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BS: Illiteracy

Lonesome EJ 22 Jul 00 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Mark 22 Jul 00 - 03:42 PM
Jimmy C 22 Jul 00 - 03:47 PM
Dharmabum 22 Jul 00 - 04:01 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jul 00 - 04:25 PM
Amergin 22 Jul 00 - 04:30 PM
catspaw49 22 Jul 00 - 04:31 PM
JenEllen 22 Jul 00 - 05:09 PM
Jeri 22 Jul 00 - 05:24 PM
sophocleese 22 Jul 00 - 06:05 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Jul 00 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Ely 22 Jul 00 - 06:15 PM
Mbo 22 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM
Joe Offer 22 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM
sophocleese 22 Jul 00 - 06:29 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Jul 00 - 06:43 PM
katlaughing 22 Jul 00 - 06:46 PM
Lepus Rex 22 Jul 00 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jul 00 - 07:12 PM
Jeri 22 Jul 00 - 07:29 PM
MAG (inactive) 22 Jul 00 - 07:32 PM
oggie 22 Jul 00 - 07:37 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM
Jeri 22 Jul 00 - 07:45 PM
Lepus Rex 22 Jul 00 - 07:53 PM
The Shambles 22 Jul 00 - 08:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jul 00 - 08:09 PM
The Shambles 22 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn 22 Jul 00 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,LDB 22 Jul 00 - 10:58 PM
little john cameron 23 Jul 00 - 12:10 AM
Lepus Rex 23 Jul 00 - 12:30 AM
Escamillo 23 Jul 00 - 12:30 AM
Sorcha 23 Jul 00 - 12:54 AM
katlaughing 23 Jul 00 - 12:56 AM
catspaw49 23 Jul 00 - 01:16 AM
Escamillo 23 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM
Seamus Kennedy 23 Jul 00 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Banjo Johnny 23 Jul 00 - 03:49 AM
The Shambles 23 Jul 00 - 04:26 AM
Gervase 23 Jul 00 - 05:23 AM
InOBU 23 Jul 00 - 08:15 AM
InOBU 23 Jul 00 - 08:17 AM
katlaughing 23 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jul 00 - 10:11 AM
Jeri 23 Jul 00 - 10:12 AM
catspaw49 23 Jul 00 - 10:22 AM
Sorcha 23 Jul 00 - 10:46 AM
kendall 23 Jul 00 - 11:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jul 00 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 01:20 PM

In my store, I usually employ teenagers or people in their early 20s. Many of these people are quite bright, but they share one thing in common- they spell at what I would consider a third grade level. One Senior at Conifer High School spelled it "Confir High Scool" on his application. Another employee who is intelligent enough to build a PC board from components, left me a note saying "the reeceet is in the droor" (the receipt is in the drawer). He will graduate this coming year.

What is happening? How can people with these poor basic writing skills reach the twelfth grade of high school? I believe that our expectations of literacy have dropped so low that, at least in America, we are approaching a level of illiteracy not seen since the late 1800s. I believe that students are taught rudimentary spelling at an early age, but are never required to read, so that these skills are never developed. Are we raising a generation of people who can program computers, but spell cat with a k? What will happen to the written word in the future? Is literature a dying art?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 03:42 PM

Welcome to the world of, "It doesn't matter if the word is spelled right, or the numbers actually add up that way, as long as you feel good about yourself!"

As for the written word in the future, not long ago I saw an interview with a teacher who didn't think being able to write was anything to emphasize, because 'after all, everything will be done with a keyboard'. It's not all that bad, but God help those who are being let out with that level of skill, and those who hire them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Jimmy C
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 03:47 PM

I have to agree with you. I was reading the notes from a MANAGERs' meeting where I work. All handwritten on a flip chart in the coffee room and noticed these gems.

When you go on a coffee BRAKE ?

When you HERE the phone ring ?

Everyday I encounter people who can neither spell nor count. I gave a customer the price of 2 items. One was $10.00, the other was $ 13.00, his remark " SO thats about $21.00 for both" nearly floored me, he was not joking either.

