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When software developers release a product to the marketplace, it may not be vigorously tested and fully ready to go out the door. But people are often willing to put up with minor inconveniences in order to have it NOW! As users encounter problems with the program, they may or may not report their experiences to the developers. The programming team works with feedback from users to construct work-arounds or patches for the software and makes them freely available in the form of software updates. When customers download the updates, the original program is adjusted to correct problems or just to keep things current.
It would be nice if English had such a system!
Some things we teach about English grammar and usage are simply not true any more. Some things never were true. In either case, we still teach them as though they were true, mostly because it’s too hard to summon the energy to change them.
Some of these are trivial, others momentous. Some are urgent, others less so.
An example of a trivial issue is the word fulsome to mean ‘full or thorough,’ as in ‘The Director gushed about the project with fulsome praise.’
A example of a much more significant issue is a basic “fact” about English that everybody knows, but which has never been true: English has 5 vowels (and sometimes -y-). In one sense, this is a simple matter: if you count vowel sounds for English in the same way that linguists count the vowel sounds in every other language on the face of the earth, there is simply no way to justify a 5-vowel analysis (even if you include “long” and “short” versions of each).
But in another very real sense, this is an enormously complicated issue that affects the future of reading instruction from pre-kindergarten to graduate education courses. If you think you are ready to question everything you know about vowels and spelling and phonics, you should drink a fortifying beverage of your choosing, and Click here for much, much more.
We will present issues from all levels of importance and urgency on the EGSU pages. Be sure to check in from time to time, and feel free to make comments in the discussion pages.
what's wrong with the alphabet?
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literacy is overrated
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reading and listening with generosity
minding our manners: your mother would be proud. more