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Ghana to be a tenant state by 2040


francis kwarteng
2014-07-04 17:39:34
Comment to:

Dear Idris Pacas,

Good day. How are you?

I have not seen Dr. SAS in person. But we do talk once a while. He is a nice guy, you know.

Of course, Idris Pacas, I have been having the same problems with a self-appointed Ghanaweb grammar police. One particular reader has been doing the same thing to me when any of my articles comes with one or two typos/grammatical errors.

Fortunately, I know who this person even though he uses different monikers to hide behind his hypocritical mischief. He is a friend of mine. I have all his moniker IPs but still treat him as if I do not know his true identity. That is in my nature.

Ironically, even "The New York Times," "The Wall Street Journal," two of the worldl's best newspapers which have some of the best and brightest writers on the planet, do occassionally make mistakes. Yet look where America is today?

More pointedly, I have specifically advised this pretentious reader of my articles to concentrate on the substanstive issues I discuss, rather than concentrate on extraneous matters of English grammar.

And I have a good reason for that objection! The ironic situation is that there is practically nothing he says about English grammar that I do not know.

Besides, most of his objections are not technically grammatical errors per se, rather, as in my special case, they are typos most of the time, some of which I "catch" only after re-reading my Ghanaweb articles in order to respond to readers' questions.

In fact, I do correct these typos/grammatical errors on Modernghana and Spyghana where culuminists have direct access to their write-ups. Ghanaweb does not offer columnists the oppportunity to carry out the necessary in-text corrections.

This is not to generally say grammar is not necessary. It certainly is. Yet inadvertent grammatical errors and typos have not prevented me from appreciating the literary content and analytic drift of writers who write for "The New York Times" or "The Wall Street Journal."

And I have read "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal" for so many years. Those are two damn good places people can pick up useful clues about correct if sophisticated use of English grammar, not Ghanaweb. I have not seen that level of sophistication by any Ghanaweb writer.

And I have very close friends, brilliant and sophisticated writers, who have worked with "The New York Times." Mr. Milton Allimadi is one such writer. He's one of America's respected investigative journalists. He owns his own newspaper in Manhattan, New York. Milton Allimadi is also an economist, public speaker, author, and panelist on several media outlets!

Ironically, reading "The New York Times" is like reading a textbook. The paper's "Science and Technology" section, for instance, is highly technical. I also do have a few friends who sit on some of America's most powerful editorial boards in reference of peer-reviewed journals. Talk to them. They do not make the kind of self-knowing noise these Ghanaweb grammar police make.

The others papars worthy of a reader's critical attention and perusal is "The New Yorker" and "The Village Voice." These papers' grammmar deployment is supremely superb. You will never find this on Ghanaweb by any writer.

Again, "The New Yorker," a literary magazine, if you will, is one of the best anywhere in the world. Further, it has some of the best editors and writers in the world. It covers literary criticism, essays, satire, cartoons, fiction, commentary, reportage, memoirs, literary reviews, etc.

What is more, "The New Yorker" is well known for its vigorous copyediting and fact checking. This magazine has featured and continues to feature some of the world's best literary writers as well as of their literary work.

Then again, here, too, as with "The New York Times," the editors at "The New Yorker" do not gloat as the particulat subpar Ghanaweb grammar police who is always on my back.

Finally, at a point in time, Idris Pacas, I subscribed to both "The New Yorker" and "The New York Times," with my personal library holding hundreds of copies of "The New Yorker." And, finally, Idris Pacas, the general readership of these afore-cited papers, particularly "The New Yorker," "The Wall Street Journal," and "The New York Times, comes from America's middle- and upper-middle class, mostly well-educated.

Let me make this caveat clear: I am not citing these facts do belittle the writings skills of any particular Ghanaweb writer. I cite them merely to establish another indispensable fact, that it sometimes gets annoying for me to see a pretentious reader tell me about grammatical errors in my articles when they are in fact typos or when he does not know the wide diversity of opinions that exists in the literary world as far as the technical logistics of grammar deployment goes!

Interestingly, I have mountains of grammar books (the best grammar books you can think of) sitting in my library as of this writing. And I have been following and reading extensively about grammar use over the years.

As a matter of fact, many good writers (English writers) from around the world learn about the diversity of technical deployment of literary grammar outside the formal classroom. I can list tons of admirable and brilliant writers who have pointedly said so after taking their Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) and PhDs in English.

The irrefutable point is that the formal classroom setting cannot teach you everything. I have realized this myself, which explains why I am always researcing and reading new materials on every single subject that captures my restless attention, this, beyond the pedagogical narrowness of the formal classroom.

Yes, gramamar counts but literary/journlastic substance is what drives their passion, I mean, readers of the papers I have previously mentioned, for reading these papers.This is what, I believe, Ghanaians and Africans should learn to do.

Like you said, grammar has not done anything substantial for Ghana. Let me also add that English grammar has done practically nothing for Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, etc. I am surprised many in or from Ghana are still locked in this archaic colonial mindset. We better think of relying on the "grammar" of technology, science, and mathematics to advance Ghana and Africa.

And as for me, Idris Pacas, English grammar is not one of my problems. In the 1980s, as I well recall, British students did not outperform Ghanaian students in English at O'Level.

It also turned out that British education reformers and English teachers wondered why non-native speakers of English could perform at the same level as native speakers of the language: The obvious question is,wgy is Ghana behind Britain in technological and scientific advancement! This is what bothers me, not grammar!

Let's teach grammar well, but science, mathematics, technology, and critical thinking even better!

Take care.


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07-02 07:01
francis kwarteng
07-04 17:39