/ Should you expect people to be better educated than they are?

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Denni on 22 Nov 2012
Morning all,
this Isn't a rant, more an observation although that doesn't matter on UKC!

I always thought that when I was at school, 1973-1986, we were educated to a decent level. I don't think it is the same these days or maybe I just expect people to be better educated than they are?

My reason for this post is that I was in the bank yesterday filling out a form for my daughter and her new bank account. The chap behind the counter was filling in the relevant details on the computer and it always seems to take an age as I have a long surname, de-Saint-Bissix-Croix, which I always have to phonetically spell which is fine.

I told him my surname and he asked me to spell it out. He then asked me whether "hyphen" was part of my surname, I said no, thinking he was joking so he then asked me what it was....

I find this pretty deplorable but I have actually come to expect this in this day and age but was quite surprised to be asked this by someone in a bank who as far as I'm concerned, should be educated to a certain standard.

What do you all reckon?
daWalt on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
congrats,
you are now officially old.
birdie num num - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
I reckon the bank clerk is stewpid.
Denni on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to daWalt:

I reckon you're right. I do feel slightly grumpy most of the time as well!
daWalt on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
Seriously tho, learning is a lifelong experience and it’s easy to forget when you first learnt what you now know and take for granted.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect schools to bring disinterested youths up to speed with everything you and I know after several decades of life. I don’t think I’d necessarily have known what a hyphen was at school leaving age.
If you’d said “hyphen; that’s a poncy word for dash” I bet he’d have got it.
crossdressingrodney - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to daWalt:
> Seriously tho, learning is a lifelong experience and it’s easy to forget when you first learnt what you now know and take for granted.
> It’s completely unrealistic to expect schools to bring disinterested youths up to speed with everything you and I know after several decades of life. I don’t think I’d necessarily have known what a hyphen was at school leaving age.
> If you’d said “hyphen; that’s a poncy word for dash” I bet he’d have got it.

Well said.

(And as an illustration, you probably meant "uninterested"?)
Pyreneenemec - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

Just thinking about your name makes me cringe ;-)
daWalt on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:
.... you probably meant "uninterested"?

Meh!, whatever....
;-)

jon on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

Denni dehyphenSainthyphenBissixhyphenCroix... excellent!
nufkin - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

When I had to take people's names for a job I had, I was constantly surprised at how people appeared to assume I was an idiot - 'Hughes, that's H-U-G-H-E-S', and so on.
Probably people just get used to spelling out their names and weren't making a personal judgement about me in particular, but I did often wish I could snap back 'yes, I know how to spell Smith, thanks'.
MG - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to nufkin:
could snap back 'yes, I know how to spell Smith, thanks'.

S-M-Y-T-H isn't it?
owlart - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to nufkin: On the flip side of that there's always those folk who spell Smith with two x's and a q that you have to deal with! :-)
MG - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
>
> I always thought that when I was at school, 1973-1986, we were educated to a decent level. I don't think it is the same these days or maybe I just expect people to be better educated than they are?
>
by someone in a bank who as far as I'm concerned, should be educated to a certain standard.
>


It could be worse:

"I never could make out what those damned dots [decimal points] meant."

Lord Randolph Churchill as Chancellor in the 19th century.

nufkin - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to nufkin)
>
> S-M-Y-T-H isn't it?

Ha, yes. That'd be someone to mentally file as a troublemaker.

I must admit I did begin to find myself getting peeved at how some people seemed to have unnecessarily extravagant surnames. On an off-day, the OP would probably have been renamed 'French' on my spreadsheet.
jon on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to nufkin:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>

> I must admit I did begin to find myself getting peeved at how some people seemed to have unnecessarily extravagant surnames. On an off-day, the OP would probably have been renamed 'French' on my spreadsheet.

Yep, I've had to spell my name to nufkins like you all my life.
gethin_allen on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to nufkin)
> could snap back 'yes, I know how to spell Smith, thanks'.
>
> S-M-Y-T-H isn't it?

No No, that would be
ShyphenMhyphenYhyphenThyphenH
AlunP - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to nufkin:

My Mrs insists on having the acute accent on the e in her surname - causes much grief.

