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xerlome wrote

Is it the "i" that prejudices others, or is "prejudice" something others superimpose on it ?

Does it matter? The end result is the same.

If the question seems irrelevant to you, possibly you are more of a pragmatist than a philosopher. It may suggest that your interest in usage has more to do with form than meaning. This is not a snap judgment of you, but a reading of the implications of what you said. I make no pretense of knowing whether your dismissal of the question defines you thus or reflects something else unknown to me.

The question is relevant because your use of the word "prejudice" (as well as "exclude") assigns the cause of your hypothetical readers' hypothetical dismissal of my posts entirely to an outside force acting upon them. It is at least equally valid consider the implications of this hypothetical response, that being an illiteracy far beyond my expectations of most writers here and greater than that signified by what you call a "quirk" below.
Are you suggesting that i should alter my style to ... a little one-letter word with a dot over it ?

Why not? We do this all the time. Altering one's style to make one's writing accessible to the widest audience including those who make quick decisions on the basis of style isn't a reprehensible action.

If you wrote to an author, say David Foster Wallace, and suggested that his unconventional style was prejudicing and excluding many readers, so he may want to alter it to draw the widest possible audience, what would you expect him to say ? The comparison is probably strained, but in the direction of this suggestion seeming far more reasonable than the one made to me, as my writing is pretty ordinary compared with his.
I haven't suggested that others' possible practice of altering their styles to please the masses is/would be "reprehensible". Nor is my practice due to any thought that it (or i) would be reprehensible to make that choice. I'm not torn between any desire to please the widest audience and any need to avoid self-censure. I simply do not care to make such a choice.
You appear to recognise that your decision to use of lower-case "i" requires more work from some readers to discern your meaning, and are happy with that state of affairs.

I'm content not to have more posts to answer. Yours are as good as any. But i don't know for a fact that your characterization of hypothetical readers' hypothetically challenged comprehension skills applies to anyone here. I was responding to Mike's suggestion that readers would quickly decide to ignore my posts, and carried the implications of his belief where they seemed to lead.

It seems to *me* an extraordinary supposition that a lower-case "i" would make my meaning more work for readers to discern. How much work could you be talking about ? Do you* find my posts difficult to understand ? Or are you simply extraordinarily literate relative to other readers ? Perhaps you are. Am i privileged to attract only the most capable and literate readers ? Again, i'm playing out to the implications of *your comments.
But why should they bother to do so? There are lots of less- mannered posts out there of, dare I say, equal interest and substance which don't intentionally employ a quirk which flags them, on first glance, as potentially sub-literate.

I am supposing that by "mannered" you are referring to my rather formal articulation. Yes, i am aware that my manner is not in the general flow of most conversations here. It is probably a weakness of mine that i'm not good at making my points concisely and informally. I'm long-winded, and probably a lot of people don't do more than scan my posts. That i can understand.
What i can hardly imagine is a reader who would, even at a glance, think: "Here's a probable sub-literate, someone who doesn't even know that the personal pronoun is capped." What would you expect me to think of the intellectual capacity of anyone who would actually imagine (at a glance) that the writer of a post using recognizable words would fail to cap the "i" due to illiteracy ? I can't find it in me to believe there is one in a hundred here who would, so that doesn't worry me a bit.
Is this the opinion you have of your fellow writer/readers ? You made the comment that can only lead to the conclusion that it is, or else that you were not thinking clearly when you wrote it. I suspect the latter, which is thoroughly forgivable.
Just in case you are left with the impression that my reply to you is personally judgmental or hostile, or that it is a defense of my writing style against your judgment or any imagined hostility on your part, i can truthfully tell you that what i have written is a dispassionate discussion of the issues you have raised, motivated by my interest in exchanging ideas with someone who is willing to do so. I don't mind any of your challenges, and i hope you don't mind mine or my manner of presenting them.
Cheers, Harvey Canadian (30 years) and British (23 years)

Would you like me to translate certain words (judgment - judgement, defense - defence, etc.) to make my writing more accessible to you ? Or are you acclimated enough to American spelling to discern the meanings for yourself (at a glance) ?
ER Lyon
Do you consider yourself to be one of those ?

