Author Topic: Cato's Grammar Grumble  (Read 357243 times)

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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4300 on: April 10, 2018, 02:28:10 PM »
Recently I read an article about how to best approach the writing tests for one Australia's standardised school tests called NAPLAN. Les Perelman, a retired professor from MIT University from the USA recently wrote a handy guide for students who want highest marks possible on this particular test. I would love to hear what Cato has to say about it. ;D

Quote from: Dr. Perelman
DR PERELMAN’S GUIDE TO A TOP SCORING NAPLAN ESSAY
1. Memorise the list of Difficult and Challenging Spelling Words and sprinkle them throughout
the paper. Feel free to repeat them, and do not worry very much about the meaning.
2.  If you are not sure how to spell a word, do not use it.
3.  Repeat the language and ideas in the Writing Task throughout the paper.
4.  Begin at least one sentence with the structure, “Although x (sentence), y (sentence).” For
example: “Although these instructions are stupid, they will produce a high mark on the
NAPLAN essay.”
5.  Master the five-paragraph form.
   a)  Have a minimum of four paragraphs, preferably five.
   b)  Each paragraph, except the last one, should have a minimum of four sentences. Do
not worry about repeating ideas.
   c)  The first paragraph should end with your thesis sentence.
   d)  The next-to-last paragraph should modify your thesis sentence by taking the other
side of the issue in special cases.
   e)  The last paragraph should begin with “In conclusion” and then repeat the thesis
sentence from the first paragraph. Then just repeat two or three ideas from the other
paragraphs.
6.  Increase your score on the “Audience” and “Persuasive Devices” categories by addressing
the reader using “you” and ask questions. For example: “So you think you wouldn’t mind
writing a stupid essay?”
7.  Use connective (Velcro) words such as “Moreover,” “However,” “In addition”, “On the other
hand” at the beginning of sentences.
8.  Begin sentences with phrases such as “In my opinion”, “I believe that”, “I think that” etc.
9.  Repeat words and phrases throughout your paper.
10.  Employ the passive voice frequently throughout your paper.
11.  Use referential pronouns, such as “this”, without a reference noun following it. For
example, “This will make the marker think you are a coherent writer”.
12.  Make arguments using forms such as “We all believe that we should do X” or “We all know
that Y is harmful”.
13.  Always have at least one, preferably two adjectives next to nouns. Thus, not “the dog” but
the “frisky and playful dog”.
14.  If you are writing a narrative essay, think quickly if there is a television program, movie, or
story that you know that fits the requirements of the narrative writing task. If there is one
use it as your narrative, embellishing it or changing it as much as you want. Markers are
explicitly instructed to ignore if they recognise any stories or plots and mark the script on
its own merits as if it was original.
15.  Never write like this except for essay tests like the NAPLAN.

It appeared in a news article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this week: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-09/naplan-writing-test-bizarre-heres-how-kids-can-get-top-marks/9625852

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4301 on: April 10, 2018, 03:04:41 PM »
Recently I read an article about how to best approach the writing tests for one Australia's standardised school tests called NAPLAN. Les Perelman, a retired professor from MIT University from the USA recently wrote a handy guide for students who want highest marks possible on this particular test. I would love to hear what Cato has to say about it. ;D

It appeared in a news article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this week: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-09/naplan-writing-test-bizarre-heres-how-kids-can-get-top-marks/9625852

 :D  Great stuff!  And the good professor is not very subtly criticizing both American stoonts and their professors, the latter being guilty of some of the world's worst writing in their various academic journals.  Because... yes, Professor Perelman (any relation to the great writer S. J. Perelman?)  has undoubtedly gleaned his list from his own stoonts, who have been taught various stupid "rules" about how to write in their elementary and high schools, and from his colleagues at M.I.T.  0:)

Number 10 is usually perpetrated with abandon by the professors!   ;)   And I have seen composition textbooks advising students to follow things very close to Rule #5, especially 5A and 5C.

Many thanks for the information!