God I hope i have no mistakes in this reply.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Dharmabum
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 04:01 PM

I once hired a collage student for summer help, he couldn't read a ruler! And what's even worse,he wanted to become an archetect! {god I hope I spelled that correctly}.

Hukd on fonix werkd 4 mee.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 04:25 PM

I'm a stickler for spelling, to the point where it really aggravates some people. I try to temper my urge to correct bad spelling, but I draw the line at apostrophes. I just can't hold back when I see a sign that say's that the idea was her's. Another thing - I can tolerate bad spelling in a handwritten document, but it really bugs me to see bad spelling in print or on a big sign.

I've taught classes in church and Scouts with several professional teachers who have horrible spelling. One was Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Sacramento. These aren't stupid people - they just can't spell. I sometimes wonder if teachers are generally worse at spelling than the rest of us. My children were taught be some of these people - and all three of my children turned out to be great spellers. So, maybe it isn't such a big deal.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 04:30 PM

Some folks just can't spell, period. Personally, I never had much problems with spelling, but my sister on the other hand spells phonetically.... We used to gather around every Christmas and read her Christmas list, it was always great for a laugh. She got that from my dad....the rest of us can spell purdy good...

Amergin....


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 04:31 PM

Spelling aside, there is a general dumbing-down in the United States that is appalling. I am off to hear Ungar and Mason with Nanci Griffith tonight and I don't even want to start on this issue. I loved teaching but the "system" drove me nuts. Let me just say for now that that American education is the inculcation of the incomprenensible to the indifferent by the incompetent.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: JenEllen
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 05:09 PM

Yeah, but I draw the line at simple common sense. There's a restaurant in our town that is currently advertising "Peech Pie" on their billboard. What chafes my hide is that 1) someone put it up in plain view 2) management didn't catch it 3) no one can look at a menu to find it printed correctly

Another example is the aquarium store here called "Tiny Bubbles". It's on the bleeding neon sign, and below it are the little plastic letters stating "By all your fish suplys at Tinny Bubbles"

Makes me wonder, I spent my youth fighting dyslexia for THIS???

~Elle


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 05:24 PM

I think Mark has it right. If you correct a child, you may be threatening his/her self esteem. Oy. It seems like the kids who want to learn, do. The kids with learning disabilities get identified too late, and not much seems to be done to properly teach them. The average kids are just plain not getting pushed to do better.

And politicians who don't seem to give a rat's ass about education keep getting elected by people who either don't care either, don't think, or want their child to get through school as easily as possible.

...and don't even get me started on people who treat science as a belief system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: sophocleese
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:05 PM

I had to explain to the kids why I was laughing at a sign advertising Padle Boats and Water Sks today. They are young but they are learning some decent spelling. Sometimes I wonder when they make up the signs if they have all the letters they need or are creating an approximation of the word from what they have.

Our provincial governemnt has taken all the general concern over possible lower education standards and is using it to drive a particularly vicious anti-teacher agenda. The changes they have made and are proposing do not actually address any of the real concerns only the pocketbooks of tax-payers who no longer have children in school.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:14 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Ely
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:15 PM

To Hell with self-esteem. My mother regularly pulled apart our writing for school and got very angry if we turned it in without letting her see it. I have much better self-esteem because of it because I'm a pretty solid writer. Of course, I come from a family of voracious readers and I spelling has always been easy for me, so I had a leg up on a lot of my classmates.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a reputation for being somebody who read "big books"; _Crime and Punishment_, _the Mill on the Floss_, etc. One day, I came to class with _Adam Bede_ and, when my teacher saw it, she said, "Oh, I thought you'd be ready to read something entertaining for once." _Crime and Punishment_ isn't entertaining?!

For the record, whether you physically write it or type it, don't you still have to be able to spell it to make yourself understood?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Mbo
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:19 PM

Ely, after a crack like that, I wouldn't have let that teacher slide!

--Matt (who read the 2000+ page Peter The Great: His Life & His World by Michael Massey...when he was 17)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM

I think you're opening a can of worms there, Jeri. If you're a parent or a teacher, you have to correct children, constantly - but you have to find ways to do it that increase a child's self-esteem. It's a real challenge.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: sophocleese
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:29 PM

Then again there's "Why Johnny Can't Read; The Video"...


