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Last post Author Topic: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit  (Read 17515 times)

edbro

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2009, 12:49:05 PM »
The economy? In the US? Whom to believe??  Bad example!
Touche

kartal

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2009, 12:53:36 PM »
Yeah really, educated classes especially those who are in power try to master the art of rhetoric and lying. I think when it comes to economy I only trust my instincts. And that is how I knew the house credit collapse was coming up 6 years ago.

Eóin

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2009, 01:34:10 PM »
Guys I think your over reacting a bit. The point of language is just communication. We can all see different dialects around us and so of course some consistency and rules have to be established to create a common base that all can understand and read and information can flow freely.

This is all a good thing, the rules aren't drawn up by some elitist to keep the little man down, rather they have developed over time. Of course along the way someone has to step in to keep things clear but those people who do that are ordinary people, you or I. This whole process is not done to subjugate, classify or divide people, instead it very definitely unifies people. Through a common language we can all be equal, information is not tied to a select few but is accessible by all. And quite the opposite of hamper or structure creativity, it's frees it completely.

tomos

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2009, 02:45:44 PM »
Guys I think your over reacting a bit. The point of language is just communication. We can all see different dialects around us and so of course some consistency and rules have to be established to create a common base that all can understand and read and information can flow freely.
good point Eóin

I've just read the whole thread quickly so a couple of thoughts inspired by same

unfortunately,
the origin of actually creating a standard English (in England) involved class, elitism, and keeping the little man down. Ironically, you get snobbery on both "sides" these days - if you speak proper (:p) you may just as well get looked down on as if you don't. So everyone has to look after themselves, which is only natural after all (innit!? - I find myself alternating between compulsive urges to speak not "proper", and worrying that I'll make some stupid grammar mistake - that says a lot in itself I guess ... )

I'm living in Germany - when I moved here I went to the local Volkshochschule and did four months or so of full time courses learning German. But when I get served in the shops or meet people through the Sport club, or wherever, they speak a different language - in lots of ways it's almost the same, but it's so different that I really feel like I'm learning two languages. Then I heard people speaking Dutch and I realise that's also a closely related language. English too for that matter as you move further north. Gradually I got a sense of an area with related languages with one merging into the next. So, while it is artificial that someone at some stage decided that the dialect from around Hamburg should be the "High" German language, it is also very helpful* as Eóin says above  :)

* [edit] especially when you have over 100 million native speakers of many different dialects. I know North America doesnt have much in the line of different dialects as such, but worldwide, English is spoken very differently (natively) in many different countries. And judging from some English people I've heard, they still have some pretty strong dialects within the country over there - never mind some of the Scottish accents ;) [/edit]
Tom
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 03:48:49 PM by tomos »

MilesAhead

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2009, 08:19:54 PM »
I hesitate to write this because I know it won't go over well but I've got a thick skin and can take the flame.

I don't mean this as a critique at all. But, if you want to be known as educated through the proper use of the language, then you need to refrain from swear words when they are not needed (as in the thread title). I'm not a prude and I've been known to throw a few swear words out there myself, after all, I spent 28 years in the military. But, I've come to realize that swearing only served to reflect negatively on myself.

I don't go around criticizing swear words on the net but, if the thrust of this article is how to speak properly then I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the irony of using curse words in the title.

Hmmm, my comment will be tangential but when you get to "curse words" or "swears" or whatnot, then you get into the strangeness of censorship. Not that anybody should be able to post anything.  That's not what I mean.  But it's kind of amusing to me that at first explicit forbidden words, such as those considered obscene for describing parts of the body or what is done with them, are censored. So people start using euphemisms to convey the same idea. So, we must censor those also.  Eventually you get to the point where the only non-actionable description is wholly medical.  This brings you to the position that all the interest in the innately interesting facets of life, is utterly squeezed out leaving an anhydrous powder that's totally unpalatable.  Kinda' like how Playboy airbrushes the pics to the point where the women aren't really people but porcelain figurines.  Might as well take a shower with a raincoat on. :)


Just an observation. :)

cranioscopical

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2009, 08:31:57 PM »
Might as well take a shower with a raincoat on
The Mac that is PC?

housetier

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2009, 09:48:57 AM »
I think kartal was referring to "human-made and upper-class-imposed rules of so-called proper language" rather than the inherent connections between words that form a sentence.

