Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Grammar Correction"...or is it?

I don’t know about other countries, but here in the Philippines, speaking in English is one of the ways a person can bully, outwit, and out-smart another person that he dislikes or hates. I have heard many times how people use this approach. Pragmatist can just dismissed this approach as pure bullying or plain senseless and not to be dealt with so much energy. Actually, it is true. However, since this is an article, let’s talk about this. There are also times that grammar correction is also used against the person subject of his or her dislike or hatred. More often used by women than men, this is somewhat a source of irritation. For example, you’re raising a point or you’re talking about a certain topic and suddenly you are wrong in the subject-verb agreement, and you’re corrected. Now, this is where bullying, hating, or outwitting comes in: you’re not inside an English class. Because of this, you are “corrected”, not to make you a better person, but you are disliked or hated. Bluntly, unless a person is, by concrete evidence, a total jerk, we should remind ourselves that the “Grammar Correction” approach is just a plain senseless approach in pulling down a person. Now here’s the funny part: grammar correction proves that you understood. Therefore, the correction is somewhat conflict escalating, and you just escalated. Another dark humor in this type of foolishness is relevance. Think of it in a logical mind frame, why correct someone’s grammar when the topics are, let’s say teaching strategies and management policies? Yes, people adhering to this approach may justify the use of grammar on teaching strategies, management policies, etc. However, are you serious? Do you hear your argument? If the same argument was thrown back to you when you did a similar mistake, will you agree? I think not. You may call this anti-intellectual or anti-English (which is an ironic because this article is in English). As long as the message is understood, and you’re not inside an English class, GRAMMAR CORRECTION IS IRRELEVANT. Respected comedian and impersonator Willie Nepomuceno, an intellectual, despite his impersonation of Former President Joseph Estrada, finds grammar jokes not that funny. Still, despite this nasty approach, at the bottom line, this approach is funny. It’s a funny because, in grammar correction, you understood what you corrected. It means you corrected a person’s grammar because you understand the message that he or she’s trying to convey. Since it’s understood, why correct in an inappropriate situation? It is sad to know that more often than not, this approach happens in work places like basic or higher education institutions and other places where English was given “conditioned necessity”. Let’s not move further into that to avoid drifting away from the intended topic. The heart of the matter is this: a truly adequately intelligent person can discern, in this example, if grammar correction is relevant or not. An intellectual with good character knows when to ignore a grammatical error of another person because there is a weightier matter than grammar as of that moment. To the people using this approach to another colleague, let us ask this thing: after the grammar correction, did you truly help a person or just put him down? If you put him down plainly because he used a wrong grammar, did it help the institution or company as a whole? As part of this social community inside institutions, let us not be personalistic. Grammar can be corrected in an appropriate situation. Deliberately doing and ignoring so reflects bad character.