Typos and grammar in the forums

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, drop it in here. (not to be used as a chat/nonsense section)

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PurpleGurl
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Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:40 pm

I cannot help but notice persistent errors in grammar and spelling. I know that there are different dialects of English, and I understand there are plenty of ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers. I have no problem with that. I cannot think of all the errors and unusual grammar usage I see in the forums, but I will give some and update as I remember/notice more.

1. Mice is the plural of mouse, not "mices." Mice is already plural and doesn't need an S.

2. Gender errors. In English, as opposed to a lot of other languages, most words are non-gendered or neuter. So computer hardware and portions of code are not referred to as him or her.

3. Ordering errors. In English, the modifiers (adjectives, usually) come before the nouns modified rather than coming after or being in a prepositional phrase. Firearms is what we call guns for instance, not "arms of fire" like you would get if you were to literally translate the Spanish phrase for firearms back to English.

4. I see a number of errors involving present participles and gerunds but cannot think of any examples of the errors right off. Both end in +ing, but gerunds are verbs converted to nouns with +ing (eg., boating, driving, fishing, programming), while present participles are verbs which indicate something is in the process of happening.

5. I have not see this here, but sometimes people from Asian countries, particularly Japan, may confuse R's and L's. I don't think I'd want to eat "flied lice," but I would be willing to try fried rice.

6. Unintentional racism is another uncommon language error that I've never seen in the forums, but I'm including for completion. A woman was suing a furniture store over the sofa they sold her. Her child found the manufacturer tag and asked what "N***er Brown" meant. The problem was that the sofa was produced overseas and they used an old version of translation software which probably was coded from a 1950's vintage dictionary. That was about the time the civil rights stuff was just getting started in the US and right before people began seeing the N-word as something hateful to say. Even Crayola changed the names of some of their crayons based on political correctness. They renamed "Indian red" and "flesh." I guess one was wrongly mistaken as the color of Native Americans, and the other was considered morbid.

7. Wrong shade of meaning or using uncommon words in common phrases. That is like using "lacks" for "mistakes," or "doubts" for "questions." Of course, maybe some of these are a UK vs. USA thing and may be equally correct.

EmuandCo
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by EmuandCo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:48 pm

Well, most of your points are understandable, but we won't force anyone to use correct oxford English or american derivates here. If a person from Germany uses a wrong gender on anything (we have way less neuter nouns), let him be, it won't make the sentences difficult to read/understand in any way. So where is your problem??! Gerunds and converted verbs are no kindergarten grammar, so you have to accept errors here.

The only point I fully accept is your point of racism in any way. If anyone notices such phrases in here, write a note to the moderators, so that we can swing the banhammer.
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SomeGuy
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by SomeGuy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:01 pm

Keep in mind not everybody is built perfectly. I don't know about anybody else, but I have carpal tunnel, bad eyesight, and slight dyslexia. So forgive me if my spiel cheekier doesn't catch all of my errors. :D

vicmarcal
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by vicmarcal » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:44 pm

I'm sure most of us try to use his?/her? best English here. Sadly we're better coders, followers and testers than English speakers.
But always is nice reading some interesting grammar guidelines. Thanks Purplegurl! :)
PS: I am trying to improve my English, I swear it!
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PurpleGurl
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:52 pm

I don't have a problem with any of it. But it would be nice to have a thread where those who want to improve their grammar can. We have all these tight standards on how the message boards can be used and even throw in rules which don't exist on occasion, and I am not complaining there. I know how that works here and have learned to mostly adapt. I mention that because the stated reason for such rules is to give a professional appearance. If this is an English forum and most are speaking "pigeon English," then where is the professionalism in that? From time to time, the word usage is so non-standard that I don't know what is being said, and English is my only language. I think others should be told when they are speaking gibberish, but in a discrete way.

As for the racism example, I was only referring to the accidental sort, not the deliberate sort. Someone from another language background may think certain words are correct words for whatever group. "Coloreds" or "colored people" fits in that category, where most who use it doesn't see it as racist. It fits more in the category of outdated terms. The example I gave of the tag underneath the sofa was once considered a valid color name. Nobody was trying to be racist, and they were referring only to an inanimate object. Some words are conditionally offensive. There is a word for a female dog which is used even in veterinary literature that should never be used to describe a human being. There are also slips of the finger or tongue, like the reporter who said she was collecting "black [offensive term for homosexuals]" to remember the fallen soldiers when she meant "black flags." She left out a letter when she said it.

I was merely trying to start a helpful thread and to help educate. It is not intended to denigrate anyone. Those who want the help can stick around.

Thanks Vic! I may update this list as I see or remember more.

Someguy: That is understandable. I was referring more to those who never learned. In another forum, a regular was making more and more typos. Then he mentioned something about the VA hospital having him scheduled for eye surgery. After the date for the first cataract surgery, he started making far fewer typos, and the next surgery helped too.

