News Archive - 2015 (114)
Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins. Noah Webster, Jr. collected words. He did not save just the words, of course, but also their meanings and spellings. His collection became the basis of today’s American English.
English speakers know that their language is odd. So do nonspeakers saddled with learning it. The oddity that we all perceive most readily is its spelling, which is indeed a nightmare. In countries where English isn't spoken, there is no such thing as a spelling bee. For a normal language, spelling at least pretends a basic correspondence to the way people pronounce the words. But English is not normal.
Third-grade students throughout San Joaquin County still struggle with mastering reading skills needing for future academic success according to the University of the Pacific’s fourth-annual San Joaquin Literacy Report Card. Only 27 percent of San Joaquin third-graders showed grade-level proficiency on literacy portions of California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CASPP), the state test that measures student achievement against the new Common Core standards. Statewide, 38 percent of third-graders did. In Lodi Unified School District, 31 percent of third-graders scored at or above grade level in English Language Arts.
First, I’d like to thank the BND and reporter Will Buss for finally spelling the name of Belleville’s new German restaurant and beer hall correctly last Wednesday — Hofbräuhaus — with the umlaut correctly placed over the first a. In fact, I am taking the article to my German class tonight to show my students how the BND does listen to its readers when they point out mistakes. I have also emailed my fellow area German teachers about the umlaut appearing. This is a big deal for a little group of teachers!
A version of this post originally appeared on the Tedium newsletter
"The orthography of our language is extremely irregular; and many fruitless attempts have been made to reform it," Webster argued in an introductory essay. "The utility and expedience of such reform have been controverted, and both sides of the question have been maintained with no inconsiderable zeal." Webster attempted to scale back the complexities that pockmarked the English language at the time, while calling out "the corruption of language by means of heedless writers." For example, it didn't make sense to him that "colour" had a u in it, so he just removed it. Likewise, it seemed strange that "publick" had the extra k, so off it went.
It's [sic] derogatory term was "Chinglish", it's around 200 years old and has been a dominant mode of communication between Chinese and the world until now
American Associate Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, Jonathan Stalling has created Sino-English, a new alphabet for 350 million Chinese across the globe that may be struggling to learn English. As a specialist in Chinese-English poetry and language Dr. Stalling is utilising ancient poetics to help Chinese speakers to learn spoken English more efficiently. His invention has world-wide applications.
Phonics are the basis of learning to read in any language that uses an alphabet. The research evidence from Clackmannanshire supports a phonic approach in the earliest stages of reading, so that children can gain a solid base in using the links between letters and sounds and learning to blend. Ruth Miskin’s Ditties do this too. There is no irregularity in them, so the new learner can practise with no distractions. What the teacher says, works.
In avoiding the clutches of American English in his latest outing, 007 lands a lexical blow that keeps the British end up. But is there a wider agenda at work?
James Bond has done Her Majesty some service, not least by promoting her realm’s pluck and resourcefulness in 24 films. Now, his latest big-screen adventure has dealt her a further favour. It is a crushing victory for the Queen’s English over its upstart colonial rival.
Starting today, you will no longer read about e-mail or Web sites in The Washington Post. Or open-mike nights or Wal-Mart. Here, as in much of the written-word world, you will see email and website and Walmart. Microphones will be mics. Why did we wait so long to make the changes? As the keeper, more or less, of The Post’s style manual, I’ll tell you why: because the new spellings were wrong.
Yes, this article is about some of the longest English words on record. No, you will not find the very longest word in English in this article. That one word would span about fifty-seven pages. It’s the chemical name for the titin protein found in humans. Its full name has 189,819 letters. Would you like to hear it pronounced? One man helpfully sounds it out in a YouTube video, but pop some popcorn before you get started! It will take you over three hours to watch—it’s just slightly shorter than the film Gone with the Wind. Dictionaries omit the name of this protein and many other long words. Obviously, dictionaries have space constraints, and the average person would have no need to know the technical names of chemicals. Still, there are plenty of lengthy words in dictionaries. Let’s take a moment to appreciate a few of them.
IN Friday’s Hear All Sides, Malcolm Bateson suggests that “British English is a glorious asset but let’s keep it simple”. English grammar and structure may be so, in that we have lost the absurdity of having a gender ascribed to all objects with differing endings to adjectives and different forms of “the” and “a”, and we have lost most of our verb endings. For example: I run, we run, you run, they run, are all the same. In some respects English is simple but what of its spelling and pronunciation?
On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, Grammarly will participate in #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to celebrating and encouraging giving around the world. Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired people to improve their local communities, donate to charities, and help create a better world.
You don’t hear mathematicians defend poor arithmetic. You do see them using calculators. If you use the written word to communicate, you should reach for a dictionary or style guide just as readily. Otherwise, you risk looking like an idiot.
Independant', 'Millenium', 'Busines', 'Fourty' and 'Managment' are among the misspelled words to be found in registered UK company names
Can you spot the problems with Millenium Falcons Ltd, Rythym Of The Night Productions and Elite Global Bussiness Solution Limited? The answer, of course, is that they have words spelled incorrectly in their registration with Companies House.
There is an old saying that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language.” No one knows exactly who said this, but it reflects the way many Brits feel about American English. My British friend still tells me, “You don’t speak English. You speak American.” But are American and British English really so different?
Despite the disparaging of young people and social media, we've overlooked the fact Gen Y is actually communicating - meaningfully, with complexity, and with empathy
See, despite the disparaging of young people and their obsession with social media, what we seem to have overlooked in this explosion of hand-held communication is that this is the most text-based generation in history. This generation is reading more. It's writing more. And it's comprehending more. And despite the snide "they never talk to each other" comments and the seeming disjuncture between communication devices which, to many, appear to deny human interaction, they are actually communicating - meaningfully, with complexity, and with empathy.
Phonics, or teaching reading, writing and spelling through sounds, is often touted as the golden path to reading and writing. National curricula in England and Australia have been rejigged to increase their focus on phonics, and entrepreneurs and publishers have rushed to fill the space with phonics programs and resources.
Sorry National Spelling Bee winners, but your skill of spelling is useless. In contemporary society, technology is ubiquitous. Our commonly shared short attention span has been cut even shorter due to the autocorrect feature. The days of people using a common dictionary to look up a word are gone. They just Google it on their phones now.
Thanks to our pronunciation rules, when you do algebra on the alphabet, everything reduces to 1
A group of mathematicians recently proved that every letter of the alphabet can be reduced to 1.
Do Hong Kong people prefer American English or British English? I don't know for sure. People in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the mainland seem to prefer American English. Some years ago, I saw an advertisement in an English- language Taiwanese newspaper looking for English teachers with an American accent. People in former British colonies, such as Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia, and New Zealand continue to use British spellings. Hong Kong was a British colony but is now a part of China. Should it continue to use British English or should it drift (move slowly) towards American English? Readers have, from time to time, asked me why I use American spelling as the default (normal, preferred, automatic) spelling and put the British spelling in brackets.
Raise your hand if you pronounce the last letter of the alphabet ‘zed’ instead of ‘zee.’ What about colour versus color — do you spell it the first way or the second? Do you refer to the road less travelled, with two l’s or the road less traveled with one? Do you recognize where we’re going with this, or recognise it with an 's'?
PRONOUNCING ‘bourgeois’ was your Achilles’ heel,” remarked an erstwhile colleague, now retired, at a recent dinner party. He was referring to my association with him way back in 1976 when he and I were posted with the CID. Front organisations of the Communist parties having been assigned to me for a watch, I had to often use the word in my interaction with him.
Why is the word “meen” different from the word “glack”? A 1971 experiment showed that you will linger over the first and dismiss the second. But maybe it’s a bit more complicated. If you think you’ve gotten over the practice of sounding words out, you’re probably wrong. Although people watching you read will see you read silently and without moving your lips, part of you is still sounding out the words.
“This isn’t a pattern that we saw coming.”
Bad news for America’s schools: Student achievement in math and reading is on the decline, according to National Assessment of Education Progress scores released Wednesday. The National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP — called the Nation’s Report Card — is an exam given to fourth-grade and eighth-grade students throughout the country by the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education. While students’ scores have increased overall since the 1990s, results released Wednesday show a slight decline between 2013 and 2015.
Speaking Canadian isn’t just about “aboot” and ending every question with “eh?” (Using “eh” awkwardly is a hallmark of Americans asking you about your trip to Canada). After living for six weeks in Vancouver, B.C., on exchange with the University of British Columbia, I’ve picked up on quite a few Canadianisms the average American may not be familiar with. To me the most striking — and therefore, this week’s word — is “zed:” the 26th letter of the alphabet.
If you’re a writer or an editor or a grammar nerd, or if you just happen to do a lot of reading about technology and you’ve been around for a while, you may have noticed a trend for the word “Internet” to be written with a lower-case “i” instead of capital “I”. The process is called decapitalization, but “internet” is nothing new.
Friday, October 16, the birthday of Noah Webster, Revolutionary patriot, lexicographer, and spelling reformer, is commemorated as Dictionary Day. So that you should not be taken by surprise, here are some remarks to prepare you for the occasion.
“Change is inevitable,” as Benjamin Disraeli pointed out. “Change is constant.” Ain’t it though? Once, for example, “ain’t” was considered proper grammar. The American Heritage Dictionary’s marvelous “Usage Notes” for “ain’t,” which read in part, “ain’t has a long history of controversy. It first appeared in 1778, evolving from an earlier ‘an’t,’ which arose almost a century earlier as a contraction of ‘are not’ and ‘am not.’
“The spelling ‘alright’ is incorrect. It is always ‘all right.’ All right?” I am quoting myself as I used to speak to my “Opportunity English” class, which I taught for many years. It was called “Opportunity English” because the students had flunked a regular English class and this was their opportunity to get a required English credit. For the most part, I enjoyed teaching these guys — the class was nearly all male — because they were no nonsense — no long discussions on some theory of social semantics or debates about deliberate ambiguities in Shakespeare’s poetry.
