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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Speaking English Good

The other day I went to the store to pick up a few things. Walking through the aisles, I spotted a girl whom I recognized from high school. We weren't friends back in high school, but I had had a number of classes with her. She also just happens to be the star of one of the most memorable moments of my high school career. Memorable because it was so sad.

Now, I'm not a stickler, and I'm far from perfect, but I've taken pride in being able to speak and write my native language well. Grammar, spelling, syntax; these are things which we should all have a basic familiarity with. If only that were the case.

When I was in tenth grade, I took French, which I enjoyed very much. One day, in the foreign language department at Tremper High School, exchange students from a variety of different countries, who were attending our school at the time, made rounds from class to class, telling us about their experiences in the U.S. and how it differed from their native country.

My classroom hosted a girl from Germany. Her English was nearly impeccable. Very impressive, to say the least. We asked her all sorts of questions, and a good time was had by all. After about a half hour, one of my classmates — the aforementioned girl — raised her hand and said to the German exchange student, "You speak English good."

Did you feel that? That little shiver? That was your soul trying to escape your body. That was your soul trying to escape this plane of existence, perhaps for a more gooder one.*

What was more frightening, perhaps, was that I was one of the only students in the class to understand the tragic irony in my classmate's comment. I thought surely someone would call her on it, but no one did. And the shadow that crept over the classroom that day remained there for the rest of the semester, slowly eating away at our humanity.

Feel that? That's your soul trying to get back in. Don't let it. For its own good, friend. Don't you let it.

DISCLAIMER
When doing a post about correct spelling or grammar, there's always the danger of misspelling a word or using a word incorrectly within the very article that you're writing. If you should find such an error within this post, write it down on a piece of paper, put that piece of paper in an envelope, then go the post office and throw it into one of their trash cans.




* I'm well aware that this sentence contains a grammatical error. That's the joke. I'm very funny.

18 Comments:

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Lizanne said...

Glad to find you! Hope New York didn't sap all your creative juices. I am looking forward to reading your new blog.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger THWP said...

Hahaha.
I did a post once in which I made fun the spelling on somebody's blog and I spelt 'haven't' incorrectly.
And we laughed so hard.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger jazz said...

i can hear your voice. welcome back. woo hoo!!!

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I’ll tell you what, when it’s intentional, poor grammar is hilarious. Are you familiar with David Sedaris? His book entitled, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” has some fantastic examples of what I’m talking about.

 
At 7:59 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

Oh yeah, David Sedaris is very funny.

 
At 12:37 AM, Blogger Lesley said...

I wrote the teeny eeny weeny little mistake down on a piece of paper, I chewed that piece of paper up for several hours, I spat that piece of paper out and then I flushed the pulp down the toilet "for it's own good" [sic]

 
At 2:13 AM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

..."for it's own good"

Bah! You win this round.

 
At 4:22 AM, Blogger omar said...

Ouch, lesley, good one. That's one that makes me cringe, even though I see it all the time. I saw it on a billboard one time, I wish I had taken a picture.

 
At 5:09 AM, Blogger SJ said...

Me thinking when me seeing your using of gooder that you making the mistake. Me reading your afterwords with "*" mark and understanding you having fun for yourself :D

 
At 5:18 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

I think I love you.

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Ripsy said...

Andy = amazinger than grammar

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Kenneth said...

You are funnier.....funnier than you...definitely......maybe

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Gloria Glo said...

So, I grew up in Idaho - the land of the missing grammar book, as our state motto claims. Anyway, my mom is a reading teacher. She insisted we be able to read and write our native tongue. (She's silly like that. Also insists that we shower regularly, look BOTH ways before crossing, etc. Weird,huh?!).

Point of this story? I spent half my life being asked if I was from England. That's what good grammar will get you, folks - disenfranchised ex-patriotism.

Beware the semi-colon, I say. Fear the correct conjugation. Shun the homonym. Embrace the non-grammatical or face exile...

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger Lia said...

There are some misguided people who believe that English and American are the same language. They're not. They are simply derived from a similar source language, much in the way that Spanish and Italian are related. Through Latin. Which is a dead, though classic, language. So the language from which (yes, I actually said from which - I hate when people end sentences a preposition with) American is derived (or is it differentiated? That's a joke for a small crowd only, and they probably don't have the time to read this.) is probably equally dead, since no one speaks it anymore.

Since that may have been a run-on sentence, I think I'll stop typing now.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger scribe called steff said...

Whee! Now I'm all caught up on your new blog! I'll have to post a link for you soon. Nudge, nudge. ;)

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Mike said...

If you want to hear the English language butchered completely without the speaker's sense he is offending, just listen to the broadcasters of a major league baseball game. Not only do they not discern the difference between "good" and "well" (you can make a drinking game out of the number of times one will say, "he threw good" or "he hit good"), but they use an odd past-present conditional tense. E.g., "A-Rod makes that play, it's two out," instead of "Had A-Rod made that play, the Red Sox would have two out."

Then again, when my spouse first resigned herself to overhearing baseball games I viewed, she complained about the unique-to-baseball past tense of "to fly out." "Flew out," she contended it should be. But "flied out" it has been since my childhood in Abner Doubleday's time.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger Caro said...

andy...you're a genius.

 
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