Z98
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by Z98 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:06 pm

Note that professional appearance generally runs counter to the notion of user generated content, which is what a forum is.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:04 pm

Z98 wrote:Note that professional appearance generally runs counter to the notion of user generated content, which is what a forum is.
True. Yet we have forum rules to avoid liabilities, excessive clutter, flame wars, rudeness, and spam. (All for good reason.)

The biggest problems in English message boards in general anywhere that I see have to do with word substitutions/misuse. That is mostly among native speakers. We have words known as homophones. They sound the same or close to other words. Most of the time, you can still get the meaning without significant difficulty. Here are common examples of commonly confused homophones:

aye: Yes.
eye: Sight organ.
I: Myself, subject form of me.

baud: A unit of transmission speed. (I have a 2400 baud modem.)
bawd: A prostitute.

their: Possessive form of they. (Someone broke into their house.)
there: Place pronoun. (We are going there next week.)
they're: They are. (Did you hear about the couple next door? They're on vacation.)

to: Preposition involving movement, places, or a process, similar to as or so. (I am going to the store.)
too: Also (I am going too.), excessive or extreme (You used too much soap.)
two: 2 (Because of the burglary, our organization had to purchase two new computers.)

Sof_T
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by Sof_T » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:24 pm

Even Crayola changed the names of some of their crayons based on political correctness. They renamed "Indian red" and "flesh." I guess one was wrongly mistaken as the color of Native Americans, and the other was considered morbid.
Most like they dropped flesh because what is 'flesh' coloured for a European is not likely to be 'flesh' coloured for an African, therefore making 'flesh' coloured racist depending on the colour of the crayon.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:17 am

Sof_T wrote:Most like they dropped flesh because what is 'flesh' coloured for a European is not likely to be 'flesh' coloured for an African, therefore making 'flesh' coloured racist depending on the colour of the crayon.
Well, it would be Eurocentric (not sure if that is a word), and the word "flesh" has all sorts of negative connotations to it. That crayon is now called "peach."

As for Indian Red, that was a reference to the shores of India, not American "Indians" (Native-Americans). But being such an ambiguous term and one easy to mistake for racial stereotyping, they renamed it to maybe "sienna."

The above may seem like a tangent, but my point was that is it so easy to use outdated terms without malice and still offend. The couch label used the derogatory word for people of African descent as the name of the color, and it was in their whatever Asian language to English dictionary, one that wasn't updated since the 50's. They would have done better to use "dark chocolate" or "ebony" for the name.

preston
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by preston » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:23 pm

My keyboard doesnt like wlong grammar too. It hurts her. But still I have some doubts about what the purpose of you're post has been. We are programming a OS not writing a novel.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:39 am

preston wrote:My keyboard doesnt like wlong grammar too. It hurts her. But still I have some doubts about what the purpose of you're post has been. We are programming a OS not writing a novel.
Again, this thread is just to be a helpful place for those who want to work on their English, nothing more. I ask that nobody try to read anything else into it, as it isn't there. It is not about denigrating anyone, nor making fun at anyone's expense.

I occasionally have trouble reading some of the word salad in some of the threads. What good is trying to help write an OS if nobody on the team understands you well enough? I can point to a few places where the wording was so awkward that it gave other meanings. In a rather emotional thread, someone misused the word "pretend," and that gave their sentence the exact opposite meaning of what they intended. It came out as an accusation that the other person was merely pretending to be offended when they actually were offended, and things went downhill from there.

It is so ironic that we work our best to get typos out of the code but are lazy when it comes to our speech. Typos and syntax errors in code causes bugs. We are computers of a sort too, and if you speak/write the wrong things, you get the wrong responses/reactions.

Last night, I saw another peculiarity. What is a "webside?" I assumed he meant "website." At least I could figure that out, but on occasion, I find phrases I don't understand, and English is my only language.

oldman
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by oldman » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:56 pm

My pet hate is the missing hyphen in co-operation and co-ordination. There is a reason for this hyphen, it separates the first 'o' (which is pronounced like the 'o' in ho) from the second 'o' (which is pronounced like the 'o' in hot for co-operation and for co-ordination it is pronounced like the 'o' in 'or'). Without the hyphen the two 'o's should be pronounced like the 'o' in who, such as in cooper.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by PurpleGurl » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:08 am

oldman wrote:My pet hate is the missing hyphen in co-operation and co-ordination. There is a reason for this hyphen, it separates the first 'o' (which is pronounced like the 'o' in ho) from the second 'o' (which is pronounced like the 'o' in hot for co-operation and for co-ordination it is pronounced like the 'o' in 'or'). Without the hyphen the two 'o's should be pronounced like the 'o' in who, such as in cooper.
Actually, both words are spelled correctly without the hyphen. However, in Old English, the words once had dots over the second of the doubled vowels, and some people want to revive that tradition. Coöperation, for instance.

oldman
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by oldman » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:17 pm

Well I am from England and co-operation and co-ordination always have the hyphen. You Americans have messed around with the language in the 1800's.

Z98
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Re: Typos and grammar in the forums

Post by Z98 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:38 pm

And we are completely unapologetic about it as well.

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