I wrote the original draft of this post after witnessing a “dumpster fire” in an online writing forum. There was a woman who chose to use lots of contractions and “eye’m” instead of “I’m”. Many of the forums members decided to attack the woman and her stylistic choice. It angered me so I made this. I’ve decided to make it a bonus piece this month rather than make it its own scheduled post.
Straight up, ya’ll need to stop making fun of people who talk English different from you. It’s very rude.
I been to at least 30 states in this country. In total, there’s 50. Cross the ocean there’s more people who speak English but they do it all funny so it’s confusing and terrifying. On the other side of the world, in Australia, they talk English too! In fact, most of my friends in India and I communicate in English together. Same with my friends in Mexico! Most folks across the world talk English as a second language. And you know what? We all do it a little different.
As for me, I have two voices. The informal I also lovingly refer to as “fluent redneck”, which I speak to my family, and all animals and toddlers. (Whoops) Then I have the formal which I use on strangers unless they’re from the same region as me, work, and in writing. The first paragraph, I did my best to write redneck.
As someone who walks around telling themselves “Talk like the weather girl, talk like the weather girl, talk like the weather girl.” I know for a fact sometimes you’re just too exhausted to translate what you want to say into good English. Some people decide you’re just not worth the expense of their glamour. Honestly, get over it.
As writers we love to knit pick at each other. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, we tear each other down and call it “helping”. Really, we all know that folks who do that just want to feel better about themselves by making others feel bad. It’s disgusting.
“But Helen! What if they haven’t had all the educational opportunities that I’ve had?” Well, if you’re mean to people that have had fewer opportunities than you then you’re a double-dutch ding dong! Most education costs money, which is part of the reason I’m on here writing this blog. So at the very least you if you have internet you can have someone bully you into making your dreams come true! The other part is, I like the sound of my own voice. But yes, some folks will have bad spelling, grammar, flow, etc. because they haven’t had the opportunities you’ve had. Again. Get over it. If they want your help they will ask.
What I’m driving at is your way of writing, speaking, thinking, etc. isn’t the end all be all. You need to be respectful. There’s a different ways of speaking English and it changes region to region! There’s a formal voice and an informal voice. The formal voice expends more energy. No matter which way people choose to communicate with you, you need to be kind and polite. (Unless they just throw a brick at your car and call you a cootie queen. Then by all means, deck ’em.)