough to learn to talk right...
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
26 Oct 07
I cannot understand it either. When I went to school, we had drills, and spelling tests, we read good books, were exposed to good literature, and we learned a combination of phonics and sight. Later on they abandoned the phonics, so my stepsister in the 1960s had difficulty in language class. Now it seems that it is how it sounds like and not how it is written. I find the young people with all those text short cuts are making a mess of the English language and did you notice those in online businesses are spelling receive, recieve instead?
@xboxboy (5578)
26 Oct 07
i agree. i am 16 and understand where you are coming from. even the general knowledge of some folk is incredulous! i am not going to criticise to much as i know my spelling is not the best but yes, you do wonder! (maybe they put the US in thier details because they think it will increase thier friend?)
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
26 Oct 07
I'm often surprised too Elic...I sometimes have a really hard time trying to decipher someone's post and like you I check out the person's profile to find out where they are from....so yes, it's understandable if they come from a country where the first language quite obviously isn't English, but I am amazed when it's a person who is from America...could it be though that maybe they're foreign born though themselves and don't have a great command of the language even though they live here? I know a neighbor who is from a Spanish-speaking country but has lived in our building for over ten years...can hardly speak a word of English and no doubt can't write it well either Now you got me curious who the person is though..LOL