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To Stet Or Not To Stet, That Is the Question

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the why-the-monkeys-poke-and-prod dept.

The Media 264

theodp writes "The NY Times' Virginia Heffernan confesses to being stumped by how to excerpt the language on message boards and blogs. For example, Heffernan notes she could quote kavya on Yahoo Answers word for word ('How is babby formed? How girl get pragnent?'), but worries that doing so makes kavya look like an idiot rather that the sweetly earnest 7-year-old that he or she might be. Is it better to paraphrase or revise the question into 'How is a baby formed?' For now, Heffernan is going to let things stand (stet) and treat message boards like novels, preserving idiosyncrasies of language as far as possible and taking them as intentional — a 'wuz' on the Internet remains 'wuz' in the paper."

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Maybe (5, Funny)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258093)

I have a sic feeling I know the answer.

who's the idiot? (2)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258769)

Why change things the original speakers did not care about? What's funny about they way they talk? At it's worse, it represents a lack of rules from a lack of education. That is a shame the internet may correct. Insisting on conformity is something that will be corrected by global justice.

Not everyone has the privilege of that education which includes slavish language conformity to those currently with wealth and power. Shakespeare's plays preserve artful English for a 15th century English lawyer. Most people familiar with the rules of Standard English, as practiced in the North East of the United States in the late 20th century, would consider Shakespeare "moronizing," whatever that means.

Re:who's the idiot? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258945)

quit making sense, twitter, it hurts my head.

one viewpoint (5, Insightful)

welkin23 (1168399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258111)

Traduttori traditori; "translators are traitors".

Re:one viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258539)

And exposure to wrongly-formed language destroys said language.

Re:one viewpoint (5, Funny)

Gman14msu (993012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258849)

Traduttori traditori; "translators are traitors".

And I`m supposed to believe you?!

Probably some kind of pasta.

Re:one viewpoint (3, Funny)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259061)

I was gonna berate you for mixing up your Latin declensions, but I just realized that's Italian. It comes pre-fubared by about 2,000 years. :)

Well? (5, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258117)

How is babby formed? [somethingawful.com]

Re:Well? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258183)

Oh now that is too priceless. They should do that for people who type "loose" instead of "lose".
 

Re:Well? (2, Funny)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258267)

Hey. Stop picking on me.
It's not like dyslexia is contagious.

Re:Well? (4, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258275)

Oh now that is too priceless. They should do that for people who type "loose" instead of "lose".

I hate those kinds of loosers, get an education morans.

Re:Well? (4, Funny)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258437)

Oh now that is too priceless. They should do that for people who type "lose" instead of "loose".

Fixed that for ya!

Re:Well? (3, Informative)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258773)

If you're in the United States [homestead.com] the period should go inside the quotation marks. In Britain, however, your sentence is correct. Also please take note of my signature for your own educational enhancement and to avoid future misuses.

Re:Well? (4, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258877)

That's a rule I've never understood. I try to force myself to put the punctuation inside, but it's just anathema to me as a coder.


#!/usr/bin/perl
print "This is a test;"

It's just wrong.

Re:Well? (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258939)

I know, I know, and I'm sorry. That bit of code hurts me too. English is definitely not the most logical of languages. There are so many ridiculous things like "hood" and "pool." Pronunciation is the worst.

Re:Well? (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259069)

Bah, that's why I've decided "fuck it, I'm treating quotes and such as if they were code, even though I'm in the US". I even once did the following:

?".

Yea, that's wrong *everywhere* and I still did it.

Re:Well? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259009)

That's bloody-stupid. Quotation marks imply quotation, and punctuation shows the grammar and syntax of the sentence. If the quoted sentence doesn't have a damned period at the end, put the damned period outside the quotes.

() "" Always match brackets. Always match quotes. And use your terminator outside of string literals.

Re:Well? (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258255)

It's still funny, but I assumed that the person writing the babby question was much older than 7 the first time I saw it.

Re:Well? (1, Redundant)

nstrom (152310) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258311)

This thing still cracks me up every time. I love it.

Re:Well? (1, Offtopic)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258325)

AHAHA!

I had my speakers up pretty loud. That startled me then I started laughing and yet a piece of me cried at the destruction of our language.

I've a feeling that grammer nazies will patrol the comments to this story in full force.

Re:Well? (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258685)

I've a feeling that grammer nazies will patrol the comments to this story in full force.