But since we are dealing with such a universal and therefore complex being as the human being, "meaning" has an influence on grammar: as humans change, so does the meaning of words, hence grammar changes with it. However, while it is only natural for language to change it is also natural for human beings to attempt to create an understanding of what the "meaning" of words is, thereby creating those supposedly fixed rules.

I re-read a book that also touches this topic, and it also has all those linguistic terms and references I cannot provide. It mostly deals with how the brain dealing with language is similar to it dealing with math. The author makes a point of differentiating between math and calculating numbers.

That being sad, I think those rules of grammar are not too bad to have. They might be an agreement of aesthetics, of what is proper, and certainly can be abused. However, I also think they are inevitable. One side, to take up the separatist argument, decides for one "meaning" to be proper, while the other side defines it differently. One person will quickly learn either, when exposed to those groups. You can't have "meaning" without "context", so if the context is "parents" your language will be different from when the context is your soccer team. For example, "to can" has different  meanings, depending on context.

In short: when context changes, so does language.

Jimdoria

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2009, 11:44:27 AM »
If I'm understanding Kartal correctly, I also have to disagree.

If words are the boards, nails, pipes and wires of language, grammar is the plan for how to build a house rather than just have a pile of stuff. When you build a house, there are rules you follow. Some of these are even dictated by laws. Is this elitist? Is it oppressive to insist there's a "right" way to support a roof or install a circuit breaker box? I don't think it is, because the rules are based on experience of what worked and what didn't, and how the final product can be made better: be built faster, not leak, not collapse after 20 years, etc.

It's not a perfect analog, but grammar rules are much the same. I've found reading prose from the early eighteenth century or earlier can often be difficult, not jut because of vocabulary or spelling changes, but because some of the rules of grammar were not yet firmly established. Not observing grammatical rules doesn't necessarily eliminate clarity, but it can impede it.

Saying that proper grammar is the language of the upper classes and therefore of liars really has no bearing on anything. Lies can be told in any language and in any dialect. They're probably as old as language itself, and nobody has an exclusive on them. Would oppression be any less objectionable if it were conveyed in "street talk"?

Before they gut YouTube of all the good stuff, take some time to look up and listen to the words of Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin and Malcolm X. One could hardly argue that their message against oppression was weaker or in any way compromised because they used clear, grammatically-correct language. In fact, I think the opposite becomes obvious.
- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.

40hz

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2009, 12:26:00 PM »
My understanding is that neuro and linguistic research doesn't support the political 'repression and conspiracy' arguments for how languages develop.

All the 'hard science' seems to indicate that the development of languages, grammars, and vocabularies is just something the human species does. And further, that such language development continuously takes place at all socioeconomic levels in every human society.

So much for the 'ruling class' theory of linguistics.

Perhaps we're confusing language with law?

They're not the same thing - even if some people's word is. :)
 
8)

« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 12:28:08 PM by 40hz »

MilesAhead

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2009, 01:39:17 PM »
Might as well take a shower with a raincoat on
The Mac that is PC?

You mean "Mac" like "don't Mac on my sister" or ???

Eóin

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2009, 01:43:22 PM »
A Mackintosh I believe, and quite funny at that ;D

kartal

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2009, 03:40:48 PM »
Guys I never said I was against science, education,analysis, linguistic sciences etc. I just said that so much worshipping on grammar is a scientific dogma.

Here we have a good example, Jimdoria is claiming that couple hundred years ago grammar was not established properly that is why he is having hard time understanding literature from that time. Well guess what, actually the language you talk today is probably more like a radiation infected amorph language compared to the past. I think you guys think that mankind keeps moving forward thus language and grammar move forward as well. That is a false feeling in my book.

There is no right or wrong way of talking a language, there are only vague patterns that are accepted by all levels of the society. During the human history,  the languages of certain classes and groups were imposed on others.  At some point people were divided in to those who can speak latin or greek and those who could not. And those who could not were always subject to enslavement, and called barbarians by those who always saw themselves right and just.  Later in history many colonies were built upon some of these ideals. You can actually probably see these same politics around  London or New York in year 2009. So saying that language politics is only a matter of conspiracy is either denial or light hearted approach. My point is that grammar should be kept as a science and should be never applied as hard facts and laws on people. I am sure none of you could pass your english class if you fail in grammar even if you write an amazing poem or story with the grammar of 500 years ago.

