aviation is a civilization

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gotitadeleche

Senior Member
U.S.A. English
I keep coming across this sentence in the preface of an aviation training manual that I am proofreading. The author insists on using it, although I say that it makes no sense. Am I wrong? Does this make sense?

Let's be sure that aviation is a civilization and continues to grow.

Grammatically it makes sense, but I don't understand the concept of ensuring that aviation is a civilization. :confused:

Thanks!
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US

    Let's be sure that aviation is a civilization and continues to grow.


    Grammatically it makes sense, but I don't understand the concept of ensuring that aviation is a civilization. :confused:
    I agree with you. I can't even begin to imagine what the author means by this. I assume it's the rhyme that appeals.

    Could you get the author to rephrase the thought in other words? Or would that be seen as too challenging?

    You have my sympathy.
     

    gotitadeleche

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    Thank you both for replying. Culture would make more sense to me, but I don't think he will change the statement, I think he is rather proud of it in fact. I have tried to point out that since he is writing a training manual, it is important that he use language that is clear and easily understood. He says that if I don't understand it, it is because I don't fully understand the meaning of civilization. Of course I have looked up the word in the dictionary to see if it carried some meaning that I am unfamiliar with. Not finding an answer there, I hoped that by presenting it to the forum, someone could enlighten me.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Besides the fact that "civilization" is out of place here, the whole sentence seems to be to be poorly cast in the context of a training manual.

    You can tell this jerk that the above comment comes from someone who not only is a former editor, but a former flight instructor as well.

    When I encounter people who are militantly ignorant, I just throw the whole thing back in their lap and walk away from it.
     

    gotitadeleche

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    Thank you sd. Your comments are appreciated, especially since you have been both an editor and a flight instructor. After everyone's comments on this thread, I feel more secure in arguing my point with him (if it comes up again--I think I am resigned to leaving it be since he is so adamant :))

    As to your first comment,

    Besides the fact that "civilization" is out of place here, the whole sentence seems to be to be poorly cast in the context of a training manual.
    the statement is in the preface where he is expressing his purposes for writing the book. There are actually several books, that is why I say "I keep coming across..." It appears in the preface of each one.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I do like the idea of starting a training manual by evoking a unifying feeling, by telling people that they are entering a sort of society or fraternity, a group bound by not just technical or professional ties but by deeper or broader concepts, practices, traditions, and even philosophies.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    the statement is in the preface where he is expressing his purposes for writing the book. There are actually several books, that is why I say "I keep coming across..." It appears in the preface of each one.
    Nonsensical hot air seems perfectly normal in that type of preface. I wouldn't worry too much if he insists on keeping it.
     

    gotitadeleche

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    I do like the idea of starting a training manual by evoking a unifying feeling, by telling people that they are entering into a sort of society or fraternity, a group bound by not just technical or professional ties but by deeper or broader concepts, practices, traditions, and even philosophies.
    Oh! He would LOVE to hear you say that! :D I think that is part of what he hopes to accomplish.

    Nonsensical hot air seems perfectly normal in that type of preface. I wouldn't worry too much if he insists on keeping it.
    Thanks Franzi!
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    He sounds like a proper Peter Propeller, an enthusiast, a dyed-in-the-wool, Bellanca-loving nutcase. He would probably prefer arguing the merits of high wing vs. low wing stiff legs to eating. Such people will not be persuaded by logic and reason. They are having far too much fun being in love with what they fly, write about, and talk about.

    Of course you are right, but that won't change his mind.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I am sure this will not fly, but how about suggesting an alternative, something like:

    To learn aviation is to learn a culture.​

    I'm confident others can offer better wordings.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    I have absolutely no problem with using civilization in the way your author does; the aviation industry is global and complex enough to qualify as a civilisation of its own, not just a culture.

    It's a good topic sentence which catches the reader's interest, both because of the rhyming and the unusual semantics. Because it is written in a preface, it's the author's personal thoughts, and I defend his right to express himself however he wishes in that medium. What he says in the actual text of the manual is a whole different ballgame, of course.

    I have always believed that the proofreader's job is to check for typos, spelling errors and other typographical mishaps, but not try to correct the grammar, semantics or language use, as this will have been done already by the time the proofreader gets to work?

    /Wilma
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Wilma_Sweden:

    I quite agree that writers should be allowed to use words in whatever manner they please. But an editor's job is to "ground" the writer, let them know when their lyrical flights are leaving everyone else behind.

    You eloquently provide a justification for referring to the totality of aviation as a civilization. Perhaps what the manual's writer needs to do, then, is provide just such an explanation.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    ... an editor's job is to "ground" the writer, let them know when their lyrical flights are leaving everyone else behind.
    Ah, but isn't that "copy editing", not "proofreading"?

    You eloquently provide a justification for referring to the totality of aviation as a civilization. Perhaps what the manual's writer needs to do, then, is provide just such an explanation.
    Thanks, and I agree: I would expect the following sentences to be some general blurb about aviation industry as a culture/civilization.

    /Wilma
     

    gotitadeleche

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    I have always believed that the proofreader's job is to check for typos, spelling errors and other typographical mishaps, but not try to correct the grammar, semantics or language use, as this will have been done already by the time the proofreader gets to work?
    /Wilma
    Technically, you are correct. But in this case I am a little more than a proofreader. There has been no editing prior to me, and the author is not a native English speaker (which explains his sometimes strange choice of words). I often find myself rewriting sentences to correct the grammar, semantics, and language use.

    I would expect the following sentences to be some general blurb about aviation industry as a culture/civilization
    There is no following blurb. That is the last sentence of the paragraph before he gets into the "business" part of the book.
     

    Polixenes

    Member
    English - English
    "Let's be sure that aviation is a civilization that continues to grow."

    I agree this is an odd thing to say about aviation. Would the author also say chemistry is a civilization? Gymnastics is a civilization?

    May I suggest he rephrase his concept somehow using "cultivation of aviation" to get his message across and keeping his nifty rhyme-thingy going.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    While I like the idea of aviation as a civilization, I do agree that the "Let's be sure that..." doesn't work for any topic.

    "Let's be sure that the Internet is a worldwide computer network and continues to grow" doesn't work either... Perhaps:

    "Be sure: aviation is a civilization that continues to grow."

    Get him to explain what he means using different words, maybe it's just a mistranslation of a construction that's perfectly normal in his native language? Do you speak his native language?

    /Wilma
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Thank you both for replying. Culture would make more sense to me, but I don't think he will change the statement, I think he is rather proud of it in fact. I have tried to point out that since he is writing a training manual, it is important that he use language that is clear and easily understood. He says that if I don't understand it, it is because I don't fully understand the meaning of civilization.
    It appears to me that you are working with someone who is both ignorant and arrogant!
     
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