by Denise Minor
When people learn that I teach Spanish linguistics, there is often an automatic assumption that I am a strict grammarian. They picture me drilling students on the correct verb conjugations and becoming exasperated with their lack of comprehension of the difference between subject pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Sometimes, just to make conversation and show their commiseration, they complain about the way kids these days talk and their declining knowledge about proper language use.
In that moment I often have to weigh whether or not to reveal the truth. I have to decide whether it is worth telling them that I actually love to listen to the way kids these days talk and that I care very little about proper language use in conversation. I DO care about teaching them “proper” language for academic writing and classroom presentations. Without mastery in those formal writing and speaking skills, many professions will be closed to them.