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:43 PM

At one time, literacy and the ability to read and write clearly were necessary tools for success in business and in life. They were essential Communication Skills. And the general high level of skill at reading and writing enabled the novels of Sartre, Mann, Dostoevsky, and Shakespeare to be widely understood and appreciated as great art.

Perhaps we now value these skills too highly? Perhaps film will entirely supplant the printed word, and the term "novel" will mean only new. Would this be a great loss? I see no corresponding erosion of verbal skills among young people. Maybe we are merely moving to a new stage of development, where the magic of the written word has been displaced by other forms of communication? Perhaps in another 100 years, the Status Quo will be similar to the literate breakdown of the world population in the mid-1800s: a small but fanatical following of the written word who savor the Bleak House and Moby Dick of the future, while the masses pursue their menu of visual,audial and virtual entertainments. The Sign Industry will move away from the written word, and back to the easily recognizable icon, that the illiterate may find their Pubs, Barbershops, and Restaurants with ease.

Forward (as the Firesign Theater once said) into the past.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 06:46 PM

For some really insightful and fantastic comments on the state of education in America, please click here to listen to Williams' College Historian, James McGregor Burns on NPR, from this morning. While the main subject he speaks about is too much moderation/middle ground with presidential candidates, he focuses on education as an example. Really well worth listening.

LeeJ, I think I've already said before how upset I was when I graded high school papers here. One teacher rejected my entire set of graded, first of the year essays. She was new to the school and horrified that I had red marks all over the papers. She said there was no way that she could pass them out to the kids as they would be devastated. The mistakes were incredibly common and prevelant...for third grade!

I was so upset, I called the head of the college English dept. He felt the same way and we commiserated with one another over the fact that he had to admit students with inadequate basic skills and had to dumb down the classes, as Spaw pointed out. This doesn't do them any favours and it hinders and frustrates those students who have the abilities of someone like my daughter who thought her classes, in general, were a joke at college because of it.

Two of my sisters cannot spell to save their souls, BUT they do know their grammar, etc. and have learned to compensate for the spelling. Both have been excellent elementary teachers for years. My other sister does really well, as does my brother. He and I both had Latin which I think helps tremendously.

I don't know about the new hooked on phonics, but I had phonics in the late 50's/early 60's and my spelling and language skills are right up there. (I know...my postings are full of typos...you see, I suffer from dyslexic fingers!**BG**)

I think we have a huge crisis in education and am not at all sure what should be done about it. I think it has developed over many years adn while I know it is important for children to develop good self-esteem, I think we've forgotten to teach them that they can gain such by learning well and becoming erudite. The feeling good should come from significant accomplishment, not from just making up a spelling etc.

Thanks,

kat...oops the one word I never spell right!**BG**


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:05 PM

I remember a few years ago, when I was at a movie theatre... I payed the girl behind the counter the $5.50 in five Susan B. Anthony dollar coins and two quarters. She stood there and stared at them for about 20 seconds, and then said, 'This is, like, a buck-75, sir.' I told her that, no, the coins with the woman on them were dollars; says so right on the coin. She had to call the manager to verify this...

I don;'t know if anyone else will find this funny, but oh well: Here's the menu from 'Parsegian's Sports Bar,' one and two. (From TimmyBigHands.com)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:12 PM

There's a balance in these things, and the important thing is to get it right. Sometimes that means concentrating on getting one particular thing right, and leaving the other things aside for the moment.

In itself spelling is pretty arbitrary and of relatively minor importance - after all Shakespeare couldn't even spell his own name the same way twice running. But it does matter, because other people think it matters, and if you spell too oddly you're going to be looked down on and humiliated and be afraid to write things, and if you do write things it's going to be harder for other people to read them.

I suspect that what with spellcheckers and all that, the ability to spell unaided will become less significant as a way of judging other people's competence, in the same way that calculators have made the ability to do long division less significant. And there's a definite downside to that, as well as an upside.

