Subject: Re: less parentheses --> fewer parentheses
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/08/24
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Jochen Schmidt <>
| I may be wrong but if he says he can "no longer stand it" then he
| ditches the posters that have been caught in this common pitfalls as
| idiots that can not even speak right english.

  I think you're assuming much too much.  Just because you can't stand
  something someone does, doesn't mean you can't stand that someone as
  a whole.  Even incredibly obese slobs who stink of last week's sweat
  and drool on their dirty clothes may have something useful to say or
  do, but "I can't stand this smell" is a perfectly valid statement.

| I know that I don't speak perfect English but I think most people
| can understand what I say.  If you speak so perfect English then be
| happy.  You certainly won't reached that level of ability without
| hard learning and many mistakes.

  I'm trying to tell you that you're so amazingly mistaken in how you
  deal with people who speak English reasonably well.  I tried very
  hard to point out that speaking better English than most native
  speakers is _not_ an accomplishment.  Speaking better Norwegian than
  most Norwegian native speakers is not an accomplishment, either.  So
  your _accusation_ about speaking perfectly is offensive because it
  is so incredibly irrelevant.

  Of course language training for a non-native speaker involves a lot
  of mistakes, and if it weren't for retards like Barry Margolin who
  only use other people's mistakes to shoot them down when he feels
  his hatred is justified, it's possible to identify specific mistakes
  and not repeat them.  Otherwise, you'll have to pay _very_ close
  attention to how other people write.  Of course, if you're _really_
  good, some people _will_ hate you for that, too, and then try to
  kill you or at least harrass you to death if you make a mistake.

  However, since there are so many people who go ballistic every time
  you tell them how something is supposed to be said/written/used, you
  have two types of reactions: the getting-irritated-until-you-explode
  and suppress-it-and-take-it-out-on-someone-else types.  Of course,
  there are people who wouldn't know a mistake from a correct usage,
  and thus don't care at all, and some of those go ballistic even at
  exposure to the concept that something might be _wrong_.

  I really thought that by highlighting the uselessness of comparing
  the _relative_ skills in two languages through an example with
  Swahili and Mandarin Chinese, you would understand that someone who
  is able to correct someone because of frequent mistake, does _not_
  have to be "perfect" or any other popular accusation against the
  skillful and competent, and he may in fact _be_ just as good in
  German or whatever, without being anywhere _near_ perfect.  In my
  particular example, "I speak Swahili _exactly_ as well as I speak
  Mandarin Chinese", this is true only because I speak both of them
  _not_at_all_.  Get it?

| In my opinion the way the original poster wrote is scornful to the
| posters that don't speak perfect english.

  Nobody in their right mind is scornful of someone who doesn't do
  something "perfectly".  I assume that people are irritated by
  repeated and unfixed mistakes, which is quite another thing.
  However, it is so alien to me that someone should have something
  against a _person_ merely because of his actions that I cannot even
  fathom how one can see scorn towards a repeated mistake as scorn
  towards those who make it.  A lot of people can't deal with the
  distinction between person and action, but that always seemed such
  an obviously serious character flaw that it cannot be assumed.

| >  I find such scorn towards competence to
| >   be _fantastically_ offensive.
| I find scorn towards the people who want to learn but haven't reached the
| state of being perfect _fantastically_ offensive.

  But whence this  obsession with "perfect"?  And how the hell do you
  know that he addressed "people who want to learn"?  That's a highly
  unwarranted assumption if there ever was one.  I hope your "want to
  learn" does not excuse every mistake people make as long as the
  underlying _motive_ is whether they want to learn.  (I always argue
  that if you try something too often and you consistently fail, it's
  better to give it up.)

| But on the other side if all corrections would be made this way  I'm
| sure fewer and fewer people would overcome themselves to post at a
| newsgroup that uses a language that they are not very good in.

  Only if they take it personally.  That's a bad idea on USENET.  Only
  if someone is really after _you_, should you consider that, and you
  know that for certain only when they prove that it doesn't matter
  what you _do_ -- they'll criticize _you_, anyway, and for the really
  hard evidence: look for criticism of what you _haven't_ done.  False
  accusations are the best proof ever that it's highly personal, and
  that the person on the other end is a deranged lunatic, too.  That's
  so infrequent that you have to wait for solid evidence, though.

| (I personally know many people who don't ever tried to post because
| they think they are not good enough in writing English)

  I have seen a lot of really weird posts by people who effectively
  say "I can read English, but I can't write squat, so pleae have me
  excused".  It's something hard to figure out what they mean, but
  at least they're aware of their predicament.

| But again - You're right that my posting was not very fair, so
| please excuse me.

  Sure, excused.  :)  But drop the "perfect" obsession, please.

  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.