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Raymund Phule (Fireproof)
Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

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Location: San Diego California
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Posted:I know there are several parents, even teachers here and I saw something on the news that made be wonder...

What do yall consider to be the most important thing that your children/students learn while in school?

My personal opinion is that the current courses in our (our being US) dont have the actual classes that are important.

I am not saying that the basics arnt important, I just feel that there are somethings that get left out, that shouldnt be.

I'll go into further deatail later, I would like to hear what yall think first


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frostypaw
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Posted:quote:Anyway, in response to Pele, I see where you're coming from, but from experience I think that life skills such as those that you mentioned are not something to be taught in school (directly),the whole what should be taught at school and what by parents thing is a great minefield - let's go in

one idea i had which i wondered about and thought might be quite cool was for the schools to teach the basics - eg. the maths - and parents to teach the complex bit - eg. how to manage your own finances. Might help kids learn to respect their parents, and reemphasises parent's importance in their kid's education


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Posted:i think its important to have a balance of all the basic subjects - math english science history geography art music and PE

but in addition languags should be taught from a young age - i personnal find it difficult to learn other languages im useles at english as it is, and didnt start studying them till i was 12, i feel if i had been taught them at a younger age it may have been easier for me to grasp.

i was taught life skills at school - this delt with subjects from the birds and bees talk to being bullied to sexual assult etc.

we were also taught home ec - this delt with dealing with you personal 'house hold finances' to how to cook a nutritious meal - i know sooo many people who cant cook and well its a basic need in life to eat!

i also think afterschool activities are important, it allows a child to thrive in an area they're interested in, in turn boosting there confidence, it also keeps them off the streets.

i also think that exams should be gotten rid of, so many intelligent people loose it under exam pressure and screw up on their exam and are then branded an idiot until they prove themselves again. i screwed up my GCSE's but managed to get into the 6th form college i wanted to go to. the course i took was one where you are continually assest, you were also given a project and left to sort out your own time management etc of course the tutors were there to help you along if you need it.

i think the student teacher relationship is hugely important - learning should be fun and not a chore, my teachers were like friends in a way that we looked up to and respected and they were funny. i could have gone to any of my teachers at school if i had had a problem (obviously you have your favourites)

parents also hold a reponsibility to educate the children,


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Kaji
Kaji

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Location: Vansterdam
Member Since: 12th Dec 2002
Total posts: 564
Posted:in order of importance

- English
- Math/Calc
- Science
- Focused vocational training ( in area of interest ie: a set of 3 or so classes that are set out as a group. for example students interested in computer science would take a class in Computer programming (preferably in C++ or Java), in hardware something like MCSE, A+ etc (and industry standard cert), and in networking and sys admin something like CCNA or CCNP (again industry standard cert). If they were to do this starting in grad 11 when they graduate high school they'd leave with a cert in there area of choice.)
They have already begun doing this in my city in partner ship with the University. I am fine product of this program. And am now persuing a Bach of Applied Science in Computer Eng. at UCC and will be tranfering to UBC or BCIT next year.


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Matthew B-M
Matthew B-M

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Posted:quote:- Focused vocational training ( in area of interest ie: a set of 3 or so classes that are set out as a group. for example students interested in computer science would take a class in Computer programming (preferably in C++ or Java), in hardware something like MCSE, A+ etc (and industry standard cert), and in networking and sys admin something like CCNA or CCNP (again industry standard cert). If they were to do this starting in grad 11 when they graduate high school they'd leave with a cert in there area of choice.)Right, I think this is an utterly crazy idea. Anyone with any hiring sense knows that an MCSE is pretty much meaningless, and a CCNA and CCNP are not much better. (CCIE on the other hand, but that's a different story). It is worth pointing out at this point that a Computer Science degree (emphasis mine) is based on more than just "can you write C++ or Java" neither of which are languages I particularly like, not to mention that I don't think schoolkids necessarily have the maturity to write decent maintainable code.

The point about schooling is to teach you the groundings so that when you start doing things which are vocational, you don't need to go over basic things (such as how to add numbers), and primarily goes into such things as how you break the problems down, and how you can build bigger solutions out of smaller pieces, and very much more so, how to identify where the edge cases are such that this doesn't work, and you have to approach the problem in a different way. Even then, that is not necessarily what one is taught in vocational courses. I don't, for the most part, think that vocational courses have a place until about age 16 or so.

I think another thing that I forgot to add was that it was possible to do my A-Level physics syllabus (getting on for 10 years ago) without knowing any calculus. I regard this as a deplorable situation, in terms of where the starting point for the University is.


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telic
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Member Since: 26th Jun 2003
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Posted:quote:Originally posted by onewheeldave:
quote:Originally posted by regyt:
[QUOTE]Whoa there. Our spelling, while complex, has a purpose! It's not just about sounds. Different spellings reflect different etymologies and morphemes. Our spelling system is rich with information! Simplified spelling would lose all of that. How terrible that would be. I'm not entirely sure what you mean here.

Could you give some specific examples of the kind of info that would be lost? Sure. ^^ Here's an example:

Take a look at "sign". Sounds the same as "sine", but very different meanings. Now look at "signet". "Sign" as part of "signet" sounds completely different from "sign" as its own word, and thus would presumably be spelled differently with simplified spelling. But a signet is an authenticating seal, a sign of ownership. The meanings are related, and it is indicated only in the spelling, not in the sound of the words. This is exactly what I fear would be lost.

Or other examples:

"aur" and "or" sound the same, and I'd guess that "or" would be the simplified version used for that sound. However, they're used differently in words. "aur" indicates a meaning relating to hearing or ears or sound. If we replaced "aur" with "or", we might end up with an oracle instead of an auricle, or oral instead of aural (I'm resisting dirty pun urges here).

"Re" when used as indicating the subject line is pronounced "ree" and "re" as part of "reification" is pronouned "ray". But they're the same word, both come from the latin "res" meaning "thing". The subject is the thing about which we write. "Reification" is treating ideas as material objects. If we spelled them differently, according to their pronunciations, we'd lose the connection between them.

And an example of it happening already:

A typical possessory land estate is called a "fee simple". Fee, the spelling would indicate, has something to do with what it costs. But not so! I believe that it's actually related to a fiefdom. Very few people know this, because someone simplified the spelling way back when and the information was lost.


E pluribus unum, baby.

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Kaji
Kaji

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Location: Vansterdam
Member Since: 12th Dec 2002
Total posts: 564
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Matthew B-M:
It is worth pointing out at this point that a Computer Science degree (emphasis mine) is based on more than just "can you write C++ or Java"
I agree on that point entirly. But it would sure be nice to walk into a university comp science class and not have to sit through: "And who can tell me what a CPU is." (which should be completly phucking obvious) or sitting through 3 50 min lectures on primitive data types. or 4 lectures on objects and events. or (I'm paraphrasing) "yes we think your so stupid that we're only going to teach you how to use a language meant for programming coffe machines (I don't have a high opinion of Java) And that we don't even expect you to understand what your doing.

quote:Originally posted by Matthew B-M:
"can you write C++ or Java" neither of which are languages I particularly like
just out of curriosity which do you like. I like VB because of it's rapid app dev nature. But I like C++ alot more. It's more versitial and scalable. As well it is far more powerful allowing you to get the closest to the system with out going into architecture based assembly. C++ is also a gnu/opensource compiler. so it is free to everyone. and availible for almost every system still in use. (Win, dos, UNIX, Linux, BSD, BEos, solus, minix, mac, vax/vms, OS/2, Palm, etc...)

quote:Originally posted by Matthew B-M:
not to mention that I don't think schoolkids necessarily have the maturity to write decent maintainable code.
This is exactly the problem that this program I have described is trying to get rid of. Today high school students are treated like helpless little babies. I think this is the worst effect of public ed. Yes grade 8's are children and should be treated as such. But grade 11's and 12's are not. In Canada most high school students reach the age of magority (18) before they grad. That means they can vote. Why are we treating voting members of society like children. It's time to start treating all grade 11's and 12's like University students and adults (not just those in special programs). While they still have time and the freedom to fail, make mistakes, and just generally screw up. Instead of introducing this concept of being an adult in University when screwing up can cost you very dearly in a system thats not forgiving. Where the prof's don't care why that project wasn't done. And if you have mono and can't come to class: "I'll be seeing you next sem"

In short Early training/responsiblity is a must for succes later in life. The system I described does both very well. It is also worth noting that in my city all students will on this system with in the next 5-7 years. With the adition of on the job experience in grade 12. I guess this is why Canadian ed is valued over any other system of ed in the world in most countries.

