Friday, February 12, 2010

"A Little Favor, Please..."

Last night I was at a wedding, about which I must blog, but that's not the "theme" of this post.  I was sitting at a table of mostly English speakers, as frequently happens.  Everyone was from Shiloh except for a couple I didn't know.  They were sitting directly across from me, too far at such a noisy event to converse, so I didn't know who they were.

As we were finishing the main course, the man went to a neighbor with a piece of paper.  He wanted him to go over the English.  My neighbor pointed to his wife and me and said that we're the experts being English teachers.

There already were various notations written on it.  Just from the title I could already see words incorrectly corrected or approved by spellcheck, which doesn't check content/context, so "tow" was written instead of "two."

This was a page for his daughter's "English Project," a sort of "term paper," which has been part of the Israeli high school English requirements for the past few years.

I told him that in principle I don't approve of over-corrected by others work.  I wouldn't turn his daughter's English into mine, but I was willing to give some advice on format, such as skipping lines between paragraphs and desist from underlining, because bold is more effective.  I also suggested writing transliterated Hebrew in italics followed by the translation set off in commas.

A lot of this has nothing to do with English.  The problem is that it isn't taught in Israeli schools, which is an awful shame.  I wonder if proper punctuation, aesthetics and graphics is taught anywhere nowadays.

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