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Unformatted text preview: C rc y v 1 a c ro f 1 2 kQJ\. P C Y C t L 1 it1H chapter 1 t ; t h p 4 . ' k o u t o a fu ll A writer who does not speak uses torpid w ords w ooden or experience , ' w ords as "hum ani- lifeless w ords, such w r " p a r a l y s i s i n t h e i r t o , w h ich h av e a tails. HENRY THOREAU 1 the poison fish w t +- Macrorie, Ken. "Poison Fish" Telling Writin g . Upper Montclair, NJ : Boynton/Cook Publishers, 1985. 11-26. ISBN: 0867091533 POF 14122006.pdf O N E D A Y a college student stopped a pro- fessor in the hall and said, "I have this terrible instructor w ho says I can 't w rite. T h erefo re I sh o u ld n 't teach E n g lish . H e really g rin d s m e. In another class I've been reading Jam es Joyce, so I w rote this little com m ent on the instructor in Joyce's style. D o you think I should subm it it to The Review?" T h e p ro fesso r lo o k ed at th e lin es sh e h ad w ritten ab o u t h er in - structor: ...th e strid en ts in h is g lass lisd y k e h im im m en sely . D ay each chat w e tum ble into the glass he sez to m ee, "Eels too badly that you som eday fright preach E ngfish." and he knew the student had found a nam e for the phony, pretentious language of the schoolsEngfish. M ost E nglish teachers have been trained to correct students' w rit- ing, not to read it; so they put dow n those bloody correction m arks in the m argins. W hen the students see them , they think they m ean that teachers don't care w hat students w rite, only how they punctuate and spell. So students give them Engfish. The teachers call the assignm ents 1 TELLING WRITING THE POISON FISH 13 b th e ir tra d itio n a l n a m e t h e m e s . ' N o o n e o u tsid sch o o l 1 y e c o o e v e r w r i t e s anything called th e m e s . They're teachers' ' e T e hers exercises, Y g Y c e s n o t re a lly a k in d Y of communication. a fir assig n m en t t O n th e firs t s s n m e n t In a 1 g college class a student g begins his t i : t h e m e l i k e t h l s I went downtown today for the first tim e. W hen I got there I w as com pletely astonished by the hustle and the bustle that was going on. M y first impression of the downtown area was quite impressive. Beautiful Engfish. The writer said not sim ply that he was astonished, but com pletely astonished, as if the w ord astonished had no force of its ow n. T he student reported (pretended w ould be a truer w ord) to have observed hustle and bustle, and then explained in true E ngfish that the hustle and bustle w as going on. H e m anaged to w ork in the academ ic w ord area, and finished by saying the im pression w as im - pressive. B u t w is e m e n ie rc th is s r d t t e n d ic t io n and fasten w ords again to t v stble things....
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