I have never denied findings of grammar as a science but I just think that applied grammar in societies and education systems  is a form of fascism.

tomos

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2009, 04:01:31 PM »
Here we have a good example, Jimdoria is claiming that couple hundred years ago grammar was not established properly that is why he is having hard time understanding literature from that time. Well guess what, actually the language you talk today is probably more like a radiation infected amorph language compared to the past. I think you guys think that mankind keeps moving forward thus language and grammar move forward as well. That is a false feeling in my book.
I agree there.

There is no right or wrong way of talking a language, there are only vague patterns that are accepted by all levels of the society.
agreed again

I am sure none of you could pass your english class if you fail in grammar even if you write an amazing poem or story with the grammar of 500 years ago.
I think if you write "an amazing poem or story" - even using modern language, you're probably going to break any number of the more rigid grammar rules that exist today  :)
Tom

f0dder

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2009, 05:08:18 PM »
Actually grammar is a relative construct by human beings, it is unnatural. I would  say that do not rely on grammar much. Grammar kills the language and puts it in a box. Grammar is elitist and creates class division.  Let languages flourish as they want to be. I hope it makes sense. I am an anti-grammar guy, really :)
Eye r liek 2tally in aggrement!
- carpe noctem

Grorgy

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2009, 05:20:44 PM »
I found this on why grammar is important, some may find it interesting:

Quote
Grammar is important because it is the language that makes it possible for us to talk about language. Grammar names the types of words and word groups that make up sentences not only in English but in any language. As human beings, we can put sentences together even as children--we can all do grammar. But to be able to talk about how sentences are built, about the types of words and word groups that make up sentences--that is knowing about grammar. And knowing about grammar offers a window into the human mind and into our amazingly complex mental capacity.

People associate grammar with errors and correctness. But knowing about grammar also helps us understand what makes sentences and paragraphs clear and interesting and precise. Grammar can be part of literature discussions, when we and our students closely read the sentences in poetry and stories. And knowing about grammar means finding out that all languages and all dialects follow grammatical patterns.
  (my emphasis added) http://www.ateg.org/grammar/qna.php


Shades

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2009, 05:50:18 PM »
Without grammar it would be a lot harder for cranioscopical (or anyone else for that matter) to make word based jokes.

kartal

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2009, 06:26:17 PM »
Or not :)


Without grammar it would be a lot harder for cranioscopical (or anyone else for that matter) to make word based jokes.

MilesAhead

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2009, 07:16:59 PM »
There is no right or wrong way of talking a language, there are only vague patterns that are accepted by all levels of the society.

Hmmmmmmm I've heard Japanese is a lot less rigid than English.  It would be interesting if someone fluent in the language could comment. 

I remember seeing one of those nature shows where they supposedly had this super intelligent simian who could "talk" by using a computer.  Well, I watched the thing and now and then he seemed to "say" something sensible while other times it was just gibberish.  Turns out what the scam was is they set up the buttons on the computer so that the subjects, his name, the handlers and scientist's names, were all on the left, the verbs(what the ape wanted or how he felt, as in loves his handler etc.) were all in the middle, and the objects, were all on the right hand side.  So our hero quickly learned that if he hit a button on the left, a button in the middle, and a button on the right, he'd get a reward.

I do have to admit his grammar was perfect!!! :)

« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 07:18:33 PM by MilesAhead »

zridling

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2009, 10:03:40 PM »
Kartal seems to be confusing grammar for diction. Grammar is the frame on which language/prose is understood across eras, even cultures. For example, we can still read John Milton clearly because he wrote standard English and did not make up new constructions as he went along. Disrespect for grammar invites terrible habits, such as the "verbalization" of nouns that you see so often by members of journalism and business. (For example, the word impact.)

