vendredi 26 mars 2010

Those who learn foreign languages... and grammar...

Now that I'm into my second session at Alliance Française it occurred to me that a lot of people seem to learn a foreign language like their first language. There are those like me who have to know everything. I have to know how words are spelt, abbreviated, punctuated, etc. I have to understand basic grammatical rules. Ever since I started school aged 5 I remember loving to know all these little 'rules'. I was always good at spelling and could pretty much beat any of my classmates or friends in spelling bees. Coming from a non-English speaking background I was also a self taught learner as I couldn't go to my parents or younger sibling for help with my homework.

I definitely think it's a personality thing where those who are more studious like learning all the rules and such (like my father) and others just cruise along, just happy that they can communicate by listening and speaking (like my mother). I even hate to admit this but even after living in this country so long my mother cannot even read a newspaper and understand it all, or spell common words... In other words, she, like many others, just don't care. For me, I care a lot. Because I don't want to be illiterate! In fact, when I travel and go to a country where I can't read anything I feel like I am practically blind. To me it's such a disabling feeling not being able to read anything.

When I see spelling/grammatical/punctuation mistakes I want to scream and pull my eyelashes out. But that's just me. I see this sort of stuff all the time.

"your" instead of "you're"
"definitely" spelt every single way except the correct way. "separate" is another common one.
"CD's", "DVD's", "book's" on shop signs and other stupid unnecessary apostrophes.

And then there is another one that I really can't stand and I'm not sure if it's just an Australian thing but instead of saying "should've", "could've" or "would've" people say "should of", "could of" and "would of" and of course this is how they write it as well!

It became apparent to me that there are some people who do the same thing in French. They guess the spelling of words based on how they sound verbally without understanding the meaning behind it all.

I once heard a great lecture on communication and I remember the presenter talking about how we judge other people all the time, by the way they're dressed, the way they walk, and talk, for example. But for me, I also tend to judge people on how they write as well. SMS speak is OK for SMSs and maybe for chatting on the internet but for emails I find it annoying and unacceptable. In a lot of cases, I think it's just the person being lazy. But I'm sure I'm not the only person who judges others when they see spelling and grammatical mistakes in things others write. Now I'm not saying everyone has to have a PhD in English. I know I make mistakes all the time too. I know nobody is perfect but when I see simple mistakes like "your" instead of "you're" and "their" or "there" instead of "they're" it seems to me that that person just never paid attention in 2nd grade. They don't care, in the same way that someone wearing ugly clothes and having unbrushed hair doesn't care...

Meh. I guess I shouldn't care so much about others but when I read this article in the paper recently I was horrifed but not surprised. The literacy rates of Australians is going down the gurgler. I was never taught grammar at school. OK I may have had a handful of lessons on what a noun, verb, adjective is but I never learned anything or retained any of that information and I can honestly say that I've only finally gotten a handle on grammar because of all these months of learning French!

Almost half of adult Australians have literacy skills lower than those needed to meet the demands of everyday life and work in a knowledge-based economy, Bureau of Statistics figures show...

Grammar was cut in the '70s because of a view it didn't help students' writing, said Dr Sally Humphrey from the University of Sydney's linguistics department...

Pretty disgusting...


Enregistrer un commentaire

Related Posts with Thumbnails