I've a feeling the grammar Nazis will be too. ;-)

Re:Well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258455)

For those of us without Flash, could you describe what this is? (Abode says no to 64bit Linux)

Re:Well? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258551)

Abode says it is possible [jamesward.com]

Re:Well? - Kids Spelling (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258509)

My Son has an email-pal, some neighbour kids who moved away and now live out on Chatham Island and they have irregular email contact, but he writes his own letter and I type them in for him and a scan of any art- I leave all grammer and spelling as his as it is his work - and he has some grate fonetik spelling in some of them 8)

Re:Well? (3, Funny)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259001)

Usually by calling Babby::Babby(Father dad,Mother mom).

Slow news day? (1)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258121)

*boggle* !

[sic] (5, Informative)

InterruptDescriptorT (531083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258133)

I always thought the marker for material being quoted as it was spoken or written was [sic].

For example,

'John be [sic] tripping. He always [sic] doin' shit like that.'

In this case, the [sic] denotes the use of the infinitive of the copula verb in African-American English Vernacular (AAEV) to mean a habitual action; the second is used to mark the elision of the copula verb in the sentence.

Just my two cents' worth (former English grad student and undergrad seminar leader/paper grader).

Re:[sic] (1, Troll)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258175)

You mean niggerspeak?

Re:[sic] (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258203)

Yes indeed, and [sic] exists because it is extremely poor form to edit a quote.

I'm more familiar with what journalism demands, but you're really not wanting to edit what a person says, even if it makes them look better than what they originally said. Any edits to somebody else's words opens up liability both for lawsuits as well as ethics complaints.

A well written article uses quotes as a means of showing the reader what happened, if one were to edit the quotes beyond cutting unnecessary bits to fit the article, there's a real risk of changing the quote. Even cutting it down brings in risks if it's not done in a careful manner.

Really, editing quotes is just a bad idea if the quote is so bad that you really have to edit it, then the appropriate thing to do in most cases is to just look for another one.

I'm definitely not the foremost expert on this, but it is something to undertake only with great trepidation.

Re:[sic] (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258345)

Yes indeed, and [sic] exists because it is extremely poor form to edit a quote.

I'm more familiar with what journalism demands, but you're really not wanting to edit what a person says, even if it makes them look better than what they originally said. Any edits to somebody else's words opens up liability both for lawsuits as well as ethics complaints.

A well written article uses quotes as a means of showing the reader what happened, if one were to edit the quotes beyond cutting unnecessary bits to fit the article, there's a real risk of changing the quote. Even cutting it down brings in risks if it's not done in a careful manner.

Really, editing quotes is just a bad idea if the quote is so bad that you really have to edit it, then the appropriate thing to do in most cases is to just look for another one.

I'm definitely not the foremost expert on this, but it is something to undertake only with great trepidation.

Consider translated quotes. Nobody seems to have a problem with them even though there is no guarantee that the translation perfectly reflects the original statement. I think quoting children or people who use slang on message boards should follow the same rules. Yes, it "opens up liability both for lawsuits as well as ethics complaints," but the same could be said for any translated quote.

Re:[sic] (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258483)

Consider translated quotes. Nobody seems to have a problem with them even though there is no guarantee that the translation perfectly reflects the original statement. I think quoting children or people who use slang on message boards should follow the same rules. Yes, it "opens up liability both for lawsuits as well as ethics complaints," but the same could be said for any translated quote.

There was actually a bit of a deal about this recently. I can't remember exactly what happened, but it was something along the lines of a translater mistranslating what the Indonesian president said to the Australian PM. Instead of saying that Rudd couldn't directly do anything about travel security warnings to Indonesia, the translater said that Rudd would do something about them. This was, of course, during a press conference.

Re:[sic] (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258211)

Shouldn't that second sic be after 'He', the location of the elision?

In which case when quoting you I need to write

* 'John be [sic] tripping. He always [sic] [[sic]] doin' shit like that.'

Re:[sic] (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258227)

wut?

Re:[sic] (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258371)

fo shizzle!

Re:[sic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258389)

'John be [sic] tripping. He always [sic] [[sic]] doin' shit like that.'

Poor John is a lot sicker in your version, though.

Re:[sic] (5, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258347)

I always thought the marker for material being quoted as it was spoken or written was [sic].