But I'd put the ability to spell accurately a lot lower in the scale of important human skills than the ability to make music, or tell stories.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:29 PM

Joe, I agree with you completely. I was only stating what I believed is a current trend in thinking. "Lay off the kid - he's doing his best." (No, not really.) Like you, I feel that if someone's self esteem is based solely on believing everything they do is good, they're going to suffer a real blow outside of the classroom. Never telling a child they do something right is horrible, but not believing in them enough to think they can do better?! Denying kids the chance to make progress and thereby gain confidence in their abilities is a crime.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:32 PM

That menu is a joke, right??


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: oggie
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:37 PM

In the UK it is thought that one adult in six is functionally illiterate. In schools the time for teaching reading, which is part of the foundation of spelling, has been cut back by the literacy hour. Parents are supposed to hear their children read every night. Fine, but when the parent can't read how is that meant to help the child?

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:38 PM

McGrath, wouldn't you consider that there is a direct correlation between spelling ability and reading comprehension? Spell checkers will not help someone who is looking for a Lawyer from stumbling into a Lawncare Center, or tell someone what they are ordering from a menu, or sugar from salt, or....


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:45 PM

Watt our ewe trying two say? My speel checker dose jist watt I knead! (Sorry)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 07:53 PM

Yes, MAG, it's a joke:)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 08:08 PM

I was an early reader as a child I had no problems reading, understanding and loving the whole process but I had no natural skill at spelling. Writing too was a chore and until the advent of the word processor I tended to avoid that means of communication all together..

As a result of all this reading I had a large vocabulary and would comprehend and use many words in conversation, that I would struggle over spelling even today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 08:09 PM

"There is a direct correlation between spelling ability and reading comprehension" - yes, there is. The more you read, the better your spelling gets, because the words look wrong when they are spelt wrong.

It's unfortunate in a way that the language that seems set to become the world language has such crazy spelling. It would have been easier if the spelling had been settled by people who were good at spelling, rather than oddballs like Chaucer and Shakespeare and the Bible translators who seem to have made it up as they went along.

I expect that in time a lot of the weird spellings so prevalent in English will sort themselves out, and some of the examples of bizarre mispellings included in the thread are an indication of how that is going to happen. The electronic spellcheckers actually are the best defence of current English spelling, because they'll hold the line better than teachers could ever do.

They will have the effect that, no matter how people mispell when they write, what appears in print will keep to the present spelling - and that will ensure that the wrong spellings will continue to look wrong. And that will feed back into the way people who read will tend to spell.

And for an example of how seeing a word printed differently feeds back into whether it looks right or wrong, thing of "beatle" and "beetle". For a whole generation at least, the latter spelling is the one that looks odd.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM

I certain knew when I had spelt a word incorrectly. It didn't make it much easier, to then spell it correctly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Barry Finn
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 08:44 PM

What's there to wonder about. My kids come home with their papers corrected by teachers that can't spell themselves, how are they to teach? Well we do have presidents that don't know Eastern Europe from Western & vice presidents can't spell the places that they're visiting. It must be that trickle down effect that I used to hear about. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,LDB
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 10:58 PM

IMO spelling is about as important as pickng the proper shovel to pick up horseshit. I'll pay big bucks for people that can produce quality (fill the blank) items, then add another 10k dollars and hire two English majors (who generally have no saleable skills whatsoever) or 5 philosophy majors (whose skills are absolutly worthless anyway, but they can spell).


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: little john cameron
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:10 AM

Lepus, ah'm awfy gled ye "payed" for the movie.(grin) ljc


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:30 AM

Aaagh... Wise ass;) But, um, like... I was typing with an accent. Yeah. Sort of like you, ljc. That's how we write it up here in Minnesota, in our regional dialect. Payed. Yup. heh.

