Print

Print


On Thursday 06 March 2003 4:29 pm, Mike Ellis wrote:
> Tristan wrote:
> >Mike Ellis wrote:
> >> "We don't correct spelling. It hinders students' creativity."
>
>   The sad thing is that the attitude I quoted above is actually catching
> on. The result is that the kids, by not being forced to learn the right way
> to spell, have more difficulty learning to *read* the language. That's why
> they don't bother reading books for enjoyment anymore. We set them up for
> illiteracy from the start.
>
> >The written language is the tool of the people, not vice-versa.
>
>   So anything the kids use between themselves is correct? Should the class
> teach the teacher how to spell? They are after all, on the cutting edge of
> what's current in the language. I don't think so. If correct use of the
> language and spelling are not criteria for grading an English assignment,
> what criteria are there at all? Remember we're talking about English class,
> not Creative Writing.
>
> >> "Next year we won't correct wrong answers in math either."
> >
> >Ah, but the method is more important than the answers! :P
>
> Without the correct answers, you still fail the test. Try it.
>
> >> "Let's face it, we're nothing anymore but babysitters. We've had your
> >> kid six hours a day for twelve years and he still says 'with she and I'.
> >> We give up."
> >
> >Highly unlikely that they'd ever do it. And if idiot (that's my opinion
> >at least!) prescriptivists never told people to say 'no! It's not "me
> >and him"! It's "he and I"!', that kind of thing would never happen in
> >the first place, so it's the correction that's causing the error :P
>
>   The problem is not correction alone, it's correction between people who
> don't actually know what a subject or an object *is*. These things are not
> taught anymore.
>   When people do not know how thier language works, it is more difficult to
> learn how other languages work. Back in grade ten (yes, that is what tenth
> grade is called here, don't even *think* about that tangent) I had to give
> up trying to explain Japanese word order to a fellow student who had been
> asking me some questions about the language. He didn't know what subject
> and object are. His *universe* was SVO, and English word order was to him
> the correct chronological representation of events. "Well why don't they
> just say it the right way around, so you don't have to remember all that
> stuff?" Sigh.
>   I remember my teacher tried to teach us the "he and I" vs. "him and me"
> difference in grade twelve. So she had to introduce all the concepts of
> subject, object, object of a preposition, etc. Which had been completely
> left out of the curriculum up until that point. Get this: walking home, I
> remember hearing one student tell the other "no, it's *always* 'he and I'.
> We just learned that today."

Maybe Linguistics should be taught, but in a descriptivist sense, not a
prescriptivist.  Maybe people should be taught to analyse their own language,
not the language of the victorians.  And, incidentally, we learnt what a verb
is, what a noun is, what a subject is, what the passive voice is, and so on
in the primary school.