(She is descended from a bunch of illegals who turned up in 1066 and should have been deported on the spot. UK Border Agency was rubbish then too.)
Dave Garnett - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to daWalt:
> If you’d said “hyphen; that’s a poncy word for dash” I bet he’d have got it.

Actually, it isn't, quite, but that's post-graduate level pedantry!
Motown - on 22 Nov 2012
A skills focus in education and instantly accessible endless 'knowledge' means that education is increasingly the ability to find things out.

However, the 'ability to find things out' is no help if said individual isn't interested/doesn't care/can't be bothered.

> I told him my surname and he asked me to spell it out. He then asked me whether "hyphen" was part of my surname, I said no, thinking he was joking so he then asked me what it was....

This guy sounds borderline simple though. Was he tagged?
Tall Clare - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to AlunP:

There's a weird accent over the e in my surname - a hacek. It means my surname is supposed to be pronounced 'Dan-yek' rather than as it looks, i.e. 'Danek'. It's generally easier not to correct people, as they usually can't find the right symbol anyway.

It's been misspelled as Dalek before now. And Dank, which I found less amusing.
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Wiley Coyote - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

I once dictated (it was in the 80s) "Our MP...." to a new secretary and it came back as "Our Empee..." When I queried it she said she'd never heard of an MP
TheDrunkenBakers - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

OMG, UKC (should sometimes be named the climbing wing of the Daily Mail) has now reached new lows.

Was the young lad pleasant? Did he provide a friendly, professional service? Has he now lost your life savings? Was the day made substantially worse by the experience?

Flip side, and I assume he was a young lad, lets assume that he does have a lower standard of education than your high expectations. He has gotten himself off his backside, probably presented himself well to an interviewer, satisfied numerous other criteria and now has work experience under his belt with the prospect of a decent career, despite his poor spelling ability (and most of us rely on spell check nowadays - thanks MS).

So rather than criticise him for his lack of ability to spell your rediculous, over complicated name why not think to yourself 'well done you for being upwardly mobile, dedicated, determined and prepared to forge forward, despite your lower educational foundation'.

This isnt a rant, just an observation. Ciao ;)
Ridge - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> Denni dehyphenSainthyphenBissixhyphenCroix... excellent!

He used the phonetic, (or 'frenetic', as my highly educated manager keeps typung in his memos..), alphabet, so that should be

Deltaecho hyphen Sierraalphaindianovembertango hypen Bravoindiasierrasierraindiaxray hyphen Charlieromeooscarindiaxray..

Denni, ever considered deed poll?
Steve John B - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Ridge: Denni Deed Poll? Or Denni Deed-Poll? I'm not sure that would solve the problem...
Wiley Coyote - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to Denni)
>

>
> So rather than criticise him for his lack of ability to spell your rediculous, over complicated name...

That wasn't the criticism. It was that someone had managed to go right through the school system and become sufficiently qualified to land a job n a bank without ever registering the existence of a basic piece of English punctuation, ie the hyphen
tlm - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to AlunP)
>
> There's a weird accent over the e in my surname - a hacek. It means my surname is supposed to be pronounced 'Dan-yek' rather than as it looks, i.e. 'Danek'. It's generally easier not to correct people, as they usually can't find the right symbol anyway.
>
> It's been misspelled as Dalek before now. And Dank, which I found less amusing.


heh - I have an accent in my first name. Before word processors, I just got used to not having it. Now, I often end up with a little kiss over the e as people try and get it wrong and try again.

I've had a variety of surnames. McIntyre was the one that most people got stuck with!
TheDrunkenBakers - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> That wasn't the criticism. It was that someone had managed to go right through the school system and become sufficiently qualified to land a job n a bank without ever registering the existence of a basic piece of English punctuation, ie the hyphen.

OK pedant, different criticism, same principle.

Wiley Coyote - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> OK pedant, different criticism, same principle.

