Re: 'Stereotype' thread - evolved.

Subject: Re: 'Stereotype' thread - evolved.
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 13:31:48 -0600

Mike Stockman wrote:

"Jargon and slang are added each time major dictionaries are updated
... of course it changes the way we write as well. "

Whoa, folks. There is a decided difference between adding new words to our
lexicon and throwing out the existing grammatical rules, and dictionaries
merely "report" language, they don't dictate it or approve it.

and Jeff Hanvey wrote:

> I do foresee that, as more people go online, and typing E-mail replaces
> conversations, English is going to be dramatically altered - and many
of the
> old rules are going to fall by the wayside.
> If this does happen, the staunch grammarians are going to find
themselves even
> more dispised or ignored. Tech writers, of course, have to follow their
> audience, so it will definitely change how we write.

Since when are "staunch grammarians...even more dispised (sic) or
ignored"? By whom? Communication skills are always going to be needed, and
that's all grammar is anyway. Technical writing has not hit the skids
because of the Dummy books or the word processors (besides, every word
processor and E-mail software comes with spell-checkers these days). In
fact, most of them are written pretty clearly, although they do use a very
limited vocabulary. Sure, styles change. We tech writers use a more
informal style than writers did in ...say...the 50s, but the grammar
"rules" haven't changed that much. It's still unacceptable to use a
singular noun with a plural verb ("Everyone eat their lunch." instead of
"Everyone eats his or her lunch" or "All of them eat their lunches.")...
Just because we write it, doesn't make it so....

Jane Bergen

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