Learnings

Discussion in 'English Only' started by seroca, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    Hello everyone,

    Is "learnings" an actual gramatically correct word? I've read it often and I know it is used, but then I found this somewhere online:

    http://blog.jeffreymcmanus.com/157/learnings-is-a-stupid-stupid-word/
    Attention, Masters of Business Administration of Corporate America:
    Quit using the word ‘learnings’. It makes you sound really stupid. The word you really want is ‘lessons’.
    Your pal,
    Jeffrey

    So, is it valid and correct to use it at all?

    Thanks!
     
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello seroca,

    It is of no use at all to quote a comment about the word. What we must have, if we are to comment intelligently, is an example of the word in use, in a full sentence, together with context and background.
     
  3. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    I agree. I've seen it used quite often in expressions such as "the student will be able to apply these learning to the process of..." Usually referred to what students or participants learn after a class, seminar, etc.
     
  4. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    This grows more confusing. The thread title and first post are about a plural noun, learnings. The example fragment is about something entirely different, these learning,
    which makes no sense in English.

    Which one are you interested in?
     
  5. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    Ups, that was a mistake, it is learnings. the example should have read: "the student will be able to apply these learnings to the process of..."
     
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Thanks seroca. That makes it all clear. The writer of that nonsense should be shot at dawn, with or without a blindfold, with or without a hearty breakfast, and with a stern prescriptivist grammarian available to perform the last rites.

    "...will be able to apply these learnings..." is atrocious. It is also incorrect.
     
  7. Copyright

    Copyright Mod Cat

    Penang
    American English
    I agree... but it is heard all too often in business circles. Perhaps it will go the way of yellow suspenders, but "at this point in time" is still with us.
     
  8. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I agree with everything cuchu said.

    Unfortunately, a tour of the Google universe using "apply these learnings" (with the quotation marks) as the search term shows that the phrase is being widely applied. I didn't have the stomach to read all the entires, but it appears to be some kind of new and trendy jargon in the fields of education and business/marketing.

    EDIT: The remark quoted in the first post now makes perfect sense.
     
  9. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    So what would be a better way of saying it? "...apply these lessons..."?
     
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Yes - I would much prefer :tick:"lessons" to :eek:"learnings".
     
  11. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Seroca, since I do not have many dealings with the world of trendy business jargon as used by those with shabby educations, I have never come across this silly term before. I can tell you, though, that if had seen any use of this nonsensical term, I would have thought the writer an illiterate ignoramus. You may thus count me among those who advise you NEVER to use this supposed "word".
     
  12. mplsray Senior Member

    Wiktionary (a dictionary wiki, that is, written by its users) has three definitions for learning, only one of which is countable. From its entry for learning:

     
  13. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    Thanks. It seems like there is consensus that it should not be used, but I am puzzled about mplsray's posting. I am aware that wikis are not 100% reliable, but they seem to be quoting the NYT (a presumably more reliable source) Does it imply that there are times when "learnings" may be acceptable?
     
  14. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    No, seroca, it is yet another example of the Times quoting someone who plays
    cute games with English. The editors of that journal do not necessarily approve of statements by people they interview.

    The Wiktionary piece, or the person who quoted it here, gives the mistaken impression that the statement was made by Times reporter Stuart Elliott. That is not correct. The article was written by Mr. Elliott. The quoted material is reproduced here:

    More from and about Mr. Smith:

    source:
    http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache...st+of+our+business."&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  15. seroca

    seroca Member

    San Francisco, Ca.
    Mexico / Spanish
    Got it. Thanks. This discussion has definitely being good learning for me! :0)
     
  16. mplsray Senior Member

    I disagree with cuchuflete's assessment that the person quoted is "someone who plays cute games with English." The person is, on the contrary, using an established sense of the term, and my purpose in quoting Wiktionary was to show a cite from the only dictionary which lists this modern use of the plural of learning, and which, furthermore, makes the point that the other senses of the word learning remain uncountable. But other dictionaries should list learnings as well, because not only has it been used, but it has been used in official contexts, such as in the name of the high school/community college course "Common Learnings," as can be seen in a Google Books search here.

    The Oxford English Dictionary lists several 17th-century examples of the word learnings, including cites from Francis Bacon and Shakespeare. There is nothing grammatically wrong with making learning plural--compare words such as feelings and sightings.

    The word may be jargon, but that actually makes it standard just as much as a scientific term that is often used by scientists but is little known by the general public--essentially the meaning of jargon--has to be considered standard. Whether a writer should use it when addressing a general audience is a different matter. But it is incorrect to consider it simply to be an example of "playing cute games with English."

    I fully expect the Oxford English Dictionary to include the modern use of learnings in the future, and, given its use in at least one field, I would expect it to be included in other dictionaries eventually, especially in unabridged ones.
     

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