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Different levels of literacy in our society

(54 Posts)
GabbyLoggon Wed 29-Jun-11 10:01:01

Different groups of people are expressing themselves with vastly different
grasp of English.

One example the Sun reader is not likely to use words in the way the Telegraph uses them.

Mirror and Guardian readers...likewise.

It is not a question of right or wrong; more a question of different ways of expressing ourselves.

This may come mainly from a family backgrounf rather than a school background

Because by the time the child reaches compulsory schooling the die may have been cast as to the way they speak.

I would not mention this if the difference was MINOR...buty it is vast. And can become obvious among Mumsnetters

What can be done? You tell me.

itisnearlysummer Wed 29-Jun-11 10:04:09

Well at least I can read this one!

Not sure it makes much more sense though...

SuePurblybilt Wed 29-Jun-11 10:05:01

grin at vast and obvious difference between Mnetters. You're not wrong Gabby grin

itisnearlysummer Wed 29-Jun-11 10:07:46

And yes, the way parents communicate with their children, expectations of grammar, modelled language, vocabulary used in the family do have a large impact.

Although, some people make the choice to change that, for better and for worse.

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 29-Jun-11 10:09:26

My DH, while not a MNer and I both speak to our DD in the same way. He has four degrees, including two from Oxford, I don't even have an O level.

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 29-Jun-11 10:10:32

I should have added, I made the choice to stop speaking like someone from Walford and hope I have a more accentless speaking voice. DH still calls me London and at the weekend some cheeky Manc boys were calling DD cockney.

MavisEnderby Wed 29-Jun-11 10:11:24

I used to read the Grauniad.That probably accounts for my appalling spellingwink.

I'm not wholly sure I know what you are asking TBH?

Do you wish everyone to speak using Received Pronounciation?

Obviously I guess the level of a parents reading is bound to have an impact upon the language usage of the child,but hopefully a good school will teach the child the rudiments of accurate grammar and writing skills.

With regard to speech,well there isn't a lot you can do about accent I don't think.ds has a very broad Yorkshire accent,because he was born here.Short of elocution lessons,nothing is going to get rid of that!Likewise my wishy washy midland accent.I also think it is quite interesting to hear local colloquialisms,it would be terribly dull if we all spoke the same.

GabbyLoggon Wed 29-Jun-11 10:13:13

GBS "as soon as am englishm,an opens his mouth we know his station in life." He meant women as well and we have not altered all that much. BBC English still dominates with the top movers and shakers.

mrsbabookaloo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:17:06

Gabby, what problem would you like to address? The thread title mentions literacy, but the message itself refers to how people speak.

As you yourself said, it is not a question of right or wrong; more a question of different ways of expressing ourselves.

But then you say "what can be done?" IMHO nothing needs to be done about people speaking differently, except a bit more tolerance for differences. Accent and dialect are a fascinating feature of English culture.

A difference in levels of literacy is only a problem if it prevents a person from living a fulfilled life and working in a chosen profession - and not all professions require high levels of literacy.

OrdinaryJo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:17:22

BBC English doesn't actually dominate in many other parts of the country though Gabby, does it? Like, you know, Scotland and Ireland and that?

And FWIW as a copywriter I bow down to the Sun in terms of their simplicity and clarity, I would much rather read something 'Sun-style' than the mealy-mouthed management speak that passes for clear writing in many organisations these days, including Govt.

But also I don't really see your point?

Omigawd Wed 29-Jun-11 10:20:51

Everyone should speak BBC English

Everyone should only read classics and booker prize winning novels

Sorted grin

GabbyLoggon Wed 29-Jun-11 10:21:16

How do we improve literact?????My point, and every government point for the last 50 years. wakey, wakey.

Omigawd Wed 29-Jun-11 10:21:31

O, & no txtspk lol

GabbyLoggon Wed 29-Jun-11 10:23:27

JOBS some jobs need a high level of literacy....Being understood? Means being able to express does plucking well matter. You betcha.

