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The UK's illiteracy problem

Discussion in 'English' started by mashabell, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. U may know that the London Evening Standard has been running a literacy campaign for the past few weeks. Today the Literacy Trust - www.literacytrust.org.uk - sent the email below to people on its mailing list.
    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" align="center"><tr><td style="padding-bottom:5px;padding-left:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-top:5px;" id="intro">My name is Matt Humphries and I am a recovering alcoholic and a reformed offender. I became involved with the National Literacy Trust through the Sports Stories project. This was a local football project in which I wrote a story about supporting my local club - I wrote about my first away match as a child.
    This project was a turning point in my life, because I saw another way of living and the need for education was key to this. I sought help for my alcohol addiction and my counsellor suggested I enrol on a confidence building course.
    </td></tr><tr><td style="padding-bottom:5px;padding-left:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-top:5px;">[​IMG] The course and the skills the National Literacy Trust encouraged me to develop gave me the confidence to enrol at college and obtain the qualifications required for university entry. I worked my way up from a Literacy and Numeracy level one course and I have now just completed the second year of my degree in History. None of this would have been possible without good literacy. This, coupled with the self-confidence and self-belief that the National Literacy Trust has given me, means I now have a future whereas before I simply did not.
    Poor literacy really affects every aspect of a person&rsquo;s life. One in six people like me in the UK are struggling with their literacy right now. That means that 12.6million people in the UK would struggle to read this email. It is so important to try and intervene early to promote good literacy, as a quarter of young people do not recognise the link between reading and success.
    Something needs to change and it&rsquo;s for this reason I am asking you, on behalf of the National Literacy Trust, for a donation. This will help to ensure the work of the National Literacy Trust can continue until everyone has the levels of literacy they need to reach their full potential. Your money will go directly to those in society who need it most.
    The National Literacy Trust transformed my life. Help them to transform the lives of others.
    Donate now

    Sincerely,
    ---------------
    The point I (Masha Bell) keep making is that there would be far fewer people in the UK with literacy problems if learning to read and write English was not so difficult, i.e. if English spelling was improved and learning to read and write was made easier:
    <font color="#000000">- </font>http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com<font color="#000000"> - </font>
    </td></tr></table>
     
  2. Yawn.
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    U could tip me towards an alcohol problem [​IMG]
     
  4. So, presumably, one in six of the recipients couldn't read it.

    Yawn, yawn, yawn vomit, gasp, scream...
     
  5. I'll bet the last thing the Literacy Trust needs is a change in the spelling just when they've helped someone.I wonder how masha spells 'twaddle'. Publishing it seems her full time occupation.http://whelk-stall.blogspot.com/
     
  6. reinforcing the behaviour by validating it with a response... DOH!
     
  7. Masha - have a look at 'toe by toe' and then comment.
     
  8. Ah, but for Masha, disagreement is, "aboosif and veree rood."
     
  9. gruoch

    gruoch New commenter

    Someone should tell Marcia how to spell her name. 'Masha' has a short 'a' when I read it. You know - as in 'mashed'.
     
  10. So presumably u pronounce the <a> in 'any, apron, father'
    with the same /a/ sound as in 'mash' too?
     
  11. baitranger

    baitranger New commenter

    Ime just gone to hav sum marshed pratatoes , if U no wat I mene.
     
  12. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I can't take Masha seriously, however she pronounces and spells her name, until she can be bothered to write "you".
     
  13. A few years ago, the headteacher of my kids' school tried to introduce the discredited ITA scheme (or something very similar). Parents were told not to read with our children and leave the school in control. After the mass parental protest, the head was forced to leave. I can't remember the woman's name.People do take reading seriously, especially when someone with a half baked idea tries to interfere.
     
  14. Why should i use three letters when one is perfectly sufficient?
    I won't intentionally apitalise i, except at the start of a sentence, ever again either.
     
  15. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Y shud u? Cuz dis int MSN.
     
  16. Yes, it is important that you show your contempt for the entire English speaking world.It also helps reinforce your chosen status as a victim.
     
  17. I can't imagine that English spelling is the problem here, given how many native and indeed foreign speakers find it perfectly possible to learn it. That sort of top-down interference should be regarded with suspicion - in Germany they tried to reform the spelling system (and the correlation between spelling and pronunciation is already far more consistent in German than in English) and met with huge resistance from virtually all sections of society, so that even years later there are conflicts where before there were none - many publications refused point-blank to adopt the new system or returned to the old one after a while. Plus, while the proposed changes might reflect current British pronunciation, it will hopelessly confuse the vast majority of foreign speakers and quite possibly native speakers in other English-language regions. Written and spoken language is not the same, regardless of what spelling you decide on.



     
  18. The percentage of foreigners who end up being able to speak and write English well, after the many years most are forced to learn it, is pathetically small, as u quickly find out if u travel widely.
    The brothers Grimm reformed German spelling enormously when they started compiling their dictionary in the 1830s German. Johnson could have done the same in the 1750s, but he chose not to. Ease of learning was not something that interested him. The academy which he set up in 1736 failed in 18 months.
    The 2005 German changes were minor and rather disparate. What the German equivalents of the Daily Mail and Express do not mention is that even those minor changes have reduced spelling errors enormously.
     
  19. Is that why they are currently reporting 25% illiteracy in Germany and Austria? Why do 70% of Spanish school leavers have problems with spelling.Your annoying irrelevant twaddle ignores the real facts and fill discussions about reading with your hobby horse.I'm not surprised you refuse to discuss the issue. You don't know anything.
     

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