Presentation on theme: "“Quick-Fix Workshop” Communications Centre. We are committing Verbicide! (killing words) Read the following five excerpts from David Orr’s article, “Verbicide”"— Presentation transcript:
“Quick-Fix Workshop” Communications Centre
We are committing Verbicide! (killing words) Read the following five excerpts from David Orr’s article, “Verbicide” and then we’ll start.
Excerpts from “Verbicide” by David Orr OCTOBER 25, 2000 “He entered my office for advice as a freshman advisee sporting nearly perfect SAT scores and an impeccable academic record—by all accounts a young man of considerable promise. During a 20-minute conversation about his academic future, however, he displayed a vocabulary that consisted mostly of two words: "cool" and "really." Almost 800 SAT points hitched to each word. To be fair, he could use them interchangeably as "really cool" or "cool... really!" He could also use them singly. When he was a student in a subsequent class, I later confirmed that my first impression of the young scholar was largely accurate and that his vocabulary, and presumably his mind, consisted predominantly of words and images derived from overexposure to television and the new jargon of computer-speak.”
“Verbicide” “He is no aberration, but an example of a larger problem, not of illiteracy but of diminished literacy in a culture that often sees little reason to use words carefully, however abundantly. Increasingly, student papers from otherwise very good students have whole paragraphs that sound like advertising copy. Whether students are talking or writing, a growing number have a tenuous grasp on a declining vocabulary. Excise "uh...like...uh" from most teenage conversations, and the effect is like sticking a pin into a balloon.”
“Verbicide” “In the past 50 years…the working vocabulary of the average 14 year-old has declined from some 25,000 words to 10,000 words. This is not merely a decline in numbers of words but in the capacity to think. It also signifies that there has been a steep decline in the number of things that an adolescent needs to know and to name in order to get by in an increasingly homogenized and urbanized consumer society. This is a national tragedy virtually unnoticed in the media.”
“Verbicide” “The decline is surely not consistent across the full range of language but concentrates in those areas having to do with large issues such as philosophy, religion, public policy, and nature. On the other hand, vocabulary has probably increased in areas having to do with sex, violence, recreation, and consumption. As a result we are losing the capacity to say what we really mean and ultimately to think about what we mean. We are losing the capacity for articulate intelligence about the things that matter most.”
“Verbicide” “ The problem of language, however, is a global problem. Of the roughly 6500 languages now spoken on Earth, half are on the brink of extinction and only 150 or so are expected to survive to the year 2100. Language everywhere is being whittled down to conform to the limited objectives of the global economy and homogenized to accord with the shallow imperatives of the ‘information age’.”
Feeling like you should be locked away for this crime? Don’t worry agents of verbicide! 1.It isn’t illegal…yet! 2.You can help save the world with “The Power of Words”!
Develop Your Vocabulary Being able to communicate your specific emotions and ideas is a crucial skill, which often determines your success. Ideas and the ability to speak and write about them is liberating because they enable you to engage in conversation – to understand, relate and create.
More Words = Freedom Having a broad, rich vocabulary is not merely an asset, it is, arguably, freedom.
Be a Part of the Conversation If you don’t have the words, you can’t be part of the conversation, which means you will be left out – of life.
The Good News You can improve your vocabulary. You don’t have to commit ‘verbicide’. You don’t have to be left out of the conversation.
Use This Invaluable Resource! Newspapers: Go to Where the Words Are. www.nytimes.com Go to: Learning Network ‘Word of the Day’ Past Words Archive
Follow these Easy Steps 1.Start with ‘A’. 2.Read the word in context. 3.Learn the word and the definition. 4.Read the article. (Sign-up – it’s FREE!) 5.Use it correctly in context next time you speak or write something. 6.Make it a habit – this needs to become part of your lifestyle. Check and use the website everyday.