Today I saw a Fourth Grade girl, the daughter of one of our teachers, gazing at the lockers of the 8th Grade girls, who often decorate the lockers of their friends for birthdays.   I asked her if she thought she would one day have a locker in the 8th-Grade area.

She: (scoffing) No!
Daddy: No?  Well, what school will you be going to then?
She: (reflecting on the problem) Okay!  I might will have one of those!   :D

In Southern areas, one can hear such expressions.  They are called "double modals."   e.g.  "I might could go to the game."

A study from Yale has collected examples of "multiple modals," e.g.  "It's a long way, and he might will can't come."  :o ???

See:

https://ygdp.yale.edu/phenomena/multiple-modals
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4302 on: April 10, 2018, 03:47:16 PM »
:D  Great stuff!  And the good professor is not very subtly criticizing both American stoonts and their professors, the latter being guilty of some of the world's worst writing in their various academic journals.

Yes!!!  I've read some hideously twisted prose in academic writing.

Because... yes, Professor Perelman (any relation to the great writer S. J. Perelman?)  has undoubtedly gleaned his list from his own stoonts, who have been taught various stupid "rules" about how to write in their elementary and high schools, and from his colleagues at M.I.T.  0:)

I had a writing teacher in middle school that taught students to write more or less as described above, telling us all that it would impress college professors.  I ignored everything she said.

Unfortunately, the exact same kind of writing gets better marks on standardized tests in the US as well, from the SAT to the GRE.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4303 on: April 10, 2018, 04:04:07 PM »
Yes!!!  I've read some hideously twisted prose in academic writing.

I had a writing teacher in middle school that taught students to write more or less as described above, telling us all that it would impress college professors.  I ignored everything she said.

Unfortunately, the exact same kind of writing gets better marks on standardized tests in the US as well, from the SAT to the GRE.


By giving the graders what they want, no matter how awful their demands are, one gives them something that is easy to grade!  No thought involved for them: rubber stamp it quickly and move on!

When I was grading Advanced Placement European History examinations for the College Board, we were told specifically that grammar, punctuation, and spelling could NOT be taken into consideration.  No matter how badly expressed, if one could glean the material needed for a correct answer, the kid's essay made it out of the gate!  $:)
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4304 on: April 10, 2018, 09:00:06 PM »

When I was grading Advanced Placement European History examinations for the College Board, we were told specifically that grammar, punctuation, and spelling could NOT be taken into consideration.  No matter how badly expressed, if one could glean the material needed for a correct answer, the kid's essay made it out of the gate!  $:)

WHO decided grammar or punctuation are not important? This is really shocking to those who believed that an impartial jury would apply the highest standards. However, what goes on in academe according to Gad Saad and others, is far worse than can be imagined. As an example, the BA thesis of Michelle Robinson (Obama) written more than 30 years ago in 1985, show that feelings and emotions trump thought and logic when smothered in self-pity and political correctness.  Christopher Hitchens wrote that it “wasn’t written in any known language.”

http://www.dineshdsouza.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MichelleObamaThesis.pdf
https://www.politico.com/pdf/080222_MOPrincetonThesis_26-501.pdf
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Offline André

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4305 on: April 11, 2018, 03:36:40 AM »
WHO decided grammar or punctuation are not important? This is really shocking to those who believed that an impartial jury would apply the highest standards. However, what goes on in academe according to Gad Saad and others, is far worse than can be imagined. As an example, the BA thesis of Michelle Robinson (Obama) written more than 30 years ago in 1985, show that feelings and emotions trump thought and logic when smothered in self-pity and political correctness.  Christopher Hitchens wrote that it “wasn’t written in any known language.”

http://www.dineshdsouza.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MichelleObamaThesis.pdf
https://www.politico.com/pdf/080222_MOPrincetonThesis_26-501.pdf

Some day some one (presumably not Christopher Hitchens) will dig for Trump’s BA Thesis.

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4306 on: April 13, 2018, 07:02:05 AM »
WHO decided grammar or punctuation are not important? This is really shocking to those who believed that an impartial jury would apply the highest standards.

