Saturday, March 11, 2017

     If you are following this blog, this means you are listening to something I have to say. If it were a perfect system, I could read your reaction to my messages. Unfortunately, in the cyber world, certain limits are put on our communication, and that’s not always a bad thing. If you don’t like what I say, you can UN-follow. That would be disappointing, but it’s each person’s prerogative.

     A blog is an individual voice. It’s a way for one person to express him or herself for any given purpose. For yours truly, it’s a place where I can hopefully touch a life, motivate someone who’s been meaning to do something but needed a little extra push, share a story to which someone can relate and feel better, express frustration at a certain kind of behavior, empathize with someone and offer them comfort or relate an embarrassing or hilarious moment to lift someone’s spirits. For a writer like me who spent half a life feeling insecure about my writing skills because I was criticized as a young child, it’s a celebration of that skill which has served me well in many settings. It’s a blank page every morning for me to record my thoughts and, hopefully, inspire some thinking in those who kindly take the time to read them. 

     This morning, I pose the following question: If someone you know makes a grammatical error, misquotes a famous person, uses a word incorrectly or relays a story with inaccurate information, do you correct them publicly? If so, what is your intent? 

      As a French teacher with over 40 years experience, I hear people mispronouncing French words frequently—some of these are my friends. I never correct them. Why? Why would I? If I correct them publicly, I will make them feel foolish. Friends don’t do that. If I would correct them in the name of “they would want to know,” it seems as though I should ask them privately if they want to learn from their error. If I correct them in the name of “they should know better,” what does that say about me? If I correct them by making a joke, who am I fooling? In my humble opinion, anyone who corrects someone else publicly, regardless of whether it’s a child or an adult, is doing so to pump up his own ego and attempting to show off. I don’t need to show you how fluent I am or how well I pronounce the language. If I feel that your mispronouncing a word will embarrass you in some situation, I would ask you privately if you want me to give you the proper pronunciation, and I would honor your wishes. 
     Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t need anyone to correct me without my permission, and I certainly don’t want people correcting me who are not recognized, certified experts themselves. Go polish your ego on someone else.