You may speak in any dialect using all the slang you want around your friends. However, when you put your thoughts on paper or online, and you want someone else to understand your meaning over time, grammar and style are principles, not prescriptives. Proper use of grammar helps standardize the language, to carry on the conversation, so to speak, that started in the West with Homer (he didn't write them down, but someone did later). If nothing else, the principles that make up grammar and style help you predict how readers will read and judge your words (and help you decide whether and how to revise it).

Don't believe me? Read James Joyce's Finnegans Wake and see how long it takes you to understand what the author is saying!

Paul Keith

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2009, 10:50:36 PM »
Nah, I think you guys who are disagreeing with kartal are missing his point but at the same time, that's IMO the flaw with all these things: we're casual people trying to assume the mantle of experts or linguists...or for the linguists, you're experts trying to fit your square mindset into the round holes of casuals.

To play word games a bit, it's not diction or grammar or lack of standards. In the big picture, kartal is talking about culture and you guys who are disagreeing with kartal, if I interpret your posts correctly, are talking about standards and hence your disagreement stems from almost the false impression that kartal is meaning to push the necessity for a lack of standards when kartal is really all about pointing that the standards themselves are flawed and haven't really been respected by cultures for a long time.

It's like the case with the history of raison d'etat:


Quote
Before Machiavelli, writers on political philosophy had been generally agreed on the virtues and methods appropriate to nations and those who would make them great. Although the ideas were more rooted in classical Greek philosophy, they were identified mostly with Cicero, who had Romanized them and made them widely available in his handbook for rulers, On Moral Obligations. This was one of the first books to be printed in Christendom, and Erasmus had a pocket-sized edition created so the would-be virtuoso would never be caught short.

Quote
Then in 1519, Niccolo Machiavelli landed a cannonball in European political thought, one which no subsequent writer could ignore. His crime was to tell things how they were by pointing out the hypocrisy of rulers who purported to rule in the name of virtue and religion, but in fact abided by neither.

Really both sides are correct. It's true that grammar has often been manipulated by the elites to put down others. Heck, it's why we even have the negative fallacies of political correctness and single issue voters in the first place. Really the standards are there but they're there to be broken and have been broken because the plate, the foundation of language was never based upon any standards until the majority of people within a culture established it upon themselves.

At the same time, trial and error does yield natural selection so the standards do work but they are not...how should I put it... irrevocable rules. Don't disrespect them but don't be afraid to break them either and don't put them in a pedestal either is my opinion.

Even zridling's example is flawed. It really depends on the medium. We can read John Milton clearly because he abided an effective standard for his medium but this isn't set in stone. For example, while I'm not a grammar nazi, it's still true that the reason why many can't understand me clearly and feel my words are tl;dr is precisely because I follow the standards of grammar when I should be following the standards of the blogging and microblogging crowd and instead shave off grammar in favor of the effective way of using tons of bullets, 140 character words, little paragraphs in my way of communicating in this medium. Yet at the same time, it's still true that some can understand and will want to read my post still despite this, because I do follow certain things under the grammatical standard. And while I'm not a proponent of the Elements of Style, I do feel it is a useful book that have helped many in communicating but yes, if it has brought unintended consequences, it should be criticized too but then, the structure of criticism is to improve things not prove each other wrong hence why we should remind each other here of what it is really that we want to improve and not disagree for the sake of disagreeing; because we are non-experts and hence we are prone to using/mis-using different lexicons to describe things so it is of utmost importance for us to be reminded that it is necessary to "see through the other person's point" first before we jump to conclusions on what we think their opinions entail.

Edit: I'd link to Politics in the English Language by Orwell but we're talking about grammar here.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 10:56:44 PM by Paul Keith »

kartal

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2009, 11:41:10 PM »
Paul  :Thmbsup: That pretty close to what I was standing for.

I neither want to forbid grammer nor get rid of any of the linguistics standards that might help communication. The grammar I was trying to point is the kind that is taught in education system,  that is used as  weapon against those who cannot follow or do not follow those standards, meanwhile some of the responders here were going back and forth between applied and scientific grammar and picking the strongest case against my point at will. If you read my post you will see that I always stated "applied grammar" as my main target and I also tried to state that in my view grammar should be kept as a science and should not be used to as a form of applied standard. Grammar and language are ever changing structures you cannot retroactively apply standards on proactive future and this is what I called as form of fascism. Same thing goes with science of statistics, they gather data from societies-people and use it to reshape the society but the problem is the data from any statistic cloud will always be data of the past.

