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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.  (Read 13196 times)  

Offline hjordisa

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #350 on: November 13, 2017, 07:27:25 PM »
Most of these things don't bother me, because I value clarity more than proper English, and I've been exposed to a lot of regional variants, so those in particular sound fine to me, even when they're outside my usage. But "Yay" for yea drives me batty every time. Not that I'd correct it unless they'd asked me to.
"She crossed one leg over the other." Is there any other way to cross one's legs?
Sort of? That brings to mind one leg being entirely over the other rather than crossing them so that each leg is over the opposite foot.
We have the city of Vail out here which is in a vale where people often go to get married.
City???? Unless you're thinking of a different vale of Vail than I am it's most definitely Town of Vail. ;)
Yeah. There's a common perception out there that dictionaries are prescriptive. They're not. They're descriptive. As usage changes, the definitions listed in dictionaries change. The mistake I was making is extremely common, so it's reflected in dictionaries. Lots of "wrong" definitions are in the dictionary.
They're more prescriptive than they let on. They (or at least M-W) vet usage primarily through publications and/or acceptability in style guides, so it has to be professionally accepted as "not a mistake" to some extent. Informal use and inclusion in slang or informal dictionaries isn't (usually? IK there's a slang/informal tag) enough, even if it's a perfectly logical variant that once was acceptable.
[I may have written to them. I didn't really expect the word to be included, but I don't see how they can claim to be entirely descriptive if a major criterion is usage in official publications that have been edited. I dunno. Maybe it's perception. Staunch (in the "wrong" sense) is pretty far gone. People who use this word are still considered uneducated. I'd use it in protest if I wouldn't be as well. I might anyway, someday.]
Also, I've noted that English gets mangled at different levels. I've heard well educated people say "between you and I",
A bit of a digression, but this and other cases where the sentence doesn't work in the singular is why I'll usually recommend people replace with either we or us (then use I or me respectively) rather than remove the other party. It requires them to remember (or work out, by testing a different sentence) which is equivalent to which, but it's more universally useful.
I can understand people not being able to spell, especially if they're not great readers, but what they find so difficult about apostrophes I'll never understand.
I actually understand its/it's. Usually possessives are noun + apostrophe s. The other possessive pronouns don't use apostrophes, sure, but none of them are the nominative pronoun followed by 's' either. And I'll find such typos in my own writing on occasion.
But some misuse of apostrophes. Yeah. No idea.
There is, of course, a much larger issue that we are all skirting, the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. I know, I know, it makes us all uncomfortable as can be, and it is a great cause of unrest, but I have to throw it out there. Is it proper or at least acceptable to start a sentence with 'and' or 'but'?
Had a teacher who would say we can break the rules as long as we did it well. He had us studying from Strunk and White, which I'm pretty sure included this rule. I agonized over a sentence starting with 'and' (I think it was) in one of my essays. Normally I wouldn't care, but would he? I kept it in anyway. It just flowed better. I was quite pleased when I got that paper back and he'd written "great sentence!" next to it.
So yes, yes it is proper. So says Random English Teacher I Didn't Even Like.



I'll admit, there are a few cursive letters, especially capitals, but some uncommon lower case, that I can never remember and/or have trouble producing. Don't ask me to write Spanish in cursive on your cake. Too many 'zs.' (I also have trouble with 'n' and 'm.' I know them, but I can't produce them in a way that doesn't look weird.)

Offline Valerie A.

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #351 on: November 13, 2017, 09:18:31 PM »
[For the Queen's subjects among us, that translates to "feed" in Midwestern English.  ;) )
Yea, it all depends on your giraffical position.

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #352 on: November 13, 2017, 11:39:08 PM »
What? Shouldn't there be a 'not' in there somewhere?   :P
So what did you do with my 'not'? It was there when I posted it, I know it was, so own up, Tobias; what did you do with it? :) :)


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Online TobiasRoote

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #353 on: November 14, 2017, 12:24:37 AM »
So what did you do with my 'not'? It was there when I posted it, I know it was, so own up, Tobias; what did you do with it? :) :)

Ha! :D


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Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #354 on: November 14, 2017, 12:33:33 AM »
Please stop getting "off of" things.

There should be a campaign about this ^ but anyway, I'll add one: it's a mine of useful information; not a mind!

Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #355 on: November 14, 2017, 03:34:14 AM »
A while back I had a cop tell me the kids they haul in these days can't even sign their names on forms.