I was afraid I might get an answer like that! and of course I knew I'd be stuck for a reply if I did. Dunno: but you were kind enough to read my message...

And you were thoughtful to read and respond to mine, although i had never responded to any of your many posts.
I remember a good comment you wrote in the thread about subjunctives on AUE. I would have liked to respond to that and a few of the others, but there were too many and i can't seem to keep mine short like you do. No one resonded to my two posts ( i hope not because of my illiteracy) and i was left feeling that there was too little willingness to get very deeply into the issue.
If people are bypassing my posts, i tend to suspect it is most often due to their length and readers' short attention span. You write a lot of posts, get into many discussions. You don't try to write the book on a subject, and you don't let yourself get stuck trying to answer someone like me. A wise choice, i'm sure. Maybe this isn't a good place for me.
ER Lyon
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I was afraid I might get an answer like that! ... you were kind enough to read my message...

And you were thoughtful to read and respond to mine, although i had never responded to any of your many ... to answer someone like me. A wise choice, i'm sure. Maybe this isn't a good place for me. ER Lyon

Nah, stick around. You're long winded and opiniated, but entertaining and interesting.

Stephen
Lennox Head, Australia
xerlome wrote Does it matter? The end result is the same.

If the question seems irrelevant to you, possibly you are more of a pragmatist than a philosopher.

When it comes to straightforward communication, yes.
It may suggest that your interest in usage has more to do with form than meaning.

Precisely the opposite: when form intrudes, the meaning becomes obscured. Meaning is everything; form is subsidiary.

By using "i" as the personal pronoun, you are to my mind sacrificing accessibility to the meaning on the altar of your preferred form.
snip
Why not? We do this all the time. Altering one's ... on the basis of style isn't a reprehensible action.

If you wrote to an author, say David Foster Wallace, and suggested that his unconventional style was prejudicing and excluding many readers, so he may want to alter it to draw the widest possible audience, what would you expect him to say ?

That he is writing in a chosen style for purposes of experimeimental literature. Are you suggesting that people who read your posts to Usenet should treat them as literature, or that context is irrelevant?
(If you are maintaininng that, I'd suggest your posts would find a better home in a "writing" newsgroup than a group which addresses the nuts and bolts of usage.)
The comparison is probably strained, but in the direction of this suggestion seeming far more reasonable than the one made to me, as my writing is pretty ordinary compared with his.

snip
It seems to *me* an extraordinary supposition that a lower-case "i" would make my meaning more work for readers to ... to attract only the most capable and literate readers ? Again, i'm playing out to the implications of your comments.

But why should they bother to do so? There are ... quirk which flags them, on first glance, as potentially sub-literate.

I am supposing that by "mannered" you are referring to my rather formal articulation.

No: I meant your insistence upon the use of a non-conventional orthography for the personal pronoun. It is a trait which is (in a sense analogous to art terminology) "mannered".
Yes, i am aware that my manner is not in the general flow of most conversations here. It is probably ... or else that you were not thinking clearly when you wrote it. I suspect the latter, which is thoroughly forgivable.

It's not as black and white as that.
Non-standard orthography presents an obstacle to accessibility: it takes more effort by the reader.
The non-use of capital letters is, I maintain, often associable with sub-literate writing. When I view a paragraph that presents a strong indicator of sub-literate writing, I look for others to see if it is a general indicator or something different.

I spent the time to see beyond the use of "i"; others may not wich to spend as much effort doing that, and I would not blame them for having better things to do with their time.
You may be happy with that state of affairs; I wouldn't be.
Just in case you are left with the impression that my reply to you is personally judgmental or hostile, or ... I don't mind any of your challenges, and i hope you don't mind mine or my manner of presenting them.