Any grammar should be "suggestive" at best in our education system. Unfortunately grammar is thought as the holly lines. That is what I am against for. I wonder if anyone can say that the grammars that are thought in the classes are just suggestive material. I doubt so really.

Language has alot of legs like writing, speaking,listening,reading etc. When you say grammar which grammar are we talking about? To me its seems like there is only one grammar  in our education systems and they try to fit one into all.

zridling:
I am not confusing grammar with diction. But these are all interconnected issues as far as their application goes, you cannot seperate them first of all. 

Again I never disrespected anything, some of the comments against my basic argument are not nreflecting my original intention at all. I myself spent quite sometime readind thinking  about these particular issues, I might not be a scientist but as someone who can speak at least one language I am an expert on my own in my own view in my own world and I have all the freedom in the world to think and create ideas as long as I can back them up.  Thus I have stated my opinion.

You are saying that grammar helps to standardize the language, sure and that is precisely what I am against for. I personally do not want standardized languages especially done by some small group of people. Can you tell me who make these standards? I am not looking for a conspiracy, really, but when we say standardizations we mean that some people some institutions some groups come together and at least make some basic desicions. And I find that morally and socially wrong. That is pretty much it.

Languages are a very powerful tools and should be taken into account properly and deeply. Standardization is a very cheap way of destroying massive possibilities.





« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 11:43:55 PM by kartal »

Eóin

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2009, 01:56:10 AM »
You are saying that grammar helps to standardize the language, sure and that is precisely what I am against for. I personally do not want standardized languages especially done by some small group of people. Can you tell me who make these standards? I am not looking for a conspiracy, really, but when we say standardizations we mean that some people some institutions some groups come together and at least make some basic desicions. And I find that morally and socially wrong. That is pretty much it.

Well that's pretty clear, and fair enough. I feel entirely the opposite on the subject but I guess that's more a philosophical disagreement.

tomos

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2009, 02:52:16 AM »
going back to the example of learning a second language -
hmmm -  well you could learn it by example if you had the option of living/working with native speakers, but if you want to learn it quickly and in a school scenario you really do need the grammar to hang the language on, so-to-speak.

Of course to really learn the language you've then got to use it with native speakers (e.g. in dc forums!) and then you'll often find that this (or that) way of saying something, while correct, is very stilted and everyone actually says it another way. The language is alive, not a set of rules.

So I guess that leaves me somewhere between Kartal and Eóin ...
but you just gotta love f0dder's spanner in the works ;D :-*

Actually grammar is a relative construct by human beings, it is unnatural. I would  say that do not rely on grammar much. Grammar kills the language and puts it in a box. Grammar is elitist and creates class division.  Let languages flourish as they want to be. I hope it makes sense. I am an anti-grammar guy, really :)
Eye r liek 2tally in aggrement!
Whut can i say 2 dat ????!!!!? omg wtf
Tom

housetier

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2009, 05:15:25 AM »
If found the OP very easy to read. The article uses longer sentences with complex structures, but I had no trouble understanding them. I guess they tried to serve an example of good English :)

For what I see as good German language, I recommend reading Siegfried Lenz or Günter Grass. So going back to the English language: What's your recommendation of a Good English Book? Should I try the classic Shakespeare, or Hemingway, or Poe? So far I have been reading mostly technical books in English ("Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Core Reference", "Pro Drupal Development") and several dozen crime novels from my mother's bookshelf. I am looking for something you say is a good example of English language, your personal choice.

Paul Keith

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Re: for the past 50 years, American students were taught bullshit
« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2009, 06:12:56 AM »
Slightly related video:
http://www.ted.com/i..._the_dictionary.html

For English, I probably would recommend reading most of the older copyblogger.com articles but I haven't actually applied alot of the advises.

 ;), "R"  :-* 2tally :down: :(  :D!,!:!

Edit: Btw I didn't link to this video earlier because I didn't want to confuse the whole diction-grammar thing until kartal had his say.

Btw the interesting tidbit about all of these is that no one has yet to mention that smiley faces are a grammar typo. (hence my post)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 06:24:29 AM by Paul Keith »