---Lepus Reks


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Escamillo
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:30 AM

I think that, what has gone through the sewer pipes is the POPULAR education. The society runs everyday a little more into a profound division: those who have access to health, safety and good education, candidates to occupy power positions, and those who have now access to washing machines and TV, and perhaps a cable TV, candidates to illiteracy, worst paid jobs and constant manipulation, to not mention the unsafety of their homes and streets.
Sons and daughters of the high classes spell very well. And every day more people move their children from the public school to expensive ones, as the only chance to obtain an acceptable education for them.
Not everybody can read books at home: each one costs 10 to 30 dollars. Cable TV serves the whole family for some cents per day, at the touch of a button. Technology has put the crap of the world at the reach of everybody.
We, at less developed countries, have received another grace: the distortion of our own good old language by the English translators(who are in their majority Hispano Americans). 99% comes from Miami, the Mecca of TV distribution for Latin America. These are some jewels I have noted:
"aircraft carriers weighing more than 90 tons!" - for 90,000 tons, because in the European/Latin notation, the comma is a decimal separator, so they say 90 tons.
"flamas" - for flames, the correct word is LLAMAS.
"aparcar" - to park, the correct is ESTACIONAR.
"estamos tarde" - senseless for "we are late" - correct ESTAMOS ATRASADOS.
"locaciones" - for locations, correct is SITIOS.
"ingeniero" - for railroad engineer, correct is MAQUINISTA.
"1 billón de dólares" - bestiality for 1,000 milions, in Spanish 1 billion is a million of millions.
"the speed of light is 300 kms/hour", brutality for 300,000 kms/second.
"aproximadamente 50.8 mm" - nonsense for "about two inches", correct: UNOS 5 CM.
And the most ridiculous: " those natives called the star La Abeja Seria (the serious bee)" - for the star Sirius B

Thanks Goodness, they give us The Simpsons too.
Un abrazo - Andrés (un abrazo is a hug. A translator would tell you "the negation of the arm" ) :))


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:54 AM

Andres, those are not "spelling" errors, per se, but are just as ridiculous. I did not know, until I went to Mexico that there are different types/dialects (?) of Spanish. My Spanish instructor was Cuban, my dictionary Castilian. Sooooo, I was wandering around the market in Oxaca asking for un papagayo. Most of the people were polite to the Norte Americana, saying, "Noooooooo, por que?" Finally, one girl said, appalled, "Vivo?" I thought, why would I want a dead one?

When I returned home, I was telling this story at dinner. Present were Cubans, Americans of Mexican descent from Kansas, USA for 4 generations and a girl from Castille. Everyone except the Castilliana was dying with laughter. She was as confused as I was........turned out I was trying to purchase a fighting cock. What I wanted was a parrot........un perrigo in Mexican Spanish. (sorry, my English keyboard does not do accents, etc.)

I have always wondered if part of the spelling problem in English could be because English has so many different languages for sources. Reed, read. Knead, need. Red, read,etc. Source determines spelling. Then there is the UK/USA spelling difference......spelled/spelt. Harbor/harbour.......I grew up reading British literature so it is no problem for me to understand, but my English teachers did not like UK spellings. There is still NO excuse for some of this ignorance, though. Teachers should TEACH!!

Sorcha, who was reading Hemmingway, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Steinbeck etc. at age 12..........I may not have UNDERSTOOD it, but I could read it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 12:56 AM

Andres, when Roger first started working in Venezuala we bought a fancy-dancy translation program for our old 386 PC. I dutifully used it to write up our very first invoice. Faxed it to them while Rog was there. They all had a gay time laughing at the invoice I was so proud of; it seems some piece of broadcast equipment was translated into "fur coats" for which I was billing them!

Lepus Reks...wouldn't that be Minahsewtah? **BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 01:16 AM

There is no place to start and no end in sight. The problems within the schools of this country have become an epidemic and one in which the solutions are all too readily available. Everybody and their grandmothers have a new method for every subject. We have seen a deterioration in the quality and quantity of knowledge acquired since the '50's. We now have more experts involved than ever before. Each has a solution. Every solution is more complex than the last. None work.

Why?

We have parents who spend no time with their kids. We have teachers who have no ability to teach. It is a science, but to be effective, a teacher must turn the science into art. We have more requirements of administrators (and teachers) to document minute details of everything to satisfy certification boards and funding agencies. We have children who are talented, intelligent, and lost, within a system that gears itself to the lowest common denominator. We have more categories and boxes available to explain every child who is a problem, educationally or behaviorally. Once categorized, we no longer have to worry if they don't do well because now we have a reason, an excuse.

