Complete sentences

I need some help from linguistics experts. Is there a way to evaluate the average language proficiency of a country (or, say, its president, or media in general). I got this idea because in Taiwan, almost no one, including our president and other politicians who so often make their appearance on tv, can speak in complete, grammatically correct sentences. It’s very strange, because politicians in Taiwan are usually pretty well-educated on paper, but nevertheless speak without coherence (and don’t get me started on their logic, or lack thereof). I remember when I was still living across the Pacific, that any ol’ person being interviewed on the streets could speak in complete sentences. I’m not just talking about businessmen, but also farmers, construction workers and the like (high school students are usually not so coherent).

So the question is, are we Taiwanese just less articulate people in general or is this the result of the complexity of our language? I’m rather convinced that we’re just dumber, since we as a country lack sound judgement and rudimentary logical thinking skills, but the scientific mind can never jump to a conclusion without some evidence or at least a plausible explanation. We can’t simply compare the percentage of grammatically correct sentences, or the use of filler words, or the misuse of words or phrases. We would need to compare them on a similar scale, i.e. we need to “normalize” the languages somehow. (ok I guess the quick answer is to compare the use of language across the strait to our hostile neighbors, the Chinese).

Well, does anyone know if anything similar has been done? I wonder how people study language in general? One of these days I need to pick up a few linguistics books. I absolutely have no idea how to methodically analyze something if it can not be quantitatively evaluated. Numbers are my friend.

2 thoughts on “Complete sentences

  1. 這比較像是社會語言學的範疇;
    我想語言使用的習慣是會傳染的,
    檯面上能見度高的人(尤其電視媒體的影響)都用很sloppy的語言時,
    大眾就慢慢被催眠,語言變得越來越鬆散模糊,另種形式的不負責任。
    還有一個我一直很想探索的部分,
    就是為什麼我們的教育體制裡很少有辯論的風氣,
    連演講比賽都還停留在油腔滑調的做作姿態裡。

    • 語言使用習慣會變的,但是結構逐漸散漫則會造成論述不清楚,溝通效率變差的問題,長期來看對於整個國家的教育及人才發展其實很不利。

      我們的教育不注重獨立思考於邏輯判斷,自然不太會有辯論這種東西啊。所謂上樑不正下樑歪,我們的師資有沒有這能力都很值得懷疑了….

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