Saturday, January 18, 2014

Report: 1948 teens used their parents' vocabularies, while 2006 teens couldn't initiate conversations using adult language

Albert Mohler, "Commonplaces: teenagers, reading, and language" writes about books ("commonplace books") in which readers in times past recorded favorite items in their reading. The first of his is a book of essays by Jim Flynn, The torchlight list, which offers a global "road map" for reading.

Provocative stuff, if predictable. “Ask students what novelist they like best and you get a blank, or some reference to the author of airport trash,” he laments. He concludes:
In sum, in 1948 teenagers could both understand and use the vocabularies of their parents. In 2006 they could understand their parents but, to a surprising degree, could not initiate a conversation using adult language.
In the past, he says, teenagers “wanted to become adults and enjoy the privileges of adults.” Now, however, adolescents have their own distinct subculture that “is so attractive that some young adults want to remain in it through their twenties and even their thirties.”

Mohler observes: "He does not write with scorn nor does he believe that the damage is always permanent. But he writes with a prophetic and wise voice that has to do as much with life as with books—and he warns of a life without books.

"Think and consider."

[Hat tip to JM]


David Brainerd


Where is adult language learned? In novels? No. In church. Most people don't go anymore. And those that do tend to attend Al Mohler's type of church where all the sermons are "Faith faith faith. Faith alone. Faith alone. Amen." How will they learn adult language from that cave-man speak?