Hardly. One's a triple barrelled name in a foreign language and the other's a basic English punctuation mark. If you see those as the same you should have gone to Specsavers :-)

yer maw on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni: learning is so much broader now at the expense of traditional numeracy and literacy skills. New generations have a grasp of technology and using it in a way that oldies like us couldn't imagine. Good or bad is a debate but as technology moves at such a rate society needs to move too as the job market is ever expanding requiring new skills and understanding every five years or so.
We can argue a fundemental grasp of the basics is important but there has to be a balance. I don't have the answers but do know the 'old school tie' can still have more influence than qualifications.
yer maw on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni: Dylan's 'Times They Are a Changin' is as important today if not more than the Sixties when things were simpler.
Enty - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> That wasn't the criticism. It was that someone had managed to go right through the school system and become sufficiently qualified to land a job n a bank without ever registering the existence of a basic piece of English punctuation, ie the hyphen

I find this bizarre too.

On a similar note. I once watched an edition of Dragon's Den and Duncan Banatyne had never heard of a truffle.

E



captain paranoia - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

> I was in the bank yesterday filling out a form

I take it your education was in America...?

If you'd been educated in Britain you would have spent the morning filling in a form...

;-)
Denni on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Germany for my younger years so I would, ein Formular ausfüllen, fill out a form :0)
Denni on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to Denni)

> Flip side, and I assume he was a young lad, lets assume that he does have a lower standard of education than your high expectations. He has gotten himself off his backside, probably presented himself well to an interviewer, satisfied numerous other criteria and now has work experience under his belt with the prospect of a decent career, despite his poor spelling ability (and most of us rely on spell check nowadays - thanks MS).
>
> So rather than criticise him for his lack of ability to spell your rediculous, over complicated name why not think to yourself 'well done you for being upwardly mobile, dedicated, determined and prepared to forge forward, despite your lower educational foundation'.
>
> This isnt a rant, just an observation. Ciao ;)


It is ridiculous not, rediculous. Ciao ;0)
captain paranoia - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

> ein Formular ausfüllen

Ah; you are forgiven. You're not in Germany now, though...
Denni on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Always has to be a caveat... ;0)
The Norris - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

you cant really say the entire country's education is rubbish just from one meeting with a stupid person, can you?
andic - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

How well educated are you?

I imagine the young man in the was probably educated to A' level.

I would consider myself well educated and an expert in my field. I also recognise that there are many things I know shamefully little about, particularly poetry and literature, I am trying to correct this but in the meantime I blame a state education for my woeful knowledge of such things.
I dare say they dont teach punctuation either.
Denni on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to The Norris:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> you cant really say the entire country's education is rubbish just from one meeting with a stupid person, can you?


No you can't say that, so I didn't. And I didn't say he was stupid.
NeilMac - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Steve John B:
> (In reply to Ridge) Denni Deed Poll? Or Denni Deed-Poll? I'm not sure that would solve the problem...


What do you think to Desmond Wolf?
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sg - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> (In reply to daWalt)
> [...]
>
> Actually, it isn't, quite, but that's post-graduate level pedantry!

It certainly isn't the same and, post-graudate level of pedantry or not, the deplorable level of punctuation knowledge on this thread really is depressing - you people need to get better educated. A hyphen is very far from a dash (be it an en dash, an em dash, or any other form of dash). Please, have a read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen

Orgsm on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to nufkin)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Yep, I've had to spell my name to nufkins like you all my life.

J-O-N ;-)

Gordon Stainforth - on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to sg:

Why, oh why, did Dave say it's not 'quite' the same as a hyphen, when its usage is completely different? Incredibly, the basic grasp of the English language among 'educated' English people appears to have slipped in the first and second decades of the 21st century.
Orgsm on 22 Nov 2012
In reply to yer maw:
> (In reply to Denni) learning is so much broader now at the expense of traditional numeracy and literacy skills. New generations have a grasp of technology and using it in a way that oldies like us couldn't .

Actually no they don't . Our recent Graduates who have joined our IT Division has a shockingly poor grasp of technology as well. Yes they can use a smartphone, but they are a very long way from technology Shakespeare's.

Seems the fundamentals of IT aren't taught anymore. Knowing how to use Microsoft Word ain't going to make anyone the next technology genius.

TheDrunkenBakers - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
> It is ridiculous not, rediculous. Ciao ;0)

Oh lordy.

