Monday, October 23, 2006

The Rapid Disintegration Of The English Language

I know, I know, I'm laying myself open to criticism but...

Conversation in the editorial department this morning turned to one of my current hot topics for a rant - my recent discovery that A-level English Literature teachers are allowing students to submit essays for coursework containing the mis-spelling of English words such as '4', 'da', '4eva', 'l8r' and a million other text-speak 'words' that I neither know nor understand. Why doesn't the government do something useful for once and INTERFERE? Can't we get Jamie Oliver on to this? He seems to be a man who gets things done.

Later on I found myself looking up books on Amazon and realised with horror the travesty that is the 'customer reviews' section. I don't know why I've never looked here before. Or rather, perhaps I do. This is an area where – completely without editorial control – ordinary, illiterate members of the public can freely submit reviews of anything they choose. Without the use of a dictionary, apparently. And without the ability to press the shift button to put in a capital letter at the start of a sentence – assuming they manage to construct a sentence at all, that is. Would you care to see some genuine examples? (I couldn't make this up, however hard I tried, so I just searched some well-known titles):

"A Reader" says of "Great Expectations" by Mr Dickens
"if you like literature, do your self a favour and buy this book."

"porridge" says of "Emma" by Miss Austen
"I am studying this for A level English, but there is not really enough to say about it to write a decent essay."

"Minky" says of "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
"Hving just finished this book i am amazed how much information there is in this book. Hving just finished my GCSE's and about to start physics for A levels i really recommend this book for anyone interested in science and who wants to extend there knowledge."

"Martin" says of "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith
"i couldnt help but to write something in defence of ON BEAUTY which made my holiday truly enjoyable this summer. i finished the book in two days and i was thinking about the characters as if they are real for another couple of days:-) it is a warm and soulfull book and i would recommend it to anyone."

"charltonsno1fan" says of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" by JK Rowling
"no no no no i cant believe it!!!!!!! the first 5 books were absolutly amazing but this book is just... its not well written it seems like it was rushed it didnt have the class and elegance of the other books i gave it 3stars ONLY COS IT WAS HARRY POTTER but i was very disapointed"

Jesus Christ!

1 comment:

Pen Pusher said...

Ha! I love those reviews. Sometimes I log on specifically to enjoy the moronic thoughts of the general public on things I have no intention of ever reading. The best ones are generally to be found on amazon.com, particularly if you order them by star rating, worst first. Hours of snobbish fun.