Whiskers. Tumbler. Crispy Cream. (Imagine if brands obeyed the laws of spelling.) Fruit Loops. Flicker. Fillet of Fish. (Billboards may seem bearable, grocery aisles no longer a place of profound irksomeness.) Blue-Tack. Splendour. Twicks. (Hang on, what's a Twick?) The trend is known as sensational spelling. Aberrations vary from apps (Peeple, Traktor DJ) to rap (Nuthin' But a G Thang), but advertisers as a breed are addicted to the heresy, from our morning bowl of Weet-Bix until Netflix at nite. And if letters haven't been wangled on packaging and posters, grammar is the next victim. Clever outrages include Apple's own mantra ("Think different") to Life. Be In It. (sic). More recently, Monash University declared its campus to be "Where brilliant begins".
Education scholars continue to churn out best practices for literacy instruction, but these practices slowly, if ever, make their way to the hands of educators in the classroom. This grim circumstance is connected to the 56 percent of Philadelphia 4th graders who scored below basic in reading on the 2013 National Assessment for Educational Progress. Sixty percent of these students were African American.
Usually when a reader attacks me over a post, it’s to say that because I have exposed some superstition of usage, I have gone over to the descriptivist, anything-goes crowd. But this week there is a novelty. Yesterday, writing about people who inflate the significance of ordinary misspellings into concern about the decline of civilization, I remarked that reforming English’s monstrous spelling is a chimera, and that struck a couple of nerves in people who think spelling reform is urgent.
The apostrophe is heard rarely, if at all, in spoken English. Commonplace words such as "Bill's" or "it's" sound exactly the same with or without the apostrophe. The argument that the spelling in the spoken word is its pronunciation ignores the frequent disconnect between the two and fails to account for "know" and "no" being pronounced identically, or "right", "write" and "rite", or "fare" and "fair". Different spellings can have the same pronunciation. Equally, the same spelling can have different pronunciations.
Wish they would show this in schools
Rondthaler, a noted typographer who ushered in the method of phototypesetting, was a lifelong advocate of a spelling reform that would impose phonetic spelling of English language, meaning we'd spell words exactly as they sound. He argued it would promote literacy and make English more accessible to foreign speakers. And in this two-minute video, Rondthaler perfectly proves his point.
Rosa was my great-great-grandmother who was an early settler in the Topeka area just like the man she married there, my great-great-grandfather, Charles Engler. [...] At that time she and her family members only spoke French. Although she gave her maiden name as Vascalda, her sister gave their maiden name as Vascalders. Craig and a history professor at Kansas State University both told me this is often evidence of illiteracy or semi-literacy among early immigrants trying to give a spelling for a surname in English.
The other day the vigilant @Mededitor discovered a commentary on “crimes against grammar” by one Michael D. Langan, whose byline identifies him as the Culture Critic for NBC-2.com in southwest Florida. You could click on the link to read it, but it would be a waste of your time. The crimes that exercise Mr. Langan are mainly spelling errors and typographical errors: “Niagra Falls,” “colonnade,” “anniversary.” Accompanying these examples are generalizations about the Decline of Everything whose banality is nicely matched with improbability: “The reasons for the decline of English are many: poorer education, the use of the Internet and its devices, the disappearance of the family and meaningful conversation, etc.” and “When one looks about, capacities such as logical thinking, proper spelling, careful handwriting, politeness, seem to have gone by the board, (not ‘bored.’), in the last twenty-five years.”
Schools in the Nordic country prioritize play in early education
In America, kindergarteners are expected to have a firm grasp on literacy. This is not the case in Finland, where students focus on playtime early in their education and go on to excel in reading anyway.
If you have children who are learning to read, you are most likely going to have heard about synthetic phonics. Many of you might feel confused by them, and not really know what they are, or why they are taught. Being a linguist, a primary school teacher, and a parent who taught my children to read, here is my breakdown for you, explaining why they are worth the effort, and why your child may become a better reader and speller because of them.
Subject pronouns used as object pronouns, homonyms confused with one another, verbs mismatched and participles dangling, not to mention spelling errors — everything for which kids used to get marked down in school has become common on electronic devices and crept into print media.
Advancing tourist literacy in Brazil
Seeing how much trouble tourists have pronouncing Portuguese street names—which is crucial even in major cities like São Paulo, where just 15 percent of taxi drivers understand English—a creative team from two separate agencies came up with "Universal Signs." Isobar copywriter Mariana Albuquerque and Publicis art director Leandro Amaral affixed stickers to street signs indicating how to pronounce them, more or less phonetically. If you still aren't sure, you can scan the QR code to hear an automated voice do it.
Valerie Yule on Spelling Reform
Valerie Yule, an active member of the Spelling Society, posted a comment with blood-curdling statistics. In a study of literacy among twenty “high income” countries, the United States ranked 12th (this, I might add, is better than the situation in mathematics; however, we are certainly high among the nations offering “Math Anxiety” courses). 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level (this is not too bad either; by way of compensation, they can read the texts they send one another every minute; this makes them engaged citizens and saves our society from the accusation of elitism).
Clichés, misspellings and style glitches from this week's Independent, including an explosion in a swamp
A Voices piece on Monday examined Canadian attitudes to Muslim refugees. The immigration minister, it reported, was “desperately trying to claw back any shred of the Canadian Conservative Party’s principals”. That should be “principles”. That is, fundamental maxims of thought or morality. “Principal” is an adjective meaning first in rank or importance, or a noun meaning the head of an organisation, such as a college principal.
The Secretary of State for Education on her new literacy campaign aiming to make children in England the best in Europe at reading
[ speech ] "So we’ve set ourselves an ambitious challenge over the next 5 years: to make children in this country become the most proficient in Europe."
[satire] Hardy K Patelson, an American dad, who was at the forefront of this agitation spoke to FN reporter. He said, “I don’t know how kids of Indian origin do it. I mean some of the words at spelling bee sound as if they haven’t even been invented yet. Still these kids know how to spell them. And these Indian kids have such confusing names. There should be a separate spelling bee just for their names.”
Although the English language is more widely understood and used in this shrinking world than a few decades ago, it’s confusing enough that some immigrants still prefer to speak their native language.
On Wikipedia, editors have spent countless hours arguing over how to conjugate site founder Jimmy Wales' nickname in Latin.
On the gravestone of the former First Minister Ian Paisley it refers to 'Right Honorable The Lord Bannside'. According to English language sticklers it should read 'Honourable' - with a 'u'. Stephen Linstead, the chair of The English Spelling Society, said the spelling used on the controversial former DUP leader's headstone is American English, not British English.
Marcus Mariota has become a household name after his Week 1 performance
He's the talk of the NFL, so how about we make a pact to pronounce his name correctly? Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy. It's not like he just burst onto the football scene. Yet many who are talking of him don't have a handle on the last name, which is pronounced MAR-ee-OH-tah, not MARY-oh-tah. I say it often and still slip at times. What is it about the name that lends itself to such easy mispronunciation?
[subscription] She doesn’t look subversive or radical. She looks more like your favorite grandmother. If she wrapped an apron around her waist, you would smell cookies baking…
The music industry has made a mockery of the English language
The music industry has made a mockery of the English language for years, sometimes as cacography (deliberate comic misspelling), but mostly due to laziness, lack of education or a misguided attempt to sound edgy (put your Bangerz away, Miley!). Fergie was so convinced her fans wouldn’t even be able to pronounce the word ‘duchess’ that she launched her solo career as ‘The Dutchess’. Dolly Parton couldn’t spell ‘limousine’, so her album White Limozeen was released. Ghostface Killah wasn’t a hit at his local spelling bee, either (the clue’s in the name), and his The Big Doe Rehab wasn’t about female deer – he was referring to money, also known by the slang term ‘dough’. Doh! Hasn’t he seen The Sound of Music? Possibly not…
Anirudh Kathirvel, a nine-year-old Indian-origin boy is Australia's new spelling champion after he won the 50,000 dollars 'The Great Australian Spelling Bee' competition. Kathirvel, born in Melbourne to a Tamilian couple won 50,000 dollars education scholarship along with an impressive 10,000 dollars worth goods for his school yesterday.
For most English-speaking tourists, the Icelandic language might be another in a long list of quaint novelties experienced from behind the padding of a tour group decked out in matching rain slickers: a bunch of tongue-air and whisper-sounds in the distance as they learn, in English (that they all speak so well!), about Viking settlers and Hidden People.
Recently announced: The new development at Beechmont and Wolfangle will include the “shoppes” of Anderson. Can’t we utilize modern/regular spelling for creating retail and residential names? This kitschy use of pretentious orthography is by now a cliché and, frankly, rather embarrassing.
Masha Bell has written that, given spell-checkers and smartphones, most people can now produce tolerably literate texts on their own. In her view, the reform is needed mainly because it will facilitate teaching people to read English. This may be true from a practical point of view, but I have some trouble sharing her attitude. Nowadays, we can live happily while knowing nothing about a lot of things. Even the multiplication table is a useless burden on memory; calculators do math better and faster than people. Likewise, geography can be dispensed with; engine drivers and pilots know where to go without asking us for instructions. Older literature is another irritant: too many words, too many pages, and, in general, who cares? So what is left? Technology, medicine, food science, and political activism? English spelling is more archaic than serfdom and should be reformed because it is antiquated to the degree of being stupid.
It’s the LOL generation that appears most annoyed by bad grammar and spelling slips, according to a survey by Dictionary.com. The site found in an online Harris Poll done July 31 to Aug. 4 that 80 percent of American adults 18 and older consider themselves good spellers, but they may be overestimating their abilities.
Ultimately, the goal of the dual language program is to give Carthage High School graduates an edge in the global job market
Ronna Patterson, the principal at Fairview Elementary School, said implementing the dual language program this year means much more than just a change in the building – it's an enrichment and an academic enhancement toward the future. “Students in Carthage have an opportunity to become bi-literate which means they will have the ability to speak, write and read in two languages,” Patterson said.
“Inuit in the circumpolar world are all the same people, and we use the same language"
The Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq group will recommend a shift to Roman orthography for all written Inuktut, following the Aug. 26 conclusion of a summit in Iqaluit that brought together numerous representatives from the Inuktut-speaking world. They’ll present the draft to the National Committee on Inuit Education Sept 9. “Existing writing systems have been imposed on us. Canadian Inuit now have an opportunity to choose and create our own unified writing system,” the draft said.
Don't ban text speak and send the kids to learn the dictionary - academics say the word play may actually help with spelling
University of Waikato linguistics senior lecturer Dr Andreea Calude sometimes gets emails from her university students with text-style abbreviations in them. "I kindly point out to them that's not appropriate for that kind of genre," she said. But she doesn't think parents should be afraid of text slang or social media language wreaking havoc on kids' spelling ability.
The Oxford English Dictionary, associated with one of the world’s most prestigious universities, is on a mission to educate. It announced that manspreading, wine o’clock, and rly—in addition to other commonalities of the cool kid vernacular—have been added to its online database.
If you're butthurt that the English language gets pwned every time some rando at Oxford University Press adds words to the dictionary, I'm here to tell you, bruh, it's NBD, mkay? If you've spent any time conversing online in the past decade, that sentence will make at least some sense to you.
Oxford Dictionaries has added a slew of new words, and let's just say these awesomesauce entries will have you fangirling. Rly.
New words! In the Oxford dictionary! So exciting! If there were only a word to describe just how exciting. Wait, there is … it’s on the list! Awesomesauce! That term, meaning extremely good or excellent, is just one of the couple dozen new words, prhases and acronyms added Thursday to the Oxford Dictionaries online version.
Many terms reportedly 'butthurt' after not being included in the latest update
Oxford Dictionaries is the branch of the Oxford family that focuses on modern language—words that people are using now and how they’re using them—which makes their barriers to entry different than the venerable, historical Oxford English Dictionary. Their new words often arise from fresh technology and pop culture and might include Internet slang (like new entry pwnage) that would get laughed out of the OED’s admittance office.
Advocating the promotion of Sanskrit, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said even foreign scholars have considered it to be one of the most scientific of languages
He said that even NASA, while building a super computer, had said that Sanskrit was the most suitable language for it. "But the irony is that we are getting away from it in India," he said. Mr Singh said that Sanskrit does not have a problem of spelling like other languages, such as English, and was pronounced in a similar manner everywhere. Unlike other languages, where pronunciation varies from region to region, Sanskrit does not have this problem as it is based on sound science, he added.
Mr. Shea is the author of Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation, which provides a useful rebuke to language Cassandras. OMG, you may wonder. Why can’t kids write properly? Well, as he points out, OMG was used as an abbreviation in 1917, in a letter written by a British admiral to Winston Churchill. For those driven bonkers by the use of “like” as a placeholder in conversation, Mr. Shea notes that “well” has long occupied a similar position without anyone getting upset about it (witness the preceding sentence).
In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump opposes what calls the “dumbing down” of school and blames things such as “creative spelling” and “empowerment,” saying he wants schools to challenge students and allow them [sic] to make mistakes. Creative spelling, or inventive spelling, is a pedagogical concept that allows children to spell their words in the way they speak them and then move on to learning how those words are typically spelled in the English language. Those who favor it argue that it fosters self esteem while the child is still learning, that knowledge is formed through our social and cultural context and that students who use inventive spelling may be more creative writers, while those who oppose it say it delays understanding of conventional spelling and requires more of a teacher’s time.
[subscriber only] Dan Newman was not the first to send me a note that confused its and it’s. I see such mistakes every day: in e-mails, in tweets, in texts, in Facebook messages and even in the increasingly rare postal letters I receive. I especially wince when they make it into publication.
“Who’s on First,” the famous dialogue by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello about baseball players with funny names, was first used in 1938 and is still recalled today
Language mixups are common, and even more so when it comes to working in two or more languages. Even big international companies can get into trouble, as did Rolls Royce: they tried to sell their Silver Mist in Germany, where the word mist means manure. And Chevrolet couldn’t push their Nova cars in Latin America because the words no va mean “it doesn’t go.”
In my 37 years of teaching English, I spent many hours with a red pen in my hand, circling misspelled words or writing “sp” above them. All of this was done because of my firmly-held conviction that spelling was important to good communication. And then a few weeks ago, a friend forwarded an e-mail to me which surprised me a lot.
East Paulding Middle School was heavily scrutinized on social media after an image of the large sign, standing just outside the main building, was shared on Facebook and Imgur. “Welcome Back Students. We Are Glad You Are Hear.” The image has been viewed over 1,900 times since it was posted by Imgur user Benjamminator.
This list, although aimed at secondary English teachers, may well be of use to primary colleagues and others. Let me state from the off that I’m not trying to tell anybody how to do their job; I just think that the more we share knowledge and understanding between the two sectors, the less likely we are to fail the children who make the move between us. So here are 10 things that secondary colleagues might not be aware of about English in the new primary curriculum:
Maltese orthography has been the bête noire of Maltese language teaching, detested by pupils and stifling the beauty of our mother tongue as expressed in our rich vocabulary, metaphor and colourful idioms.
Ronna Patterson, the principal at Fairview Elementary School, said implementing the dual language program this year means much more than just a change in the building – it's an enrichment and an academic enhancement toward the future. “Students in Carthage have an opportunity to become bi-literate which means they will have the ability to speak, write and read in two languages,” Patterson said.
Also, if you find tents tense, etymology is on your side
f you're one of those people who packs like a weekend warrior every time you head on a camping trip, you can blame the English language. Those word-birthing Romans conquered half of Europe around the year zero and everywhere they went, they saw only open countryside: what they called campus. Centuries later, English speakers borrowed that word intact to describe the open spaces at a university or other big organization.
[subscriber only] “My spelling is horrendous and embarrassing,” Grant Denyer, host of the Great Australian Spelling Bee, confessed.
The old vowels are ‘oot’: Canadians are changing how we speak, though none of us are noticing. Linguists might know why
Out with “oot.” No more “aboot.” Canada is talking with a New Speak. In a linguistic pivot called the Canadian Vowel Shift, we are pronouncing “God” more like “gawd,” “bagel” like “bahgel,” “pillow” like “pellow,” and “sorry” less like “sore-y.” The word “Timbit” is becoming “Tembet,” and “Dan slipped on the staircase” now sounds more like “Don” “slept” on it. First discovered in 1995, the new vowels are contagious, spreading rapidly from Victoria to St. John’s, where linguists are mapping the frequency of people’s voices and using ultrasounds to track their tongue and lip placement.
The Great Australian Spelling Bee is coming to our screens. But what place do spelling bees have in the teaching of literacy?
While education funding debates rage and schools try to prepare students for a twenty-first century world, spelling bees masquerade as educational, both on television and off. A not-for-profit organisation called Spellmasters Australia runs regular spelling competitions and claims that participation helps to improve students’ comprehension and communication skills. Yet there’s no evidence this is more than a mere correlation, rather than actually attributable to participation in spelling bees themselves.
Scoring someone's ability to spell is easy, but that is no measure of literary merit
Shakespeare was undoubtedly the greatest writer in the English language, perhaps in any language. His mastery of all aspects of literary expression is unmistakable and he profoundly shaped the evolution of both drama and world literature. But would he have passed year 9 NAPLAN? Probably not.
Nooalf, spelling reform, and phonetic spelling
The question I received was about my attitude toward Nooalf (that is, New Alphabet), but I’ll add a few considerations on other kinds of proposed innovations and “phonics.” Those who have followed this blog know that I am all for Spelling Reform, but I am against utopian projects. Today the climate for Spelling Reform is not good; the public is indifferent to our efforts because it does not realize how much in terms of labor, money, and educational standards is at stake. It is happy with spell checkers. On both sides of the Atlantic, the last time intellectuals were seriously interested in Reform was before World War I; since 1914 they have had more pressing business to take care of.
Dictionaries and style guides treat it as a proper noun, but no one else does
The year is 2005. You’re sitting at your desk, waiting for your Compaq desktop to connect to the Internet so you can type out an e-mail to your friends with links to your Weblog and MySpace profile, where you’ve posted photos of that Hoobastank concert you went to the other night. A decade later, that sentence barely registers as English. Compaq and Myspace have given way to Apple and Facebook, nobody calls them “Weblogs” anymore (except parents trying to explain what their child does for a living), and hyphenating “e-mail” feels about as dated as a Hotmail address.
WDET investigates the confusion behind just how we should be saying and spelling Lahser Road
So, why might Dan, Amy and others have seen signs spelled “Lasher?” Craig Bryson, the Public Information Officer with the Road Commission for Oakland County, has a possible answer. Bryson says, believe it or not, sometimes street signs contain typos. “Like anyone else, our employees who create the street signs are human,” says Bryson.
At about the same time that politicians in Europe were stitching together a deal to rescue Greece from drowning in debt, I was trying to save my home from being flooded when an overflowing tank sent water pouring through ceilings. Mick, the builder to whom I had turned for help, gave hope. “OK”, he said by text message, “I’ll have a word with the plummer and fined out when he can do it?”
A New Zealand Scrabble star memorized the French Scrabble dictionary for a competition, but that doesn't mean he knows French
What's important is that this guy didn't learn French - he learned French words. There's a huge difference between learning a language and learning words. Learning words is much more comparable to learning numbers. We do know people who know many, many decimals of the number pi. Richards definitely has a very good memory, and he knows what the best way is for him to memorize words.
Will code-switching overshadow the language in future? Although the average person only uses about 7,000 words, mostly belonging to the core vocabulary, in code-switching any word from any language is possible
What crisis? Our language has never had it so good. Standardised in a long process from Ignazio Saverio Mifsud and Fran!isk Wzzino in the 1750s to Dun Karm, Ninu Cremona and their contemporaries in the early 20th century, enjoying official status since 1934, entrenched in the Independence and Republic constitutions as the national language, and recognised as one of the official languages of the EU, it is the envy of most of the much larger regional languages of Europe.
