A request

Dennis Baron debaron at NTX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU
Tue Jun 19 19:22:40 UTC 2001

A quick check of the Hamilton College on-line directory shows a student by
this name in the class of 2002. Perhaps what's killing the language is
students asking other people to do their homework. I also wonder why Lauren
Reynolds is starting her senior thesis in the summer? Can't she get a job to
help defray the outrageous cost of private school tuition? For some reason
my own teenagers (one of whom is at work helping to defray the outrageous
cost of private school tuition), unlike those in the "recent studies" not
cited below, have very large vocabularies, but they too sometimes still try
the ploy "I don't know what to write about." I think these sorts of email
requests from students are becoming common enough to constitute some kind of
new genre, though I've never gotten one as detailed as Lauren's. I get a
number of such requests every year, and simply ignore them. But someone
could write a senior thesis on this new phenomenon . . .



Dennis Baron, Head
Department of English                                phone: 217-333-2390
University of Illinois                                         fax:
608 South Wright Street                      email: debaron at uiuc.edu
Urbana, IL 61801               url: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/baron

-----Original Message-----
From: RonButters at AOL.COM [mailto:RonButters at AOL.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 2:10 PM
Subject: Re: A request

In a message dated 6/19/2001 1:39:12 PM, LKReynolds8980 at cs.com writes:

<< I am a senior English major at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.  My
thesis is entitled; "The Demise of the English Language: â (tm)Like, Ya
Whatever." Recent studies have shown that the average teenâ (tm)s vocabulary
less than half of what it was only forty years ago.  Through interviews and
this e-mail questionnaire with Americaâ ˜s leading English and Sociology
professors, as well as editors and columnists, I will be examining this
frightening trend.
    Attached to this letter are three questions that require short answers.
Your response would tremendously help my work.  Thank you for your time.


Lauren Reynolds
Hamilton College, Class of 2002
198 College Hill Rd.
Clinton, NY 13323


Question 1) What examples have you seen to substantiate the demise of the
English language? Is there one heinous offense that drives you insane?

Question 2) What are the major causes of Englishâ (tm)s decline? Who is
responsible for the butchering of our once illustrious language?

Question 4) What solutions are needed to save English or are we doomed? >>

I assume this is a joke? Not only is the language dying, the young of today
can't even count to three!  Obviously, we should all just eat bananas and
head for the trees.

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