Grammar: Kids Use Grammar, Men Ignore Grammar, and Legends Even Don’t Know What Grammar is

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It’s little ironic that I am talking about grammar. English has been second language for me and I still struggle to write grammatically correct. Reading through this post, you will find several grammatical errors, but I hope you will be able to understand what I am trying to say. It may lower your reading speed, but you will interpret correctly. So, grammar is important especially for non-native English speakers to layout their ideas when they don’t have casual voice as non-native speakers have. Its pretty common that native speakers make grammar mistakes more often than non-native speakers when speaking or writing, but rarely noticed. Therefore, non-native speakers can be referred as primary school ‘kids’ who are learning grammar rules, and do care about grammar. Similarly, native speakers can be referred as ‘men’ who don’t care about grammar because they already have communicable voice which is not dependent on grammar. The third entity, ‘legends’ are ignorant or pretend to be ignorant of grammar and get annoyed if you talk about grammar to them. So, what I think?

I agree with Jonathon Owen’s blog post “12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes” that grammar is beyond the ‘set of rules’ and you don’t have to follow the cast-iron grammar in every situation. Even, doing so, will may leave you unshielded in war of words as Katie indicated in her post. I agree with Katie that content of communication is much more important than grammar. Also, firmly adhering to ‘set of rules’ may digress you from audience-targeted writing practice. However, correct use of punctuations is very important in writing as their incorrect use may lead to completely different meaning. For example, look to this sentence- “Let’s eat grandma vs. let’s eat, grandma”, Gini mentioned in her post, “the post/article”, Owen talking about. So, grammar works as catalyst in writing which regulates content where should it go and decides its success.

Simply, I can assume grammar has made to make communication convenient, universal, and productive. There are some flows or disagreement on certain set of rules as different authors clamed different opinions about grammar mistakes in their respective blog posts. So, linguists are required to work on that to make it universal as our ancestor did for us over the time. I disagree with the people who find novel words-that are not in dictionary but are prevalent, as grammar mistake. Human kind is ever evolving in thriving living, so it’s very natural to have novel words. In fact, several novel words are added to dictionaries every year. However, for linguists differentiating between error or invention isn’t that easy.

I think Owen justified the title (12 Mistakes Nearly Everyone Who Writes About Grammar Mistakes Makes) of his blog post by putting some errors in his blog post. He states that his blog post is based on a recent post, then following, he used two different word as a same reference- ‘this post’ and ‘this article’. I don’t know much about word choice, but I found it inconsistent and both words have different meanings. “I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say ‘article’ for blog posts“.

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Grammar is in the Eye of the Reader and Ears of the Listener

Katie Kelly

Much of modern communication focuses more on content rather than structure, delivery, or rhetoric. This is an observation after reading the three articles that call into question how much the actual form the message takes matters. Owen’s 12 Mistakes list, while humorous, ranty, and aggressive, demonstrates that being a hard-ass about grammar can only backfire. Most of the rules that are often over enforced are meant for formal theaters of commentary rather than an ever-present force in average conversation. The fact that sentences “Ain’t nobody got time for that” in pieces is infuriating to translate but as a whole expresses a sentiment and message everyone understands.

Weingarten’s demonstration of how the same message can be conveyed seven different ways, the last one being slightly morbid in nature, shows that the message boiled down the same take away each time. It was a matter of choice for audience, preference, and goal with the message that would decide which one of the seven paragraphs would be used over the others.

But on the other side Elbow talks about deliberate care for what is put on paper. We’ve been discussing how most of professional writing is so audience driven, but Elbow advocates for retaining some of one’s own style. With the overwhelming commentary hinting that the rules are just “guidelines”, I’m inclined to think of writing as a product. The customers are the readers and intended audience and with user feedback an author can produce iterations that better address the needs of the audience to understand the message. Very difficult advocating for method writing when it boils down to the fact there will always be critics of how a message is conveyed, and it’ll be called expert opinion rather than author preference. And even if an author wrote to every critics’ expectation, then they’d be criticized for not adhering to their own style. It’s a shot in the dark. Personally, so long as people use whole words and not wrt lk ths because vowels are overrated, then ya’ll can do what you want.

Moral of the story: don’t use rhetoric as a high horse to trample people with.

Accessibility of Information

Content. Form. Visual pleasantness. Design. Accessibility.

Readable? Understandable?

