Future English & Future Britain

The state of education across the world

Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 26 Apr 2013, 19:53

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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 10 May 2013, 23:19

Here's a rather entertaining run-down of 38 common (and infuriating) literacy errors:


I'm not sure he's right about "effect" not being usable as a verb.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Grant » 11 May 2013, 07:58

Elliott, I think you're right because one can effect a change. I wish he had treated the times when "me" is correct e.g Please accompany Brenda and me to the dinner. Too many people automatically use "I" as it's been rammed into their minds the use of me is always wrong.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 11 May 2013, 11:32

If you want a bunch of bad, pseudo-philosophical reasons for not teaching children correct grammar, left-wing author Michael Rosen provides them here. The key, very telling, point is this one:

left-wing author Michael Rosen wrote:A problem that arises from talking about "correct grammar" is that it suggests that all other ways of speaking or writing are incorrect. This consigns the majority to being in error. Gove might be happy with that way of viewing humanity, but I'm not [because I'm a good person, generous-spirited, open-minded, nice to fluffy animals, etc.].
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Grant » 11 May 2013, 11:53

The other one that always rankles is the misuse of "loan". It is the noun while "lend" is the verb.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 11 May 2013, 12:50

Lots of good stuff in that video - in fact I would seriously suggest that teenage YouTube viewers probably learnt more about grammar in that ten minutes than they did during several years at school. It was just a bit "hyper" for me - the speaker should have taken more time, but perhaps any slower pace just cannot hold the attention of today's teenagers for very long.

I was pleased he mentioned:

  • "That" used instead of "who" - depersonalising people and a pet hate of mine
  • "Less" instead of "fewer"
  • "Could of" - how horrible! Heard all the time
  • Confusion over when to use "me" or "I" - good tip, the standard one, given on how to work it out - shame this needs to be done at all
  • Doing "good" instead of doing "well" - pet hate, one I mentioned myself!
  • "You're" vs. "your" - unbelievable but one look at YouTube shows how few people can get their heads around this simple rule
  • "There" vs. "their" - ditto
  • "Effect" - personally I do find the verbal use a bit strained but I suppose it can pass!
The really serious problem, I think, remains the progressives and relativists who have infested our educational establishments. People who speak poor English can be corrected, but not as easily if they are the ones giving the lectures.

Only they're not, are they? These liberals usually speak very good English themselves, but claim that there is no right or wrong for anyone else. Spotted: liberal shame and self hatred again. Combined, as it usually is, with a strange kind of self-righteousness. They ought to be proud that they can speak well, can express themselves precisely and clearly, and they should expect the same of others. If they don't, then they are traitors to the civilisation which taught them.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 11 May 2013, 13:08

Following on from my last post, I wonder if some teachers can come on and defend themselves and tell us what would happen if they corrected a pupil's grammar today? I assume this is now an unacceptable thing to do, even if they wanted to do it and are capable of speaking properly themselves? Perhaps the child would go home and tell the parents and they would come into the school and object?

"Who do you think you are telling my Daryl he ain't talking proper? You jumped up little... 'E can talk 'owever 'e wants. You fink you're better than 'im."


I assume that is the way it goes now. Perhaps this'll extend to maths too in future!

"Who do you think you are markin' 'im my Denise down on 'er maffs? If she sez ten plus four equals twelve it equals twelve, oright?! Who do you fink you are, some sort of genius?"


I exaggerate, but only a little, I fear!
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 11 May 2013, 14:32

See how many fallacies you can spot here.

I enjoyed June Stringer's letter, particularly the bit where she talks about "the dead hand of pedantry" and how "…reducing our beautiful language to a set of cold, grammatical rules typifies the education you are trying to impose on the next generation."
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Grant » 11 May 2013, 21:32

Gavin, I'm a teacher at a government school and can assure you corrections are done whenever necessary. I do not want "brung" and "me and me friends......" become accepted practice.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Gavin » 11 May 2013, 22:48

That's great, Grant - I'm glad you can get away with it! I wonder if that's always the case. I'm afraid those idioms are already very commonplace, if not accepted practice, here in the UK, the most important thing of all being "non-judgementalism".

Refraining from judgement of others seems to be the highest form of character according to the left-wing mindset. This commonly extends to criminals, but exceptions are made for people with a conservative viewpoint.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 11 May 2013, 22:57

I'm glad that Grant corrects his pupils' grammar, and that he is not castigated for it.

I know several teachers here in Britain, and they all say that they would never correct a child's spoken grammar, that it simply isn't the done thing. One of them said, with an air of precious self-righteousness, that to do so would be "too much".

More importantly, I know that many young teachers whom I encounter do not speak correct English. As I reported in the OP, the depute headteacher of a local school thinks "have wrote" is correct grammar. The well is poisoned and the poison is flowing every single day into our children's minds.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Mike » 12 May 2013, 09:50

Charlie wrote:See how many fallacies you can spot here.

I enjoyed June Stringer's letter, particularly the bit where she talks about "the dead hand of pedantry" and how "…reducing our beautiful language to a set of cold, grammatical rules typifies the education you are trying to impose on the next generation."


That particular comment is just grandstanding, but I can sympathise with some of those comments...up to a point. I'm not at the extreme prescriptivist end of that neverending debate, because as a Latin teacher I'm aware of how many "rules" of English grammar were laid down after the fact merely because grammarians of a certain era tried to make English conform to the grammatical structure of Latin...which was and is futile, since the languages are structurally very different. That trend is responsible for the obsessive avoidance of split infinitives (to the point of producing extremely convoluted sentences in order to avoid them) and the refusal to countenance prepositions at the ends of sentences (which is really silly in a Germanic language like English). I guess what I'm saying is that there are elements of pedantry in certain specific cases of grammatical prescriptivism. But not, of course, in all or even most of them.

The main criticism I would make of that original paragraph quoted in that earlier Grauniad piece is simply that it is expressed very clumsily and its meaning is far from clear. But this is a criticism you could make of just about anything that comes out of humanities academia these days, especially (and, in fact, shockingly) from professors of education.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Charlie » 12 May 2013, 11:55

Mike, I agree with everything that you've written, especially when it comes to those who always try and make English behave like Latin - it's just not possible.

I would like to add that although pedants and extreme prescriptivists can be annoying, if I had a choice, I would prefer them to have more influence when it comes to education. When I read these letters to the Guardian, I don't just see grandstanding, but excuses and ad hominem attacks:

Neville Gwynne is an old Etonian [and] retired businessman...


I fail to see how those two facts are relevant to anything Gwynne has to say - Mr Hine's comment reeks of inverse snobbery to me.

I wonder what Gwynne was doing when he should have been having fun.


Ah, so all the cool kids were out getting laid, but sad old Gwynne had his head in a Latin book. What a loser.

"Gove's grammarians, like all pedants, are living signposts to a past age."


At what point does one become a pedant? If one tries to raise standards, even slightly, does the needle on the pedantometer immediately go into the red? Is the offending pedant immediately outed as a quill pen user?

Just for the record, I'm reading Gwynne's book at the moment and I'm enjoying it.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Elliott » 12 May 2013, 15:50

Neville Gwynne is an old Etonian [and] retired businessman...

Charlie wrote:I fail to see how those two facts are relevant to anything Gwynne has to say - Mr Hine's comment reeks of inverse snobbery to me.

I completely agree. Guardianistas can be subtle and clever with their hatred, but sometimes a comment like the above really gives them away. The very fact that Gwynne went to Eton is enough, ample even, to prove that he is a fuddy-duddy, a reactionary, can't be trusted or admired, can only rightly be sneered at, etc.

Guardianistas are people who hate the successful, the rich, the cultivated and the educated. On a linear scale of those things between 1 and 10, most Guardianistas probably score about 7, which means there are plenty of people below them (to whom they feel effortlessly superior, and they feel very guilty about that) and people above them (whom they spend their lives deriding, out of jealousy of them and penance towards the lower classes). Guardianistas are people riven with self-hate. They lack the "authenticity" and "victimhood" of being working-class, but also the confidence and security of being upper-class, and I think it drives them crazy.

Then again, those attributes also apply to me, and probably to most people on this forum, not being working-class and not being upper-class but something in the middle. Somehow, unlike Guardianistas, we have managed to deal with this. Guardianistas fetishise the working-class and fetishise (in a completely different, much more subconscious, way) the upper-class. We are more realistic about both ends of the spectrum. (Here is my own brief contribution towards realism about class.)

Gove's grammarians, like all pedants, are living signposts to a past age.

Charlie wrote:At what point does one become a pedant? If one tries to raise standards, even slightly, does the needle on the pedantometer immediately go into the red?

I suppose it's an area, like morality, where you indict yourself as soon as you express any concern in it whatsoever. So for example, as soon as you suggest that society should approve of certain behaviour and disapprove of certain other behaviour, you're "a moral guardian", on the slippery slope towards being a Puritan. The very fact of your having any time for standards means that you are, by definition, the enemy of those who are constantly suspicious of standards (eg. not suspicious at all but determined to destroy them).

You know, the only real difficulty (and it is crippling) with debating Guardianistas is that they are aliens to themselves; they are utterly delusional about how they feel about themselves. All of their views are informed by their self-hate. But mention "self-hate" to a Guardianista and they immediately clam up, laugh at the notion, and go on the defensive (offensive). This means that one cannot reach any honest ground with them. In order to do that, you'd have to successfully coax them into admitting how they view themselves.

I think, in a Stone Age tribal situation, the people who are now liberal progressivists would have been the people who were ready to sell out their tribe to the enemy - not for any ideological reason like the enemy being better or whatever, but because they are twisted by feelings of inadequacy and can only deal with it by detesting everyone else in the tribe: hating their people instead of admitting that they hate themselves. In other words, they would have been the rare people, the natural and willing traitors, who were soon discovered for what they were and either exiled or murdered by the other members of their tribe. Only in a luxurious age such as ours can these people survive, and in fact, build entire industries for themselves to thrive and browbeat their betters. But their hatred is probably exactly the same as that of the intelligent caveman who realised 50,000 years ago that, in spite of being intelligent, he wasn't actually good at anything. While his kin worked and built and invented, he just stood there, impractical and talentless but endlessly smug, endlessly criticising. All he had was his air of superiority, which daily poisoned him against those he should love and serve.
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Re: Future English & Future Britain

Postby Grant » 13 May 2013, 11:18

Elliott, your bleak view of mankind is sobering. Do you subscribe to the stance of H. G. Wells in "The Time Machine" where we will evolve into two separate species with one living off the other? Do we have that situation now but in a less overt manner? Is life truly a case of survival of the fittest?
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