I don't mind the challenge at all, but I think we're both probably at the point of agreeing to disagree.
You seem, to my mind, to be using a form non-capitalising of normally-capitalised letters which I often encounter in Usenet in posts which exhibit sloppy, lazy and/or sub-literate writing.

You also have stated (if I understand your point of view correctly) that you assign responsbility for misperception if there is indeed any problem at all as resting either with the reader or (at the very least) as an equally-shared responsibility between reader and writer.
That may be a valid stance for literature, but I submit that Usenet discussion postings are everyday communications rather than literature and cannot reasonably expect the same contract of effort between writer and reader.
I believe that if a writer's form, meaning, or context is misunderstood assuming no dishonesty on the part of the reader, and that one is discussing workaday communication the problem belongs with the writer, not the reader.
Cheers, Harvey Canadian (30 years) and British (23 years)

Would you like me to translate certain words (judgment - judgement, defense - defence, etc.) to make my writing more accessible to you ? Or are you acclimated enough to American spelling to discern the meanings for yourself (at a glance) ?

I'm entirely acclimatised to standard alternative spellings and recognised dialect uses.
"i" for the personal pronoun is neither a standard alternative spelling nor a standard dialect use, and acts as a flag for potentially deeper problems. As such, it hinders accessibility.

I find precisely the same problem with a poster in AUE who feels that the confusion between the present and past tenses of the verb calls for the use of "rede" and "redd".
He holds a perfectly valid and well-argued position, but when I have redd a paragraph which he wishes others to rede with clarity, I have to work very hard not to associate his writing with peeple hoo have difficulty with standerd orthografy wen they spell wurds.

And often, the end result isn't worth the expenditure of time and effort on the part of the reader.

Cheers, Harvey
Canadian (30 years) and British (23 years)
For e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van
And you were thoughtful to read and respond to mine, although i had never responded to any of your many posts.

I talk too much!
I remember a good comment you wrote in the thread aboutsubjunctives on AUE. I would have liked to respond to ... my illiteracy) and i was left feeling that there was too little willingness to get very deeply into the issue.

I doubt if people were unwilling: we sometimes go into depth, and we sometimes chase our tails for days. Often some readers will have discussed a topic to a standstill in previous years, and have nothing new to say. And, as I said, few of us have time to read every message carefully glance at the other group, a.u.e., to see why!
If people are bypassing my posts, i tend to suspect it is mostoften due to their length and readers' short ... For my part, I get inexcusably voluble after one aperitif too many. Maybe this isn't a good place for me.

If you like it, then it's the place for you.

Mike.
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xerlome wrote

It may suggest that your interest in usage has more to do with form than meaning.

Precisely the opposite: when form intrudes, the meaning becomes obscured. Meaning is everything; form is subsidiary.

I agree with that.
By using "i" as the personal pronoun, you are to my mind sacrificing accessibility to the meaning on the altar of your preferred form.

I'm terribly sorry it is so difficult to access. It would probably be more difficult for me to fix it for you, though, so i'm afraid i'm going to have to sacrifice you.
If you wrote to an author, say David Foster Wallace, ... possible audience, what would you expect him to say ?

That he is writing in a chosen style for purposes of experimeimental literature.

Is "experimeimental" a kind of cerebral style ?
Who was it (a composer, i think) who said something to the effect that the experimenting is done before the work is finished, after which it is no longer "experimental" ? Although listening to it (or reading it) may be experimental for others.
I wonder how he would write if he visited our discussions...
Are you suggesting that people who read your posts to Usenet should treat them as literature, or that context is irrelevant?

People may treat them any way they choose (and they do).

I don't know why there needs to be such a strict separation of contexts. I sure don't mind being exposed to diversity, here or anywhere else. Here, it makes for discussion, doesn't it ?
(If you are maintaininng that, I'd suggest your posts would find a better home in a "writing" newsgroup than a group which addresses the nuts and bolts of usage.)