Ava Adore - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:


In my online dating days, I came across a profile for a guy who shared similar interests and professed himself to be "intelligent and articulate". The first email was peppered with "lol" and full of misspellings and fractured sentences. If you're going to SAY you're intelligent, make sure you ARE.
Postmanpat on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to sg)
>
> Why, oh why, did Dave say it's not 'quite' the same as a hyphen, when its usage is completely different? Incredibly, the basic grasp of the English language among 'educated' English people appears to have slipped in the first and second decades of the 21st century.

It's not incredible. The subject is barely taught any more.
MG - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to sg)
>
> Why, oh why, did Dave say it's not 'quite' the same as a hyphen, when its usage is completely different?

At a guess because unless you are into typography the difference between them is minute, even if their usage is substantially different.

Incredibly, the basic grasp of the English language among 'educated' English people appears to have slipped in the first and second decades of the 21st century.

Do you really think so? I would say the level of communication (which is what matters) has improved. Compare for example newspaper copy from the 1930s to that of today. Today's language is generally much clearer and more succinct. Also read books such English Usage and Abusage or Plain Words to see that your complaint is nothing new, and most likely a rose-tinted spectacles effect.

Irk the Purist - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to the youth bashers, education isn't what it was yada yada...

I'm the opposite. I am constantly surprised at how willfully ignorant and proud of it many older people are. Especially regarding science or politics.
Dave Garnett - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to sg)
>
> Why, oh why, did Dave say it's not 'quite' the same as a hyphen, when its usage is completely different?

It was ingratiating understatement in an (unsuccessful) attempt not to appear too much of a nerd.

Anyway, you're right of course, although some of the stuff about en-dashes and em-dashes is mere typographical convention. Unless you've been a professional writer or editor of some sort you are unlikely to have thought about the length of dashes too much.
Dauphin - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:

word

d
Gordon Stainforth - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Ah, OK. (BTW, I was in quite a bad mood last night :) Yes, the distinction between en and em dashes is a matter of house style. UK and US publishers generally preferring former and latter respectively.
nniff - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

Well, the dash has seemingly entered the language as a spoken component of a name; I do hope that whoever filled out, filled in or completed the birth certificate knew the difference between dashes and hyphens.

The poor child in question is called Na-a.

This is pronounced 'Nadasha'. The mother of the child seemed stunned that her child's new teacher had struggled to arrive at the correct pronunciation from the written form.

Perhaps a typographic pedant should call her 'Naendasha', Naemdasha' or 'Nahyphena'. The latter does have a certain Renaissance feel to it.
Martin W on 23 Nov 2012
Be careful with your hyphens and dashes, you might be surprised what mis-using them might lead to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen_War
michaelc - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to nniff:
Mad!
I also knew anecdotally of a name De-a being pronounced "Dedasha". Friend of mine who's a doctor had patient bring in a young girl with the name (this was in the US).

Similarly , she was indignant that he struggled so much to find the right way to pronounce the name.
Dave Garnett - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to nniff:
> The poor child in question is called Na-a.
>
> This is pronounced 'Nadasha'.

Brilliant! This gives me the ammunition I need for next round of texting wars with my children. I've been retaliating to their text abbreviations with challenging phonetic constructions of my own...

Anyway L8R M8 mst -

bradzy_c - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

My dad " My name? Yeah it's Frank love."
Phone operator "Could you spell that please sir?"
My dad "Yeah, it's F for Freddie-"
Phone operator "Oh so you're called Freddie?"
My dad " No it's Frank!"
Phone operator "Sorry sir I'm going to have to put you through to customer services...."
My dad "Bo***ks!"

My little contribution.
Just a bhoy - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
> > I told him my surname and he asked me to spell it out. He then asked me whether "hyphen" was part of my surname, I said no, thinking he was joking so he then asked me what it was....

I had the the same thing with a yoof in a call centre as my email. Bizzare.
Jim C - on 23 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
On the few occasions that our directors(multi national company ) send e-mails that are not sent out via their Secretaries, many have demonstrated that they have a very poor grasp of grammar, often shocking spelling, and are obviously unable to use a spell checker.

I would say give the lad in the bank a break, he still has time to learn, but there is little chance of teaching old dogs new tricks.

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