I love those moments when a reading for a class completely matches the assignment we’re working on in a class is one of the most satisfying in-class situations. At least, I feel like I have some clue into why we read it right before our advocacy campaign where we are supposed to both communicate information and make someone give a damn about what we’re trying to get them to give a damn about.

Social justice.

A term Jones and Wheeler refer to when they say: “considering document design from a social justice perspective (concern for how society privileges some and marginalizes others) requires thinking about the practicality and application of design in a different conceptual way” (5). I think one of the most important parts of this is connecting social justice to societal privileges, which connects with the idea brought up at the beginning of Jones and Wheeler’s piece talking about the the universal document design (UDD) being something important to keep information accessible to a “general” or “popular” audience.

I would love to talk about things more in depth, but it’s right before class and I don’t have time for that!

Katie stated: “Given that example is fairly old and perhaps the authors are trying to address the disabled audience of modern times since the rise of social justice warriors’ means for fighting against these unequal playing fields.”

I don’t know if “disabled” is a “correct” way of communicating what I think is being said. I think that instead matching the language of the post and speaking more strictly to the marginalized or less privileged might be more fitting. More understandable documents mean a broader audience availability and a more inclusive reading platform. But that’s just one “social justice warrior” opinion.

I think that thinking of people wanting to get the information and ti being more clearly understandable so people can get that information off of it.

We aren’t looking for an all encompassing “matches all audiences” because that’s impossible. Overall, we’re actually just trying to get the widest audience who will understand the most they can.

You down with UDD?

To start, I think the ideas that are discussed in this text are really interesting and something that each writer-designer needs to consider: the audience. For instance, take a piece of software like Scrivener. It’s great in terms of what it allows you to do when it comes to writing a novel or an anthology because it allows you to save things and move them around in different orders etc. If I’m understanding the terms correctly, Scrivener has a great usability. It has many different features that allows you to access a document in multiple ways. However, figuring out how to use Scrivener, to even begin to unlock said features, is one big giant fucking headache. I’m pretty sure one day I spent like 8 hours trying to figure out how to unlock those magical abilities that would allow me to cleverly store all my character info, setting info, sub-plots, and the actual manuscript all in one nice complete package. Still couldn’t fully figure it out. It’s nice because you get to enjoy little treats here and there when you figure something new out, but the problem is, the accessibility is shit. Or is it the other way around? The terms confuse me a little bit, but that brings me to my next point (my featured image)…like what Katie said in her post, I don’t think Jones and Wheeler necessarily followed their own advice when it comes to the document they produced here.

I think if you were going to prove your point, you could go meta and apply what you are discussing in the text you are discussing it in. I think in terms of the parameters they established, they don’t make this document very accessible with how it is laid out. For a document that discusses the importance of considering one’s audience, I, as an audience member, think the design of the document and the order they discussed things in, was not the most effective way of establishing their point. I think they raise a good point. Like Ram, I think their example wasn’t the best in terms of proving their point.

One thing I do think that might have been a good example to use is in terms of user agreements. For instance, have you ever joined a free trial for something and had an absolute nightmare trying to find the actual place where you cancel said trial? Would this fall into what they are discussing? They mentioned web design earlier, but that isn’t necessarily what they were getting at with discussing UDD, but because they mentioned it I kept imagining examples within web texts where the accessibility and usability was something that needed to be addressed. Like with free trials where they take you down the rabbit hole in an attempt to make you give up and pay for the service (I’m looking at you Amazon Audible!)

I think I’ll be able to understand this one more after discussing it in class, but I think the execution of their argument could have been done better. Perhaps that is my own fault for not ‘getting it’ in terms of why they designed this text in the way that they did, but it is at the very least a little ironic. I think the actual model they outlined seems to be a good way of establishing a way of considering audience, but like Ram pointed out, it will be hard for one single document to check each and every mark. The measurements are subject in many ways too, so while it’s a good model, I’d love to see more examples of texts they believe check each box. I think I’d then be able to better see how the UDD works.

Understanding What the Argument is Lacking

Katie Kelly

This article itself could have been better designed using its own principles. Ram’s blog post I feel has the best summary of what one could take away from this article and it align with what the authors were trying to convey. Ram’s criticism of addressing limited audience consideration in a set of principles via an article about issues with limited audience consideration is also completely valid. While I’m assuming these principles are meant to be applied to informational documents that may be used by multiple parties from diverse backgrounds, since the article fails to make that explicit it leaves lots of holes for us to poke our heads through.