That decision came down from the College Board. ??? :o

From a book review in today's Wall Street Journal by Henry Hitchings for The Prodigal Tongue by Professor Lynne Murphy:

Quote
...An American arriving in Britain for the first time is likely to be puzzled that “getting pissed” is a twice-weekly recreation, and even a seasoned visitor might be nonplussed by the following: “Feeling peckish, I put on my trainers and a khaki jumper and left my flat, only to find that some tosser had parked his lorry right across the pavement.” There is even a curious subspecies of Brit who conveys the wish to be woken after a night’s sleep with the words: “Will you knock me up in the morning?”

Lynne Murphy is an American-born professor of linguistics at the University of Sussex on Britain’s south coast. She has had plenty of exposure to the discrepancies between the language of her birthplace and that of her adopted home, and since 2006 has written a blog exploring them. In “The Prodigal Tongue” she draws on extensive research to sink some of the myths kept afloat by this trans-Atlantic love-hate relationship, and she carefully investigates its psychology.

Ms. Murphy begins by noticing how much British commentary on American usage eschews expertise in favor of vitriol. Never mind that American usage tends to be more consistent than its British counterpart—its spellings a little leaner, its grammar a bit less leaky....

“The Prodigal Tongue” is acute about the more subtle differences between America and Britain, not least in perspectives on class and race. For instance, Americans refer to “the middle class” five times as often as Britons do, and Britons refer five times as often to “the middle classes”—one of many small but telling signs of Brits’ addiction to precisely placing one another socially. Another intriguing detail: Americans add “please” to requests only half as frequently as Brits do, because in American English this use of “please” is a marker of urgency—suggesting bossiness or desperation, not solicitude....

See:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-prodigal-tongue-review-more-trouble-in-the-colonies-1523571821
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline André

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4307 on: April 13, 2018, 08:29:13 AM »
Very interesting. Having been schooled with the english (british) terms and vocabulary, but being closer geographically to the US and more often exposed to american media, I often get mixed up between the two.

There are similar differences, sometimes downright bizarre, between french and québécois terms. And I don’t doubt one second that the same holds true of the Spanish language when Spoken by Spaniards, Argentinians or Peruvians for example.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4308 on: April 13, 2018, 08:30:30 AM »
Oh, puh-leeeze!

(j/k)
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4309 on: April 15, 2018, 02:51:05 PM »
There are similar differences, sometimes downright bizarre, between french and québécois terms. And I don’t doubt one second that the same holds true of the Spanish language when Spoken by Spaniards, Argentinians or Peruvians for example.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/4LjDe4sLER0" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/4LjDe4sLER0</a>

;D

Offline André

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4310 on: April 16, 2018, 05:01:08 AM »
Loved the video. Very funny ! My daughter speaks Spanish quite well, travels to many different countries and says it’s not that easy to adjust from one place to another. This is hard to understand when you are not confronted with the differences.

In France, « embrasser ses gosses » means kiss one’s kids. All dads do that before going to work. In Québec, « gosses » is a dirty word meaning balls. Nobody here kiss their « gosses » before going to work unless they are from Cirque du Soleil  ;D. OTOH « patente à gosses » has no dirty connotation. It simply means a silly contraption, a last minute, half-baked plan. And so on...

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4311 on: April 16, 2018, 05:14:04 AM »
Loved the video. Very funny ! My daughter speaks Spanish quite well, travels to many different countries and says it’s not that easy to adjust from one place to another. This is hard to understand when you are not confronted with the differences.

In France, « embrasser ses gosses » means kiss one’s kids. All dads do that before going to work. ... And so on...

Somewhat like the Britishism in the quote above! :o ??? 0:)

"English!  Who needs that?  I'm never going to England!"  - Homer Simpson
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4312 on: April 16, 2018, 07:26:17 AM »
How about fractured German?

Valet will ich dir geben
I will give a deer to the valet

Kommt, Seelen, dieser Tag
Come, seals, this day

Wie bist du, Seele
How are you, seal?