I can think of a dozen flippant replies to this...just because the brain is having a hard time grasping all the implications, none of them good.

I was just reading an article on cursive and penmanship this morning: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/12/16/improve-your-cursive-handwriting/

Interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #356 on: November 14, 2017, 03:49:28 AM »
If they're not great spellers, or avid readers they probably have more important and pressing issues in their lives than where to place an apostrophe.

There is nothing in the world more important than where to place an apostrophe. End of story. Ask the lady who stood in front of the signage for the premiere of 'Two Weeks Notice' (sic) holding up an apostrophe on a stick.  ;D
   

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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #357 on: November 14, 2017, 04:04:31 AM »
This story reminds me of a similar story set in the south.  An outdoor nativity scene was set up in anticipation of the Christmas holiday, but for some reason the Wise Men were wearing firefighter helmets.  A visitor to the town couldn't figure out why that was, but nobody else (none of the southerners/locals) seemed to think twice about it.  Finally, the visitor asked why the men were wearing firefighter helmets.  They looked at him askance and said, "You furriners ask the silliest questions.  Everyone knows what the bible says:  The wise men came from afar."
(Afar = a fire.)

A friend of mine grew up in the mountains in North Carolina and spent her entire university career trying to purge her "hillbilly" accent. On a forum similar to this, she told the story of an English teacher who tutored her in proper diction. Someone said they had never heard such an accent. My friend said, "think of a cockney on Quaaludes."

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Offline Jena H

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #358 on: November 14, 2017, 05:32:57 AM »
A friend of mine grew up in the mountains in North Carolina and spent her entire university career trying to purge her "hillbilly" accent. On a forum similar to this, she told the story of an English teacher who tutored her in proper diction. Someone said they had never heard such an accent. My friend said, "think of a cockney on Quaaludes."

I moved to NC when I was in my 20s.  I've been told I might have picked up a very slight twang at times,but for the most part I still speak as I did before.  And I think my son also has very little, if any, 'twang.'  But getting to your point, I know of one famous news reporter/anchor who worked diligently to rid himself of any accent at all.
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Offline Jerry S.

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #359 on: November 14, 2017, 06:19:57 AM »
"Dominant" not "Dominate" ("The team was dominant")

Using "leverage" as a verb

"for Free" (its either "Free" or "for nothing", it cannot be "for free")

"For all intensive purposes"

Core vs Corps

...

There are others but those have ticked me off lately

Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #360 on: November 14, 2017, 06:20:24 AM »
Communication is what language is all about. No one is going to see any of those words you mentioned and not understand what the person who wrote it meant.

So when I see things like that, I smile and get on with life. I probably have a load of mistakes to make today that I haven't yet made. Wouldn't want to be a slacker. :) (Or maybe I would, but it really doesn't pay well.)

And kubbert? I'd say cupboard. Am I right? :D I'd really like to know.

Correct - it was supposed to be cupboard  :D

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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #361 on: November 14, 2017, 06:24:50 AM »
Sorry, did you mean Yacht? (I did have to check my spelling on this one as I always want to put a 'u' in it).   :P

That was how the owner spelled it  ::). I've always made sure to spell it correctly (yacht) if I need to use it in a reply  :)

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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #362 on: November 14, 2017, 06:37:14 AM »
This story reminds me of a similar story set in the south.  An outdoor nativity scene was set up in anticipation of the Christmas holiday, but for some reason the Wise Men were wearing firefighter helmets.  A visitor to the town couldn't figure out why that was, but nobody else (none of the southerners/locals) seemed to think twice about it.  Finally, the visitor asked why the men were wearing firefighter helmets.  They looked at him askance and said, "You furriners ask the silliest questions.  Everyone knows what the bible says:  The wise men came from afar."
(Afar = a fire.)

That reminds me of a story in Deric Londen's biography about this mother. When Deric was small his school was doing some sort of play and the children had to be dressed up. The teacher explained to his mother what was required and she duly went out and bought a roll of bright green crepe paper. Deric dutifully went to school the following week wrapped in decorative layers of the crepe paper, accompanied by his proud mother.
One arrival at the school the teacher looked rather askance. After questioning his mother she said, "No, Mrs Longden, Deric was supposed to be dressed as a SPRITE not a SPROUT.  ;D

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Offline Paranormal Kitty

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #363 on: November 14, 2017, 06:57:19 AM »
I moved to NC when I was in my 20s.  I've been told I might have picked up a very slight twang at times,but for the most part I still speak as I did before.  And I think my son also has very little, if any, 'twang.'  But getting to your point, I know of one famous news reporter/anchor who worked diligently to rid himself of any accent at all.