English spelling is a nightmare. "Bomb" rhymes with "calm" and "Tom" but not "comb" or "tomb." "Some" rhymes with "numb" but not "home." This may seem like a petty grievance, but for people seeking to learn the language, it poses a formidable barrier.
A New Zealand man won the French-language version of Scrabble, despite him not speaking the language natively or knowing what the words mean. Memorizing the spelling of French words, however, is something Nigel Richards has mastered. The BBC reports that Richards memorized the French dictionary in nine weeks.
The latest inspection is a drop for the college, which has 7,000 students, from 2009's rating of 'good'
Too few learners achieve their English and mathematics qualifications, and teachers do not give sufficient attention to improving learners’ English and mathematical skills when planning learning.
[video] English in Australia has diverged somewhat from its roots, but not so much that we’re completely unintelligible to others who might speak their own variety of the language. Being immersed in the stuff, it can be hard to truly appreciate its quirks, until someone highlights them for you.
Millions of people all over the world use the word okay. In fact, some people say the word is used more often than any other word in the world. It may be common, but no one can seem to agree on how the “OK” came to be. Faith Lapidus tells us more.
Nearly a century ago, just after World War I had ended, there was a groundswell of linguistic patriotism in America. All of a sudden, scholars, writers and politicians were interested in studying, defining and promoting a distinctly "American" version of English.
Beware the Acropalypse, and other groaning assaults on the English language
Greece's financial roller-coaster has kept observers at the edge of their seats with climbing hope, plummeting fear, sharp twists and high-pitched shrieking from all sides. But, for all its genuine drama, the debt crisis has played out with an unusual dependence on lacklustre word mashups that have some readers looking for an emergency Grexit. Personally I rather enjoy a clever portmanteau, which takes two words like the two halves of a great hinged suitcase and straps them together in a single entity, combining the meanings of both. Smoke and fog. Breakfast and lunch. These things go together like Bennifer and Brangelina.
We English-speakers take a perverse pride in the orneriness of our spelling, which is one reason why the spelling bee has been a popular entertainment since the 19th century. It's fun watching schoolchildren getting difficult words right. It can be even more entertaining to watch literate adults getting them wrong.
Laughter and nervous energy filled the meeting room of the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie as 18 adults took center stage for the library's third annual adult spelling bee. Friends and family members of the participants filled the room at 4747 W. Napoleon Ave. and applauded enthusiastically to encourage the spellers as they took turns spelling words such as knickknack, pullet, carburetor and consensus.
“It’s strange because every English speaking child on Earth will hear that word and proceed to write a ‘z.’ There’s no logical sense for the ‘x,’ and it turns out there’s no history for the ‘x.’”
Two anthropologists from MIT, Dr. David Waller and Professor John Nolan, were perusing the dictionary in a heated debate about the history of the letter “x” when they came across an amazing discovery: we’ve been spelling “xenophobia” wrong. Dead wrong. Nobody bothered to look it up after all this time. We’ve all been just copying what the other guy wrote. It has come as quite a shock to the anthropological community, as well as linguistic and literary, and also to those Luddites who just never understood how an “x” could make a “z” sound.
As many as 25% of students across the country were reported to be taking private tuition classes
Millions of Indian parents are, quite literally, paying the price for the country’s abysmal education system. Between 2008 and 2014, the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) reported (pdf) last week, the average annual private expenditure for general education (primary level to post graduation and above) has shot up by a staggering 175% to Rs6,788 per student.
I should no better than to rely on technology too much. Hey wait! My word processor caught that one. It knew that it should be "know" (not "no") although now it is complaining about my explanation sentence as well. If I use an example of bad grammar, such as “Matt and Mary are married and he has been married for more than 20 years,” the flags are not present. I used a "he" instead of "they" and the computers were quiet. I’d be willing to bet the online audience would catch it pretty quickly because if you say it aloud it sounds completely wrong. And it is. Turns out it is also okay for me to start a sentence with a conjunction, such as “and” even though we were originally taught that was wrong.
Maybe I just fear what will happen to kids' brains now that school has let out for the summer
Perhaps it was my hearing someone say "for all intensive purposes" or "me and him enjoyed that." Or else it was the recent East Oregonian headline about two-handed pitcher Pat Venditte that proclaimed "Amphibious Pitcher Makes Debut." Even though the paper's managing editor called it "just a silly mistake," I still need to ask: can't anybody speak English anymore?
The Double Stuf Oreo is two-sided in more than one ways: it satisfies America’s taste buds and contributes to its illiteracy
The “Stuf” is misspelled, but for what purpose? Despite the controversy whether it’s really double stuffed, the taste of the extra crème filling outweighs the effect product misspellings may have on children learning to read and write. Unfortunately, America is feeding more than just a sweet tooth: the educational system may be catching a cavity or two.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a notoriously terrible speller. So was Ernest Hemingway. And Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, and John Keats. And the list goes on. While being a very good speller often indicates high intelligence, and having very low intelligence usually predicts bad spelling, being a very bad speller does not necessarily indicate low intelligence.