The article should have started out with the ending example, pointing out the issues with a document and how it may or may not be usable/accessible/universal. By starting off with theory about applicable documents, I fail to see how applicable the principles are until after the example. Considering the only way these principles are applicable are functional/usable documents such as the landlord/tenant example, I call into question other historical pieces of text that were influential and violated most of these principles.

A Modest Proposal was a satirical letter by Jonathan Swift and violated most of the principles described for universal documents. Besides this being in an era where most people didn’t know how to read it can be assumed the targeted audience is higher society that isn’t experiencing all the issues of famine and over population. But since it is satirical, the entire letter take a great deal of effort and could be interpreted as completely crazy proposal rather than understanding the commentary of the dire situation.

Given that example is fairly old and perhaps the authors are trying to address the disabled audience of modern times since the rise of social justice warriors’ means for fighting against these unequal playing fields. Would never know because the method in which the authors describe the principles, any and every document puts some audience at a disadvantage, even if the document was not meant for that audience. New paper’s are written at a 6th grade reading level, but is an audience disadvantaged by the paper because they cannot afford a copy the same way the authors described a disadvantaged audience who does not have the same version of Microsoft Word? What about audiences who cannot read altogether? These principles are too broad and in attempt to erase boundaries between rhetoric and disabled audience, failed to put their own boundaries on how applicable the principles are. As a college student who is supposed to analyze and comment on articles to show I read and understood them, this article makes me a disadvantaged audience by spending more time asking why the authors didn’t follow their own principles when designing their document.

A Diversified and Unbiased Document-Design

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Jones and Wheeler in their article “Document Design and Social Justice: A Universal Design for Documents”, postulated an alternate way of document design that overcomes drawbacks of usability framework and accessibility framework and provides room for inclusivity, diversity, and equality. The universal design for document (UDD) uses perspective of social justice, so writer-designers can think of end users in a way to prevent a document being disempower and marginalize. UDD requires that writer-designers should not bound to a set of rules to increase its accessibility, instead should try to use different strategies to reach as many audiences as possible.

This article reminds me about design of a question paper in a typical exam. Diversity is important in designing a set of questions for a screening or eligibility test. The questions should be for all candidates; it should target candidates of all background to avoid skewness. For example, a question paper of a general math exam should include question from different topics such as arithmetic, analysis, algebra, geometry etc. Since some students are comfortable in multiple choice questions, some are in short answer questions or others are in essay type questions, an ideal question paper should include all types of question to give an equal opportunity of ease and difficulty to everyone. Similarly, in terms of accessibility, a typical academic exam should be divided in different formats such as homework assignment, class discussion, in-class exam or take home exam etc. However, these arguments are not always viable.

Authors in their article, cited seven principles that help in forming a UDD. I find the principles of universal design limited in terms of audience. A single document cannot meet all principles listed by authors. If audience are not equal, how a universal document will work well for all. The example, ‘guidelines of Baltimore city rent court’, authors used for their argument is not universal and the figures they used are intended for landlord. The figure are not representing a handbook of laws of renting house. These are the steps should be taken by a landlord when tenant fails to pay timely rent. So, their claim that it contains less about tenant’s rights, seems false, because, I assume, tenants get different guidelines when they occupy the house and those guidelines includes more about tenants right and less about landlord.

Another flaw authors made about ‘guidelines of Baltimore city rent court’ is lack of accessibility of this document. This is in contrast to what I leaned in previous reading “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery”. In previous reading authors proposed that while designing a document it should keep in mind that how a documents can be recomposed by third party in the digital space. And, it is logical in ‘guidelines of Baltimore city rent court’ situation to keep the document less accessible, since it is government and not applicable to everyone. If this document made fully accessible then it can be recomposed or distorted important message by third party, and that is enough to misguide tenants in digital space.

Evolution of Rhetorical Manipulation

Katie Kelly

I’m not a fan of the term the author’s coined. Considering they went through the trouble of further defining and clarifying velocity in a literal sense and then proceed to very loosely apply it to the topic of rhetoric. I was hoping for something a bit more quantifiable (not in the sense of numbers but something identifiable; see where my issue is with loose application of concrete terms?). The authors discuss delivery but do not expand on what enhances or slows this velocity and a large chunk of this article was only peripherally related to the subject in the title. Manipulation of content and rhetoric is a topic that needs to be explored more, but the approach via ‘rhetorical velocity’ only made the subject matter that much more difficult to find among the weeds.

