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McLuhan (180-263): Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "Print altered not only the spelling and grammar but the accentuation and inflection of languages, and made bad grammar possible.” - McLuhan, pg 231.

The standardization of printing lent itself to the alteration of spelling and grammar across the world. As books were circulating the people reading them no doubt began to assimilate to the spellings in the books. Now in regard to making bad grammar possible I was not sure if that referred to bad grammar being caused because of the circulation of mistakes in printed texts or because of the sudden recognition that the texts were correct and the oral language was using bad grammar?

Comments:

I commented on Rachel Prichard's blog that I remembered once when I was a freshman pondering the statement that print culture was dead. But it is very much alive and well. Every few centuries someone tries to claim that an older version of something is now obsolete. I do agree that print culture is becoming alien, but it is far from extinct.

I also commented on Jeremy Barrick's blog entry. I wrote "Good point Rachel. I think that now more than ever the book and other forms of literacy technology are readily available because of the internet."

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Comments (2)

Good question, Leslie. I think McLuhan is pointing out in a cleverly devious way that you can't have "bad" grammar until there's an agreed-upon standard for "good" grammar, and that it was print culture that standardized language -- thus making the good/bad judgment possible.

Ahhh. Thank you for the clarification. I was throwing around a couple of ideas last night regarding that statement.

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