Now, see, if he could count on a literate audience. . .

. . .the author of this awkward line,

“. . .the lovely scars he had from the one leg being severely fractured to the point of bone poking through the skin after. . .”

. . .could have saved a whole lotta words with “compound fracture“. But because he can no longer count on his readership being much more literate than the typical eighth-grader nowadays, he had to go all around the barn to use something like ten words (no, I’ve not actually counted) to say what a literate* person could vividly grasp in two.

No, I am not using “literate” in its least form here. I use it in the sense of,

“1 a : educated, cultured. . . 2 a : versed in literature. . . 2c : having knowledge or competence. . . “

And NONE of those apply to someone who cannot read “compound fracture” and either understand the term at once OR have both the intellectual curiosity and competence to either winkle the meaning on their own from context (not necessarily easy to do in this case) or LOOK IT UP! (N.B. When I was a kid, we had a monstrously huge two-volume dictionary–which I still have–that spent most of its time near or under the head of my bed, because I not only looked up EVERY word or term I did not immediately understand from context or simply learned new words and terms from reading the thing for pleasure. And I still do not consider myself as literate as either of my grandfathers were.)

More and more folks today have vocabularies limited by what they HEAR via the Hivemind, and more and more folks today do not even understand the words they hear from that propaganda machine. And so otherwise moderately literate authors HAVE to dumb down their text. (The one who cobbled up the abortion I cited above does still have ALL his characters use “there’s” with plural objects. *sigh* It’s. . . “interesting”–in a gagamaggot kind of way–to hear characters with multiple doctorates in the sciences who are linguistically innumerate. *profound sigh*)

4 Replies to “Now, see, if he could count on a literate audience. . .”

  1. I used to do the horrible thing of highlighting or underlining in my paperback books when I ran across a word I didn’t know or especially liked. Conan was full of underlines. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. With me, it’s more like margin notes. Such things populate many of the books I own–and end notes (on the end papers) to note which pages have margin notes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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