Minor nitpick, but typographically the square brackets are set roman while the word is set in italics. So it would appear as [sic] instead of [sic].

Re:[sic] (-1)

beaverbrother (586749) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258387)

I'm pretty sure that means "Spelling InCorrect"

Re:[sic] (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258453)

I'm pretty sure that means "Spelling InCorrect"

You are wrong. [wikipedia.org]

Re:[sic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258523)

If you're going to get it wrong, at least get it wrong with the right rendition. sic = 'Spelling Is Correct' (even though it doesn't)

Re:[sic] (2, Interesting)

VoyagerRadio (669156) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258393)

You don't find this article interesting? I find this extremely interesting because, as a writer and blogger, I'm often wondering how best to transcribe the "idiosyncrasies of (message-board) language", which the author of the article suggests

"should be preserved as far as possible and taken as intentional, unless in context they are obviously evidence that the writer has innocently hit the wrong key ("teh," "rihgt"). A "wuz" on the Internet remains "wuz" in the paper.

My own take: consider the reporter, who takes notes while interviewing. Does she transcribe her subject's language verbatim? Not always, particularly if the extra words (the excessive adjectives, the obscene pronouns) aren't necessary to the thesis of the story. In a story about language itself, of course you would transcribe word-for-word, but it's not necessary to do so when relaying the general meaning of your interviewee. Or is it? Like I said, I find myself struggling with this one often.

Re:[sic] (2, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258617)

I have yet to see anything intelligent written in "message board language." The only real reason to quote such tripe is to make fun of the writer's lack of education.

In short, this is not really a question of good journalism, it is a question of ethics. If you feel it is ethical to mock someone, then quote them verbatim. If you do not feel that this sort of treatment is ethical, then write about something else.

Re:[sic] (1)

strawberryutopia (1301435) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258463)

I always thought the marker for material being quoted as it was spoken or written was [sic].

For example,

'John be [sic] tripping. He always [sic] doin' shit like that.'

In this case, the [sic] denotes the use of the infinitive of the copula verb in African-American English Vernacular (AAEV) to mean a habitual action; the second is used to mark the elision of the copula verb in the sentence.

Just my two cents' worth (former English grad student and undergrad seminar leader/paper grader).

Yes. While this is true, the article does point out that this sounds out of place in this context.

My $0.02 on the matter is that typos should probably be corrected, but grammar should not be. There are of course many many exceptions, depending entirely on the nature of the quote and the purpose of the article.

Re:[sic] (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258499)

well technically, sure: [sic] is what the grammar has to deal with quoting something grammatically incorrect.

but i'm not sure it's the right approach in this case, for a few reasons:

* it's often interpreted as assy

* if you're quoting a significant amount of this material, you'd have like hundreds of [sic]s in your own text, and that's just dumb. the alternative might be just putting in footnote asterisks and have the footnote be "[sic]".

i'm inclined to go w/ the summary's summary, which is to just quote it. the [sic]s are obvious and implicit.

what would david foster wallace do ?

Re:[sic] (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258607)

what would david foster wallace do ?

He'd probably do everything you suggested. And then he'd write a four-page footnote explaining why each [sic] is there, along with alternate suggestions for how the quote could be worded, with at least 3 citations (which appear as endnotes) for each suggestion to references that back up the aforementioned suggestion.

Re:[sic] (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258513)

Another option is to use [sic correction?], which I see a lot when reading quotes of translated material.

In that case it's not always clear whether the translation is at fault, the original text, or neither becuase the translator maybe translating literally what was said, which tends to not be gramatically correct in english.

In the case of something on forums which could contain a great deal of material I'd be inclined to put the original in a footnote and the author's attempt at translation in text.

Re:[sic] (4, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258675)

I always thought the marker for material being quoted as it was spoken or written was [sic].

In printing, the word "stet" has, for generations, been used to indicate matter that should be allowed to stand in its original form, overriding any blue-pencil changes introduced by another editor.

Since hardly anybody actually edits on paper any more, I doubt that the term is taught these days. Similarly, there's no reason to teach copyfitting, headline counting, or strange marks added to penciled copy above the lower-case n and below the lower-case u.

Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (5, Funny)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258153)

The Gettysburg Address:

F0ur 5c0r3 4nd 53v3n y34r5 460 0ur f47h3r5 br0u6h7 f0r7h 0n 7h15 c0n71n3n7, 4 n3w n4710n, c0nc31v3d 1n |1b3r7y, 4nd d3d1c473d 70 7h3 pr0p051710n 7h47 4|| m3n 4r3 cr3473d 3qu4|.