How did we get here? I have a few ideas and some of them have to do with my generation. Tonight, I'm too tired to get into the whole mess and it really doesn't matter unless we are willing to simplify the entire system. Find admin folks willing to fend off the bureaucracy until we can rein them in. Hire teachers who love to teach, have a passion for teaching, and are demonstrably good at it. Quit throwing money into useless technologies and "pablum" methods that are not needed by outstanding teachers. We have "Cargo Cult" education.

During the second World War we established bases on islands where the native population had never seen any of our "modern" things. during our stay on these islands the natives became used to the goods and wonderful things the cargo planes brought in. Then we left and the islanders were sad because the fine things no longer arrived. So they went to the airstrip and made bamboo radios with vine cords and coconut headsets. They lit little fires where the landing lights had been. They did everything as best they could to emulate what the Americans had done, but the planes didn't land. Everyday they worked harder and harder adding more homemade things to make it look better. The planes didn't land and their cargo did not arrive. They continued this futile pursuit for many years. They became known as the "Cargo Cult." This is where the educational system is now.

Screw it........Ya' know folks, there ain't nothin' gonna' happen is there? We're going to have more tests for kids to pass to prove they are at the proper grade level and teachers are going to teach to those tests. We'll look better on paper and kids get less.

Christ I'm tired..............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Escamillo
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 01:23 AM

Sorcha, if you had an Argentinian present in that dinner, you would have had to call 911 for an ambulance for him after a laughter attack. Here in the South we don´t see papagayos (big and colorful parrots), so we refer them as LOROS, while papagayo is a word to name a special glass device similar to a horizontal bottle, used by people confined to bed, to urinate. This device is designed for men only, so you can imagine the lots of jokes invented around the poor thing, regarding the size of the neck, risk of getting caught by vacuum, etc.etc.
Sorry for drift change.
Difficulties in spelling is another symptom of a tendency I see as most dangerous: nobody cares about the education of poor classes of society, because thanks to technology, high classes need them less, and everyday a little less.
Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 03:29 AM

I don't think the Mudcat is the place to bring up illiteracy, because there are many members who are highly intelligent, whose thoughts and ideas are cogent and timely, but who express those thoughts and ideas with atrocious grammar and spelling. We appreciate these thoughts and ideas, but we never point out their spelling and grammatical mistakes. Are we cutting them some slack because they're 'Catters, and if so, why? Just wondering? Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: GUEST,Banjo Johnny
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 03:49 AM

As the jailkeeper said, "What this joint needs is a better class o' prisoner."

Let's quit blaming the struggling teachers. Did you know that teachers have homework? -- lots of it! On the job, a teacher is the sole interlocutor between the oligarchy and the sullen brats. Not an enviable position.

Most of the children in school don't want to be there, and they do their best to ruin it for those few who want to learn. The attitude is "dumb is cool, and smart kids are geeks." Forget about spelling -- football rules!

This idea may be coming from the moronic television shows that are so popular. I suppose this is the price we pay for Freedom of Speech, but it's a shame.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 04:26 AM

Cutting Mudcatters some slack?…Yes……If you can understand what someone one is saying and can recognise their intelligence, they are obviously communicating perfectly well. Pointing out that their method of communication, is not standard, will only inhibit them from expressing themselves here. This has happened, and it is our loss.

It is generally accepted that written musical notation is one tool that musicians use. When those musicians write in this notation, there will develop their own short-cuts and style of writing it down. Other musicians will be able to understand enough of this to produce the music. Heaven help us if all the music sounded the same.

There is a difference when dealing with and teaching children, I accept

Should not more emphasis be placed on reading than writing?

When you can read, you can take all the written knowledge in and the process is stimulating, at the time you are doing it.

Writing is about getting your thoughts about that knowledge out. The process of writing, is not stimulating, in itself and finding the correct spelling / grammar, is largely a chore. It slows and inhibits the primary function, which is communication.

