Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 15:28:02 -0600 From: "Timothy C. Frazer" Subject: Re: Them singulars On Tue, 8 Nov 1994, Bob Lancaster wrote: > Uncertain or > impenetrable syntactic structures are familiar to all of us who have read > student writing in the last two or three decades at least. I would agree that > "grammatical" structure has not suffered a general breakdownQ(and of course > that good usage in general reflects only the usage of careful speakers > I know what you mean, of course, Bob. And lot of what we see in student writing might represent real linguistic events like inflectional loss, consonant cluster reduction, homophony (weather/whether; where/were/wear). But a lot of it, too, isn't so much structural as a result of trial and error atempts to create stuctures they think they know but don't, or attempts to sound formal. Much of this is a literacy issue; contemporary students don't come from backgrounds which value literacy. (I polled a class of juniors a few years ago -- these were mostly computer science and ag majors--and asked them to list the books they'd read in the past five years, excluding college texts. About half answered 0; one replied "I hate to read.") I react to student writing as you do. I am getting tired of assigning it. It makes me think of early retirement. Tim