N0w w3 4r3 3n6463d 1n 4 6r347 c1v1| w4r, 73571n6 wh37h3r 7h47 n4710n, 0r 4ny n4710n 50 c0nc31v3d 4nd 50 d3d1c473d, c4n |0n6 3ndur3. W3 4r3 m37 0n 4 6r347 b477|3-f13|d 0f 7h47 w4r. W3 h4v3 c0m3 70 d3d1c473 4 p0r710n 0f 7h47 f13|d, 45 4 f1n4| r3571n6 p|4c3 f0r 7h053 wh0 h3r3 64v3 7h31r |1v35 7h47 7h47 n4710n m16h7 |1v3. 17 15 4|70637h3r f1771n6 4nd pr0p3r 7h47 w3 5h0u|d d0 7h15.

Bu7, 1n 4 |4r63r 53n53, w3 c4n n07 d3d1c473 -- w3 c4n n07 c0n53cr473 -- w3 c4n n07 h4||0w -- 7h15 6r0und. 7h3 br4v3 m3n, |1v1n6 4nd d34d, wh0 57ru66|3d h3r3, h4v3 c0n53cr473d 17, f4r 4b0v3 0ur p00r p0w3r 70 4dd 0r d37r4c7. 7h3 w0r|d w1|| |177|3 n073, n0r |0n6 r3m3mb3r wh47 w3 54y h3r3, bu7 17 c4n n3v3r f0r637 wh47 7h3y d1d h3r3. 17 15 f0r u5 7h3 |1v1n6, r47h3r, 70 b3 d3d1c473d h3r3 70 7h3 unf1n15h3d w0rk wh1ch 7h3y wh0 f0u6h7 h3r3 h4v3 7hu5 f4r 50 n0b|y 4dv4nc3d. 17 15 r47h3r f0r u5 70 b3 h3r3 d3d1c473d 70 7h3 6r347 745k r3m41n1n6 b3f0r3 u5 -- 7h47 fr0m 7h353 h0n0r3d d34d w3 74k3 1ncr3453d d3v0710n 70 7h47 c4u53 f0r wh1ch 7h3y 64v3 7h3 |457 fu|| m345ur3 0f d3v0710n -- 7h47 w3 h3r3 h16h|y r350|v3 7h47 7h353 d34d 5h4|| n07 h4v3 d13d 1n v41n -- 7h47 7h15 n4710n, und3r 60d, 5h4|| h4v3 4 n3w b1r7h 0f fr33d0m -- 4nd 7h47 60v3rnm3n7 0f 7h3 p30p|3, by 7h3 p30p|3, f0r 7h3 p30p|3, 5h4|| n07 p3r15h fr0m 7h3 34r7h.

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258253)

anyone else thinks "p0r710n" looks awful close to "pornion" ... hmmm

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258265)

Hmmm, with a little rot13'ing of that whole thing you just gave me a great big new batch of passwords to use.

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (5, Funny)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258659)

Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes.

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258287)

That would kill text aware compression ratios (try it in RAR).

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (2, Funny)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258667)

Who gave you access to my ssh key passphrase!??

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258671)

Does this Perl program output the Gettysburg address? I don't understand.

Re:Can't Wait For Virginia Heffernan's Edit Of ... (1)

johnshirley (709044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258927)

And, now for the (more) SMS-friendly version:

4 scr n 7 yrs ago r fthrs brot 4th on dis cntnt a nu ntn cncvd in lbrty n ddc8d 2 da prpstn that al mn r cre8d = now we r ngagd in a gr8 cvl war tstin whether

dat ntn or ne ntn so cncvd n so ddc8d cn lng endr we r mt on a gr8 bttl-fld of dat war we hv cum 2 ddc8 a prtn of dat fld as a fnl rstng plc 4 ths who hr gv thr

lvs dat dat ntn mite lv it is al2gthr fttng n ppr dat we shld do dis but in a lrgr sns we cn nt ddc8-we cn nt cnscr8-we cn nt hllw-dis ground da brv mn lvng n

ded who strggld hr hv cnscr8d it far abv r pr pwr 2 ad or dtrct da wld wl ltl nt nr lng mmbr wut we say hr bt it cn never 4get wut dey did hr it is 4 us da lvng