Ram discusses this act of rhetorical manipulation in the sense of academics where it is evident and prevalent. The need to lay a basis for a paper one is writing comes from prior papers that also reference earlier papers for their own basis, and so on till the beginning of time. This means that an author is only giving a small window and frame of reference to previous conclusions, or only utilizing the parts they need or benefit from. Destiny pointing out the critical question of “Is it worth the time to do this?” when trying to think ahead for third party use of one’s content is something very interesting linked to the idea of academic referencing. The idea is to be perpetuated throughout literature so as an academic author you want to be referenced as many times as possible. As they say, “I don’t care what you say about me in the papers, just spell my name right”.

So what is with this idea of perpetuation in relation to manipulation of rhetoric? I always think of the book The Selfish Gene when it comes to this type of thing. The need to carry on one’s “self” or work is present in all things. Including rhetoric. Consider that the purpose wasn’t to be continuously referenced and your work perpetuated, then perhaps it is worth the time to try and write to counter act third party interpretations and ensure that your intended message is the only one understood. Would the third parties who are set on using the information as they see fit just learn new tactics to counter act and tear apart the measures taken to make one’s rhetoric solely the author’s? That is the evolution of these type of things after all, to perpetuate the work and acts done. Manipulation only becomes more sophisticated the more barriers you prop up.

Perpetuating Information

So WordPress changed their layout, so I don’t really know how to add a category, let alone do I know if I’ll figured out exactly what we are supposed to do.

Anyway, I think that what Ram is talking about in his post about the way social media interacts with the “rhetorical velocity and delivery” concepts brought up in our reading and how information continues to move forward. I really liked the way he thought about it in regards to remixing that continuously happens.

If we’re being honest, this blog post is going to be short and confusing because today has been so long, and I really just want to sleep. However, I am purposefully trying to make the stylistic decision that as I briefly, briefly, BRIEFLY discuss this topic, I am not doing any of my normal blog linking things. No pictures, not hyperlinks, not SNL clips. This is on purpose because the topic of this reading was literally about how we perpetuate knowledge in different platforms. So in my quest for irony, I will not be direct linking or inputting photos to further rhetorically veloci-fy them. Instead, we’ll just be talking plain text.

I’m sure I’m not making sense at this point, which doesn’t really worry me at all. My eyes feel as though they may jump out of my head at any moment.

Regardless, I thought it was interesting when Ridolfo and Devoss started talking about the format of information made me really interested. Especially when they connected it to the question of “Is it worth the time to do this?”

This is something I’ve been fascinated with since WRIT 205. I think that thinking about how economical you’re being with the information you’re trying to convey is a super important thing to think about when hoping that your message or information perpetuates forward so that more views/readers/whatever-you-wanna-call-ems can focus on it. How do we get more people to see what we’re doing? Who should see what we’re doing?

I don’t know the answers. And I can’t think critically one moment longer. Not that I was doing much before.

Thanks for having class outside today. I really needed the Vitamin D.

A third party mediated writing in digital space

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Jim Ridolfo and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss proposed a new term ‘rhetoric velocity’ in the article “Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity and Delivery” which should be taken into consideration while writing in current digital age of writing. They emphasized that digital space made it easy for a third party to recompose the work have already done by original authors. And this remix can turn into positive, negative or neutral outcomes for the audience. While composing your original text you should consider how vulnerable or flexible your text is and then strategize your composition to prevent or allow re-composition for possible negative or positive outcomes. Remixing is becoming more and more common in current digital age.

I think that strategizing your text for rhetorical delivery is very important. It is very common for celebrities, they often allege media on controversies have made on their opinion that media have distorted their statement. Whenever a celebrity writes a tweet on Tweeter, a Facebook status or a blog post, it is widely redistributed by third parties on same platforms and other news sources. Remixing has new flavors and more often turns in negative way if your text is not strategized. Who is responsible for this? A communicator or receiver? I remember, once a film star said, “I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you interpret” on a controversy arose from his statement. It is more evident when you are writing on a sensitive topic such as religious matter. If the federal or state government releasing an official statement on a particular issue, there are more and diverse possibilities of re-composition. In such cases, a writer can mold the information to resist re-composition.

In academics, official notifications or critical information are imbedded in secured pdf to prevent copy and paste, hence it will take more efforts in re-composition. On the other hand, most journal articles allow copy and paste to make it easy for citation. Online videos that are unable to download have less scope for remixing; if you want to distribute the content of video, you have to share whole clip including what you want to show and what you don’t. In contrast, if the video can be downloaded easily, then third party will download it and will likely share the only information they want to show by omitting other parts of the clip. In current highly diverse digital world, it is important to take into account your audience and shield your information from unwanted remixing.

