Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shock! Many English Speakers Cannot Understand Basic Grammar

buzz this
Basic grammar befuddles many native English speakers, according to a paper given by Dr. Ewa Dabrowska of Northumbria University.

Where is the surprise?

If grammar is de-emphasized or not taught at all, of course students who pass into the adult world are unable to string together intelligible sentences.

The so-called "War on Grammar" by progressive educators has been successfully waged - sadly, few native-speaking adults and school children can make sense of the English language whether in reading, writing, listening or speaking.

US corporations spend $3.1 billion annually on remedial skills for employees, according to a recent New York Times report.

Some observers mark the decline of grammar with the fad sparked by radical Professor Noam Chomsky in the 1960s - transformational generative grammar. 

While grammar was too controversial, so was the traditional method of teaching school children English pronunciation- phonics.

Phonics - associating sounds with English letters - was also deemed "controversial" and reading levels dropped off progressively. Spelling became a nightmare for many who were subjected to the disastrous "look-say" method.

The dire straits of abandoning phonics led to Rudolf Flesch publishing his blockbuster book, Why Johnny Can’t Read. He cannot because he was not taught to read!

Shock! The return to teaching phonics, after a bad experiment for too many years, has revived reading skills among children.

Another slight of hand was when English classes became Language Arts classes and grammar slipped from sight in many American schools.

Now we know more as many knew then there is nothing artful about the dumbing down of students.

Sadly generations of students who are now ill-equipped to manage their own native langauge must pay the price of misguided experiments in the classroom.

*** If you are in São Paulo and need English lessons, or Elite English Services including translations (Spanish/French/Portuguese to English), please call Professor Winn at 6135-9024 or send an email to mrenglish101@gmail.com for a prompt evaluation. Buy your English-language texts today!

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