I used to read quite a lot of webcomics and even though I still read a few of them, my current list is a shadow of what it’s been through the years. I should probably check back with some of them or compile a list or something, but for now, I just want to recommend one of my current favorites. I’ve been reading it for about a year or so and it’s just my kind of humor.
I give you: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
It’s nerd comics at its best, up there with XKCD. For example, this strip (click the picture for full size) was published today and it’s a great view on the nerd category of grammar. Since I’m a grammar nerd, I love this one a lot, but I like the ones about physics, time paradoxes or whatever it may be. It’s not very often that I read an update and then don’t laugh.
It’s exactly the kind of dry, biting wit that I like so much and Zach Weiner, its creator, isn’t afraid to make fun of anyone or anything. He also makes a video sketch series which is a bit hit or miss, but sometimes he hits a home-run. Take a look at this video called Dating Solutions and you’ll see one of the golden ones.
As a language teacher here in Sweden, I’ve come across some weird stuff when it comes to how things are spelled, pronounced or said. Hell, I didn’t even have to get into the classroom to notice that. The thing is, it’s okay to me that they say or write stuff the wrong way. They’re kids in school after all. They’re there because they are learning. However, native, grown-up English users? I give them no mercy as far as language goes. A metric fuck-ton (actually, it’s probably several tons… but I digress) of native English users rape the language on a daily basis. A couple of my favorite errors to get worked up about are in the title of this post.
1. The use of “should of” instead of “should’ve” or “should have” and all of the many variations you can come up with. This is classic ignorance and lack of linguistic awareness. People who make this mistake just don’t care about how they write. At all. It’s the classic “write it how it’s pronounced and when you’re unsure, wing it” but they’ve made their guess a rule. They don’t reflect on it either, they just keep on writing “should of”, never thinking “hey, does that tiny little word construction make any sense?”. In fact, I haven’t come across a single non-native English user who makes this mistake. There are similar examples of native Swedish speakers making the same mistake in Swedish and I bet that holds true for most other languages as well. I don’t care, it’s still annoying. It’s intellectual laziness, cut it the fuck out.
2. Nookular. One of my favorite Bushisms. A Bushism is an expression that George Dubya Bush came up with and it’s stupid. Those are the only two criteria. Another one is “spatial entrepreneurs” when talking about astronauts, but I’m not going to steal that bit from Henry Rollins. Nookular is the topic for now. Nookular is how good old Bushie Boy pronounces nuclear. Nuclear’s pronunciation as [new-clear] is acceptable but not fully correct. It’s actually pronounced [new-klee-urr], which is pretty close to [new-clear]. However, it’s a pretty fucking far cry from [noo-kyoo-lurr]. The worst thing is that, after Bush was handed the presidency of the US by the Supreme Court and Florida’s completely retarded voting laws, a lot of people in the public eye started using the “nookular” pronunciation. There was another tiny but oh-so-annoying language change that happened around then too, but that’s for another post.
Alright, that’s it for now. I still have a pretty big pile of linguistic annoyances to dig in and bring up here. The reason I bring them up is because I’m of the opinion that if your use of language is exact and varied, then your thoughts and your ability to conceptualize is exact and varied. Our language and our vocabulary dictates how we think to a very large extent. That’s not to say that I think all language rules should be enforced. Language is never static, it’s always changing. I just want to try and make sure that it changes in a positive way that makes communication easier to understand. Some changes make understanding more difficult. Anyhow, enough rambling for now. Time to sleep.
As a language enthusiast (looks flashier than “nerd”), I always appreciate witty commentary on stuff like misspellings and bad grammar. That’s why I just love this blog post. I think the alot is a very cute animal. Go see for yourself 🙂
I’m a language teacher. Something that comes with the territory is that you become a language fascist. Funny thing, though, is that I was more anal about language than I am now. Now my linguistic philosophy is more descriptive than prescriptive, if we’re using heavy duty linguistics terminology, but I don’t expect that most people know what that means. Anyhow, I have a whole bunch of pet peeves when it comes to language. One of the bigger ones is English-speaking people who pronounce “et cetera” as [exetera]. There is NO [k] sound in there. You’re supposed to pronounce it as it’s written: [et setera]. The amount of people in YouTube videos and on TV that say [exetera] is astounding and quite saddening because the ignorance is so widespread.
Also, it’s abbreviated “etc”, NOT “ect”. Get that through your thick skulls, illiterates. Thanks!