Christus, der uns selig macht
Christ, make us a salad

Nun lob mein Seel den Herren
Don’t throw that herring to my seal

Was willst du dich, o meine Seele
What are you gonna do now, O my seal?

Christ lag in Todes Banden
Christ is late to every band rehearsal

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
My dear seal, you are such a schmuck

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/titles-of-bach-chorales-as-translated-by-my-niece-after-one-semester-of-german
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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumblep
« Reply #4313 on: April 16, 2018, 10:46:16 AM »
Somewhat like the Britishism in the quote above! :o ??? 0:)

"English!  Who needs that?  I'm never going to England!"  - Homer Simpson

Grumble, grumble. Briticism. Grumble.
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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4314 on: April 16, 2018, 11:11:02 AM »

There are similar differences, sometimes downright bizarre, between french and québécois terms.
You bet ! and most of the time it is because in Quebec you make litteral translation from english that have no meaning in french.  Example:  when you enter a gravel road in France you may see a panel "gravillons".  In Quebec the corresponding panel says "roches volantes", which in french means that you may see some UFO that have the shape of rocks.  I suppose it is because it is a translation from "flying rocks" which should really be "flying gravel".  Delightful Quebecois !

Offline Cato

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4315 on: April 16, 2018, 11:37:49 AM »
Grumble, grumble. Briticism. Grumble.

 :D

I was tempted to use the possibly even more inappropriate Britischism for the context!  0:)
How about fractured German?

Valet will ich dir geben
I will give a deer to the valet

Kommt, Seelen, dieser Tag
Come, seals, this day

Wie bist du, Seele
How are you, seal?

Christus, der uns selig macht
Christ, make us a salad

Nun lob mein Seel den Herren
Don’t throw that herring to my seal

Was willst du dich, o meine Seele
What are you gonna do now, O my seal?

Christ lag in Todes Banden
Christ is late to every band rehearsal

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele
My dear seal, you are such a schmuck

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/titles-of-bach-chorales-as-translated-by-my-niece-after-one-semester-of-german

Great stuff! ;)
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- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline André

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4316 on: April 16, 2018, 12:40:11 PM »
You bet ! and most of the time it is because in Quebec you make litteral translation from english that have no meaning in french.  Example:  when you enter a gravel road in France you may see a panel "gravillons".  In Quebec the corresponding panel says "roches volantes", which in french means that you may see some UFO that have the shape of rocks.  I suppose it is because it is a translation from "flying rocks" which should really be "flying gravel".  Delightful Quebecois !

Where did you get that ?  ??? Never saw such a thing. Show me that road sign please.

I’m afraid you’re talking à travers votre chapeau, my friend! 8)

Spineur

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4317 on: April 16, 2018, 12:47:48 PM »
Where did you get that ?  ??? Never saw such a thing. Show me that road sign please.

I’m afraid you’re talking à travers votre chapeau, my friend! 8)
Saw it driving around the Gaspesie penisula.  Absolument véridique !

Offline André

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4318 on: April 16, 2018, 01:55:50 PM »
Here’s some help: try to find it here: 144 pages of official road signs.
http://www.rsr.transports.gouv.qc.ca/


And you turn that into a blanket statement about Québec road signs ? Fake news. !

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Re: Cato's Grammar Grumble
« Reply #4319 on: April 16, 2018, 02:11:19 PM »
You bet ! and most of the time it is because in Quebec you make litteral translation from english that have no meaning in french.  Example:  when you enter a gravel road in France you may see a panel "gravillons".  In Quebec the corresponding panel says "roches volantes", which in french means that you may see some UFO that have the shape of rocks.  I suppose it is because it is a translation from "flying rocks" which should really be "flying gravel".  Delightful Quebecois !

Reminds me of a gag from a movie. A bunch of Americans are trying to start a war with Canada, and they are driving on a Canadian highway with a sign "Death to Canada" on their vehicle. They are stopped by Canadian police who inform them, this is not allowed. They are required to display a French translation.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 02:13:27 PM by Baron Scarpia »