Why does the American population not know how to speak in a way that others can understand?

Maybe I'm just a jerk but I find it incredibly annoying when people (especially on the internet) cannot speak (write). It's like a wad of words that someone just hucked at the wall and don't make any sense at all. Educate yourselves people! You sound like morons. Why don't they see this?

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jtp139 (author) 7 years ago
holy crap! I guess I didn't think before posting. Yes I am from America. The question/rant I posted had nothing to do with the acceptance of all people. It's just a pet peeve of mine. I'm not trying to act superior to anyone. Also the common language used with all that visit this web site is ENGLISH so blah blah blah. I can deal with people that don't have developed knowledge of the language because it's not their native tongue. What bothers me is that people, who are English speaking people, speak as if they're in the 2nd grade. It's ridiculous. Take pride in your intelligence. I'm by no means a smarty pants but I try to learn new things and speak clearly.
jtp139 (author)  jtp1397 years ago
and that's my weimy Icarus.
Johenix7 years ago

1.) People in informal communications forget to run "SpellCheck".
2.) The commonest errors after spelling are failures of capitalization. A better SpellCheck program would have an automatic capitalization of an isolated "i" so it becomes "I". The SpellCheck dictionary list would also have an automatic capitalization of proper nouns like English or geographic places like Moscow.
3.) My old school teacher used to say that her typewriter had stuttered when she had an error in a paper she had typed for the class. Lots of computers stutter.
4.) Some errors are deliberate like spelling a word "krap" when we know it is spelled with a c to evade automatic censorship programs.
5.) Often times we use the wrong word because our SpellCheck does not define the meaning of the correctly spelled words offered to correct a miss spelling. (Think of "hussey" and "wench" (loose women) when the words that should have been used were "huskey" (a sled dog) or "winch" (a winlass or capstan).)
6.) Around the world are many words that have two or more correct spellings (like Jail and Goal (a small prison) ) or "sulphur" and "sulfur" that may be prefered by a regional population.

seandogue7 years ago
Aye not unnerstan wut you r sayin. It muss be cuz i'ze a dum-assed Merikun. Your claim is a bit overreaching at best.. For the most part, children don't speak well anywhere. In fact, they mostly speak gibberish by the standards of educated adults. But now that the net is full of kids, we get to read their poorly constructed sentences. It is part of the learning experience and most will outgrow it. Kids also spell the way they spell in part because they're hooked on cell-phonics. "wut" and "r" and "u" are the norm for them, whether you or I like it. Deal, 'cause it's only going to get "worse", both from kids in the US and world-wide. I attribute it to children and a changing communication paradigm, not Americans... Further, whether you've come to terms with it or not, English isn't English any more. I say gray, theater, car, and truck, not grey, theatre,auto, and lorrie (or is that lorry?). And I don't consider bloody to be a swear word, even if I understand the basis in Britain. I have some of the same issues, but I don't pin it on America any more than I pin the woes of the 20th and 21st century on the imperial aims of Britain and her European brethren during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Ok, I lied about the second part. Now, if you're taking issue with Southern USA vernacular, well if "blame" is to be had, blame yourselves, since the Southern vernacular is based in large part upon middle English. Personally, I find the Southern tongue quite pleasing, but as the son of a Southern mother I'm a bit biased.
BTW, I usually dumb down my text for this venue, just to make sure that most readers will comprehend what I'm saying without having to grab a dictionary, just as I did in the post above..
I find that a bit condescending, personally. You really don't need to dumb down your posts on my account. (Start posting like Kelsey, then we can talk :D )
You're not "most readers." Writing to a sixth-to-eighth grade (US) level is recommended journalistic practice. Deliberately using obscure words or unnecessary grammatical constructions is equally condescending ("you're too dumb to understand what I'm talking about, aren't you?").
Well, I know I'm not "most readers" but I don't think I'm terribly smarter than the majority of people who read the site...I dunno, I'm not trying to make mountains out of molehills here, or be overly sensitive, but he said basically that same thing - I dumb down my posts to let other people get it. It's just kind of insulting. :\
No, I really didn't basically say the same thing.. What I said was that I have many of the same issues...Alot of people speak like trained monkeys. They can neither form full sentences or form cogent arguments. It irritates me. I share that irritation with the author. But I don't pin it on Americans solely. Not by a long shot.. I also said that I dumb down my posts, meaning that I use simpler words where I can (without spending too much time trying to translate), as I've been taught to deal with the normal world.

