Spelling, grammatical errors on signs becoming a regualar occurrence
By Eric Aasen
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) A cup of regualar coffee sounds like the perfect way to start your day.
Wouldn't some cheep gas be nice? But if you park your car, you've been warned: No in-and-out priviliges.
These mangled spellings - on real-life signs around the Dallas-Fort Worth area - underline the obvious: Spelling isn't always high on our list.
And our grammar ain't that good, too.
It's enough to make your English teacher cringe - and drive others to break the law.
Last month, two men were sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year after getting busted for fixing errors on a sign in Grand Canyon National Park.
The men travel the country correcting signs as part of the Typo Eradication Advancement League.
And, yeah, they might have crossed the line by messing with a historical sign in a national park, but they've got a point.
Across the country, our land is littered with signs, posters, ads, menus - you name it - that are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.
In some cases, human spell-checkers battle these boo-boos by fixing the errors on their own. Others snap pictures and trash the typos on their blogs.
Grammarians say these are bad signs of the times - our language is on a downward spiral. Others say: lighten up.
Correct spelling and proper grammar matter and help us understand each other, said Martha Brockenbrough, who founded the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.
"There are rules for how you play football and there are rules for how you drive," she said. "Standards of football keep things interesting, fair and fun. I think they do the same for language."
Sign offenders abound around Dallas-Fort Worth.
Need money? An Oak Cliff gas station offers this service: " Check Cashed."
Hungry and in a hurry? A fast-food restaurant sign showcased a deal for 10 pieses of chicken. A Knox-Henderson restaurant is "Now Open for LUNCH FRIDAY'S" (drop the apostrophe, guys).
Want a bargain? You can get it at the Bargin City Bazaar in Oak Cliff.
How about this twisted apology at a toy store: "We apologise for the inconveinance."
A mural on the side of a building at the Preston Royal shopping center shows what appears to be a movie theater with a sign that says: " Premier Tonight."
Misspelled words and names slip into newspapers and television news graphics every day. A recent Associated Press story described Joe Lieberman as the 2000 Democratic vice presidential ... well, let's just say that it was quickly changed to "pick."
Different groups have different ways of handling the more permanent typos and misspellings, without breaking the law.
Brockenbrough's Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar takes the polite route, sending out friendly letters to offenders encouraging them to make corrections.
"It's not about shame and humiliation," said Brockenbrough of Seattle, who launched National Grammar Day this year.
Signs are big business at the Texas Department of Transportation. So it behooves the agency to pay close attention to potentially costly errors.
Several employees are assigned to review the text that appears on highway signs, spokeswoman Kelli Petras said. They use spellcheckers, maps and dictionaries.
Educators say these bungled words are a symptom of a deeper problem: students aren't learning grammar.
The State Board of Education in May adopted new curriculum standards, including greater emphasis on grammar instruction in Texas schools.
Some also say that students' text messaging and Twittering - which encourage short notes and abbreviations and spelling-be-damned - are seeping into formal writing.
Students are writing informally now more than ever, said Diana Grumbles, director of the First-Year Writing Program at Southern Methodist University.
Some of her students don't capitalize or use punctuation when they send her a quick e-mail. Some will submit in-class writing assignments with symbols.
"I always just circle these things and tell them at the end of the paper that they have to write the words out," Grumbles said. "This is not a quick note dashed off to a friend."
Then there are these gems collected by Grumbles and her colleagues:
A university lecturer in England says teachers should accept their students' errors - Febuary instead of February or speach instead of speech.
"Either we go on beating ourselves and our students up over this problem, or we simply give everyone a break," Ken Smith wrote last month in the Times Higher Education Supplement.
Grumbles isn't willing to cut her students that much slack.
"Certain standards need to stay in place," she said.
But even Brockenbrough admits that there are times when bad grammar or spelling is a good thing.
The song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" sounds a lot better than "I Cannot Receive Any Satisfaction," she said.
And then there's Chick-fil-A, known for its "Eat Mor Chikin" ad campaign, featuring cows using incorrect spelling to implore customers to choose chicken over beef.
"I've got no beef with that," Brockenbrough said.
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