Do you think the southern accent is dying out where you are? I know in the Ozarks around Fayetteville, AR, it seems like a lot of older people have accents but hardly any younger people do.

Offline Jena H

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #364 on: November 14, 2017, 07:15:14 AM »
Do you think the southern accent is dying out where you are? I know in the Ozarks around Fayetteville, AR, it seems like a lot of older people have accents but hardly any younger people do.

Where I live now there are a lot of transplants from elsewhere, so it might be difficult to find a "native" who was born here... at least, over the age of 40 or so.

I think the preponderance of electronic media and young people being exposed to videos or entertainment from all over the world might eventually affect the way people speak.  That can apply to both accents and word usage.  Plus, it's easier for young people to travel these days, as they can connect with people online so they feel like they "know" someone to visit or stay with.  After all, on this board we all "know" people from all over the world.  ;)
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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #365 on: November 14, 2017, 07:43:27 AM »
That reminds me of a story in Deric Londen's biography about this mother. When Deric was small his school was doing some sort of play and the children had to be dressed up. The teacher explained to his mother what was required and she duly went out and bought a roll of bright green crepe paper. Deric dutifully went to school the following week wrapped in decorative layers of the crepe paper, accompanied by his proud mother.
One arrival at the school the teacher looked rather askance. After questioning his mother she said, "No, Mrs Longden, Deric was supposed to be dressed as a SPRITE not a SPROUT.  ;D
We spent four days in Paris back in the nineties, my husband, me and our fifteen year old daughter. While we were in Notre Dame Cathedral, she was looking at a statue of Joan of Arc and reading the notices beside it, one of which was in English. Then she wanted to know how she had times to get all those animals together if she was only fifteen!


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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #366 on: November 14, 2017, 07:49:25 AM »
I think the preponderance of electronic media and young people being exposed to videos or entertainment from all over the world might eventually affect the way people speak.  That can apply to both accents and word usage.  Plus, it's easier for young people to travel these days, as they can connect with people online so they feel like they "know" someone to visit or stay with.  After all, on this board we all "know" people from all over the world.  ;)

I would agree with this, but I also think there's a difference between city and country. My friend grew up about 40 miles northwest of Boone. I also remember trying to order breakfast in a Waffle House in Helena, Georgia. The only way I could communicate with the young lady waiting on me was to point at the menu. We did not share a spoken language. At the time I had been living in the South for over a year.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #367 on: November 14, 2017, 08:58:42 AM »
I would agree with this, but I also think there's a difference between city and country. My friend grew up about 40 miles northwest of Boone. I also remember trying to order breakfast in a Waffle House in Helena, Georgia. The only way I could communicate with the young lady waiting on me was to point at the menu. We did not share a spoken language. At the time I had been living in the South for over a year.

The first time I met my father-in-law-to-be (now an ex father-in-law) we were at a restaurant and he looked at me and said something.  Not understanding, I asked him to repeat it.  I still didn't get it.  My then-boyfriend had to translate:  "He asked if you want something to eat." 

Interestingly, even people in the south have different "southern" accents.  Someone from rural NC might not understand someone in small-town Georgia, or Mississippi, or whatever.  It's a strange world.    8)
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Offline WHDean

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #368 on: November 14, 2017, 12:43:51 PM »
They're more prescriptive than they let on. They (or at least M-W) vet usage primarily through publications and/or acceptability in style guides, so it has to be professionally accepted as "not a mistake" to some extent. Informal use and inclusion in slang or informal dictionaries isn't (usually? IK there's a slang/informal tag) enough, even if it's a perfectly logical variant that once was acceptable.

This is an important point. The dictionaries' claims about adopting linguistic relativism are more public relations than reality--they're pandering to antinomianism. They could not literally replace learned usage with everyday usage without including every variant ever printed or spoken. They haven't done that, of course, not only because it would be impossible, but because it would bring into question dictionaries' very raison d'etre. All they've done is include a few informal words and usages, along with press releases preening about how hip they are.