rthr 2 be ddc8d hr 2 da unfnshd wrk whch dey who fot hr hv thus fr so nbly advncd it is rthr 4 us 2 be hr ddc8d 2 da gr8 tsk rmanng be4 us-dat from ths hnrd ded

we tk ncresd dvtn 2 dat cos 4 which dey gave da lst fl mesr of dvtn-dat we hr hily rslv dat ths ded shl nt hv died in van-dat dis ntn undr gd shl hv a nu brth

of frdm-n dat gvrnmnt of da ppl by da ppl 4 da ppl shl nt perish from da rth

For those of you who are still victims of public education, feel free to use the above text on any of your United States History Papers.

IMHO... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258185)

...expressions such as OMFG might benefit from an edit.

LMFAO.

Re:IMHO... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258219)

IDK if I agree or not, I guess YMMV

Re:IMHO... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258653)

I Don't Know if I agree or not, I guess You Make Me Vomit

Nice.

Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (5, Insightful)

OnanTheBarbarian (245959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258207)

Current practice for verbal quotes:

If the person is a high-status, middle-aged white person, edit out all "umms", "ahhs", spelling mistakes, restatements, etc.

If the person is under 30, leave in all 'likes', 'ya knows', etc. If they are of appropriate class or race, feel free to transcribe all '-ing' endings as '-in', too.

So just follow this practice. Be sure to clean up high-status people if they are drivelling on, while doing verbatim quotes from teenagers, poor people, etc.

Re:Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258457)

So poor people and teenagers can't spell by definition?

Re:Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258847)

Thats like, umm, you know, right?

Re:Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258525)

Just how does a verbal quote have a spelling error in the first place (assuming the person wasn't spelling words out)?

Re:Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (1)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258701)

"Oll Korrect"?

Re:Easy answer: use current verbal quote practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24259085)

My kingdom for a mod point

Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (2, Interesting)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258209)

I'm not opposed to leaving excerpted web errors in print, but for some reason I really detest seeing it on television, especially TV news. Here in Los Angeles I recently saw a local news report that was highlighting Internet sentiment on gas prices, and when they showed misspellings and poor grammar, it really annoyed me - I considered it to be lowering quality of the segment. My view is probably based largely on the fact that the newscaster was reading off these opinions with so much seriousness and gravity (which a good newscaster should normally do). I'd rather have intelligent posts discussed or none at all.

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (3, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258277)

I think they should be left alone in all formats. When it's put against a background of generally proper grammar, it looks even worse. If there's a higher chance of someone's quote becoming popular, it may (may) get them to consider using a spell checker. Even if it's incremental, getting people to learn better grammar is good for everyone.

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258319)

"good for everyone" implies that you meant that "getting people to learn better grammar" is an activity that most people should engage in. Neato.

Did you mean that it benefits everyone?

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258399)

Even if it's incremental, getting people to learn better grammar is good for everyone.

It's well for everyone. Sheesh, get it right...

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258545)

i would vote for good,
treating "getting people to learn better grammar" as a noun-phrase. as if it were "Vitamin C" or "The Space Program" or something.

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258737)

Living up to your name as always, eh, Captain Perceptive?

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258907)

** woooosh **

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258947)

It's well for everyone. Sheesh, get it right...

That's everyperson, don't be a sexist bastard.

Re:Stet it in print, but perhaps not on T.V. (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258527)

getting people to learn better grammar is good for everyone

How do you figure?

Even worse... (4, Insightful)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258237)

We need a better system for referencing the contents of Websites. Perfect example: the link to Yahoo Answers [yahoo.com] in the summary is already broken. It's of little use quibbling over the language if the original is lost.

To make matters worse, the referencing styles reek of the hammer-nail syndrome. Websites are NOT periodicals, but every citation style treats them as such. Author's full name? Title of Periodical^WWebsite? And what use is the access date if we don't have reliable archiving (or time machines)?

I think we need, at the very least, to set up reliable archiving before we can tackle any other citation questions raised by the nature of the Web. Perhaps a central, trustworthy source could copy a single page at request along and add metadata (date/time of archival, etc.), and then cite that?

All I'm saying is that the citation standards have more pressing problems. "Babby" versus "baby" doesn't make a lick of difference if the link cited gets you "This question has been deleted."