However, except for effect, I don't usually say "wut" for what, or thayt" for that , or "ain't" for am-not/are-not, anymore than I construct sentences like a 7 year old...I simply try to parse my sentences for words in question/answer scenarios that won't get me a followup that says, in so many words, "I don't know what the fuck you just said", "could you please talk like a normal person?", which forces me to either ignore the thread or re-write my response in the dumbed down manner I avoided the first time around. IME, it's inefficient, although too often I find that even when I think I've dumbed it down enough the first time, I have to go back again anyway.

You have a right to take issue and claim that my comment was equivalent to the author...that's your right to your own opinion, but you'd still be wrong. I've spent my life embedded in a blue collar culture around me. Few of my "contemporaries" (friends, bandmates, girlfriends, associates, and an all too large portion of my workmates) have been to college or have a background like mine (profiles only say so much, and only what you desire them to say, don't they?) and I have received the same "suggestion" time and time again...speak plain English... And over the last 25 odd years on the net, I have received much the same welcome from the majority of readers, though it has admittedly become much more of a problem since the net was opened up to "regular" folk in the early 1990s..

So get all huffy...whatever. I can handle myself well in either venue just fine ty and will continue to "dumb down" my speech here and elsewhere in public-at-large settings as I feel a situation warrants, regardless of your feelings, so that I can effectively communicate with something more than an elite few, at my sole discretion and liberty.

Personally, I find your attitude towards the comment and mis-characterization of my intent insulting, since you don't give me the benefit of the doubt in considering WHY I do it, not to mention you're not even addressing me while you play the character assassination card and toss me into the elitist pile.

Get over it or put me on your ignore list.

Erm...correction...apparently jtp is located in the US. Not sure if she's a natural-born or naturalized emigre, or even citizen, so I can't be sure of her origin...skip the "blame yourselves" comment and replace it with "blame Britain (although I don't even agree with the idea that "blame" has anything to do with what I think of as a beautiful dialect of American English.
lemonie7 years ago
A long time ago groups of religious-extremists & capitalists quit the UK to have a shot at the new world in America. Those that didn't end up dead are the ancestors of maybe half the US population? Strange that the a large proportion white Australians are descended from UK "criminals", and no one has much of a problem with 'em...? L
Half is an extremely generous estimate. Less than 50% of the original 13 colonies' population could trace their lineage to Britain, and in the past 230 years the United States has experienced staggering waves of immigration with most of the English-speaking portion of them being Irish, and Irish doesn't really count as a Brit, does it? ;)
I wasn't being very serious, I just considered that the two colonies have evolved in different ways from different groups of people. I appreciate the response, have you any socio-political ideas as to why the US has spent years in armed conflict on the other side of the Globe, while Australia seems to "stay out of trouble"? Irish is open to a difference of opinion, but I use British as a geographical term here. L
I figured as much - I wasn't serious either (particularly with the Irish crack).

I've composed quite a lengthy editorial here with regards to SeanDogue's query on how to take over a country (I've updated it quite a bit since my first reply). By the way, I was stunned at your answer to the same question, and quite impressed. While my answer was more of a general rant about the condition of the U.S. and how it seems the government has surpassed its originally intended reach, the article you provided seems like a direct way of razing a nation.

