Did you know that they actually have government-enforced quotas to restrict the amount of English language content in broadcasting? UK/US music/film/TV are all subject to this quota. Language protectionism gone mad!
Yeah. I can understand their motivations, but in practice it's a little heavy-handed. At least there's access to English only television channels. They're not part of standard cable, but I got really into BBC and CNN International. But yes, you'd think that if their language was as great as they claim, they wouldn't need to invest so much into preserving it.
Even acquiring a degree (in any subject) is no guarantee of decent literacy skills it seems.
I'd still expect someone with a master's degree in English/journalism/writing/etc. to be able to write fairly well or better. However, everyone else is pretty hit or miss. I haven't attended an American university, but I have read many papers at the community college level. I agree that instructors 'look the other way.' I'm not surprised at the state of things, because grammar instruction is extremely limited in public education. In my case, I received grammar lessons at the age of 12, then a few more class sessions at 15 in an honors English class, and then a brief overview in my senior year as part of a terminal English course that was mandatory for all graduating students. Our final 'exam' asked us to correctly place apostrophes and commas, and decide whether book titles should be underlined or put in quotations. So many people failed (and this was right after taking the course) that the school offered two makeup sessions preceded by test prep lessons. The minimum passing grade was 70%. The English department then posted a page with the top 5 scores on every door in the main building, as if it was a huge accomplishment.
Several of my friends fell into this category, and were pretty resentful that, despite regularly achieving top grades, the algorithm for overall degree calculation left them categorised with students who were far less able (and hard-working).
I can understand that. In my graduating class there was a girl with Down's Syndrome, who was put into 'easy' classes like aerobics and cooking, and left school with the same exact diploma I did. Now, her level of ability would be apparent in a job interview, but I think it's reflective of a culture that wants everyone to achieve the same things, and nothing should be out of reach just because someone is limited mentally or physically. Again, I understand the motivation behind the intention, but it can be problematic in practice.
an original, 3,000-word, first-class senior paper would take me much, MUCH longer than 5 days
Apparently, the professional freelancers here can do multiple ten-page papers...a DAY. That's the reason why it wouldn't be profitable for me, because I write about a page an hour. I get sidetracked easily and start reading the links on a page I linked to from another linked page, and all of a sudden I've gone from looking up a film noir actor to the construction of girdles.
... and mine is in American history, literature and politics. My MA is in American Literature. I'm not sure what this says about us as individuals but, given our respective nationalities, this is an interesting coincidence. :)
Very cool! I should have been more specific about my degree though--I say 'English' because 'Anglophone' gets me blank stares here. So the overall degree is on all English-speaking countries, but I did choose electives in the English short story, Irish history, and the Industrial Revolution. On the American side I did African-American literature, film noir, religion in the US, and American literature. My favorite was the English short story.
I am sorry but you sound too judgmental. It seems that each of these "empirical findings" has been tested and retested by you. The fact is (empirical - noted in linguistics and related books), a language evolves like anything else in the world. Maybe you need to read a bit on linguistics. I can suggest a few good reads for you if you'd like.
I didn't find her (just realized I don't know for sure, but 'Cesca' sounds feminine, so I'll just go with it) out of line at all. She even goes out of her way to describe her observations as anecdotal, not empirical. Of course language evolves, but it retains its primary purpose of communication, and the students in question are not being very effective communicators.
I'm reminded of something my first husband did. He had recently qualified as an elementary school teacher, and had been studying theories of language at a superficial level. He really liked the idea of language being a sort of art, and the speaker being an artist that could choose color, brush, and paint on a whim. I agree to an extent, but I believe communication stops where the other person's incomprehension starts. Anyway, we're sitting down to New Year's Eve dinner, and his brother calls his name from the far side of table. At first my husband didn't catch it, but eventually he turned to his brother and said "I didn't hear you when you 'm'as interloqué'"--which means 'to take aback, to shock.' My former sister-in-law, also an elementary school teacher, asked "Did you mean 'm'as interpellé'?"--which means 'to call out to, to shout to.' My (thankfully former) husband proceeded to get into an argument with her on how he has the right to use language the way he wants, and he was just being creative. His father, always first to rush to his defense, got up and looked in his dictionary...and then quietly closed it and put it back on the shelf and sat down :D