Hammering on about Paragraphs
geradamas at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 22 03:20:19 CST 2008
Judy Perry wrote:
life of me it just isn't clear why higher ed places such emphasis on where
to put commas, dates, and other things over what really ought to be more
important, namely, CONTENT."
Another argument I had at SIU Carbondale was why the English department
adhered to the Chicago Style Manual and the Linguistics Dept. to the
LSA. The latter one was incredibly tedious, insisting that Bibliographic refs. has author's names in 10 point capitals, while everything else was
in 12 point. My thesis committee sent my thesis back 5 times for
What was more interesting was an obsession held by the Old English prof.
about my syntax; something about 'comma splices'. Eventually, having
got really upset by the silly prof's going on about this, I went to my
TA supervisor ( Dr Lise Weiner - now at McGill ), a wonderful Canadian;
she contacted an expert at the Oxford University Press who replied
saying something about the pedantic nature of this woman, and what was
termed 'a comma splice' was perfectly acceptable in 'British' English.
When I went to the United Satets of America I felt extremely refreshed
by the seeming capability to be endlessly creative with the English
language, which did not seem to be the case in Britain at that time.
Then I found that the counterpart to that creativity was an awful
stuffiness about English in the University.
I failed their "Grammar" test, yet was told that the Free-Writing piece
was the best they had ever seen (as far as I remember it was about
Samuel Boswell's sexual peccadillos, written in highly colourful and metaphorical language).
However, the exultation of FORM over FUNCTION and CONTENT is something
that has happened repeatedly in institutions and societies; in
religious bodies, educational bodies and so on.
I, for one, love that aspect of Runtime Revolution that allows for an extremely high level of flexibility.
"This one just pushed my buttons...."
I apologise, Sivakatirswami, if I 'pushed your buttons'; that was far
from my intention.
Your comments about profs at Carbondale is generally true, and may
be extended to other educational institutions.
As an admirer of A.S.Neill, Bryn Purdey, and Kurt Hahn, I would much
prefer blowing all educational institutions up and returning to some
sort of more anarchistic method for educating people. However, the
nature of the societies we live in seems to mitigate against that.
I am, myself, in an ambivalent situation, having to teach EFL students
who either cannot cope, or are not prepared to put up with a long
disquisition about the subjectivity of what constitutes a paragraph.
HOWEVER, were RR to include 'PARAGRAPH' in its lexicon of terms that would
have to involve some sort of relatively rigid definition.
Back to my "Applescript in a Nutshell" (which is an endlessly tedious
"A paragraph object is a chunk of text that is terminated by a new line or paragraph character."
Can anybody tell me what a 'paragraph character" would be?
sincerely, Richmond Mathewson.
A Thorn in the flesh is better than a failed Systems Development Life Cycle.
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