Well if i find time, i may take a look at such a group. I came here because i am interested in usage, even if i don't necessarily share the predominant views. "Nuts and bolts." Hmm...
I am supposing that by "mannered" you are referring to my rather formal articulation.

No: I meant your insistence upon the use of a non-conventional orthography for the personal pronoun. It is a trait which is (in a sense analogous to art terminology) "mannered".

Oh. Or maybe it is like a mannerism.
The non-use of capital letters is, I maintain, often associable with sub-literate writing. When I view a paragraph that presents a strong indicator of sub-literate writing, I look for others to see if it is a general indicator or something different.

Good for you ! It's valuable to cultivate that approach to anything. People need to practice looking closely at things. Far be it from me to cater to lazy tendencies.
I spent the time to see beyond the use of "i"; others may not wich to spend as much effort doing that, and I would not blame them for having better things to do with their time.

How long did it take ? I realize modern people measure things in nanoseconds. I'm so far behind the times that i don't mind when it takes 3 seconds for a web page to come up. (I do mind when it takes
30.)
I don't mind the challenge at all, but I think we're both probably at the point of agreeing to disagree.

That's what i thought when i first read your post. Then i started thinking of things to say.
You seem, to my mind, to be using a form non-capitalising of normally-capitalised letters which I often encounter in Usenet in posts which exhibit sloppy, lazy and/or sub-literate writing.

So you've learned something. Actually, if i see a post which seems illiterate to me, i accept it and read what this perhaps inexperienced English speaker has to say. If i don't understand what they're saying, i may ask and even suggest a way to convey their meaning more effectively. Perhaps you feel you are doing this with me.
You also have stated (if I understand your point of view correctly) that you assign responsbility for misperception if ... as resting either with the reader or (at the very least) as an equally-shared responsibility between reader and writer.

My expectation of readers is greater than yours. I don't expect my posts to be the first choices of reading material for people who can barely read English, but i will reply to a request for help from them and try to make my answer understandable. But if you can read English okay, it boggles my mind to think some little "quirk" will confuse your comprehesion beyond the first 3 seconds.
Would you like me to translate certain words (judgment - ... to discern the meanings for yourself (at a glance) ?

I'm entirely acclimatised to standard alternative spellings and recognised dialect uses.

I knew that !
"i" for the personal pronoun is neither a standard alternative spelling nor a standard dialect use, and acts as a ... work very hard not to associate his writing with peeple hoo have difficulty with standerd orthografy wen they spell wurds.

It all looks like great fun to me ! Why shouldn't we see experimental usage here ?
Maybe there should be a separate group .

ER Lyon
I remember a good comment you wrote in the thread ... too little willingness to get very deeply into the issue.

I doubt if people were unwilling: we sometimes go into depth, and we sometimes chase our tails for days. Often ... few of us have time to read every message carefully glance at the other group, a.u.e., to see why!

That's where the "subjuctives" thread was. (That's why i hang out mostly at a.e.u.) I get the point about having maybe discussed a thing to death, but in this case, it almost seemed as if they had never discussed it before and hardly understood the subject.
If people are bypassing my posts, i tend to suspect it is most often due to their length and readers' short attention span.

Shorter is usually better. For my part, I get inexcusably voluble after one aperitif too many.

I learned that my letters to editors get snipped if i don't make them short.
Maybe this isn't a good place for me.

If you like it, then it's the place for you.

I've been here about a couple of weeks. I wish i could give it more time, but it looks like it will be less before too long.

ER Lyon
Maybe this isn't a good place for me.

Nah, stick around. You're long winded and opiniated, but entertaining and interesting.

Is it as opiniated to allow for varied usage than to insist on specific usage ?
And what the heck are you doing using a minority form of "opinionated" ?
ER Lyon
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Nah, stick around. You're long winded and opiniated, but entertaining and interesting.

Is it as opiniated to allow for varied usage than to insist on specific usage ? And what the heck are you doing using a minority form of "opinionated" ? ER Lyon

See? I'm not perfect either.

Stephen
Lennox Head, Australia
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