Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of Two Minds

Just last Wednesday I posted about the relatively minor importance of most spelling and grammar errors when it comes to communication. My question was simple: If the message is clear, then why do conventions matter? I do enjoy tipping the sacred cows.

Today at school we were doing some standardized testing. During such times, each teacher receives a bin of materials that we we are required to sign for. It contains test booklets, answer documents, pencils, and forms. It also usually has a sign to tape to the door so that nobody interrupts the class in the middle of the test, but those were missing today. When the testing coordinator came around to check on the session, I asked her if she had one, especially since my group had already been bothered once for an errant lunch box. No problem, she assured me, and a little while later she slipped a green sheet under the door. Testing in Progress, it read, Due Not Disturb.  As an English teacher, I could not, in good conscience, hang that sign on my door, despite the clarity of meaning.

I know our language is evolving, and maybe, as I wrote last week, such an error will be irrelevant in a hundred years. On the flip side of this issue, I heard a piece on the radio on my way home tonight about a website dedicated to words that have been dropped from the dictionary because of their lack of usage. Savethewords.org gives people the chance to adopt one or more of these words and pledge to use them in speech and writing in an attempt to revive them so that they will not be lost forever.

I want to do that! Despite my volgivagrant inclinations, it would misqueme me greatly were our language to languish. That would be an erratum teterrimous. Consider this paragraph my attempt to resarciate. Forgive me, English.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to go to Savethewords.org to find something to revive. (Thanks for pointing me to that site.)

    Oh, and I totally think you were right not to post the "Due not disturb" sign on your door. I couldn't have handled that one either.