Grammar & Code Switching: Schuylkill County Dialect

Kayla brought up code switching in class today while we were talking about the rules of grammar. Code switching is a really interesting concept because it happens all the time without people immediately noticing. The concept of proper grammar is almost non-existent outside educational settings where I’m from. I’m from the coal region in northeastern PA and we apparently have a dialogue of our own. We use the very informal plural of the word “you” and say, “you’s.” Something that really bothers me is that where I’m from, people don’t believe in the word “saw.” That sounds strange, but it’s very common to hear a person say, “I seen that.” It drives me crazy. They’re also very big on the double negatives. All of these things bother me to no end but when it comes to code switching, getting a group of Schuylkill county kids together, I’ve been told, is a nightmare. My roommate, Libby, is also from northeastern PA but not from the coal region. Once, a group of my friends from home came for a visit. I didn’t find this out until days later, but my roommate apparently could not follow any conversation we had. She said she laughed because we were laughing, but more often than not she had no idea what was going on. Apparently, when a group of us get together, we tend to drop consonant sounds out of words and we are notorious for shortening everything that we say. This never occurred to me until Libby pointed it out, but thinking about it is really funny. She says that when I’m alone with her, she can almost never hear it until I break out a Schuylkill county word that she doesn’t recognize like “flitch” or “byantny,” but she can hear hints of the code switching when she hears me on the phone with somebody from home. This is just one example but it’s something that happens without me noticing until it’s pointed out to me, and I think that’s the case in most instances of code switching.

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I got a pocket, got a pocket full of…?

The conversation of “is google making people stupid” is often looked at with a lot of biased. When I think of google, I think of opportunities to become self-taught in a multitude of areas. Yesterday we touched on gen-ed classes and how at the end of the day students take the classes to become a more well rounded person—and this could start another conversation about those that do not have the privilege of attending university—but youtube presents the opportunity for those to learn things that actually interest you. Thanks to google a person can become an artist (Bob Ross) and learn to play an instrument, learn how to cook, learn how to take better care of yourself and can become a better you. You can learn how to take better care of your hair, skin, nails; how to eat healthier and exercise. Google, when used to its full potential, can be life changing and per with the current educational system. I think that people often time use google so we don’t have to remember the small stuff. Someone yesterday brought up the fact that they use google look up a telephone number or small info and thats what its used for more frequently than the transformative powers that it have. Google has the potential to change a person entire life and outlook so, is google making us stupid? Absolutely not.

Does google make us dumber?

Does google make us dumber? This is an interesting question because it seems like an easy answer. How can google make us dumber if it is giving us information and knowledge that we may not be able to find or access in other places? However, if we compare finding information from google to how people used to find information it seems that it could be hindering individuals intellectuality more than helping. Google is a great place to get quick information; where we can look up a quick fact or even just check the weather. On the other hand, we can do deep research, find great sources and explore new ideas. I do believer that google opens the door to new perspective and ideas. It may show someone something that they didn’t think of in the first place.For example, google takes each individual word searched and finds websites that contain those same keywords. This is an interesting way of searching because it broadens the search. Instead of looking for the specific answer to our question, we are linked to information and each and every aspect of the question. I do not think that google is making us dumber, that is something I’ll say now and in a few days I could change my mind but for right now I do not think I have enough support to show that it is making us dumber. I see google as a resource and a tool. Rather than the sole place to look it is an addition place to look for information. Yes, some people only use google and this makes those individuals used to using shortcuts rather than going through information thoroughly.  This approach may only make the person less knowledgeable but not dumber. I like to see the glass half full. Rather than google making people dumber, I would like to say that using google only makes people more knowledgeable if using it correctly.  If one does not use it correctly than they are not gaining all the knowledge that they can – it is not hindering their knowledge in anyway though.

Validating a Real Major

The classical “Renaissance man” such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci have become virtually non-existent in contemporary times.  Today modern trades have become increasingly more specific and specialized; You would be hard pressed to find a person who is an inventor, architect, artist, and sculptor.  I think part of this is due to the accessibility of information.

We discussed in class the other day how it can be increasingly difficult to decipher professional texts, such as a case file for lawyer, a scientific journal, or a high level literary analysis.  Primarily, we agreed the difficulty of comprehension was due to the use of jargon specific to that field.

