Monday, May 20, 2013

Invasion of the Grammar Nazis

Lesley-Anne's friend once noted, "you use correct grammar even in your sms-es!"

Yup. She generally doesn't use the teen lingo, such as:

"gr8! cu @ mall w8n 4 u cos dun wan get u d wrg ting."

Such messages drive me crazy and I find them simply incomprehensible. Call me a dinosaur but if being cool entails communicating like this, I'm perfectly happy with my kid being in the uncool crowd.

I'm not sure if it's due to my influence that Lesley-Anne escaped this endemic.  Her grammar obsession extends to other areas of English. In sec 2, some of her classmates did a project which involved testing kids on their pronunciation skills.  Among the words on the list were: rendezvous, lingerie, awry, debut, ensemble, reconnaissance and renaissance.  Apparently, some kids totally butchered the words eg. "ren-der-vouse", "aw-ree".  

Lesley-Anne was one of the few who could pronounce all the words and when her classmates asked her about her ability, she replied, "my Mum is a pronunciation Nazi".  When she recounted the story to me, I wanted to protest but I knew she was right because I had to suppress my urge to correct her pronunciation of "Nazi" ("nahd-zee", not "nah-zee").

It's probably because of our shared passion for reading and writing, that we take such offence to the mangling of language.  I'm not claiming that my pronunciation or even my grammar is perfect.  There are occasions when I've stared at a sentence so long that I can no longer tell if it's grammatical. Being a frequent user of Singlish doesn't help. (My blog probably contains lots of mistakes too but since this is a casual platform, I try not to be too anal about it).

But when I spot glaring errors, especially in the media, it irks me and it looks like Lesley-Anne has inherited this trait. I love this cartoon - it sums up our feelings.  

I think most mothers and daughters have a unique area that they can bond over, and for Lesley-Anne and I, it's the love of words. She frequently discusses books with me and approaches me when she needs help or advice for English or Lit.  It's something that I cherish and I know she does too (even though she may not admit it).  Incidentally, it's not just a one-way street - I'm increasingly seeking her opinion about the usage of words and phrases, and I find that she has a pretty intuitive grasp of what constitutes good writing.

It's far from being a perfect partnership though.  Lesley-Anne's weak spot is maths and in this area, I'm completely hopeless.  She related to me (rather enviously) that some of her friends, when unable to do some maths problems, would consult their mothers.  She told her friends, "you're so lucky. When I asked my mother about log, she said, 'err... log is to beaver'."

Lol. It's true. Ah well, one can only obsess over so many things.


Anonymous said...

The comic is so hilarious... LOL..

I am pretty useless in my child's academic life so I cannot have expectations. Lucky I can still play with her. It is becoming scary to think I am getting so useless in her life but fortunately play is a lifetime thing...... LOL.


monlim said...

QX: No way you're useless lah. From what you describe, you challenge her, you encourage her and you're her biggest cheerleader! What could be more critical than that??

rugs said...

your paragraph beneath the comic strip:
Lesley-Anne and *me

(since we are being anal about grammar here.)

monlim said...

rugs: Well, there you go! I couldn't quite figure that one out and I didn't bother. Thanks for pointing it out and I'll leave it uncorrected so your comment makes sense.

rugs said...

sorry. it was simply too tempting not to enter into the spirit of the essay. *blush* i assure you i am generally only dogmatic with my kids

monlim said...

rugs: no need to apologise lah, look who you're talking to!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mon,
So funny!

Log is to beaver as nectar is to bee?!


monlim said...

Grace: Yeah, lol! She should have known better than to ask me about maths :P

Anonymous said...

can you tell if "troupe of monkeys" is right ?

monlim said...

Should be "troop of monkeys". Troupe is usually used for performers.

Anonymous said...

Wow the words very ''chim'' leh

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