When we talk, we recognise and welcome our different styles of speech, even though it is sometimes hard work. We do not expect a standard way of speaking. Why should we expect a standard way of writing and spelling?


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Gervase
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 05:23 AM

'Spaw, you're dead right again.
All my working life has been with words - they've been the tools of my trade for more than 20 years and, like any tradesman, it pains me to see tools abused.
Yet the decline in literacy is by no means an American phenomenon. In the UK I have interviewed would-be journalists for jobs and found that it's not just their literacy that's substandard but their general knowledge and numeracy as well - and this includes English and PPE graduates from Oxbridge.
For what it's worth, which is bugger all, I fear that too much emphasis in education these days goes into passing a set of tests, from the basis SATS tests at seven (and, if this statistically-obsessed government gets its way) at four, to GCSEs, A-levels and many modern modular degrees.
Thus the role of the teacher has become, perforce, not to educate (e ducare - to lead out) but to narrow and channel young minds.
Teachers, though, have too many responsibilities already, and it is unfair to blame them for the way the system dictates they do their job.
The real problem lies with the abrogation by many parents of all educational responsibilities to teachers. "It's the school's job to learn them to read and write..."
Shortly before I left journalism I got involved in a reading scheme at a local school in central London. I remember being appalled at hearing some of the kids with whom I worked say that there were no books at home, and that their entertainment was entirely electronic.
But what made the work so worthwhile was, after sitting with these kids (aged from 8 to 11) and simply reading with and to them, they started getting interested in books. One admitted that his parents had never really read to him - they'd just bung a tape in the machine.
So like any revolution, the overthrow of illiteracy has to come from our own hearthplaces. Don't throw all the blame on "the system" or your kids' teachers - and become a passionate evangelist for the love of reading.
Sorry about all that - end of rant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 08:15 AM

A Chara Seamus, Gorra maith agut, a vic:
KEVIN! I am surprised at you! Lonesome El and you have made a rather surprising eror. There is no correlation between literacy and ability to spell. I have a learning disability - similer to dislexia, but the inverce of the same, I have troble sequencing, and as such, where Dislexics have troble with language and often make good mathimaticians, as they make language problems into math problems as a way of mentally accomodating their disability, people with my disability make language problems out of math problems - can't count but can read and speak like hell.
People with disabilities such as mine are often remarkabley good readers with huge reading comprehension scores, mine have been in the high nineties since I learned to read. On the other hand, I will never be able to spell well, as a fact of my morphology. I met six others with my disability in law school, (the third best law school in the US).
One has to be careful not to judge someone by their spelling in the same way one should not judge by regional accents. My first year of law school, I had never accepted accomodations for my disability. However, I was consistantly scoring the lowest marks in a system where there was an inforced grade curve. There had to be a top and bottom among scholars who came from the top of the best schools in the world. At the end of my first year I accepted, as an accomodation, the right to take my exams on computors with spell check, and my marks went up to the upper rainge becomming a teaching assistant in Constitutional law and race and the law.
JOE! As you know, I am one of those who think you are doing a GREAT job, - but if you are bothered by poor spelling, isn't there some way to create a way of posting that includes SPELL CHECK!!!! (short of adding a bunch of steps on our lazy ass parts!) ;-)
All the best
Laryr... I mean Alrry, grrrrr... LAYRR aw shucks, you know who I mean.... (Larry)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 08:17 AM

PS
Whne I was nine, my fourth grade teacher did not believe I read Moby Dick, until we discussed it... judged by my spelling and fear of being called on in class, she thought I was an idiot until then...


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM

Larry, my daughter has had the same problem all through school; her reading comprehension was way off the charts for her age group, yet spelling was atrocious. We fought for her right to take exams in other ways, too.

I don't think LeeJ meant to take any Mudcatters to task. We all, I hope, can recognise and accept that there are erudite poeple on here, such as yourself, who do have such disabilities. You have made no bones about it from the start. Then there are the lazy asses like me who just don't "proffreid", as PeterT puts it.