I feel that U.S. involvement in worldwide affairs (primarily interventions since the beginning of the 20th century) serve several means, none of which are in the true interests of the people. First, war has an uncanny way of uniting a nation otherwise boiling in a cacophony of disagreement over every detail on how the government should handle pressing matters; pick a fight and, in moments, banners unfurl across the land and all ills are forgotten. Second, as a capitalist superpower, we must find profitable ways of maintaining our stranglehold on the global marketplace. Warfare is a tremendous vehicle for doing just that, and it circumvents the need to negotiate mutually profitable terms across a boardroom. Third, as a military superpower, we need to give the world the impression that (to paraphrase Nixon during the Vietnam conflict) gives them the belief that we are madmen with our finger on the big red button. This need is really rooted in the first two points in the paragraph.

War (otherwise declared as police actions or executive orders) works for the U.S. Under normal circumstances, the process of our government declaring war is actually tedious, due to the fact that our founding fathers constructed the laws in such a way as to prevent unnecessary actions (believe it or not, those guys actually wanted us to remain a peaceful nation). However, by using loopholes normally reserved for emergency situations only, the U.S. is able to circumvent these checks and balances.

It would be improper for a Yank like me to speak on behalf of the Aussies, but while they're our allies for the most part, they seem (to me, at least) to have a much more relaxed way of handling their own affairs. I'd almost consider emigrating, except from what I gather the Australian government requires reams of paperwork to even be considered for the privilege.

Just where does a nation of jailhouse riffraff get off being so exclusive, anyhow?
Thanks for the reply, it sounds like a fair & reasonable explanation for what I was thinking about. I believe that Aus' will let you in if you're wealthy or otherwise capable of working in certain occupations. L
And under 35 if I remember correctly...
Grathio7 years ago
Don't know if you're a jerk, but you are naive.

This is the Internet, it takes all comers, not just super-literates. It accepts people of all kinds, from all backgrounds, ages, and educations.

English is only the first language of 29% of Internet users. Everyone else is going to be less skilled in the language than a native speaker. And having lived in a non English speaking country for a while I can say with certainty that after studying a language hard for many hours every day for several years, only to have some punk tell me I sound like a moron-- that really really hurts.

You assume that English speakers equals Americans, which is of course wrong. America didn't invent English, and it's only one of the 55 countries where English is the official language. Each one of those countries has its own local customs, traditions, and lingual quirks which are perfectly acceptable in their home country. It's completely unreasonable to expect everyone to speak your flavor of English, whatever that is.

There are also tons of kids on this site. Kids are awesome, but they're kids and that don't know everything quite yet. However they want to learn and share what they have learned. This is super cool and we, as adults and potential role models, should encourage that as much as possible. Rather than being critical and insulting we should be patient and helpful, especially to kids. My nieces and nephews learned a lot over the summer from doing projects they found on here. If they had been greeted with hostility and insults they never would have done it.

This site is about learning. It should be no surprise that many of the visitors here don't know everything. Take it as a chance learn from each other.

And yeah, sometimes it's hard, and I roll my eyes at some of the language used. But then I try to put on my Mature Adult Pants and look past the language to what they're trying to communicate. Some days its easier than others. You should have seen my initial response to your question, it didn't do credit to me or you.
jtp139 (author)  Grathio7 years ago
1. I am no punk. 2. I have no problem with people learning English and not knowing it 100% 3. I also have no problem with kids 4. Never said anything about America inventing English What I have a problem with is the attitude in America that being dumb is cool. There are too many people with this view for my taste. You obviously have a sore spot. Maybe from past experience? I refuse to believe that everything written in such a manor is by people with English as a second language, or kids. I mean you know what I'm talking about. Look at craigslist, perfect example. I don't know why everyone is getting so worked up about it. So, pardon me.
Gorfram Grathio7 years ago
What he said. Plus -

While I am practically perfect in every way, and consider myself a skilled and dextrous wordsmith and manipulator of the English language, I'm not nearly so good with keyboards and typing. I try to spellcheck and proofread before I post anything, but errors do sometimes slip through, because the internet is like that.

