The English Language Holds Kids Back.
Hello fellow language lovers and linguistic nerds.
I just wanted to share a recent article on the shortcomings of the English language titled “How the English Language Is Holding Kids Back” written by Luba Vangelova for the Atlantic. The article presents some interesting ideas and even succinctly explained the purpose of the Japanese Kana writing system. Here are some highlights:
- Adults who have already mastered written English tend to forget about its many quirks. But consider this: English has 205 ways to spell 44 sounds.
- English spelling wasn’t always so convoluted; there was much more rhyme and reason to Old and even Middle English.
- By contrast, languages such as Finnish and Korean have very regular spelling systems; rules govern the way words are written, with few exceptions. Finnish also has the added bonus of a nearly one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters, meaning fewer rules to learn.
This article reminds me of other articles that compared the shortcoming of English to the benefits of learning Chinese, and perhaps Japanese or Korean. In a controversial article Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal suggested that Chinese is the best language for Math. I don’t agree with Shellenberger’s position why Americans are under performing but the article has some interesting points. The 350+ comments section equally informative, invective and funny. Malcolm Gladwell proposed that Asians have a built in advantage when it comes to math in his book Outlier.. I really don’t know what to make of these academic findings but I still find them really fascinating.
Side note, if you do live en los Estados Unidos or the UK, and you’re worried about how well you’re 4, 5 or 6 year old can read or spell? Stop worrying. Stay calm and read this article: “Too much, too young: Should schooling start at age 7?”.
If you have any thoughts or would like to share any similar links. Please share. Lingots will be provided, sorry no refreshments of beverages.
This is interesting. Many children who attend schools where they can freely decide what they want to learn and how they want to learn it learn to read at around the age of nine.
A free range approach, sans a pedantic focus on grammar, can truly help adult language learning acquisition. I can't imagine some one laboring over all those English spelling exceptions as opposed to a more organic approach that's more enjoyable. I know there are people that enjoy tackling grammatical puzzles.