Making Learning Too Easy?

When I first ran across the Study Guides and Strategies site, my first thought was, “What a wonderful resource! I wish something like this had been available during my undergrad/grad years.”

And then I paused a moment to consider: with such resources as this, and with the vast research and general information resource that is the Internet, why are so very many college students nowadays (and Academia Nut Fruitcakes, for that matter) so very ignorant, poorly-read (which results in formal illiteracy) and flat-out stupid? Hmm.

I know there are many, many reasons for the ignorance, subliteracy, and stupidity, but perhaps one reason could be that such sites as the Study Guides and Strategies site seem to obviate the need to discover ways to comprehend–preferably master–subject matter. Just plug things into a formulaic study system and bang! It’s done!

Of course it is not that easy to do, but without at least some hard work discovering or creating one’s own study style, I suspect the hard work of conquering new subject matter is harder still.

I suspect that attempts to make learning easy could make it seem too easy. [Not gonna deal with all the aspects of this right now. Just suffice it to say this seems to be both a problem preparing students for college and an ongoing issue in college. . . and beyond; if it’s easy, it ain’t worth much, but if it ain’t easy, it’s avoided, etc.]

Still, since I’m already familiar and competent in my curent reading and study styles, I think I can find some good things to apply to my current learning efforts at Study Guides and Strategies.

Note: I was very briefly introduced to the SQ(W)3R study system in the Summer of ’68 during a freshman level p-sych course (the only useful thing I gained from the course), but I modified it greatly to fit my own reading/study styles, instead of following the brief (15 minute?) outline the prof suggested we use for the course readings.

But yes, given my (apparently increasing) absentmindedness recently, a slightly more detailed application of the SQ(W)3R system has already been implemented. *heh*

Sometimes, Even Subliterate Writers Can Be Entertaining. . . Though By Accident

Sometimes, text written by a subliterate writer can lead to fun stuff. A silly, 20-something self-pub subliterate writer (whose “editorial” helpers are no more literate than he is) provided such a brief moment, before I ashcanned his stupid book.

“. . .tells me that a newly discovered landmark was uncovered by the storm and that the ruin is not in any kind of withered [sic] state.”

Oh, my. The subliterate writer was probably groping for “weathered,” but since

a. his ears are apparently dull and
b. he just flat-out doesn’t know the differences between “wither” and “weather,”

. . .he went with a near homophone that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

But. . . then I paused and thought of the different meanings of wither, and their etymologies. (Yes, because I spent much of my youth reading dictionaries–and still do to this day, for that matter–and have a wide range of interests in disparate fields, I knew that the noun “wither” and the verb “wither” came from two very different roots. *shrugs* So? 🙂 ) So I had a bit of personal entertainment contemplating a horse’s withers and the withering of a plant.

And then, back to the Badly Written Text to a further description of the “ruin”:

“In fact, it doesn’t look “ruined” at all! It appears to be in perfect condition!”

*head-desk* Then why, oh why, did the “eminent archaeologist” initially refer to it as a “ruin”?

Because the writer had no appropriate vocabulary to describe it else, of course.

Well, this lil incident combined with four others in the two pages since I picked the book back up to convince me I needed to delete it from my library entirely, so as not to even accidentally pick it back up.

Oh, well. At least I managed to get all the way to 4% of the thing this time. . .

More Literacy Annoyances

Sadly, while I have seen this issue in many self-pub books written and “edited” by subliterates, this is becoming much more common in books from tradpub houses, as well.

ONLY, and I do mean ONLY, in the case where a subjective pronoun is used in a predicate nominative renaming of the subject is using a subjective pronoun in an otherwise objective position proper. The definitive example is: “I am he,” from which it follows that “You are she,” etc., are proper.

unfortunately, all too many subliterate “writers” (and yes, speakers) insist on thinking that ALL (or most–some are amazingly inconsistent) personal pronouns in objective case position) within a predicate are subjective case, based on this one exception (where the initial subject is used, as previously noted, to simply rename the subject they simply misuse a subjective case pronoun, viz.,

“I am better than he.” [WRONG]
“I am faster than he.” [WRONG]


For some reason–possibly because they mistakenly think it sounds “classy” or some such–many subliterates cling to such uses. Of course, rarely are the examples as plain, as stark, as the ones I have given above. Most often, the predicate is complex, poorly-constructed, and amphibolous, as well, obscuring the objective case.

I find this annoying. OK, in dialog, as long as the writer is trying to establish the speaking character as either barely literate or illiterate, OK. Barely. But when it occurs in descriptive narrative, no matter how otherwise interesting the content–fiction, non-fiction–I am sorely tempted to trash the text and move on to* something else. Time is just too precious to spend it translating badly-written text.

Continue reading “More Literacy Annoyances”