If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Fall of the Grammar Empire

I'm going to release my inner curmudgeon for a moment here and complain about the state of our language.

I know that I’m not alone in being bothered by this, and as a writer I’m sure we’re more worried about this than, say, an ad executive, but this is something that affects all of us, not to mention future generations.  We already have people who don’t pronounce the “r” in February, or those who use “of” instead of “have” alongside “could,” “should,” or “would” because that’s how the contractions sound when spoken.  But we need to teach current and future generations the proper spellings and usage of these words, or our language will morph into something completely unrecognizable.

I have a friend who teaches English as a second language over in China.  He's been doing this for nearly 10 years now.  Yet every time he sends me an email, there's very little punctuation, and none of his sentences (or proper nouns) are capitalized.  It's like reading a long letter written by e.e. cummings.  It bothers me that someone who's teaching English to others doesn't use it properly himself.

It bothers me even more to see the many misspellings and lack of proper punctuation used on Facebook.  In this new age of laziness, it's one of the things that has gone by the wayside.  People don't seem to want to "waste" an extra two seconds to type an apostrophe in their contractions when they're texting people or sharing something through social media that they think is funny. 

Thank you, Dan Thompson, for helping me
make my point. (Hint: look at the contractions.)

Sometimes they even omit letters altogether in order to get their text or Tweet out faster, or worse, turn everything into an acronym.  I will admit that I've used OMG (Oh My God) or IMO (In My Opinion) everyone once in a while myself, so I can't complain about those too much, but you should see the “accepted” list of acronyms and shortcuts.  I've even actually heard young kids SAY "OMG" in conversation.  Honestly?  The average human speaks 120-150 words per minute.  Have we become so lazy that we feel the need to shorten our speech that much?!

It’s also come to my attention that some schools aren't teaching kids cursive (I think it was called script before my time).  And when I've commented on my step daughter's spelling, she's said on a couple occasions that her school doesn't care about spelling too much.  Hearing that nearly sends me into an apoplectic fit.  Maybe spelling was a bigger deal in my household than most, but I just don't think a nine year old should have trouble spelling "Daddy."

As I've written before, I'm a fan of shortcuts, so I can understand the draw of using them for your Twitter feed or for texting a friend.  What worries me is that, when these become the norm, many people won't know the proper spelling of the actual words.  That will cause us as a society to dumb down even more so that everyone can be on the same level.

Yes, I'm sure there were some just as upset about the invention of contractions as I am of this new strain of word-shortening, and we survived that, so maybe my worrying about this is all for naught, but I can't help envisioning a future where we'll see this advertisement in a newspaper: "Bg wite sl @ JC Pnnys 2moro."  

That honestly scares me.


James Montgomery Jackson said...

I remember my grandparents yelling "AS" at the Winston commercial in the 1960s that proclaimed, "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should."

I have my pet peeves as well, but language change is nothing new. I can’t read English from 1,000 years ago, and I have trouble with some of the spellings and usages from 150 years ago.

I used take a similar position as you now take, but either I have lost my zeal for “correct” or I have realized that it is futile: like spitting into the hurricane of language change. (With apologies to my grandparents who would wince at my language use.)

~ Jim

Kath Marsh said...

I'm right there with you.
I may be just completely out of step, but how will a future adult 'sign' a contract without cursive/script? Well, perhaps she will be able to make a big 'X'. That would take very little effort.

Warren Bull said...

Newspapers don't help. This morning I read about a basketball team described as Assemblies of God of Texas. They lost of course. Maybe they would have won if they had found a more inclusive God.

Gloria Alden said...

I'm wondering how true what your step-daughter said is. It could be a way of shifting the blame. I know every year we'd tease the teachers who taught the grades prior to us that they'd never taught their students to start the first word in a sentence with a capital letter or punctuate the end. Of course, they did just as we taught that same thing every year and still there were some kids who didn't bother. The same is true for spelling. As for cursive, I firmly believe it still should be taught. And as for geography and places in the world, I hate to hear people complain schools don't teach that. Schools certainly do, but do the students retain what they've learned? Only if they're interested and committed to learning. Sad to say, in most cases only if they have parents who take an active part in their schooling. That's my rant.

Alyx Morgan said...

I agree with you, Jim, that it's probably futile for me to get upset over this, especially since language changes constantly. &, like you, I can't read what was considered "proper English." I find Charles Dickens & Jane Austen difficult to get through for that very reason.

I certainly don't rally a cry to people when they do make these mistakes. I just cringe inside & move past it as best as I can.

Alyx Morgan said...

That's a very good question, Kath. I'm not sure how they'll sign their names, either. If they do have to go with the "X," then maybe eventually future generations will go back to teaching cursive, so that people will be better able to distinguish one signature from another.

Thanks for visiting today.

Alyx Morgan said...

You're right, Warren. Newspapers & other forms of media only exacerbate the problem by using the same bad language in order to "connect" with their readers/followers.


Alyx Morgan said...

It's a very effective & true rant, Gloria. Yes, much of the responsibility falls on the parents of these kids. My mom was great about helping me learn how to spell. Whenever I'd ask how a word was spelled, she'd have me "sound it out," like she was phonetically taught back in her one-room schoolhouse. To this day, I can see words & their spellings very clearly in my head. And she was always correcting me if I spelled something wrong or mispronounced a word, because she wanted me to know the right way to say/spell it.

As to my step-daughter's claim about the school . . . I agree that kids often say things like that to shift the blame, but I've never seen any comments about her bad spelling in her report cards, & I believe I've even heard her mother say that this school (it's a Waldorf school) doesn't focus on spelling so much until later years, because they want to focus on other things first. It's all a very nut-crunching/tree-hugging kind of curriculum. And, while I'm okay with esoteric & nature/hippie ways, I don't feel they're the best process for children to learn educational basics.

Thanks for stopping by today.

E. B. Davis said...

I don't get upset about it because I'm not a great speller. If I were a world class speller or grammar expert, then maybe I'd have a leg to stand on. But I'm not about to throw stones when I'm sure I'm guilty.

Communication is about communicating and if a point is made no matter how it is made, then it's a successful communication.

I'd rather the books I read be well edited, but aside from that advertising and such will always be the way of trends--it's what sells--what is popular.

Kara Cerise said...

My first job after college was working for an advertising agency. I was told to forget what I learned in my English classes and encouraged to write for a 6th grade audience which was the average reading level at the time.

Maybe adults in the future will "sign" a contract with a fingerprint or retinal scan?

Alyx Morgan said...

I can't say I agree with you, EB, about communication being "successful" "no matter how it's made." I think it says something about a person if they can't use the proper word (i.e. their, they're, there, etc). I know that I personally get annoyed when someone puts an "x" in "especially," or "espresso," or other similar examples.

Again, it may be I feel that way because being a good speller was drilled into me as a kid, & maybe it makes me snobbish to feel this way, but I do "demote" people a notch in my head if I hear them use an improper word, or if I see atrocious spelling. Mainly because of how it relates to Kara's comment below...

Alyx Morgan said...

That just scares the bejeezus out of me, Kara! If "we" keep pandering to the "lowest common denominator," what incentive do they have to learn or achieve more?

We shouldn't be lowering the bar. It should be raised & others should be encouraged to challenge themselves to grow.

Maddy said...

This month, two of my children keep saying "LOL" just like the rest of their Middle School contemporaries, which is supposedly a good thing. Just shows what an old fuddy duddy I am.