Re:Even worse... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258343)

"This question has been deleted" is surprisingly poisonous for a company the size of Yahoo!. It's like they want everyone to know that they are rotting from the inside out or whatever.

(I wouldn't take issue with it except I have been searching for information about the context with which people view various topics and those searches lead to dead Yahoo! answers pages more often than they should)

7-year-old? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258263)

Actually, I believe kavya's poor English is due to the fact that he/she seems to be in Pakistan, based on the other questions on the account. Also explains kavya's less-than-informed understanding of human reproduction.

Re:7-year-old? (1)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258293)

kavya's English is a hell of a lot better than my Urdu or Punjabi.

Re:7-year-old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258555)

Granted. I'm not trying to mock kavya (unlike certain Goons), I'm offering an explanation.

Re:7-year-old? (1, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258949)

kavya's English is a hell of a lot better than my Urdu or Punjabi.

I don't want to encourage people to be dicks, but that line seems silly to me. What's the point of saying it?

How many people outside of India have a good reason to learn Urdu or Punjabi? Certain teachers, military personnel, and translators may want to learn them, but that's a tiny percentage of the population.

Poor English skills are more likely to hurt non-English speakers than poor [insert language here] skills are likely to hurt native English speakers.

Re:7-year-old? (2, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259079)

Although kavya has more reason to learn English than you have to learn Urdu or Punjabi (unless you travel to Pakistan on a regular basis).

My view (2, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258269)

I originally had a rant planned for this post, but it would have made me come off as an even more egalitarian prick than usual. Acronyms and abbreviations, in games, I can understand. Time is limited, and sometimes so is the text input space. Doing it when there's plenty of time and space to type properly just makes people look like idiots. I also loathe reading a conversation with someone who has all of their smilies on plain text cues, instead of inside hyphens or parentheses. I prefer to read text, not a rebus [wikipedia.org]

Re:My view (4, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258571)

I do not think egalitarian [tfd.com] means what you think it means.

Re:My view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258819)

So what's your excuse for writing "egalitarian" when you meant "elitist" then?

(Sorry, I couldn't help it.)

Re:My view (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258853)

2 bad u don't know what egalitarian means, fucktard. :D

maybe u should take teh time 2 learn what a word means instead of trying 2 look kewl by using big words. :p

It Makes Me Queasy... (5, Insightful)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258369)

OK, I know I'm older than God, but there must be other people around who remember or have read the "dialect" renderings in stories and novels. I'm thinking of anything between, say, "Honestly, Miz Scyallet, ah don' know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies..." all the way to "We don't need no steenking badges..." That includes a lot of childrens' stories that have now thankfully been banished.

What it boiled down to was that if your skin was dark, or you were "foreign," your speech was rendered as "dialect" by some white person somewhere. Seeking kavya's question quoted verbatim somehow transports me back in time. Even the use of "sic" seems somehow to say, "I know this is a deviation from standard English. I just want you to know I didn't originate it, and I'm literate enough to know the difference."

I almost (but not quite) think I might prefer just having the conversation related to me. Or, as an earlier commenter has said, throw the whole thing out and find a better way to cite Web comments.
 

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258401)

The underclasses had and have their own dialects - I don't know if it is really condescending to quote them verbatim. They *aren't* capable of rendering standard english.

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (4, Funny)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258577)

The underclasses had and have their own dialects

I'm certainly not going to fix up every instance of Aluminum [sic] and -ize [sic] that all these underclass Americans insist on using!

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258505)

That includes a lot of childrens' stories that have now thankfully been banished.

I don't see what I have to be thankful for if media is getting censored left and right. The "thank goodness that's not around, because otherwise people might be influenced by it" attitude is as good as letting someone else determine what you should think.

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (3, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258583)

I suppose that it irritates you when British authors reproduce cockney or Scottish accents in their writing, too?

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24258729)

Aye, I kinnae understan em, ya kin?

Jings ... (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258783)

Crivens y' ken it does too.

Tha's hit th' nail reet on head, tha 's.

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258651)

word.
one can only hope that someday soon we'll banish such backwards and poisonous works as Huck Finn, For Whom The Bell Tolls or The Artificial Nigger.

but in seriousness, i think you're conflating "dialect" prose with racism/classism.
while they certainly sometimes go hand-in-hand, they're actually independent.

the thing to keep your eye on is the author's overall portrayal of characters.

re [sic], i agree with you: when used where the difference in grammar usage is obvious, it's assy.