BooyHoo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:24:45

i think coherency is more of an issue wink

donnie Wed 29-Jun-11 10:25:13

the irony here is that it's impossible to understand you properly OP as your style is very garbled.

MavisEnderby Wed 29-Jun-11 10:26:04

With regard to literacy I'm not sure the ORT scheme helps either.

Those books with Biff and Kipper are DEADLY DULL.

DS reasonably bright.(Not G+T or anything) but I would say a reluctant reader despite being in the top groups at school.I have resorted to getting him to read me "Match of the Day" magazine in order to get him reading!It is hardly highbrow literature but at least he is reading SOMETHING!What worries me more are the statistics I read (maybe it was on here!) that 1 in 3 households do not own a book.I am still finding it hard to believe that one!

OrdinaryJo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:26:42

Oh I'm with you on txtspk grin

I have a facebook friend who went to the same school as me and is the same age as me but 'hr status updates r all lyk dat' - drives me insane!

GabbyLoggon Wed 29-Jun-11 10:26:44

The point about BBC English is that it can be understood by the vast majority of the population.

This is why people often speak different on the telephone.

Some wallahs go down market. Cameron has dropped some of his posh accent. Blair did too. (The Queen is still cut glass.) So is charlie...wills and Harry boy have toned it down

backwardpossom Wed 29-Jun-11 10:32:48

How do we improve literact


With regards the accent etc - why would you want to change that? I have a very pronounced Moravian accent, as does DH and I'm sure DS will when he's older. I'm very proud of our accent (if you can be proud of an accent?! - I guess I'm proud of where I come from) and don't want to hide it. You can be perfectly literate without changing your accent.

Incidentally, the Scottish Government seems to think changing the curriculum so that literacy and numeracy are now "the responsibility of all" teachers will make a difference. I'd like to ask when it was not the responsibility of all teachers - I've always corrected pupils' spelling/grammar and am slightly offended at the suggestion that I didn't see myself as responsible under the old curriculum.

GeneralDreedlesNurse Wed 29-Jun-11 10:37:29

Surely, "Manners maketh the man" ?

A person should be able to adapt their style, presentation, deleivery etc to make what they ahave to say available to a wider audience. There is no shame that the Sun expressess itself differently to the Guardian, they are meeting the needs of their customer.

Are you sure about BBC English? I'm not sure Lord Sugar's dulcet tones are "BBC English" even though they employ him. What about Roman Abromovich - does he speak BBC English/RP? BBCEnglish/RP doesn't make you a better person (take George Osbourne as an example).

Language evolves and whilst we may not always approve of the direction it takes, it has always found a way of adapting and surviving.I do feel children should be taught grammar, but life is too sort to get hung up on syntax, clauses and lexical functions.

Embrace our local dialects - they are amazing and give such an insight into the historical background of the county and our history. How bland it would be if we all sounded the same.

OrdinaryJo Wed 29-Jun-11 10:38:16

I'm also fiercely proud of my Scottish accent backward - but don't get me started on the Great Feeder and his parochial nonsense, that's a whole other thread...

But again OP - you aren't really talking about literacy are you, you're talking about accent, class and perception.

donnie Wed 29-Jun-11 10:39:19

There is a fundamental flaw in your argument anyway Op - you state that Sun readers will not use the same words that Telegraph readers will - how do you know what vocabulary people use? are you implying that only clever people with massive vocab will read the Telegraph? and that people with tiny vocabs read the red-tops? because I think you will find that there are many who beg to differ. You are reeling out tired stereotypes.

There are plenty of ultra clever, well qualified people from middle class backgrounds in well paid jobs who read tabloid newspapers. They don't all read the broadsheets you know.

donnie Wed 29-Jun-11 10:40:21

btw what does 'wallah' mean?

GeneralDreedlesNurse Wed 29-Jun-11 10:43:21

Literacy can be improved , imho, quite simply. Schools should take a consistent approach to correcting spelling and grmmar - correcting mistakes in history/geography/science writing rather than only correcting it in literacy.

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