Saturday, September 8, 2007

Problems With Impaired Language Skills

A columnist whose work used to appear in a small San Francisco newspaper consistently infuriated readers with her inability to construct a coherent sentence. Her rambling gossip made little or no sense. One expected a journalist to have enough discipline to create a logical beginning, middle, and end to each sentence. But this columnist's typical sentence could occupy 20 lines of column space and still not make sense!
What's wrong with this picture? Readers were being subjected to an unedited reproduction of conversational speech.

Why did her editor allow this kind of garbage to appear in print? Perhaps she thought that the writer's "style" made her work interesting and controversial.

In today's heavily anti-intellectual culture, where lack of skill with the English language is often mistaken for style, this writer had found her audience. And so, while readers fumed about the columnist's abysmal lack of talent (thus continuing to make her writing controversial), the publisher continued to give her a valuable forum.

Curiously enough, upon reading this woman's column, a professional medical transcriptionist would instantly have been able to diagnose what was wrong with the situation: The author was dictating her thoughts into a tape recorder, transcribing her work verbatim, and the unedited transcript was what appeared in print.
People do not always express their thoughts in grammatically-correct sentences.
  • Sometimes they don't make sentences.
  • Sometimes they don't have thoughts to express.
  • Sometimes they just don't think before they open their mouths and start making noise.
What a doctor thinks he says might not be what he really says while dictating. Impaired language skills can cause serious patient documentation problems for:

  • People who are careless about how they apply the English language
  • Physicians who have a foreign accent
  • Doctors who speak English as a second language

[Language Skills Worksheet #4 ]

Next: How To Use The English Language

[Table of Contents] [Cartoons]
[Home] [Exercises] [Worksheets]

No comments: