Stoopid

by Robert Pondiscio
September 11th, 2008

Is good spelling a sign of an educated person?  Or merely a formality fetishized by pedants?  A leading British academic believes it’s the latter and says we should stop worrying that “textmessage speak” is creeping into the language.

John Wells, president (irony of ironies) of Britain’s Spelling Society, tells London’s Daily Mail that the informal language of texts, emails and chat rooms is the “way forward.”  An Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London, Wells says irregular spellings place an undue burden on schoolchildren. 

Let’s stop worrying if people sometimes spell “you” as “u”; “your” and “you’re” both as “ur”; and “whose” and “who’s” both as “whos”.  Nowadays we often see “light” written as “lite” and “through” as “thru”. Let’s not hold up our hands in horror – people should be able to use whichever spelling they prefer….’We should no longer fetishise the ability to sort out “their”, “there” and “they’re”. There are more important things to life.’

And apostrophes? A waste of time. Sack ‘em.  ”Have we really nothing better to do with our lives than fret about the apostrophe?” sez he.

Mommy and Me

by Robert Pondiscio
September 11th, 2008

Children who were most prepared for kindergarten in a San Francisco study tended to be older girls who attended preschool, had no special needs, and mothers who went to college, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. 

The mother’s education was the most closely aligned with a child’s readiness, trumping all other characteristics including family income, ethnicity and English language ability. The study didn’t address why these characteristics were associated with being ready for kindergarten, but only noted the connection.

Researchers who evaluated 447 of last year’s kindergartners across San Francisco schools found that while half lack at least some needed skills, 11 percent were deficient both academically and socially.  They also found that preschool experience was a common trait among kids who showed up ready to learn, the paper reports.