Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's all Greek to me

I don't understand how people can manage to work a full-time job and fill up servers located in some far-flung spot in the PNW (source of cheap electricity) with their insightful musings, or just plain drivel, on all things important and unimportant. It is certainly proving a challenge to me, as I haven't had an insightful thought for days. There is my adventure to the Bay Area to relate, but Dulcie thinks the whole thing is rather self-indulgent - which of course it is. But so what.

The time for summer registration is upon us and, as usual, the number of students wishing to register far exceeds the number of classes offered. I am thus the recipient of streams of e-mails and phone calls lobbying for a place. They vary in tone, style and strategy quite markedly, from the formal straightforward request to the long, emotional desperate cry for help to the ingratiating ("I've heard your a great professor...", "I just love your website...") to the downright moronic. One particular example that I wish to share in full represents to me the sorry pass that modern communication has brought us to. I reproduce this exactly as I received it from a hopeful student:

i wana take your class but on the schedule it says you and mrs.XXX. so i wana whose going to teach. is she only there for the labs or are u only doing labs. let me knw plz. thanks"

So, I have to wonder, does this fellow seriously expect me to respond in a favorable manner? I have been addressed more respectfully by would be muggers. I replied politely that, in order to receive a response, the enquiry should be crafted with whole words, proper punctuation and grammar, and with the appropriate salutation. Needless to say, I have not heard since.


sam said...

tsk, tsk, it's not the students fault you're text message illiterate. I'm kidding, of course. It seems like your not the only British Prof. that takes issue with this(not so)new trend.

sam said...

Here is that article again. Apparently I had an ID10T error with the first attempt.

Found at in the offbeat news section:

Text message essay baffles British teacher Monday, March 3, 2003 Posted: 10:17 AM EST (1517 GMT)

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An English essay written by a British teenager in text messaging short-hand has reignited concern among teachers that literacy standards are under threat.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Monday that the 13-year-old's teacher could not decipher what the youngster had written.

"I could not believe what I was seeing. The page was riddled with hieroglyphics, many of which I simply could not translate," the teacher told the newspaper.

The girl's essay began: "My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :- kids FTF. ILNY, it's a gr8 plc."

Which in translation from text messaging shorthand would read: "My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It's a great place."

Judith Gillespie, of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, told the newspaper a decline in grammar and written English was partly linked to the text messaging craze.

"Pupils think orally and write phonetically," she said.

Aylwin Forbes said...

Thank you Sam for the article. Having read what the Scottish teacher had to translate, I guess I should feel fortunate.