Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grammar for the 22nd Century

Yes, I had my professional learning community meeting today. Before I went, I thought that this post might be serving up a little crow to its author, because I actually found the assigned reading to be relevant and of use to my teaching. When I got there, I found that I was in the minority again, though, because nobody else liked what the chapter had to offer. Sigh.

We did have a lively conversation on teaching homophones. Once again, I played the devil's advocate (it was hard not to when one of the other teachers cited page 666 in the language text book) and asked how we can make the differences in those words relevant to the students, especially when mistaking them so rarely impacts meaning. If someone uses the wrong there, their, or they're, it's not hard to figure out what they were trying to say, it just happens to be incorrect.

At one point, I proposed my own grammar: let's standardize spellings for words that sound alike (and get rid of apostrophes while we're at it-- at least for contractions). Can't we agree to make it "thair" in every case?

We have plenty of words in our language that are spelled the same but have different meanings, for example fluke, lead, and bank. Sure, thair confusing in thair own way, but such a change might mean that thair would be fewer mistakes. And think of all the instructional time that we could reclaim, tew.

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