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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.