I think the distinction was more about young people and education in general. I have three sisters who are teachers. Every year they see more added onto their work, which has nothing to do with their subject matter. They are now responsible for so many things that parents used to do: making sure a child has eaten breakfast, has clean clothes and adequate supplies....the list is endless. There have been no increased compensations of any kind, just high expectations that they will serve the children, not only as a teacher, but as a substitute parent, nurse, etc.

As an example of how the system has let teachers down: 20 years ago, Wyoming paid top dollar for good teachers. The pay rate was one of the highest in the nation and the best teachers came here to teach. The academic standards were high and a parent could count on their child learning well. The other day I heard a report on current conditions for teachers in Wyoming: among other things, the pay ranks 41st in the nation, many of the good teachers who were attracted, like my sisters, to the good pay, are retiring, some early like my sister, because of the detrioration of support. The state is now faced with trying to replace its best with no decent salaries to attract a new crop of the best. Not suprisingly, the academic standards have dropped considerably.

Gervase is right...teachers are based on how well their students perform on standardised tests and there are far too many children who have never even had a book in their home. If we really want a change it has to start at home.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 10:11 AM

What's surprising, InOBU? What I was saying is how we learn to recognise when a spelling is "wrong" is because we've seen it so often spelt one way that it looks wrong when it's spelt another way. Well, that's true for me anyway - my wife tells me about all kinds of rules that exist, but I could never learn that way.

The same you learn a tune by ear, you learn a spelling by eye.

Of course it doesn't work the same way for everyone. The same way that some people just can't pick up a tune, some people are can't be comfortable with written words. If you have to choose, being able to pick up a tune is a lot more important.

Is there a word like dyslexic for people who can't learn to read music? Like me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 10:12 AM

There are kids who have the capability to spell well, but just aren't taught. There are kids with learning disabilities who... Well, perhaps in the past, many of these kids grew up not able to read and write at all. Maybe things are better, maybe not. If teachers give up on students before those student have had a chance to do their best, it's a failure of the education system, not the students. That's what I'm personally bitching about - the system, not people who can't, but could have learned to spell, because of it.

Mudcat is about communication, and as far as I'm concerned, if I can understand what someone means, I don't care about the spelling. Generalization based on my previous job of scoring tests: younger kids with learning disabilities will write long, sometimes brilliant things that take a bit of time to understand. When they get older, they stop trying. Perhaps this is because they are made to feel stupid - that the spelling is more important than what they have to say. That the spelling is an indicator of intelligence, and the thought behind it is insignificant. People shouldn't be made to feel like that here. I want to read what you have to say.

Those of us who can spell don't understand how someone else can not learn how to spell. We can't get inside other people's brains. Those of us who sing or play an instrument can't understand how anyone can be "tone deaf." There's a time when we have to admit we don't understand and just accept it.

Confession time: I have been known to type words into my e-mail program, or copy and paste whole messages to use the spellchecker. Too bad it doesn't work for grammar and punctuation. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 10:22 AM

The teacher is in an untenable situation. I have nothing but admiration for those who can still communicate the material and fire the passion for learning while living day to day in a less than prime envioronment and within the many rules and parameters set by the systems. The best tend to move on to retain their sanity. The greats who stay are special people.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 10:46 AM

Oh, thank you Andres!! A great addition to my parrot story!! It's too bad my Spanish teacher is gone, he would really have appreciated that one! Gives a whole new dimension to "Vivo?" Oh dear, LOL here, sides hurt!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: kendall
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 11:25 AM

I think it's a republican plot...they need to have a steady supply of illiterate people who will work for minimum wage so we can buy .99c hamburgers, thereby making them rich..
Seriously.. Mbo, I have a grand daughter who is quite bright. At the age of 8 she read Great Expectations. However, she still says "like" every other word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Illiteracy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 11:35 AM

"I have a grand daughter who is quite bright." She sounds it, kendall - bilingual as well as a good reader!

The thing is languages change. Imagine being a Roman and seeing how all these barbarians were dropping the declensions and conjugations, and destroying the whole structure and sound of a wonderful language. Must have seemed heartbreaking, all that dumbing down....


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