For a writer, it is not a easy task of shaping his/her piece of writing from remixing by unpredictable or continuously changing third parties. I also think that you can’t exclude the possibilities of remixing your text by third parties or possibilities of turning it out in a negative outcome, but you can minimize it by having a thought of way of remixing by third party, in mind during composing original work. Writers need to be learn more about ‘rhetoric velocity’ from the current scenario of remixing.

Draft Disaster for my interview with Zack Bean

He said so much that I thought was important so I tried to keep his words as close to exact as I could. As of right now, it’s a disaster. A disaster I’ll hopefully fix…


 

Zack Bean has spun creative writing wisdom at Montana State since the fall of 2013. His interest in writing began in high school after taking part in a summer program, but he didn’t always know he wanted to be a writer. “It’s the first time I encountered creative writing as a discipline. It was interesting, but didn’t take right away. I barely wrote that summer. I was just reading and listening and trying to connect that to what I had read in school.”

 

First a chemistry major, Zack realized early on that the life of a chemist was not what he envisioned for his life. “I switched to creative writing because I envisioned my future as a chemist. I had a friend who graduated and was doing work for 15 bucks an hour, which wasn’t that bad in 1999, but I could already do things I hate for that much money,” he says with a laugh.

 

When asked about how he got to be a writing instructor Zack’s answers reflected how important self-reflection is. “I took creative writing and literature classes and really enjoyed them. I think probably for me, my interest came more from the movies as much as it did for literature. I wanted to be a filmmaker but I couldn’t afford to go to film school and I didn’t like the idea of working with that many people with that much money at stake. It just seemed really, I don’t wanna say doomed, but I could say, interpersonally, that it was not a good match for me. I was really an introvert. It wasn’t until I began teaching that I was really able to talk to people.”

 

After switching from a chemistry major, Zack was a creative writing and mass communication double major, but ended up dropping mass communication his last semester. “I was like 6 hours away from a communications degree. I could just that these were not my people.” When it came to finding his people Zack found home in the creative writing field. “I had a couple classes I really enjoyed, one with a writer named Molly Giles. I wrote a story in there that she thought was pretty good. This was maybe one of the first times that I thought I could do this. A couple years later after I graduated, after bouncing around job to job for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to go to grad school for creative writing and I wanted to learn about writing. That’s how I ended up applying to MFA programs, which ultimately led me to PhD programs. Even after getting my PhD I didn’t ever think I had to be a creative writing professor.”

 

Even though he didn’t have to become a creative writing professor, that is what he did. So I asked him what a typical day looks like.

“I’ll start with the obvious and say, part of my job is to be a creative writer. Most days the first writing I do is early in the morning before the kids get up and that’s working on whatever my creative project is at the time. Usually it’s an hour, hour and a half from 5:30/6:00 to 7:00 in the morning. That’s what we generally think of as ‘creative writing’. Sometimes that’s all the time to do it. Other days I can get back to it later and work. Typical days are hard to address because I don’t think many of my days are typical. I might teach one to three classes a semester. My day constantly shifts. The number of hours I’m teaching shifts, but I’m generally writing all the time. Sometimes it’s ‘I need to send emails, whether that’s to a student or to a colleague. I would say I spend an hour sending or responding to emails.”

“I’ll use today as an example. I do a lot of writing as a professor, whether that’s writing a syllabus or notes for classes I teach. Yesterday, I spent most of the day with a pen in hand, reading stories for a class I teach tonight. Making margin notes, or lecture notes. I probably spent six or seven hours doing that. I’ll probably spend a few more hours today doing that.”

Since Zack is a creative writer who also teaches creative writing, I imagined his own writing must intersect with what he teaches:

“Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Like right now I’m teaching a class on the short story, while writing short stories, so sometimes it’s hard to separate those two. If I’m reading five or six stories and talking about how they work, if I go back to my own writing, I’m very likely to see some connection or some opportunity that I otherwise might not have seen.”

Sounds like an awesome way of using both aspects of his writing life. “So, in a sense, it almost solves some of your own writing problems by teaching?”

Not necessarily.

“Solves some, or creates them,” he says with another laugh. “I’m not which, but it definitely feeds into my writing. I can’t always separate the two. Sometimes, but not always.”