Monday, September 21, 2009

Jenny Nielsen. Between Generations

My name is Jenny Nielsen, I am a mother of three children, and have been married for seven years. I have been at home with my kids for the last 6 years, but have always known that when the time was right I would return to school. I am excited to be enrolled in the writing program at Macewan, as writing has always been my first love. I am a graduate of a Human Service Worker program and have an additional year of General studies.

I hope to become proficient as a writer who is able to navigate the writing technology of today. Most of my writing has been done through a compilation of hand written journals and scraps of loose leaf paper. My dream is to be a successful writer and to contribute my own thoughts and ideas to the many important conversations of our era. During my first days of college in the early nineties, I barely knew what an email address was. I am happy to say that emailing and facebooking are both familiar verbs to me now , however blogging and linking and posting still confound me. I think I have much to learn. Within an assigned class video I learned that Stephen Pinker has designated the 'verb as the chassis of the sentence". I feel that it is too early for me to pass judgment on the sentence or the verb but perhaps someday I will be so bold as evidenced in this poster.

Presently my life is a juggling routine of two young children, one teenager, an ill mother of whom I am the legal guardian, a husband who works out of town and my journey back into the world of academia. I got through my previous years of college and university without knowing very much about grammar or composition. I learned through the intuitive process of putting pen to paper and not from taking courses on grammar or composition. I know I would have greatly benefited had I taken these courses earlier. The red circles and alien abbreviations on my college papers were puzzling to me, but didn't seem to affect my GPA too much.

I agree with Steven Pinker that language is a window into human nature and cannot be legislated by a group of high minded government officials. Within my family I notice that each member speaks somewhat in his or her own language or dialogue. My three year old daughter is forming her own ideas, thoughts and language from her early observations of the world around her and what is modeled to her. My teenager is speaking in text language and skate-park, art school jive and my husband is predominantly surrounded by trades workers who speak the words of their trade.

I cannot say that the dictionary is dead, nor do I believe that it ever will be. It is essential that language be preserved for the sake of knowledge and understanding. There are many languages and cultures in the world that have been lost because language is not accurately preserved or recorded. I love to read the classics and know that my experience has been expanded and enriched through words of the past. I think that Shakespeare described my sentiments best in his Sonnet to the written word:

I believe that text language has become cliche and doesn't hold significant meaning. It is a product of a fast paced lifestyle where computers, cell phones and ipods have become the number one competitor for individual thought. I believe that as a writer I should avoid cliche. I also know that there is a certain irony within this belief as I would love to feel confidant and empowered whilst blogging this post. Canadian writer Douglas Coupland described my generation as the X'ers; Coupland has recently written a book about the rising 'generation A'. I have not read the book but have been informed that it is about the loss of language and identity within our changing technical world.

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