…the digital dumbing down of wordsmithing and numeracy… p’raps all is not yet lost…

…many of yeez of a certain age will recall the basic schooling process of the three ‘R’s Reading, (W)’Riting and (A)’Rithmetic… happily, this ol’ Scots Jurassic has always enjoyed WURDS and NUMBERS… I firmly believe that’s down to the intrigue of connectivity I found between ‘communication’ and ‘understanding’ – two quite different elements in ‘comprehension’… in primary school classes, ‘times tables’, thrust upon we infants from the age of ‘why-and a- half?’, built up an instant awareness of how numbers related to each other… the modern way of teaching children multiplication and division leaves me flabbergasted… the old adage of ‘K.I.S.S’,- ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’, seems to have been thrown into the academic garbage can… I recall from an early age having a dictionary as a constant companion, much thumbed through – always at hand when reading books…

…stories became much more vivid and alive when I knew what the nuances were… and the treasure trove that abides in any worthwhile Thesaurus is a literarist’s incredible gold mine… comes now the wave of electronic gadgetry… and the infernal scourge, textese – a condensed form of screen grunting, and a contrivance of the alphabetically-challenged  – has replaced for many the art of spelling… admittedly, I proudly hold to be an old-fashioned writer… I revel in the use of vocabulary… I still use mental arithmetic for calculations, eschewing the ‘garbage-in,-garbage-out’ handheld compoooters…


…it beggars belief to watch store checkout-till minders punching into a machine an amount of 5 to see how much is left from 10… however, amidst the digital dumbing down of wordsmithing and numeracy, p’raps all is not yet lost… properly used, the Google Beast gives instantaneous access to online lexicons… compendia of collated information, derived meanings, interpretational summaries et al, but I guess the trick is to ensure that the user has been trained in how to open the digital door to that knowledge… and hope that some of the wee grey cells in the brain still manage to function independently… oh, for a plethora of pre-Web, William Manchester-style authors to demonstrate the beauty that exists in the loquacious plying of the English Language (he of the fabulously crafted trilogy on the life of Sir Winston Churchill- ‘The Last Lion’ – read his WURKS, and be transported across a smorgasbord of written eloquence, so rarely found among modern scribbling giants)… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

24 responses to “…the digital dumbing down of wordsmithing and numeracy… p’raps all is not yet lost…

  1. Everything today is “do it fast and hurry on to more of the same”. Sadly it never ends. It’s like a loop. People get caught up in it. My son in his 30’s told me he had high blood pressure. It’s hectic out there. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well put, Seumas. And so true.


  3. Always full of wisdom, Seumas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to have to teach “digital dumbing down” to “why-and-a-half” year olds. And can assure you the teachers aren’t happy with it either!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read Manchester’s American Caesar, and now will be getting his Churchill biography from my public library. Thanks for making that recommendation!

    The last bastion of that wonderful “archaic” vocabulary and usage may be the Hiberno-English dialect. It came as a surprise for me to discover that I naturally write like an Irish journalist (although I’ve not a drop of Irish blood in me), which I could attribute only to my having been raised reading old novels written in 19th-century English. My first novel exhibits an eloquence that’s out of style, but it’s the lexicon that I like the best. A pox on reductionist writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • …I pride myself in having a fairly extensive knowledge of WURDS and vocabulary, but I always write down those while I’m reading where I think I know the meaning but am not sure , then look them up when I finish reading for the night… with William Manchester ‘s first volume of The last Lion, I had over 40 words to refer, and they were all brilliantly used 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. As it happens, these days children have weekly spelling tests and have to learn their times tables and are tested every term. There was a long lapse when these things weren’t regarded as important, but they are now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry but you are completely wrong. (I don’t think I have ever said that in a blog comment before). The way of teaching maths and English is immeasurable better than it was apart from a couple of things. They tried to teach me to spell by copying out lists of words despite the fact I can’t sequence. I wasn’t taught how to understand numbers just follow learnt sums with out understanding why. Now we teach students to understand how numbers and words work and we use dictionaries and thesauruses all the time.

    Where modern education is going wrong is over teaching grammar rules which no one has ever used and we no longer get kids to read books for simple pleasure or create using words with out enforced objectives.

    Modern maths is hard to pick up at first but once you are shown how it’s an excellent way of understanding numbers. If you are ever in my part of the world I’m than happy to show you.

    You where lucky because you have natural gifts and any method would work with you, now we try and teach all the kids not just the top 25%.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Seumas, I recommend that everyone watches and listens to your Hitler video once a month to chase any blues around. I’m addicted! Luv Joy xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Custom Services for Indie Authors by an Indie Author and commented:
    Seumus Gallacher has a wonderful post on his blog about the digital dumbing down of wordsmithing and numeracy. Check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I use text quite a bit when communicating by phone (the irony doesn’t escape me 🙂 ) and I refuse to use all the ‘shortcuts’ that are on offer. I will include an emoticon at the end if the occasion demands, but that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    More from That Man McSporran Mcsporran aka Seumas Gallacher 😉


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