As much as I relished the thought that this nation wants to raise a generation to talk like schoolyard show-offs and human-resources professionals, I moaned at the dumbing-down of it all. (In grade school I had a vocabulary book called Words Are Important. Might be time to revise that title. And has anyone else noticed that, unlike a few years ago, corporate executives no longer bother to lie to interviewers that they value liberal arts graduates for the thinking skills they bring to the job?)
As evidence that we have been getting dumber at least since the year I was born, however, I'll bring back a blog post from 2011. You'll have to read to the fourth paragraph to get to the evidence, which is kind of long-form for contemporary attention spans, but you can do it!
© Peter Rozovsky 2014
Language was never a barrier. Even though the boys rarely if ever appeared to attend their language classes (or any other classes) at Bayport High School, all it took was a few words and phrases, and they could sleuth unobtrusively among the natives. (I always wondered if they simply muttered rhubarb* over and over.)
The books never revealed what those magical words and phrases were, but by God, I believed in the Hardy Boys! Now I'm asking you to do the same: Pick a country, and tell me what words and phrases you would learn if you wanted to pass as a resident.
This was news to me; I once startled my third-grade teacher by knowing what a taxidermist was; I'd learned the word from a Hardy Boys book, and if taxidermist isn't a difficult vocabulary word, I don't know my difficult vocabulary words.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011