I feel that this is connected somewhat to “major shaming” as we discussed previously.  When discussing if a major is “real” the class for the most part agreed that the criteria for this was how much that particular field contributed to society.  It can be argued that the use of jargon is a way of protecting that knowledge, of keeping that trade exclusive in a sense, whether it be intentional or subconscious.  By making that information exclusive to only people within that field who have the knowledge to decipher that jargon, it validates that major.  This exclusivity also further makes sure that that field is still needed and necessary, especially in a time when information is so easily accessible.  If everyone could decipher the information for a given field, they could become proficient in it, making no longer needed/viable as a profession.

But what about Social Sciences?

Being an economics major, my eye was quickly drawn to the section of our text titled, Deirdre McCloskey and the Rhetoric of Economics. In this section, Herrick points towards Professor McCloskey’s opinions on rhetoric in economics. In summary, McCloskey argues that economists nearly always have persuasive intent behind their arguments. Whether it is the way the argument is framed, or the style of the argument, economists’ arguments reflect individual opinions. After reading this section, I couldn’t agree more.

Nearly everything in economics is theory. Even the most basic tools used to study an economy, supply and demand, is not a law of economics, but a theory. Yes, this is a theory that is rarely questioned, but it is still based off of certain assumptions. The presence of assumptions was one of the most shocking things I learned in introductory classes. Even when the most complex calculus and statistical methods are used, any economic conclusion that is made is entirely dependent on the assumptions that were made to arrive at that conclusion. The fact that there is no black and white in economics allows for the presence of rhetoric in every component.

In one of my most recent classes, the overarching message was that an economic study is never unbiased. Although the class focused on the statistical biases and measurement errors, we also touched upon the natural human biases which cannot be ignored. It is not uncommon to find two articles using data on the same population from the same time period, come to opposite conclusions. This fact shows the rhetoric used in the choice of assumptions and staging of the problem and associated conclusion. The presence of this rhetoric however, is a positive thing in my eyes. Economics is not a science, but a social science. These opposing views from the same data display the preferences of different parties in society. Conflict is a necessary step in order to find solutions which best suite society as a whole. In economics, it is important to acknowledge the biases and use of rhetoric in order to understand the needs of different groups. Once we can better understand these needs, we can come to more efficient solutions. As McCloskey puts it, by using rhetoric in economics, we “move to the rationality of arguing like human beings.”

Just Google It

In class yesterday, we discussed if Google was making us stupid. At first thought, I couldn’t fathom the idea that a tool that brings the knowledge of the world to our fingertips, could possibly hinder us. At a deeper glance however, I realize that this question is not so ridiculous.

College students of today have the power of knowledge with the press of a button any time, any place that they desire so. One would think that this would make us incredibly smart compared to students before modern technology, but that is hardly the case. To me, the issue is that college students today aren’t retaining information like students of the past. We ‘Google’ something, find the result that we want, jot it down, and forget it until we need to look it up again. There is no reason to reinforce information because it is not necessary to us. I don’t think that college students are lazy, but utilize the tools that give the bare minimum of the information we need. Many people today don’t go the extra mile unless absolutely necessary, and I don’t blame them one bit. We live in a society that craves results, no matter the means to do so. This leads to long sleepless nights, performing, and then forgetting the information that was needed for that test. Personally, i think if our society valued the process, rather than just the results, we would have a much ‘smarter’ generation.

 

Is Google making us stupid?

Google is changing the way we think. To say it’s making us stupid is not fully accurate. I personally feel like I don’t need to fully memorize anything these days because I can always google the information. Even professors these days will not make us memorize things like dates or the elements on the periodic table “because you can always google it”.

That being said, I think we are also smarter with google. We are learning more and more everyday because we have an immediate answer to any question on our minds. Before google, people may have questioned certain things, and were too lazy to look it up or could not find the answer in a specific book. Now that is not the case. People can aimlessly search for anything on the Internet.

I think the worst part of google is that the Internet has a lot of false information. As mentioned in class, a common site to use is Wikipedia because it’s always one of the first hits. Wikipedia is a site where you can alter the information on any given page regarding a certain topic. Because people are lazy, they choose the first thing that google presents- which normally is Wikipedia.

This lack of searching and sense of entitlement for information is a problem in our generation. Instead of making us stupid, it’s making us lazy. Instead of searching in books for answers, all it takes is a click of a button, which can be a blessing and a curse.