Wednesday, 26 August 2015

if you no what I mean, does it matter what I should of said?

"ain't nobody got time for that"

"and the lord said unto noah..."

"Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee?
On Ilkla Moor baht'at"

"when shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?"

"ye banks an brea o bonny doon, ha can ye bloom sae fresh an fair?"

these 5 quotes all have a few things in common.

1. I (and most educated native English speakers) understand all of them.

2. they all use grammar & syntax that would sound wrong if I used them on this blog, or in casual conversation down the pub.

3. in fact, if I used them it would implicitly mock the respective dialects

4. but they are all valid dialects. they have their own grammar rules just as complex as any formal English.

...none of which helps us with the title.

at the BiCon ball, I was non-verbal for at least an hour. there was a code of conduct issue that normally wouldn't bother me, but a combination of guilt (I went into panicked fake-NT-everything-is-fine mode instead of telling him no like a good team member) and background BiCon shit (it's an... intense experience) and let it build up for a while...

...and the people around me were amazing. I mimed writing, and scribbled. I asked to go somewhere quiet, and scribbled some more. there were spelling mistakes, swear words, eccentric punctuation and many crossings out. there was a total lack of eye contact and mouth-based language. I was not passing for NT by any stretch of the imagination. generally, it takes a lot less than that for "well meaning" NT authority figures to totally dismiss my words. I wasn't rushed. when I handed over the paper, it was read silently and handed back. the response was calm and considered, accepting the validity of my words. the response was even spoken, which sped things up and saved me vital paper space.

...just another reason why I love BiCon. but still not directly linked to the title.

I know which there/their/they're, your/you're, know/no and even which/witch I need to use in a given context, but not weather/whether. it wasn't always like this. I remember when I was maybe 11 deciding to memorise the spelling of 1 there and 1 your and forget the apparently dense, arbitrary rules. it was that or give up trying to write. at 27, I get it. I'm doing everything I can not to become one of those arseholes who attempt to shame people into silence over "if you no what I mean", "I should of told him", or "any think". I probably have a stronger visceral reaction than you, because I remember the shame, but for the same reason I have a stronger desire not to humiliate people over this.

(and I try to construct sentences without whether/weather, I remember the humiliation. it still burns)

...and there is the crux of the argument. it is good to know which words to use and how to spell them. it is right that we teach our young how formal, written English works. what's not OK is "@username, *their, didn't you go to school?" whenever you're in an online debate. disagree on content, shout, swear, whatever. but with all my race & class privilege helping me (my "dialect" of spoken English is home counties - that is standard, formal british English with optional add ons for swearing and new-words-we-didn't-know-we-needed) I still actively have to compensate for my wonky brain if I want to avoid ridicule.

so, when it comes down to it, would you chose BiCon or school?

would you stand up for me, or for *should've/quiet hands/learn to spell/look me in the eye/use your words?

(this post has been brought to you by a facebook debate that ended far more amicably than any human interaction containing the words "sanctimonious git" has any reason to. substance over style, kids! it works)

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