Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

Re: English is tough

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
So, let me get this straight...

After we went through this whole bit (by some) that too much time in
undergraduate engineering education is wasted on non-engineering things
like humanities (which includes English to my knowledge), we have decide
that colleges don't do enough to "teach engineers to speak and write
correctly," eh?  (And it still bothers me to no end that to my knowledge
the comma is supposed to be inside the quotation marks for "proper"
grammer...it just ain't be lookin' write...pun and mistake intented)  No
wonder schools can't get it right...we don't even seem to really know what
we want (other than to make future engineering students attend college for
about 25 years to the cost of $1.5 million so that they can become experts
at EVERYTHING meaning that we [the engineering profession] don't have to
expend any effort to mentor, train, or educate our young engineers).

Now, this is were I will point out that in my mind (in otherwords, to my
understanding) things like being able to read and write correctly are
supposed to be taught to kid PRIOR to entering college.  Thus, for all
intents and purposes, engineers should be just as well spoken (and
written) as any other profession, with the exception of those that major
in English.  The primary difference MIGHT be that engineering schools
don't REINFORCE what was taught in K-12 as well as some other majors do.
After all, we tend to spend most of our class time dealing with numbers
rather than words.  Thus, since engineers tend to get a nice 4 year period
of little writing, we are allowed to get sloppy with our use of the
English language.

And, FWIW, I personally don't buy the notion that engineers don't get
respect because we don't speak or write correctly.  I personally maintain
that the biggest reasons that we don't get respect is that 1) not too many
people really understand what engineers do and 2) we don't really do it
for the respect, unlike some architectural designers that do elaborate
designs that end up being momuments to their egos (not all do this but
many do...I have dealt with quite a few even in my young career).

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Tue, 2 Sep 2003, Andrew Kester wrote:

> "Unfortunately,  engineering schools put a very low premium on teaching
> engineers to speak and write correctly.  Which is one reason engineers get
> very little respect.
>
> Gail Kelley"
>
>
>
> Sorry to be a jerk, but I believe the last sentence is a sentence fragment.
> That is why if I ever write about correct English, I quadruple check
> everything I say, or rather, I do not say anything about it. The fact is,
> even those who are very well educated in the language still make basic
> mistakes. I have been married to a foreign person for 4 years, and I have
> studied a couple of languages, and this has made me realize how difficult
> our language is and how little we understand it. She knows the rules of
> English and the mechanics better then I (not "me"). I think I understand the
> basic mechanics of Spanish better then English (especially pronunciation).
> We can use English, but do we understand it (like electricity)? Who doesn't
> occasionally use the objective pronoun instead of the subjective, or use
> double negatives, or write "affect" when they meant "effect". I cut everyone
> slack since my house has lots of glass in it and I am not throwing any
> rocks.
>
> But I do not believe this is systematic only with engineers, my doctor and
> lawyer friends make silly mistakes also. I agree with Gail though it is
> something with our language training in school.
>
> Andrew
>
>
>
> ******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
> *   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
> *
> *   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
> *   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
> *   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
> *
> *   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
> *
> *   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you
> *   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
> *   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
> *   site at: http://www.seaint.org
> ******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********
>


******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp
* 
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*
*   http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp
*
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: http://www.seaint.org 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********