Monday, September 21, 2009

Introductory Blog Post, by Brent Stempfle

My name is Brent Stempfle, and I am taking the PROW 100 course as a part of my Professional Writing program. I hope to learn to write correctly and more effectively. I already know a lot about grammar, most notably punctuation. This has come as a result of attending two English courses last year as a part of the General Studies program. A major goal of mine is to be able to expand my writing skills by the end of the term, and to become a more adequate writer. I hope to use the skills learned here in all writing ventures that I encounter from this point forward.

I do not believe that the dictionary is dead. Steven Pinker brings up in his talk that slang, jargon, and text talk are becoming more common and acceptable in language. This may be true, but all forms of slang, jargon, and text talk are primarily rooted in the English language, and therefore, the language itself is alive, and slang and abbreviations are still universally understood by those who use them, and those who do not. For example, a teenager who uses slang is able to communicate with a senior who does not, due to a mutual understanding of standard English.

The opinion that language is a "window onto human nature" is an intriguing one. When one considers the statement's legitimacy, it becomes apparent that it is fundamentally true. Language provides humanity with a means of communication, and therefore, it is tied to our instincts. We are able to communicate, and interact with others due to language, and it is in this sense that language allows us to understand ourselves, as well as each other. This allows us to better connect with our nature as humans, our desire to interact with others.

When Pinker says that "the verb is the chassis of the sentence," he is explaining that the verb is what makes a sentence figuratively come to life. The verb makes it abundantly easier for the reader to envision the subject that it describes by illustrating the action in which it partakes. I agree with this assessment of the verb, for a number of reasons. One reason in particular is simply because the statement is true. The verb is the chassis of the sentence because it conveys the nature of the sentence to the reader.

Over the course of the PROW 100 class, and my Professional Writing course in general, I wish to develop exceptional writing abilities. My previous experiences in English courses have certainly helped to make me a better writer, and I am interested in expanding on my writing abilities this term. Writing can be an interesting venture, with several opportunities for those who do it well. I hope to become one of those people. I hope that by the end of this term, I will have acquired writing skills that will help me not only in my post secondary tenure, but throughout my life in general.

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