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Leerning to speel, er, Learning to Spell
Hey Reader,

Would you mind telling me just WHY I spent $19,000 in student loans and FIVE years of my life in college getting an English degree when there are people out there who want to do terrible things to the language, like, oh, I don't know, simplify spelling until it no longer resembles ENGLISH?

I read this article that proposes we should spell things as they sound. Noooooooooooo. That's the WORST thing I've ever heard. If you read the article, you'll see exactly what I mean. The words don't make any sense, and you spend more time trying to figure out what they should be in regular English that it's just stupid. I can't imagine what possessed these people to think "You know, we should change the way the language is spelled so it looks like a five year old wrote it down in a card!"

I suggest that all of the people who propose this idiotic switch over to uninttelligible "English" sit down and read, cover to cover, the novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting. It's a good novel, yes, but it is 95% in Scottish dialect, spelled exactly how it sounds. Here's a taste:

"Ah tap the cash and meet Mitch in the Hebs. Mitch is still seein that lassie Gail. It's obvious that he's no gittin his leg ower. Listenin tae um fir ten minutes, ye kin pure read between the lines. He's in pure bevvying mood, so ah tap some cash off ay um."

Just think, kiddies, the WHOLE book is like that. I have read it, cover to cover, in three days, all 344 pages of it. It is well written, a good novel, but can you imagine spelling your every day corrospondences like that? I think I would rather learn math than have to relearn everything I know about my own language. Honestly, I dare these people, convinced that life would be so much easier spelling like that, to actually pick Trainspotting up and tell me what it's about. I know that book, I wrote a paper on that book, I saw the movie, I discussed it.  Try me.

I must expunge the awful text from that article from my mind. It's terrible. I shudder to think of my language becoming THAT on a daily basis. Oi.

While I'm in a ranting mood, I did go applying today. I applied at all the places I said I would, only when I tried, three of them looked at me like I had grown an alien head or dog ears(I had to, just for Inuyasha) when I asked for a paper application. I feel like I dropped into this world from a different age, as if people totally forgot what paper was. On top of it, I wanted to apply to that local restaurant. They want a RESUME. No applications are there for you to fill out, they want an actual RESUME as if you were applying for some high end job. I couldn't believe it! I retooled the one I have, fitting it to their demands, and I will drop it off tomorow, but boy do I feel silly. Is it just me, or are we too afraid fo paper these days? I guess I just don't understand.

Just so you know, I am making headway on the story. I spent most of the evening and late into the night working on the story. I am so close to 3000 words, and I have not finished typing what I have written by hand two nights ago, so I know I have something to work with. I also had another great chat with my beta, and she liked the ideas I was putting into the chapter, so it is coming along well.  I shall spend tonight working some more on it, too.

Until next time,

Far Away Eyes

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I totally agree with you. I remember years ago (I'm from Mississippi) there was a big campaign to teach "ebonics" so that people who totally slurred and abused the English language could write and speak "native" - what a disaster! Talk about no one that could spell! And then the same people are suing the folks at SAT and ACT because they discriminated because they expected students taking the tests to understand plain English. Anytime this comes up it boils down to one thing - those to lazy to learn and others too lazy to want to make students learn properly so that they can function in the real world.

I think it's terrible to kow tow to those who just refuse to learn. If we actually started writing our professional texts, or our fiction and essays, in Internet speak, everyone would tell you "The English language is being destroyed." Now they want to change it so it doesn't even resemble the language I learned? I just don't get it. Why let the lazy people of this country win that way? Sometimes I think the French are silly for having a council to protect their language, but at times like this, I can see WHY they have it!

You should come down here where you are expected to know Spanish (though someone from Spain informed us that WASN'T Spanish - that was MEXICAN); heaven forbid that all of those who come here learn the language. (sorry, rant for another day.)

I live in a transitional town, actually, and we have immigrants from all over the world coming and going it seems. I personally think that they should learn English, but conversely, I think that Americans should also learn other languages, too. If we started children learning English and Spanish or French or any other language when they were in Grade School, we would have more bilingual people who were born here. A lot of Europeans learn their neighboring country's language. It is a bit harder for us adults to learn another langauge at this point, but I think it is possible, and learning something new cannot HURT us. It's just something I've always thought. Why do we wait until high school to teach kids, when we know they retain and learn those types of things at a far younger age?

When I thought about going to the French West Indies for vacation once, months in advance I actually started trying to learn enough French to get by there. After all of my work, we ended up going to Tortola (British owned) instead.

I don't have anything against learning another language, I just think that if someone is going ot live here an be a citizen, they should learn English. There are some areas of town if you can't speak Spanish, you might as well not go there. There is one town in south Texas the made Spanish their official language.

I once taught with someone who had been a refugee from Cuba - and he had learned English by immersion - dropped into the classroom and expected to learn it, and he did. Even though he was teaching ESL, he still thought that was the best way. One of the problems in our school system (I taught for 13 years) was that we had some teachers that were so fluent that they just taught the kids in Spanish rather than making them learn English. I had some in sixth grade that I thought had just come here, and it turned out they had been there since 1st grade, but hadn't learned any more English than they were forced to. As long as the had a teacher fluent in their language, there was no real need.

Sorry, will get off of my soapbox now.

Oh, I'm not saying that immigrants who come here shouldn't learn English. I just think we're a very strange country to not have classes with a secondary language starting when we are in grade school. I've had this opinion for quite some time. It seems so many people I know from other countries know at least two or three languages, while Americans are determined to remain a single language country. It's just something I find to be a bit peculiar about our culture, I guess.

I think it goes back to the "melting pot" concept, that everyone would come here to become as one. If everyone keeps their own language and culture, we become many societies, rather than one (which is already apparent in some areas). I know I did not have the opportunity to take a language until high school, and I think it is still much the same. But you are right, it is much easier for children to learn, the younger they are, the faster they pick it up. Truthfully, I'm not sure if some of the schools teach anything more than required for the standardized tests these days. Those scores seem to be more important than anything, including the students actually learning something.

Those tests! I hate those TESTS. Spending the whole school year prepping students for some stupid test is pointless. Yeah, the scores reflect the school's success, but damn it, what about the real things kids need to know! I absolutely loathe those tests. Here in Minnesota, for about three or so years, we had the "24 Proflies of Higher Learning" which were absolutely, positively retarded. They did nothing but create busy work, and did I mention you had to complete ALL 24 of them, on top of your required credits to graduate?

I think that if we are to really FIX the school system, we must quit taking the easy route. I think we are a melting pot, and having one unifying language helps with that, but we could be more worldly, too. We could learn a lot of different things simply by learning another language. Hell, the big entertainment we all enjoy comes from Japan, in subtitles a lot of the time! I think the more we know, the better we will all become, both immigrant and American-born both.

I thought it was rather interesting in the schools I thought in. Because of my subject (band) I traveled between three schools every day. One of them the principal spent the whole year forcing the teachers to teach the test. They were contantly taking practice tests to get ready and the teachers whose students weren't doing well (since she illegally tracked students of like abilities into the same classrooms) were berated in front of the rest of the staff. The second school, the principal told us the tests were nice and all, but just to teach the students and they would take the tests as they came. Well, the students at the first school did okay on the tests, but the school where the principal told us to just teach? We had some of the highest scores in the state. Unfortunately, all it caused for the teachers of the other school was further beratement since the schools were only a couple of miles from each other and basically in competition with one another. That principal never understood why the other students (and most were lower income because of the differences in the neighborhoods) did better.

It figures, the schools that simply taught their students did well, while those that freaked about the testing and crammed all the test stuff into their students didn't. If they were just to do away with them, and do the basic tests based upon the Iowa standards, I think they would find testing to actually measure true success. I took my basic standardized tests in 3rd, 8th, and 10th grades. We were tested upon math, reading, and writing. The basics that you will need for the rest of your life. The higher the score you earned, the better your school did overall.

I vaguely remember taking them in the odd years: 3rd, 5th, 7th, and then I think, 11th. (It seems like we were given an IQ test in 9th grade.)We had to take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (I never did understand why we were given a test from Iowa, LOL). I don't remember taking a bunch of practice tests, nor being taught specifically for the tests. Like you, we were tested for math, reading comprehension, and writing. And as far as I know, we did okay.

You're telling me when it comes to those Iowa Standards. Here in Minnesota, being neighbors with Iowa, we have a lot of jokes about how stupid they are. Like what does IOWA stand for? Idiot Out Wandering Around, of course. I spent a lot of my childhood wondering why I had to take a test that would tell people if I learned anything that came from Iowa. . .it never made sense. I do think I turned out alright from having them, though.

Obviously the people behind this are failing to account for words like 'threw' and 'through'. They are spelled different because they have different meaning and that in itself is enough to make learning to read and reading comprehension more difficult.

EX. Your home and You're home. Both correct but meaning two different things. How would you know what someone was talking about if they wrote. 'Yor Hom'

I may not be the best at spelling. In fact I'm pretty abysmal, but that doesn't mean it would be any easier to spell things the way they sound, especially since not everyone has the same accent or pronounces things the same. Ridiculous! I could barely read their 'easier' spellings.

And I know what you mean about the application thing. I would rather write one out than spend an hour on their stupid computer apps that take forever. Oh well, what can you do.

That's another thing I think they are forgetting. We do have a lot of words that are said the same, but mean completely different things. I can't imagine reading a text where I have to question what meaning is without any keys to clue me in.

And I'm so glad I'm not the ONLY one who felt that those "easy" spellings were impossible to read.

I don't always spell the best, either, but that's why God invented someone who created the DICTIONARY. You can then LOOK UP the word you want and then spell it. Jeez.

As for the computer applications, I filled one out for ShopKO. It took me over an hour to complete. What pissed me off the most about it was I had a 20 page questionaire where the questions repeated themselves in re-wordings like "Do you dislike people who talk alot" and "Do you find that talky people are annoying?" NO. I find YOUR question annoying! ARRGH.

I found a fic on AFF tonight that proved this perfectly. She/he/it must have misused every word that was possible. I guess if you read out loud to someone, it would have made sense, but to read it..ARGHH!! The story had the possibility of being decent, but there were too many errors to try and make heads nor tails of it. I started to leave her a review to tell her to get a beta and help her fix it.

It is funny (and I don't know what this has to do with anything), I took Latin in high school. I remember there was a single word that could mean "do, drive, discuss, live, or spend" depending upon the context it was used in. For the life of me, I don't remember what the word was...

That sometimes is the most painful thing about fanfiction at times. You can find a good plot, but their spelling and sentence structure makes absolutely no sense and you just want to cry. I sometimes wonder how anyone graduates our high school system successfully when you see what is being passed off as standard English on the internet. The saddest thing about it, they are trying really hard, but just won't take the advice to change it sometimes and improve, at least that's been my experience.

I am always growing and changing, and if someone points out a language mistake, I will take it into account and go back and fix it and keep it in mind. I'm not perfect, and I am always learning, just as any writer is. I just don't understand why anyone would want to write a story where the words on the page look like someone from Mars wrote it.

I've even been learning, and hopefully getting better, with the corrections that come back from my beta. There were some things I just never got in school, and writing things like dialogue was part of it. Diagram a sentence? Forget it! (I much prefered the logic of math and science.) Fortunately, I was an avid reader from an early age, so even if I could tear a sentence apart, most of the time I could construct one fairly well. I was never a good speller, but I was constantly looking things up (first in a real dictionary, but now I have spell check :o). Some things still escape me because some things that are now considered acceptable or even preferred were absolutely not allowed back in my day. I think in some cases, it is another example of the language erroding to what is easy, rather than what is correct.

Anyway, the whole point is that I'm still learning, and still correcting mistakes. But, at least I try.

I have to say, I've never been fond of digraming senteces, either. I can do it, but it just seems, well, rather silly. Can you understand the sentence? Do you know what its context is? Good. Then you know what it means.

I actually still look things up in both a dictionary and a thesaurus. I've used both so long that they actually smell like OLD books and they're only a couple years old. I also use the spell checks on the word processor and online dictionaries. It's just the way I write.

You'd be surprised though, in academia, there are so many things that would be considered still unacceptable grammatically. They have changed a couple rules here and there, but for the most part, they are still pretty strict on what is allowed, at least when I took any of my academic writing courses. Fiction workshops always had their freedoms, but we still had to pretty much adhere to standardized English for the most part.

I do not think that dialogue is taught in school. You have to go off to college to take Creative Writing clases to learn the secrets of that, or at least what they supposedly can teach you about it. I had a professor who told me that creative writing is impossible to teach. Either you are a writer and will struggle to improve, or you are not. There is no "teaching" it. It just is. But, if you are ever seriously intrested in some ideas on crafting fiction, I would look up any of Janet Burroway's books. She has some good ideas and pointers, but you don't have to take all of her advice. I take what works for me, and ignore whatever I disagree with. Creative writing is so precise, yet so subjective sometimes.

I use a thesaraus a lot too (can't spell it, but I use it). My hard-copy dictionary is probably 30 years old now, or close to it.

Believe it or not, when I was in school, dialogue was one of the things they tried to teach us - I just never really got it (probaly because I hated that part of English so much). The only time I ever enjoyed memorizing theorems was in geometry - and that was only because it was math. I hated all of that stuff you were supposed to remember for English and History. I did enjoy literature though (well, except for Mississippi literature. I did get to where I understood Faulkner and enjoyed him; but have you ever had to read Eudora Welty? Ick!)

And now it is my bedtime since I have to be at work at 8 in the morning. Good luck on your continued job search.

I bought a paperback version of the new version of the dictionary shortly after it came out. I couldn't afford the hardbacked version of it. I figured since the newest one cost 7 bucks in paperback, it'd be easy to buy. That and it is rather small in size.

So they taught dialogue? That's wild. You can't teach dialogue. You can only learn it by trial and error and feeling for what is natural in the conversation. That is totally bizarre.

I absolutely hated math. I am not very good at it, and I cannot do it in my head for the life of me. I have tried very hard to understand it, but I just cannot get it. I was always thrilled to get my C or C- in any math class, simply because then I knew I passed without getting a D. I love History almost as much as I do literature. My mother has a BA in History and would always tell me of medieval history and kings and queens when I was a kid. We also watched a lot of history channel about the medieval English royalty. I came so close to doubling in history. The good history classes I took did not force us to memorize dates and peoples names and the like. They taught us about the times, the events, why they were significant, and made it fun. You remembered all those silly details when it was presented in a fun manner.

Faulkner? Yes, I've read him a few times. I vaguely remember the name Eudora Welty, but have never had the pleasure of reading anything. Did she write a memoir? I remember hearing that name connected to that. I will say the mots boring author I have read, next to Dickens(How I loathe his works save Christmas Carol), has to be Edith Wharton. I wanted to strangle every character that graced the pages of her novel House of Mirth. ARGH. Rich, stuck up, snobby, full of themselves people who backstab and LIE to get a better societal placement. Nothing is worse.

The funny thing is, when it comes to language, my beta is constantly telling me when I'm writing that I write way too formally sometimes. I write out do not (I also speak without contractions a lot). It works well for Sesshomaru POVs, because that's who he is, but she's always yelling at me when I do the same thing in an Inuyasha POV. I tend to be more formal without realizing it, or so she says. It's just kinda weird.

And thanks for the luck. I am hoping that at least one of the places I applied to will hire me. Please?

I have been wearing my computer's thesaurus out these last couple of days for the creepy section on my current chapter.

I also 'no' (oh wait are we still spelling things the right way? Then make that 'know') that my writing has improved dramatically from my fist attempt.

I like to vary my prose so it does not get boring. If I notice that I have used a word a few times, I will look up synonyms to use so I don't fall into a trap of using the same words over and over.

I do hope that I have improved as time has gone by. Otherwise it's all for naught(or is that not? Silly spelling peoples).

I use the Thesaurus a lot (though I still miss how ofen I've used a particular word sometimes, but my beta kindly points it out). That's one function in Word I've really come to appreciate in writing, for much the same reason you do - to vary the way I say something so I don't become to boring or repetitious.

Eudora Welty was quite the opposite of the one you spoke about. She wrote about things like women sitting around in the beauty parlor gossiping. I never liked gossiping in real life, so I certainly didn't want to read about it. But, she was required when I had to take Mississippi Literature (the only subject more boring than Mississippi history - LOL).

I never really enjoyed or appreciated history until I got to college and had to take World History. I had a professor that wove everything that was going on in a particular time together. Not just what wars were going on, but included the art and music that developed during the same era. That perspective suddenly allowed me to see the big picture that I never had before because everything had been taught as individual elements. American history was taught so separately from the history of the rest of the world, that it was difficult to see how they related to one another. With the way he taught it, everything suddenly made sense and I did very well. He also gave you tests that made you think and plan in advance. He would give us the question ahead of time (there was usually only one or two), and you were allowed to bring in an outline with you to write your answer. I will never forget his first test: "Tell me about Christianity from the beginning through the 18th century." And he didn't mean just religion, but how it affected world events. I think I filled up nearly three blue books on that one.

And now, back to work.

Hmm. So Eduora wrote about gossips in beauty parlors and Edith Wharton wrote about high society gossips. Interesting. I remember in my class on memoirs somone had read hers and said it was the most BORING memoir they had ever read.

I'm actually partial to some Southern fiction, mainly because my Creative Writing Director came from Mississippi and would tell us about some of the really good stuff. Contempory stuff, not the classics so much, mind you. I didn't always like it, but I did enjoy it for the most part.

Sounds like you had a professor much like my history professor. He would give the most exciting lectures. I always loved it when he would call some world ruler from centuries ago a "complete and utter dunder head" or a "yahoo." He was always so funny and you always remembered what he said because it was entertaining. And when it came to test taking, he would give us about five questions that we had to prepare answers for, but would only require us to answer two of those drawn by lot. There was always a wild card and those were always interesting. I wasn't in the class that had the funniest, but I heard about it. He had Michael Jackson serve as the wild card for people to pick what ever question they liked. It was fun. If I had more money and could have done it, I would have doubled in History, but by the time I started taking his courses I was a junior. I'll never forget his lectures on Dante's Inferno, though. He seemed to enjoy the tortures a little too much. . .

LOL - our professors must have been twins separated at birth. Mine also had a think about Dante's Inferno, and also Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I had forgotten about that...

I think it is possible. Did the term "Yahoo" ever come into play concerning leaders or people in general?

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