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (4, Insightful)

sgtrock (191182) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258669)

Where on earth did you get the impression that rendering dialect correctly had anything at all to do with skin color? Rendering dialect can be done to put someone down, it's true. However, writers with that kind of agenda typically don't have anything worthwhile to say anyhow.

The truth is that people living in all kinds of places at all economic levels of society develop their own dialect. For example, did you ever read Kipling's "Captains Courageous?" Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn?" Henry Fielding's "Tom Jones?" Read any of Falstaff's scenes from Shakespeare's plays? See any 'people of color' being put down in any of those examples?

To ignore dialect when writing or hide it is to ignore the rich and complex diversity that is the human race. It is to turn the orchestra of language into a single section of brass. It takes away the spice from written or spoken dialog. Don't hide from dialect, treat it as those great writers did. Celebrate it!

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (2, Interesting)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258841)

I've read each of the works you've cited, including all of Shakespeare's histories.

The authors you mention were all able to render dialect with a carefully tuned ear and a determination to advance whatever story they had chosen to tell. And even so, two of those authors are in danger of being damned as politically incorrect.

There's another whole category of dialect writers who choose to write in their own dialects and accents. Robert Burns comes to mind first, and American literature is also richly endowed with writers of both poetry and prose who speak with forceful, authentic accents.

I was more concerned with authors who somehow place themselves above it all. You've cited authors who were deeply involved with their stories and their characters.

(Would you care to join me in a rousing chorus of "For old long since?")

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258691)

I agree, describe what they're saying with the same language and tone of the article. Watch one of President Bush speeches then read or watch the news coverage. "We gotta, you know, protect our... uh, freedoms, so all of our options should, will, ah, be kept on the table." But the press reports "The President confirmed a military strike still remains an option, saying the use of force is 'on the table.'"

If you're writing an article about poor grammar on the internet then a direct quote is relevant. Otherwise, treat a less educated person's opinion with the same respect show to other sources.

Re:It Makes Me Queasy... (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258829)

I could see "verbatim" quoting of speech being a rude or derisive practice, as the specific embodiment of the words in print is that of the reporter, not the speaker, but this is a reprint of a set-in-typ, unambiguous and citable written quote. To reinterpret it while still maintaining it as a "quote" does a disservice to... well... reality. The options of paraphrase and short quotes are still there if you don't wish to call attention to the original poster's grammar style.

Square brackets (3, Interesting)

hkmarks (1080097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258487)

You can use square brackets to indicate a change for grammar or spelling, can't you? "How is babby formed? How girl get pragnent?" becomes "How is [a baby] formed? How [does a] girl get [pregnant]?"

I would not change a written text without indicating so, ever. If it's reasonably clear and doesn't make the original look dumb or silly, don't change it.

A (sic) always seemed to me like "Sigh, yes, I know it's spelled wrong. Don't blame me. It's their fault." It seems vaguely rude.

Re:Square brackets (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258615)

You can use square brackets to indicate a change for grammar or spelling, can't you?

The problem with this is that, as you say, 'You can [also] use square brackets to [totally misrepresent] a change [from what] you [said]'.

That's one benefit of using sic... you actually know what was originally said. Brackets are useful if you're making very minor changes (one commonly useful one is replacing a pronoun with what it refers to if you aren't quoting the antecedent itself), but if I saw "How is [a baby] formed? How [does a] girl get [pregnant]?" I would wonder why the heck the writer felt like putting words in the original speaker's mouth.

If you think sic is rude, just quote it verbatim and don't mark it at all. If I saw an article that was well-written except for a couple quotes that say things like "How is babby formed? How girl get pragnent?", I'm going to assume that you're quoting verbatim anyway.

Unless it's changed ... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258775)

When I was in J-school, it was made pretty clear to us: If there's a typo or misspelling and correcting it doesn't change the intent, fix it. If changing the quote to correct deficiencies in grammar, etc. would subtract from the reader's ability to understand or get a glimpse of the speaker's personality, don't change it. Not overly complicated.

i felt a great disturbance in the Grammar (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24258911)

as if a million grammar nazis cried out in torment and were silenced at once

The great document (1)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#24259057)

of human stupidity (that is the Internet) is coming to an end. Expect all of your webservers to spit out "42" any time now.

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