Does changing the recording medium mean changing the music? Does updating the spelling mean changing the language?
Imagine that you have a beloved uncle who loves country music and has a rich collection of cassette tapes featuring what he considers to be the best of the genre. Noticing that his home is becoming quite cluttered, you suggest that he upgrade to MP3s. After all, all those songs could then be stored on a single computer or even iPhone, which takes up much less space than all those stacks of tapes. You extoll the virtues of the new format. Many of the more popular songs are likely to have been professionally remastered into digital form, leading to a likely improvement in audio quality, and you even offer to convert the tunes yourself that have not already been digitized. Plus, no longer would he have to find the beginning of each song by trial-and-error in repeated rounds of rewinding and fast-forwarding.
In Shakespeare’s day, one could get by with spelling variations; not any more
Language is a dialect with an army and navy, as the Yiddish scholar Max Weinreich once supposedly said. We could update that to say a language is a dialect with an army, navy, and Silicon Valley, and it’s that, not any intrinsic merit, that makes English the dominant language of the world so far this century.
You've probably heard that English is being ruined — by the Internet, by texting, by Americans, by young people who have no respect for proper grammar. But it turns out that people have always worried over English, and over the centuries, have accused all sorts of things of "ruining" the language.
The 88th Scripps National Bee began Wednesday. Of the 285 contestants in Oxon Hill, Maryland, this year, only one will win Thursday. These students spend months, sometimes years, studying for their big moments on the mic. They painstakingly memorise definitions and learn various etymologies to aid their spelling.
Stanford Professor Bruce McCandliss found that beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading
In other words, to develop reading skills, teaching students to sound out "C-A-T" sparks more optimal brain circuitry than instructing them to memorize the word "cat." And, the study found, these teaching-induced differences show up even on future encounters with the word.
Imagine the scene: a small, Rust Belt town on the shores of Lake Erie, the kind of place where diversity meant Irish and Italian
It was the glorious era of stirrup pants and gravity-defying bangs, and our mild, midwestern suburb had become the backdrop for a showdown of wild west proportions. At least that’s how it felt when I stepped onto the windswept playground and met the steely gaze of my newfound arch nemesis. Granted that she and I had been friends from first grade through just days before, but those longstanding loyalties now meant nothing. What’s true in the hive was proving true of the fifth grade spelling bee finals: there could be only one queen bee, and neither she nor I were going down without a fight.
Here's a thing I didn't know, though: The language has just 43 sounds. All the works of Shakespeare, of Jerry Lee Lewis and Jesus Christ (in translation) and of me, can be expressed aloud in about three and a half dozen noises (there's also an unstressed "half vowel" that you barely hear, as in the last syllable of "grammar" and the two a's in "America").
Mastering English requires abilities that most children don’t develop until they're pre-teens
Johnny in Topeka can’t read, but Janne in Helsinki is effortlessly finishing his storybooks. Such a disparity may be expected by now, but the reason might come as a surprise: It probably has much less to do with teaching style and quality than with language. Simply put, written English is great for puns but terrible for learning to read or write. It’s like making children from around the world complete an obstacle course to fully participate in society but requiring the English-speaking participants to wear blindfolds.
A High Court judge has found Companies House liable for the demise of Taylor & Sons Ltd, after they mistakenly recorded that it had been wound up
In fact it was another, entirely unconnected, company - Taylor & Son Ltd - which had actually gone bust. By the time Companies House, an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, tried to correct its mistake three days later, it was already too late for the Cardiff engineering firm.
The English Spelling Society, a group that wants to improve literacy, has made a list of ideas that could make spelling easier.
[video] The English Spelling Society is drawing up a list of proposals to make it easier to learn to spell. Under a new system, words with silent letters like those in 'knee', 'dumb' or 'cough' could become a thing of the past. The group believes changes to the way certain tricky words are spelt would help youngsters learn to read more quickly.
Far from trying to eradicate inconsistencies in English spelling, we should be celebrating them
Of course we all know that words like “embarrassed”, “accommodation” and “separate” are hard to spell. But as an English teacher, I also know that boys and girls can and will learn how to spell correctly these, and other words the ESS singles out, if they’re given regular weekly tests.
A CAMPAIGN group has sparked outrage by calling for the English language to be changed so it is easier to learn
The English Spelling Society (TESS) wants sentences like “my frend has a coff” to be acceptable in school tests so lazy kids have less work to do. Last night Sir Chris Woodhead, a former chief inspector of schools, slammed the scheme as an insult to Britain’s national culture. He said: “The English language is at the core of our national identity and it should be left to evolve naturally. “It should not be straitjacketed into some global system because people are too lazy to get to grips with the traditional conventions.”
The English Spelling Society plans to host a conference this year to update the traditional English spelling system to make learning easier
For adult learners and school pupils alike, mastering English spelling can be a daunting task. Silent letters, alternative spellings, and words that simply don’t follow the rules; it’s no wonder that many people struggle. The English Spelling Society is hoping to change this.
In a personal film, its chairman Stephen Linstead puts the case for a new way of looking at how to spell some words in the English language.