School kids correct celebrity grammar mistakes on Twitter

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:37
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
About time! Jul 2, 2013

It's really about time that language errors in every language are corrected. Only by correcting errors can a language survive.
So it is very welcome that Red balloon is acting.
I want to get any info on this project.

Mats Wiman
www.sprakvakt.se (language_watch.se) Both are under construction.

[Edited at 2013-07-02 08:52 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-07-02 09:07 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:37
Russian to English
+ ...
Regardless of anything -- I always find it extremely rude Jul 2, 2013

if people correct somebody else's errors if not asked for it by the speaker or the writer, or if they are not moderators, and they do it in public. Even moderators should not correct anybody's errors other than through PMs.

And the kids-- they should think about their own language more, because it is not that great, on average these days, and texting less, rather than correcting grown-ups grammar because they may have a reason to speak a certain way, which the children may not be aware of. There are various uses of language -- figurative, colloquial, stylized, sarcastic, and various registers or even regional dialects and idiolects, which constitutes the beauty of language. It is better if children stay children and not 7 year old nurds correcting adults publicly, dreaming to graduate from college at 14. (with a PhD)

[Edited at 2013-07-02 09:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-07-02 09:32 GMT]


 

Joshua Pepper  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:37
French to English
+ ...
Nerdy, or cute? Jul 2, 2013

I agree, Lilian, that being nerdy and pedantic is ugly, but that's not the vibe that I get from this.
It seems to me like a creative and fun exercise that relates something tedious like spelling and grammar to childrens' interests and idols, and that is totally acceptable within the context of a classroom. I find it more adorable than grating!


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:37
Russian to English
+ ...
Well perhaps if the discussion is purely fictitious -- Jul 2, 2013

no names mentioned whatsoever. Dissecting anybody's speech is just not something I would consider polite.

 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 09:07
English to Hindi
+ ...
Curious that Brazilian kids are doing this Jul 2, 2013

Is Brazil too falling under the thrall of the global language? If these kids had bothered more about Portuguese they would have been more useful to their society. I am sure there are many others out there to take care of the well-being of English.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:37
English to Polish
+ ...
School children may have it easier Jul 2, 2013

The brain's more receptive to knowledge coming from the outside, and learning. I'm not saying kids don't have their worries and preoccupations, but they can probably also more easily focus on the grammar, syntax, punctuation etc. I'm pretty sure mine were better when I was, say, 10-13 years old than now.

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:37
Russian to English
+ ...
For me this experiment is absolutely unacceptable Jul 2, 2013

Children can correct their peers' grammar, if they are asked to -- not any celebrities', teachers', or any grown-ups' for that matter. This is not just what children should do --there should be some authority that shows them that they are still children, no matter how smart they are. They could try to correct some made-up texts, full of mistakes for them to train on as proofreaders, or just play.

[Edited at 2013-07-02 14:39 GMT]


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 09:07
English to Hindi
+ ...
The danger of this exercise Jul 2, 2013

Children are very impressionable and very receptive to the language usages they encounter. Exposing them to wrong language use at this age could prove counter-productive too. They could internalise these wrong usages and may even think of these usages as cool, especially since the originators are celebrities.

It would have been much better if they had been exposed to correct and elegant usage of language at this age and taught to appreciate the finer points of masterly usage of language. That would have done a lot more to improve their linguistic skills, than this inane exercise.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Nerdy, or cute? Jul 2, 2013

Joshua Pepper wrote:

I agree, Lilian, that being nerdy and pedantic is ugly, but that's not the vibe that I get from this.
It seems to me like a creative and fun exercise that relates something tedious like spelling and grammar to childrens' interests and idols, and that is totally acceptable within the context of a classroom. I find it more adorable than grating!


I suppose much depends on the manner in which it's done. I can imagine a respectful, light-hearted one, rather than some form of cruel laughter at the celebs.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:37
Hebrew to English
Taking celebrities down a peg or two.... Jul 3, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Joshua Pepper wrote:

I agree, Lilian, that being nerdy and pedantic is ugly, but that's not the vibe that I get from this.
It seems to me like a creative and fun exercise that relates something tedious like spelling and grammar to childrens' interests and idols, and that is totally acceptable within the context of a classroom. I find it more adorable than grating!


I suppose much depends on the manner in which it's done. I can imagine a respectful, light-hearted one, rather than some form of cruel laughter at the celebs.


The cult of the celebrity is getting a bit out of control here, so on that side of things at least I think it could be a useful exercise in highlighting that celebrities aren't necessarily the role models they should be aspiring to. The % of youngsters wanting to be footballers, actors, singers and models [any profession where fame is involved] is ridiculously high amongst teenagers. "Real" jobs barely come into the equation.

I think extolling the virtues of "real" jobs would be a more effective countermeasure but I'd settle for nit-picking the linguistic output of these "celebrities" on twitter if nothing else was going to be done at least.

On the prescriptivism side, it is a bit silly. Not only because prescriptivism is increasingly unfashionable, but because twitter lends itself to poor grammar and non-standard English, when you only have 140 characters to get your message across you have to compromise somewhere.

Unlike Bala, I don't think it's harmful to expose children to this linguistic output (tbf there's simply no way you can shield them from it anyway - not that it is beneficial to shield them from it) where this endeavour has mis-stepped is that it fails to recognize that this linguistic output is appropriate for the register involved. Few people write in perfectly grammatical sentences on social media sites, especially twitter, where there are constraints as mentioned.

I think we have to acknowledge the fact that texting and twitter are never going to reflect the language used in essays and newspapers. There are many exercises the school could have done to raise the children's awareness of this complex issue, but setting the children up as judge, jury and executioner, with little to no appreciation of register or the other considerations involved is a wasted pedagogical opportunity imo.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:37
Hebrew to English
Quoting myself, how narcissistic ! Jul 3, 2013

Ty Kendall wrote:
setting the children up as judge, jury and executioner, with little to no appreciation of register or the other considerations involved is a wasted pedagogical opportunity imo.


I just read the original story and it's worse than I thought. They've got the children "correcting" blatantly obvious typos, slang, idiom and dialect. i.e. things which need not be "corrected" as they are not wrong.

(You could argue that typos need to be fixed but with auto-correct responsible for many of them most people can't be bothered).

This is more misguided than I thought.

This is really poor EFL. When a student comes to you and says “but this is right, he’s American, he’s using it!” you need to raise awareness and educate them that it is not the "standard English" of the coursebooks, but it is not wrong either and that native speakers don't speak in coursebook language, if the kids are old enough (as these are) then you might even try to introduce some knowledge of the difference between spoken and written grammar (a burgeoning movement in EFL). What you don't say is: "yes, it's not standard English therefore it's wrong. Let's get onto twitter and show our ignorance to the world".

You know the proofreaders who correct "that which need not be corrected" - well these kids are those in training.

[Edited at 2013-07-03 06:52 GMT]


 


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School kids correct celebrity grammar mistakes on Twitter

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