[ 05. October 2003, 21:26: Message edited by: Frost ]


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Carpal \'Tunnel
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Member Since: 21st Aug 2001
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Posted:Ok guys - this turned out to be longer than I intended. Cheers to anyone who reads all of it. For the rest of you, there are several subjects addressed, so just skim till you find one you are interested in.

I think the most important thing to teach chilren is philosophy. Not philosophy like Hegel, Kant, Marx, or whatever, but rather to teach them how to develop their own philosophy - to think for themselves, find the meaning in their life, and to be able to put experiences into a context that works for their lives.

However, is it a school's place to do this? A school is usually a government sponsored forum. Not sure I want government teaching my kids how to think (because they are more likely to try to teach them what to think). Therefor it is up to the family and especially the parents to teach their children the most important things. A formal school is best at teaching technical, and therefor (in a sense) logical things. These things can be agreed on by a large group of people. Things more subjective are quickly argued over and cannot effectly be brought into a realm that is supposed to be for the education of all. Someone or some group will always complain far too loudly. Subjective topics are best taught at home. Unfortunately, far too many parents have the attitude that schools should teach their children everything and that themselves have little responsibility to teach their child anything. In reality, school should be looked at as a supplimentry education, teaching the technical things that parents cannot be complete masters of in all fields, while the principle education of how to live your life should be taught at home.

As an occasional teacher myself (college level physics), I have to agree that most education systems are too test based. In fact, I quite prefer teaching graduate level classes where I am under no particular pressure to give exams. I feel that requiring students to do detailed projects or give presentations is far more conducive to them actually learning the subject and generally getting the point.

But then when you have 50 people or more taking a course just because it is a prerequisite and who have to worry about 4 or 5 other courses that same semester, there is little you can do to judge who bothered to learn what except through testing. There just isn't enough time enough in the class or their lives for presentations or in depth projects in such a case.

As far as when to teach kids what - I think the sooner the better, especially for things like reading. Kids have an enourmous capacity for learning, and by the time you are 11, that ability is already starting to wane. Once I learned to read well (around 6 or 7 so), you couldn't get books out of my hands. My parents had to yell at me in the middle of the night to stop reading and go to sleep. I could never deny any child that potential pleasure. Plus children WANT to learn to read most of the time. Furthermore, I don't think modern society could support itself if we arrested all children's education in such a way that we didn't allow them to read until age 11. And I've been to plenty of places where most people don't know how to read or ever got much of an education, and I don't see them healing themselves any more effectively than anyone else. They may be happier on average in a remote village here in Africa, but that is because their lives are uncomplicated. but they also have to haul water, in some cases, a kilometer or more back to their house a couple times a day, scrounge up enough straw to cook dinner, and watch like 1/3 of their children die. You are not going to make a child's life any less complicated by not teaching him to read till he is 11. Quite the opposite is true if he lives in any place where an education is essential (ie, if he is going to be anything other than a sustinance level farmer).

concerning the spelling discussion going here, here is what I have to say. English speaking countries have "spelling bees". It is quite prestigious for a child to win the national spelling bee in the States. Germany does not have spelling bees. If you can't spell in German, you are a moron. German has hard rules about spelling that are rarely violated (and when they are, it is in a foriegn word thay have adopted). It is efficient for sure, but then if you know both German and English, you can see advantages in both methods. English is much more flexible in many ways because the rules (for spelling and other things) are not so strict. In a way, this gives more power for expression.

as for not having "another generation running around saying 'yall'", I think it would be rather boring if everyone spoke exactly the same english. You know what it means, it doesn't hurt you, and it adds some color. It's bad enough that the whole world will one day be speaking the same language (whether it be english or something else). It would be worse if we all had the same news anchorman accent as well.

In the end, language will find its way. I could care less if the english language is corrupted or whatever, as long as I have some effective means of expressing myself and understanding others. survival of the fittest. english has become the world's predominate language because it is flexible. Due to that quality, it may eventually evolve into something altogether different. So be it! It's not like defacing a priceless work of art - it is merely modifying a tool to fit ever changing needs. Some modifications will fade away due to inefficiency, others will be rapidly adopted because of their usefulness. But in the end there will always be a useable and clear enough language for us to use. So let it be dynamic, and let people experiment with it.


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Dunc
Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands
Member Since: 19th Aug 2003
Total posts: 7263
Posted:I tihnk taht mroe emhpsasis sohuld be sepnt on teahcnig corecrt spelilng to the kdis at shcool. But how imoprtnat is corecrt spelilng anwyay?

Anyone have trouble reading this? Sometimes the things we think are the most important really aren't..it'd take a massive culture change to start teaching the "important" issues at school, if only I was clever enough to think what they are and in the "boys club" so could actually make the changes that are needed!!!


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Matthew B-M
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Posted:Frost: well, since this is vaguely on-topic for the thread, I'll post it in thread rather than in a PM. The Cambridge Computer Science course (which some of my friends did) doesn't assume you've done anything with computers. The first thing they do is to throw you at a language (ML) you've probably never seen before. This is a functional language, and therefore you have to think in a totally different way from imperative programming languages (admittedly more people these days are probably learning scheme and LISP). This has the effect of basically putting everyone in the class at the same level (all beginners at this).

In terms of what I like, personally, that's C in its pure unmangled form, and I like Perl because I've been doing it for so long. Java has its advantages in being nicely cross-platform, but its disadvantages in enforcing one style of programming. C++ can be nice, but because of the wide-ranging syntax (operator overloading and templates come to mind), a large C++ project can often turn into an unmaintainable mess, unless the maintainer happens to think in exactly the same way as the original developer.

I have to agree also with regyt about spelling, I know people who disambiguate "aural" and "oral" in speech, I often do. Given differences in pronunciation such as this, is it worth "simplifying" the spelling such that it no longer works for these people.

Custom Bug: your point is an interesting one, and I think to understand why it's important you have to look not just at what written language does for communication in the present, but what written language does for future generations. Even if we can read it now, imagine, for example, trying to study latin or greek, and thus understand our history, if what had been documented had all been misspelled, or the ability to decode other dead languages if everybody wrote something different. (the ability to understand such things comes from correlation, which can't be done if they're all spelled differently).


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Raphael96
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Member Since: 8th Sep 2002
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Posted:I'll keep this short, on topic, and try not to rant.

History is woefully neglected in schools. Most people are ignorant about their own family history, let alone the history of their country or other countries.
I got my BA in Archaeology and as part of that degree I took tons of Classical history classes. I had always enjoyed learning about ancient cultures growing up, but this was even better since it was in a structured academic setting with a great teacher.
I remember one professor said that when he was an undergraduate he wouldn't date a girl unless she had read Thucydides' "The Peloponnesian War" It seemed funny at the time, but based on how helpful it can be to have similar backgrounds, it makes more sense to me now, though not with that book specifically.

Languages are also neglected in schools. Its a very old joke: What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages? (Bilingual) What do you call someone who speaks 1 language? (American)
This notion that everyone will learn to speak English, or that while travelling if you speak very loudly and very slowly, everyone will understand, is really something which gives Americans a bad name.

Sex Education. I know that many feel that this should be taught in the home. But when both parents have to work 2 jobs and barely have time to see their kids its unreasonable to assume that this will happen. (Thats even assuming that the parents are still together which is rarer and rarer!)
If schools taught basic sex ed. it could reduce the chance that teen pregnancies will happen. ("But I thought that if it was my first time I COULDN'T get pregnant!")

Lastly, I think the simple notion of respect is lacking. This should be taught in the home too, but generally seems left out. People don't respect themselves so they certainly don't respect others.
My parents always said that if we (my siblings and me) were out of the house we were then guests and should behave as such. That applies if we were across the street or around the world.

My 2 centimes.

Raph


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Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas
Member Since: 21st Aug 2001
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Posted:Actually, most americans are taught one or two other languages - we just never get the chance to use them in the states, so they fade rapidly. Language is a case of use it or lose it.

But really Raph, there is no need to bring negative international stereotypes into this thread, is there? What did you say about respect?


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Raphael96
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Posted:quote:Originally posted by vanize:
Actually, most americans are taught one or two other languages - we just never get the chance to use them in the states, so they fade rapidly. Language is a case of use it or lose it.

But really Raph, there is no need to bring negative international stereotypes into this thread, is there? What did you say about respect? Actually, I think it was a good way to illustrate whats wrong with the educational system in the US. Since I'm an American, born and bred, I see nothing wrong with looking at my own country with a critical eye.

Raph


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ViciousVixen
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Member Since: 25th Aug 2002
Total posts: 103
Posted:I agree with Raph and I think maybe another problem is that we Americans aren't taught to look at ourselves with a critical eye. We're taught we're the greatest country in the world so our government policies and actions must be infallible. It's very rare that we encounter someone attempting to show us a better way. Our current administration plays hard on that and uses it against us. They rally people to them with "America, the land of the free" and other such slogans, and justify everything they do in the name of patriotism. So without turning this thread into a completely different topic, I'll repeat what I said earlier. History education in the US should be more "worldly" instead of concentrating on just the US (and it shouldn't be biased towards the US either.)

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Carpal \'Tunnel
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Posted:fair enough - I should have known from the Mark Twain quote I guess.

Taking this thread further off topic: The notion of of speaking english slowly when someone you have run into doesn't have english as a first language is not such a bad idea really. More than 1 in 4 people in this world have some working knowledge of the english language, so there is a fair chance of communicating at least some info in this manner. My spanish sucks (despite the many years of intermittant exposure to it), but I can know what people are trying to tell me if they speak it slowly. I can even more or less understand Afrikaans if someone does this. I agree the extra volume is generally uncalled for though.

But after visiting France a few years ago, I can understand why the French get fed up with english speaking people (namely american tourists, and specifically the older ones), and why the Parisians ignore cues, and a few other things.

Getting back on topic, one last thing I wanted to say was that the primary problem with modern education is that you now spend about 1/4 - 1/3 of your life learning the bare basics of what you need to get by. there is too much to know. To expect a potential lover to have read a certian book out of the hundreds of thousands of worthy books out there is unrealistic. And it is unrealistic to require a mathematician to also be an expert in history though his educational process as well. The day is coming when, for the shear sake of efficiency, we will have to omit anything other than coursory information from other fields in a students study course so that they may have adequate time to even begin to know their field of specialty so that our work force doesn't have to spend 1/2 it's life in school. Even now, European, South African, Japanese, and who knows what other colleges generally require much less cross disciplinary study than American institutions of higher learning. As an undergrad I had to spend nearly a year of course time on history and political science classes. While I am sure this has made me a more well-rounded person, I'm also sure that my skills in my chosen field of physics suffered for it.

Mass education is a system of comprimises. America certainly needs to review the disorganized selection of comprimises it has made, but then so do a lot of other places.


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onewheeldave
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Posted:quote:Originally posted by regyt:
Take a look at "sign". Sounds the same as "sine", but very different meanings. Now look at "signet"...... The meanings are related, and it is indicated only in the spelling, not in the sound of the words. This is exactly what I fear would be lost....

Regyt.

Thanks for your detailed reply, you make a very good point.

As I understand it, you're saying that many modern words are descended from other words, and that the way they are spelt gives clues to their origin, and that this would be lost if spelling was simplified.

I fully agree here; I have encountered many instances when some subtle aspect of a word has jumped out at me and my understanding of that word, and where it came from, has become clearer.

Where we differ is that, on balancing the cons of simplified spelling against the pros, I believe that simplified spelling is preferable.

Firstly, concerning the subtle lost meanings; I agree it is a sacrifice.

But bear in mind that the nature of these meanings are that they are hidden; it takes effort to find them.

If simplified spelling was the norm, then the people interested in researching this aspect would simply have to 'dig deeper', those aspects could still be discovered as original spelling would be preserved in the same way that old English has been; as that is what they like to do it's not necessarily a big problem.

Most importantly, look at what is in the balance here- on one side is the subtleties of historical aspects of the language, on the other are the millions of lives damaged by those who are, to some extent, excluded from normal life by the fact that written English is far more difficult to learn than it needs to be.

You and me, and many others who post here, are the lucky ones. Our grasp of written English is so good than we have the luxury of being able to examine subtle aspects of the words we use and their historical origins.

The millions of less fortunate, who can't read a book, or a newspaper, or get a decent job, or, in many cases, have any self respect; do not have that luxury.

As you seem to have an interest in history, I'm sure you are aware that written language skills have historically been a prime criteria to seperate the 'peasant' from the elite; i.e. as a tool of exclusion.

Things have progressed, now everyone is supposed to have access to the skill of writing, but, due to the fact that spelling is illogical and inconsistent in its rules, many are excluded.

Western civilisation is at a point where it can put into practice its claimed ideals of equality and non exclusion, by making it's written languages logical and truly accessible to all.


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woodnymph
woodnymph

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Posted:has any one here read "Riddley Walker" by Russell Hoban?It's written as words sound,set in a post apocalyptic england.Totally irrelevant(apart from the language debate)i know....

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onewheeldave
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Posted:quote:Originally posted by woodnymph:
has any one here read "Riddley Walker" by Russell Hoban?It's written as words sound,set in a post apocalyptic england.Totally irrelevant(apart from the language debate)i know.... Sounds interesting, I've not read it but did some net searches.

I'm not sure it's much like simplified spelling cos I found this exerpt: -

"I cud feal it in the guts and barrils of me. You try to make your self 1 with some thing or some body but try as you wil the 2ness of every thing is working agenst you all the way. You try to take holt of the 1ness and it comes in 2 in your hans. (p. 149)^

and it seems a bit selective over the words it's changed i.e. you, your,make aren't spelt the way they sound.

It sounds like an intriguing plot though and I'm going to look out for it at the library.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Matthew B-M
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Posted:See also the Iain M Banks novel "Feersum Endjinn". I found it really painful to read after a while.

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Rozi
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Posted:quote:You and me, and many others who post here, are the lucky ones. Our grasp of written English is so good than we have the luxury of being able to examine subtle aspects of the words we use and their historical origins.

The millions of less fortunate, who can't read a book, or a newspaper, or get a decent job, or, in many cases, have any self respect; do not have that luxury.

As you seem to have an interest in history, I'm sure you are aware that written language skills have historically been a prime criteria to seperate the 'peasant' from the elite; i.e. as a tool of exclusion.
I understand the point you are making. I too agree that we are seeing this from the perspective of the elite in our society.

And yet there is something in me that says more than just the historical meanings of words will be lost. I believe a lot of the power and poetry of words will be lost, and whilst this may seem like an elite thing, it is not. There is a certain amount of "gaming" or "playing" with words that is reliant upon subtleties of meaning. Much humour and wit is gained from this element.

Which leads me to another thought. Poetry, wit and humour is about playing with language, bending and even breaking the rules. This has been done for a very long time in all levels of society, more often through spoken word than written.

Perhaps the problem begins when we view and teach the rules as "rules". We almost use it as a grading mechanism too, that says "if you don't get these rules, you cannot advance to the next level". We teach these things as "you must do this", instead of saying "this is the effect you create when you do this, how about you give it a go?".

If instead we teach these things as guides, and also explain where they have developed from and why. And if we don't just teach the most advanced texts to the most advanced students, we might bring back some love into learning literature, instead of making it a chore.

I have a good friend with a learning disability, a terrific memory and a thirst for knowledge. I read what he writes for his ideas, not for his spelling. When he feels comfortable enough that his spelling won't be a barrier to people trying to understand his meaning, then he is prepared to play with his words and create witty and brilliant phrases and concepts.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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telic
I don't want a title.

Member Since: 26th Jun 2003
Total posts: 940
Posted:quote:Originally posted by onewheeldave:
Most importantly, look at what is in the balance here- on one side is the subtleties of historical aspects of the language, on the other are the millions of lives damaged by those who are, to some extent, excluded from normal life by the fact that written English is far more difficult to learn than it needs to be. You do make an excellent point. (And I truly appreciate this civil debate.) It is a terrible thing to exclude someone from literacy. I would rather have my left arm cut off than lose the ability to read and write, so you see how illiteracy upsets me. And yes, poetry and beauty and history must be balanced against the strong interest in making writing accessible to the masses. I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. However, I feel that (a) to lose so much through simplified spelling would lessen the value of literacy to those who gained it, and (b) there are better ways of making literacy more available.

I've already explained what I think would be lost, and I agree with what Rozi said as well. I count those things as valuable to everyone, not only the elite. I feel that to become literate and not have that treasure waiting for you would be a lessened prize. And personally, I think it is always better to raise people up than bring standards down. So I'll move straight on to my point (b).

Would simplified spelling actually make a significant difference in making literacy more accessible to those less fortunate than we've been? I think not. I think that if reading/writing were taught differently, the rules would not seem to obscure or confusing. Rozi made a few good suggestions on this point.

Of course, the people you're worrying about won't have access to the better teachers. So my point is a bit moot. But if we simplify the rules, the next generation won't have any chance at all at learning complex spelling, taught well.

Don't simplify spelling - instead, as they learn to read, instill also in children the idea that it is a sacred duty to pay it forward. Someone taught you to read. Teach someone else. Teach them complex spelling, teach them the rules. Take the time. I honestly think you're exaggerating how difficult it is to learn to spell words correctly a majority of the time. If people were taught as children that they owed it to their teachers to pay it forward, and gave some help to others, anyone could learn to spell reasonably well. Those millions of people you speak of don't need to perfect spelling; reasonable will suffice for everyday literacy. Perfect spelling is for geeks like us.

Also, I think we should allow even the unfortunate to learn to grasp the poetry and history of written English. I don't want to push that even further out of their reach by making it accessible only through difficult research.


E pluribus unum, baby.

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frostypaw
Great balls of fire
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Member Since: 28th Jul 2003
Total posts: 643
Posted:quote:and it seems a bit selective over the words it's changed i.e. you, your,make aren't spelt the way they sound.but they might be spelt the way they sound to the writer though....

that's the problem with a "spell it how it sounds" style language - people say things differently!

i say "film" an irish person says "filum" - which is right? Both are...

i say "my", a stereotypical southwest england accent would be "moie"...

all of that regionality would be lost too.

btw - i do recommend 'feersum enjinn' - it's very good.


I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by frostypaw:
quote:and it seems a bit selective over the words it's changed i.e. you, your,make aren't spelt the way they sound.but they might be spelt the way they sound to the writer though....

...i say "film" an irish person says "filum" - which is right? Both are...

i say "my", a stereotypical southwest england accent would be "moie"...

all of that regionality would be lost too.

No one pronounces 'you' and 'your' the way they're spelt though.

As for regionality, it wouldn't be lost; in fact it'd probably be strenghened. At present regionality is expressed only in spoken form, current spelling is oblivious to it.

If, along with simplified spelling, there was an overall relaxation in the insistence on 'correct' spelling, it's likely that regional variations would occur in spelling as well.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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frostypaw
Great balls of fire
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Member Since: 28th Jul 2003
Total posts: 643
Posted:quote:As for regionality, it wouldn't be lost; in fact it'd probably be strenghened. At present regionality is expressed only in spoken form, current spelling is oblivious to it.Now yer back onto Shakespeare - that's all from the days before the English Dictionary - and that's exactly how language used to work then - people wrote down what they said and how they said it

and if ya ask any historian for that period it's a nightmare trying to work through the literature and people's writing as it's all different

then try and explain all the regional differences to the poor person who's trying to learn how to read....


I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by frostypaw:
...people wrote down what they said and how they said it

...and if ya ask any historian for that period it's a nightmare trying to work through the literature and people's writing as it's all different

But surely, given that the whole point of simplified spelling is that words are spelt the way they're pronounced, confusion is almost impossible?

For example, assuming that you've not seen this before: -

'your book'

you'll have difficulties pronouncing it correctly, whereas:-

'yor buk'

is totally clear.

The problem you refer to is partly due to dealing with language spoken centuries ago, and partly because everyone splet things differently.

If simplified spelling is adopted in the education system then it will have a standard form of spelling, where words are pronounced exactly as they are spelt.

the only variations will involve some of the regional differences that have been mentioned.

The whole point of simplified spelling is to minimise the confusion that exists at the moment with our current spelling system.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Rozi
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Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Member Since: 11th Jan 2002
Total posts: 2996
Posted:But if you add in the regional factor you may have yaw, yor & yar, as well as book, buk, & boowk. Accents would change it. You would still have to decide on one spelling in the end, and not everyone's accent would fit it. And so the problem would start over.

Have you ever read any Bill Bryson on regional dialects developed in the UK & USA? Have a read, it is really interesting stuff.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

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