On Thursday 06 March 2003 5:24 pm, John Cowan wrote: > Mike Ellis scripsit: > > 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. > > Evidence? Lots of highly cultured people have had trouble learning the > maggelitous spelling of English. As for reading for enjoyment, that's > a matter of environment. Kids read iff their parents do. > > > 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. > > Umm, how about orderliness, forceful argument, coherence, appropriate > use (and acknowledgement) of sources? Microsoft Word can't do anything > about deficiencies in those, and they are a *lot* more important than > social shibboleths about "between you and I". What you are talking about > is the analogue of grading math homework on how well the students make > their 2's (I'm not talking about being downright illegible here). > > > 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. > > English teachers used to have a theory of English grammar that > they taught. When scientific linguistics arose as a discipline, it > pointed out that the existing grammar theory was N.F.G. and seriously > misrepresented what English was all about. English teachers stopped > teaching it, and have been waiting for a replacement for decades now. > Linguists, for reasons of their own, have not been forthcoming. I have a feeling we are heading into an age something like the middle-ages. Everyone made their own orthography, and the grammar was the same as the spoken one. I hope we are, anyway. It would make things a lot more interesting.