Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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The Academic Language Poll

This entry is brought to you today by my not-entirely-successful efforts to read the book Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism, and by having to look up "hermeneutics" in the dictionary for what must be the 20th time, because it never sticks in my head. There comes a point when I just need to reassure myself that I have company.

Poll #530723 The Academic Language Poll

What's the highest educational level you've attained?

less than a high school degree
3(4.5%)
high school degree or equivalent
3(4.5%)
0 to 2 years of college
13(19.4%)
over 2 years of college, but less than a bachelor's degree
11(16.4%)
bachelor's degree
20(29.9%)
some postgraduate study, but less than a master's degree
10(14.9%)
master's degree
2(3.0%)
some post-master's-degree study, but less than a doctorate degree
3(4.5%)
doctorate degree
2(3.0%)

Have you ever attempted to read a queer theory or other rather abstract theory book written in the kind of grad student academic lingo where amost every word contains more than five syllables? (For example: Austin, Bakhtin, Barthes, Baudrillard, Butler, Deleuze, Derrida, Eagleton, Foucault, Greenblatt, Guattari, Jameson, Kristeva, Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Said, Saussure, Sedgwick, Sinfield, Spivak, etc.)

Yes.
50(75.8%)
No.
5(7.6%)
I'm not sure whether what I read counts as the kind of book you're talking about.
10(15.2%)
I'm not sure whether what I did with it (or them) counts as "reading" it (or them).
0(0.0%)
I'm not sure of either of the above.
1(1.5%)

Can you actually read it fluently, like plain English, instead of just muddling through and getting a hazy idea of what each page as a whole generally adds up to, while remaining utterly unable to figure out the exact meaning of numerous individual sentences?

Yes! I've never had any more problem understanding academic theory texts than understanding bestselling children's books.
0(0.0%)
Most of them, yes, I understand just as well as any bestselling children's book, but there are a few specific authors that I have trouble with.
18(26.9%)
No, they're always a pain to try to make sense of, but if I go slowly I can muddle through and get the general idea.
40(59.7%)
No, I tried a few times - well, at least once - but I could never finish a book like that at all.
6(9.0%)
I've never tried.
3(4.5%)

Do you even think that anyone at all, anywhere, can read it fluently, like plain English?

Yes, I'm sure there are a few really upper-class babies who grow up speaking about the "hermeneutics of presentist cosmopolitics" as their native language from the first moment they start learning baby talk.
4(6.0%)
Yes, I'm pretty sure there's a professor or two somewhere who, although they may not have spoken that way in the cradle, eventually mastered it so thoroughly later in life that they spoke it every bit as fluently as their native language.
40(59.7%)
Not exactly, but I think the writing possesses perfectly clear meanings, even if no one can figure out what those meanings are without spending hours and hours just trying to make sense of a single page.
11(16.4%)
No, look, that stuff is just bad writing. It doesn't even have a meaning that's any clearer than a hazy muddle. They use big words to hide the fact that they're not making sense.
12(17.9%)

Without using a dictionary, do you know what "hermeneutics" means?

Yes, of course.
22(32.8%)
Yes . . . no, okay, you caught me, I'm lying.
13(19.4%)
No, but I've definitely seen the word before . . .
18(26.9%)
Well, at least I think I may have seen the word before . . .
8(11.9%)
No, I've never heard of such a thing. What language is that word in?
6(9.0%)
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