The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – July 9th – “Isss yo birfday, we gon potty like isss yo birfday”

50 cent at ces 110112

As an English teacher, I often find myself bashing my head against the wall, or popping the cork off a new bottle of Bushmills, because grading student essays can sometimes be like reading the lyrics to the latest rap song. I do not understand how so many students missed out on elementary school grammar, or the lesson about clicking the green check mark on Microsoft Word for a quick grammar check, or re-reading the essay out loud, or caring at all when writing it in the first place. I have no larger pet peeve than those who choose to disregard basic grammatical issues.

If I am a part of Generation X, then this new generation needs a much more descriptive title, and I think I’ve got it. This generation will be called: Generation 50 Cent. It consists of children with “birfdays” instead of “birthdays,” and too many who like to “potty” instead of “party” – actually, they definitely enjoy partying as well. So much so that they’ve neglected to remember that high school ends one day, and text speak, or spliced words like “cray” or “gon” or “aight” or “ish” – whatever that actually means – are not going to cut it in the real world. Eventually, this will all catch up to them, and while they’re sucking off the teet of gov’ment assis’ance ‘cuz they can’t fin’ no j.o.b. yo, I’ll be even more angry because my newspaper  – or online news or whatever it is by that point – will be written like a damn 50 Cent song, and I’ll be “pottying”  all over it.

And this all brings me to the Question of the Day:

What is your biggest grammatical pet peeve?

yo-dawg-i-heard-you-wanna-be-a-gangsta-like-50-cent-so-i-shot-you

 

 

***************************

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

4 comments on “QOTD – July 9th – “Isss yo birfday, we gon potty like isss yo birfday”

  1. jmargoliJudy
    July 9, 2013

    I found myself chuckling, not because it was funny, rather so true. As a high school freshman English teacher/learning specialist we find ourselves reteaching basic grammar to those who cannot write a compound/complex sentence ,yet a simple sentence. As Dr. Phil states, “I’m going to put some verbs in my sentence.” Really now!

  2. Guante
    July 10, 2013

    My biggest grammatical pet peeve is actually “the grammar police.”

    Language can be a tremendous tool for empowerment, but it can also be a mechanism with which we oppress others. It’s dangerous to assume that those who are speaking differently aren’t speaking correctly, and doubly dangerous to look down on people without understanding the larger cultural context.

    Is it important to teach grammar and “proper” English in school? Sure; that can be a great tool to help with future advancement. But that teaching can be done without condescension or outright hostility.

    A recent article on this:
    –http://www.policymic.com/articles/52697/rachel-jeantel-s-language-is-english-it-s-just-not-your-english

    “Linguistic discrimination is just one of many mechanisms that systemically disadvantage African Americans in the U.S., but it is a crucial one. There are few things so disempowering as being silenced for the language that you speak.”

    • Christopher Margolin
      July 10, 2013

      I won’t completely disagree with you. Actually, that’s one of the reasons that we pulled that section of our website. I was “policing” certain celebrities because they have an influence on youth culture. As a teacher, I understand that there is a difference in the understanding of language amongst different cultures; however, that is not an excuse to simply neglect basic grammar. Certain people should be using their status to better influence the youth.

  3. Tim Blighton
    July 10, 2013

    This blog can be pulled apart many ways, but I like to distill it down to two factors:

    1. language as a measurement of equality as exampled by Guante’s post. The article linked in his post about Rachel Jeantel suggests that Rachel could have asked the attorney the exact same question: do you understand me? Yes, many countries have an official language and most are not the first language of those countries which is symptomatic of colonialism, slavery–not just in the States, of course.

    2. Yet, with this dismantling of inequality, the leveling of all dialects,languages and what-not, there is still, I believe, a social contact as well as a pragmatic need for people to learn the tongue of others, including standard English. I’m a Gen-X’er who grew up in North Minneapolis. I’m studying Spanish (or standard Spanish) and I keep in touch with Black English.One should learn another language other than one’s home dialect–this possibility includes music–for personal growth.

    As a society, we’re far from checking off bilingual because of fluency in different “Englishes.” However, what does a society look like without a dominant culture or standard language? The individual must be able to communicate with others to avoid or solve problems, to maintain the individual’s interests and freedoms. Standard English may not always be dominant, but for now, it is part of the solution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,558 other followers

%d bloggers like this: