Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hiv U evr wundird wot it wiz lyk B4 dikshinariz?

Hiv U evr wundird wot it wiz lyk B4 dikshinariz? Wen da wurdz wiz spelt NA way U lyk? An ya cud spel wurds difrint onda sem payj an nobdy nyu ye cdnt spel? Sumtyms a git emale letirs frm da kidis in skule an dey ryt lyk dis. Sumtyms i git txts frm da kidis onda cell an dey txt jis lyk dis. Its frendly cos dey txt jis lyk dey tok. Sumtyms i repli da sem wey an i gits a frendly txt back.
Das kyewl. Dat makes me feel wun o dey kiddis. Das kyewl 2.

So what’s with txt language? I notice that the e in ‘text’ is now dropped when referring to txting on a mobile, even in formal texts. The word is nearly new and is appropriate.

I sit close to several teachers of English in the office at work. They are cool people and although some are boomers like me, they all agree that language and how we write it is evolving all the time.

I have a special interest in language. It is so relevant to thinking and learning in a subject. It’s the bricks and mortar of being able to think.

When I was very young my reading and writing was atrocious - I’d no chance of spelling that word correctly either. My spelling was shoking. My mother, who was concerned about her son’s literacy, tried valiantly to entice me to read. She bought me novels. I read some but not much. I preferred to read comics. My mother disapproved of comics.

My grandmother, who was experienced and knew what her grandchild liked, would secrete a bundle of comics under the bedspread in my room for me to enjoy. She knew the worth of comics. She knew that ANY reading was better than none. She knew that it was the mind that needed the skill to lift the letters and words off the page and understand - that it didn’t matter if it wasn’t approved high school reading.

My reading skill was improved by me reading comics. Eventually I graduated to reading short stories and novels
and hundreds of books on Science for that was my interest.Hannah reading at the age of 5

oks have always been a part of my life since then. Linda and I read books, and our house is often a mess with them. Both our daughter's are avid readers.

My daughter Catriona, barely 3 years old and well before she could read, would take her favourite book down from the shelves in the hall.

She would sit and turn the pages. Sometimes she would sniff them. Sometimes she’d hold the book upside down when pretending to read it, for there were no pictures. That didn’t avert her fascination. It was one of my little books of poetry, the smallest book on the shelves. Catriona identified it as her book because of its tiny size. She never tore a page and always returned it to the shelf when she was finished playing with it.

When our children were both primary school age, our living room floor was always littered. In our house you could take your life in your hands by trying to walk across the living room floor in the dark. It was always littered - with books.

When Catriona was older, I would sometimes find her reading under the blankets with a torch when she was really supposed to be asleep. I just left her to it. She’s 15 now and has read every Harry Potter book published, some of them twice.

She has also read Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I've seen the movies, but I've never read the Lord Of The Rings books. I found them hard to read.

Catriona uses txt language on her mobile all the time, yet she writes in near perfect English when she does her assignments for school. Her spelling’s not bad either. There’s a lesson to be learnt here

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Paul C said...

Is reading a key to language development? Your memories spark several of mine own including taking my two daughters once a week to the library to pick out about 10 children's books for the week. We sat on the couch nightly reading and being entranced by them. Needless to say my daughters were keen readers long before they attended kindergarten. Unfortunately some children do not come from environments such as this. They struggle from day one at school and never learn an enjoyment for reading or writing. It's a resistance that may lead to a life long reluctance. A major focus in schools now is to ignite the imagination of young minds with the right books and engaging assignments so that language development can flow.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā koe e Paul!

I believe that meeting new words and becoming familiar with them is important to language development - nothing new there. One rapid way of improving access to this is to augment normal social interaction with reading. Not only does this enhance the language skill of the reader but it also broadens the thinking.

Further to this, it empowers the learner and opens vistas otherwise invisible. A ten year old child will not necessarily learn about Science, or History or Geography by chatting in the playground or with mates after school and may not even be taught about these disciplines in school. But they can read about them, whether on the Internet or in books and magazines.

What Alan Duff discovered for himself was that by introducing reading material into family homes - magazines, newspapers, booklets and books - children have the opportunity to be aware of words and their usage in print. The introduction of books to a bookless home is a far easier task than the introduction of the Internet to a computerless home, even today.

My own experience in entering the homes of many of my students in the 70s and 80s is that you are right to say that some children do not come from environments like that in our own homes. Moreover, though many homes I visited were clean, tidy and well to do, they were also distinguished by the complete lack of any reading material other than the Bible. This was especially true of Pacifika families - it still is today. Alan Duff's attempts to redress the imbalance of readable modern literature for young Pacifika children is honourable and courageous.

Catchya later

V Yonkers said...

I was like you as a child. My mother, a teacher, tried everything possible to get me to read. Finally, she just read from a book out loud, which got me interested in reading. I used this same techique with my own children. My son, always interested in reading, started to go the way of most 10 year old boys, which was to lose interest in books. Fortunately, this was the year the first Harry Potter movie came out. A.K. Rollins was successful in her desire to write a book that would keep boys his age interested in books. I told him he had to read the first book before he could see the movie. It took him a month, but from that point on he was hooked. He now reads about a book every week during the school year and 2 or 3 during the summer vacation. He often rereads books when he is out of reading material.

In terms of the texting, you might want to see my latest post!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Ah, the tactics and lures we use as parents. I guess it's always about finding the interest and what motivates. A parent can spend a long time going round in circles looking for this. Good that your son found an interest in the books.