If I had accidently hit "Reply" before correcting the above paragraph, it would have read like this:
"While i am practically perfect in every way, and condsier myself a skiled and dextrous wordsmith and maniputlaoter of the English languge, I'ma not nrearlyu so good with key boards ang tpying. I try to sperlle check and proff read before i post anny thing;, but errors do sometimes slip thorugh, because the einternet is like that."
(I blame it all on having been dropped on my head as a child :)

All those who want to make outraged complaints about, and/or vicious fun of, my errors are cordially invited to do so - on the sole condition that they themselves have never posted anything containing any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or any other aspect of English language mechanics.

jtobako7 years ago
Because most people don't (and haven't ever) sounded like movie scrips or books where dialog is pre-planned, re-written and edited for YOU. Real life is full of ums, uhs and misunderstandings. The speed of the internet has decreased the transmission time of writing to that of speech, so the same differences show up. Are you so narcissistic that you can't understand that : )
orksecurity7 years ago
Websearch for definitions of the phrase "endless September". If you want to find folks who can actually write (and read), your odds are better on older network technologies such as the original Usenet newsgroups.
kelseymh7 years ago
Well, let's see. You overgeneralize, engage in ad hominem attacks, and have proofreading issues. Someone less forgiving than myself might conclude that you are, indeed, a jerk. And your dog is grey :-) One might as well ask why the British can't spell properly (all those extraneous 'u's they toss into words, and using 's's instead of 'z's everywhere), or why the French smell like ashtrays. All equally jerkish questions.
How did you know he has a dog?
The same way I see that your cat is black. Try moving your eyes around when you're reading... :-)
He must have changed it before I posted because there's no dog there. By the way, ma kat's gray not black.
Huh? It's the avatar in the INFO box, directly above the list of (un)"RELATED" items. Ah, well, 'twas a throwaway line anyway. We return you now to your regularly scheduled ranting....
R-d's cat is a dark charcoal gray/grey, the OP's dog is a light ashen grey/gray. If we want to move beyond seeing the world in black and white, we must allow for many shades and gradations of gray. :)
Your frog is green.

And Obviousman strikes again!
It's lime green on my screen.
kelseymh7 years ago
We don't know how to speak cuz we don't gots no edjumacation.

Please, please, please give me best answer :-)
Jeez Kelsey. you ain't no how ta spayl. thayt's edjimikayshun...jes liken it sounds. How'd y'all git that dee-gree anywhares?
revelae7 years ago
my guess, is that 1) 11 year olds get on the internet, see some person writing badly, think its OK to not be coherent, and pass it on in the same way to other 11 year olds. 2) middle aged pervs see this and try to imitate it to be pervy. 3) other, nonpervy adults see it and assume its the "cool" thing to do. 4) repeat. 5) ??? 6) profit.
You left out the part about the underwear (or is that part of step 2?).
dunno, they got lost in the shuffle.
Languages evolve due to "mistakes," it's not a bad thing. Basically, someone spells, defines, or says something differently than everyone else, and others pick up the habit through communication with that person. Eventually entire new languages are formed from a set of words and grammatical rules that are used by a group of people. With the internet, we have a much larger population of people who speak and spell, each in their own unique way. While some do so poorly, by your standards, they may be partly creating and defining the words and grammar of the version of English that the next generation will accept as standard.
Kiteman7 years ago
If you are going to be picky, I counted over a dozen errors in spelling and grammar in your binder-based project.

Can you spot them?

Internet peoplez =/= all Americans.

aarone7 years ago
Perhaps I sound like a Jerk, but I think you're probably looking in the wrong places. There are many Americans who can and do speak (and write) very well. Also keep in mind that not everyone writing in English is writing from America. There are quite a few people who are writing from foreign countries trying to construct English in the best way they can. The pitfall English faces is that it has become a leading international language. Because of that, you get a wide variety of people who speak and write English at different levels. It's the reality of an global, economical-social network.
Thirty yard penalty for ranting, and posting a rhetorical question.