Offline hjordisa

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #369 on: November 14, 2017, 03:00:44 PM »
This is an important point. The dictionaries' claims about adopting linguistic relativism are more public relations than reality--they're pandering to antinomianism. They could not literally replace learned usage with everyday usage without including every variant ever printed or spoken. They haven't done that, of course, not only because it would be impossible, but because it would bring into question dictionaries' very raison d'etre. All they've done is include a few informal words and usages, along with press releases preening about how hip they are.
Although, I do note that Oxford lists 'commenter' in its online dictionary, while M-W doesn't. 'Commenter' is largely an internet usage (though the start of its rise predates the internet and certainly any mass use thereof), the more traditionally acceptable form being, of course, 'commentator.'
Google ngram actually puts it roughly on par in use with my proposed addition these days, and below it in the past, but the correct form of my proposed addition is far more common than even 'commentator,' so I'm sure that's a factor and Oxford won't be listening to my letter either. (As I said, it's still largely considered incorrect, so I didn't really expect anything. I'm just weirdly passionate about it, so I gave it a shot.)
At any rate, the inclusion of 'commenter' in Oxford but not M-W suggests that perhaps Oxford is less prescriptive. But as you point out, of course they would be more prescriptive than not.
Even if they can't include everything ever (wiktionary, being crowd-sourced and in effect unlimited in space, can come close and in fact includes my proposed addition with a note that it's often considered incorrect but without judgement) they could include more of the common informal forms that don't often make it into books/articles/studies/etc. than they do. But ultimately they are a resource that people turn to for advice on spelling and acceptable usage, so by nature they're prescriptive, even if they take popular usage into account. Which I think is what you were getting at.

Err, to steer a bit of on topic discussion: is anybody here bothered by the internet use of commenter rather than commentator? My spell check flags it. Must use M-W. :P In my mind there's a distinction where a commenter could be any old person, but a commentator comments professionally, such as a sports commentator. I'd probably even take that offline. Some guy in a bar yelling at the TV might be a sports commenter.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 03:12:33 PM by hjordisa »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #370 on: November 14, 2017, 03:33:14 PM »
hjordisa, I guess I don't think of dictionaries' focus on published sources as prescriptivist, exactly, but more as an effort not to waste time on ephemera. If a word sticks around for a bit, it'll make it in, but why devote resources to every flash in the slang pan?


Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #371 on: November 14, 2017, 03:44:53 PM »
Since this thread rambles a bit (mea culpa!), I thought I'd go ahead and share this, anyway...

Overheard today...

Secretary to elderly gentleman: How are you today?

Elderly gentleman: Finer than a frog's hair!

Secretary: Er...yes?

Elderly gentleman:  Have you ever seen a hairy frog? Of course not! That's because their hair's so fine. And I'm even finer than that!

 :P

Offline Bluebonnet

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #372 on: November 14, 2017, 04:53:13 PM »
This story reminds me of a similar story set in the south.  An outdoor nativity scene was set up in anticipation of the Christmas holiday, but for some reason the Wise Men were wearing firefighter helmets.  A visitor to the town couldn't figure out why that was, but nobody else (none of the southerners/locals) seemed to think twice about it.  Finally, the visitor asked why the men were wearing firefighter helmets.  They looked at him askance and said, "You furriners ask the silliest questions.  Everyone knows what the bible says:  The wise men came from afar."
(Afar = a fire.)

I love that one!

Here's a similar story: A Northern woman moved to the South and bought a rental property. When she advertised it, a young woman called and asked "Do you accept payettes?"

The puzzled landlord couldn't figure this out. Was the woman asking if she accepted rent vouchers? She kept asking the woman to repeat the question. Finally the caller said, "Payettes!  You know, dogs and cats!"

[Payettes: You drawl when you say "pets."]

Offline Jena H

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #373 on: November 14, 2017, 05:21:29 PM »
I love that one!

Here's a similar story: A Northern woman moved to the South and bought a rental property. When she advertised it, a young woman called and asked "Do you accept payettes?"

The puzzled landlord couldn't figure this out. Was the woman asking if she accepted rent vouchers? She kept asking the woman to repeat the question. Finally the caller said, "Payettes!  You know, dogs and cats!"

[Payettes: You drawl when you say "pets."]

Haha, been there, heard that.  Don't get me started!  I've noticed that here in the south, one-syllable words end up sounding like two-syllable words.  Pay-ette = pet.  Bay-ed = bed, etc.
Jena

Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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Re: For heaven's sake, people, you're authors.
« Reply #374 on: November 15, 2017, 02:04:21 AM »
I have a question... really. In Oz we're rarely against the idea of having "a couple of beers". But a lot of US writers will only drink "a couple beers". They drop the "of".

Is this a colloquialism or regional dialect thing? Is it common?
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