I got the most realistic, coolest, most meaningful spam ever and it had everything; atrocities, evils of wealth, illness, dead husbands, life insurance, cancer (ovarian, even), children, one of the south Africa country (yes, really), and adoption (ha! didn't see that coming, did you?).

At my work email. So no penis enlargement today.

My duckling at work is from Cameroon, and every once in a while he breaks into evangelism on his country of birth, and therefore we look at Google World at every inch of Cameroon while he finds youtube videos because he thinks it's funny to start me off with Cameroon English that unexpectedly breaks into French (I automemorize lyrics and he told me once I was the best he'd ever heard at mispronouncing French so well that it sounded like a whole new (very sad) language, so you know, I win for that).

This is related; this is neither talent nor skill, I've mentioned this before, it's not even useful, but more like having the ability to spit Guinness World book record--I realized the probable reason why I never had a problem spelling anyone's names on our work board if I saw it once (our developers are from India or Nepal generally, so very few Western-oriented or Korean or Vietnamese, the latter two were communities in the right zip codes for my office to handle when I was a caseworker, yes, it's that random) or--historically--always got my written Russian homework flawless in class even if Russia itself might cry if it heard me speak the language. Also, given a list of any number of words and meaning once, I could use them perfectly in context and never miss spelling them by a letter, but if you do not tell me right then how to pronounce them--I mean right then--I will never pronounce them right in my head and this will follow me forever when I say them.

Not many of you probably know or care much about the education of children in the US being a thing that is debated hotly when it comes to teaching them to read; or you might, so you know every few years, they switch between Fun With Phonics and whole word learning. You want to watch a bloodbath, get any group of educators together and throw that out; if these were the days of duels, gloves would be slapping everywhere and dawn would be the new prime time for drama viewing.

My class was very Fun with Phonics (this changed and changed back every few years) and because of that I will shove a glove in your ass if you say it's not the best forever, but there's a price to be paid for teaching kids to sound out shit first.

1.) You learn adults are fuckers who fuck with you very early with 'the'.

That's the thing about phonics as reading; almost all the word at primary level are fine, but that's an article and you cannot get away from it. A lot of teachers roll with it, and some have to have taken that into consideration early on, but my most vivid memory of the kindergarten education process was going over and over to my teacher because I trusted her and I couldn't believe she meant it when she said 'the' did not sound like 'tuh-huh-eh'.

She just told me the entire alphabet, letters have sounds, sounds have meaning (there was a blackboard and a pointer), this can be expressed on a page beneath the cute picture of a girl (blonde, always fucking blonde) playing with a dog (brown, very). I nailed that shit, and it was true, all of it...except 'tuh-huh-eh' was not 'the', what is this bullshit?

Once I accepted 'the' into my heart as my phonics betrayer (it took a full year and we won't talk about how much that delayed literacy but again, a year), it got better; all the 'th' and 'ch' were allowed in my soul and eventually silent 'e's would join them along with all the others, but the scar of betrayal never really healed, Mrs. Figueroa.

2.) Your spelling will forever be fantastic except for all the ways it won't be and it's because of France.

Spelling was easy kindergarten through third grade, because again most words are phonetically consistent at that level, or so close that visual plus audio once and you're fine. Except.

You meet 'beau' and fuck everything ever. Buh-eh-ah-uuuuuuuthefuckisthis that is nothing like 'bow', that's buh-oh-wuh and we have one of those b-o-w bu-oh-wuh not b-e-a-u buh-eh-ah-uuuuuutheydon'tdothis, Mrs F didn't lie that much, did she?

...French, you say? Really.

Xenophobia is terrible and American exceptionlism is very wrong, but ask yourself; how many kids were perhaps influenced by getting a 99 but not a hundred because the French language exists and didn't get a golden star but a silver one--a silver one--on the paper when they got it back and an 'x' by that word? Not that I'm still bitter, just saying.

It might be the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066 causing the English language to be supplanted by Norman French, not even real French because fuck French we got the discount edition, causing only the lower classes to use English for centuries while French, being so very (discount) French, stuck its words helter-skelter into every conversation until Chaucer existed, married John of Gaunt's sister-in-law, and set the world right with many tales, and French--fucking French--eventually went away but those words stuck. English needed those because its development had been slowed, we had to catch up fast (German was mocking us with its vocabulary and Spanish was grinning very Catholicly), so we needed words and fast. What to do?

Fine, English said, picking up a sword, righteousness, a Revolutionary War, and a future Webster's dictionary, unrevised: shit just got real. Time to level the fuck up.

English takes all the words, all of them, the ones you wanted and the ones you didn't, sorry, but like a wolf who tastes the hot blood of a fresh kill for the first time (language is tasty indeed, nothing like it), it wants more.

B-o-w and b-e-a-u are 'buh-oh-wuh' and discrete plus discreet because Latin or Greek same meaning different context mostly, watch English laugh at your protests, bring it on, we have the 'c' and the 'k' and we like it, same sound but sometimes not, a-e-i-o-u and sometimes y because fuck you English does what it wants with consonants and vowels. Fish and fiche sound the same but mean different things, you want more? English does, too. Did you see phonics is ph but sounds like 'f'? We even have 'q' right there in the alphabet and it needs to get laid by 'u' to make a sound but fuck if we care, it's our letter and have fun with it. 'X' took many sounds for its own and uses them all and we let it because we like rebels.

Also, Latin? I split an infinitive every day just for you. And English told me to say 'hi' and fuck you.

Silver star. One. Word. Wrong.

3.) You will realize quite early that writing is better than talking for a lot of reasons and fuck everything.

Phonics works for many words and most kids will roll with it, but that doesn't change the severe cognitive dissonance that will haunt some few. Among that group will be those that can deal, and then there's the ones that have to live life with oral readings where you will be constantly translating b-e-a-u to 'buh-oh-wuh' because William the Conqueror was a douche but with many different words and that wears on you and sanity may not hold out long.

Reading and writing become havens of wonder because pronunciation wasn't fucking with us, which is why certain essays are college level vocabulary (content hilarious) while long division is still a mystery Mrs Young stop fucking with me you want me to carry what?

Writing is the perfect medium when you learn sarcasm as well (once you learn the definition of subtlety and forgive the b for being inexplicably silent and even now often forget), and a generation met the internet--all text, all the time--with the advanced tools necessary to troll the fuck out of it.

So I can spell anything I see at most twice (three times over five syllables, phonics is fun but also set to a four four beat to learn), but English/French youtube videos autolyric memoriation means I will sing things I can't pronounce and my duckling French speaker thinks it's funny because I can't pronounce fucking French.

People say they want to go to Paris all the time; oh, so do I, you have no idea.

I fly into that country, mispronounce 'Bien' awkwardly beneath pitying smiles, tell a cab driver three times where to go while he rolls his eyes at Americans because I took French while in Finland and I still couldn't get it right, go to the Eiffel Tower and climb to the very top.

And I will say: "William the Conqueror was a douche, I will split every infinitive I see, and b-e-a-u is not fucking 'buh-oh-wuh'!"

And give myself a gold star.

Next: Normandy. I can't wait.
princessofgeeks: (Default)

2014-08-23 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this. You are giving me flashbacks to my older son, who had a titanic struggle learning to read, probably because of this.

Phonics never worked for him. At all. He was a whole-word learner all the way. And once we learned he was all auditory, all the time (he's a musician too; big surprise….), things got easier. Spelling things out loud worked for him. Writing it over and over never "took"… it might as well have been drawing leaves.

He's still a lousy speller. With a huge vocabulary.

So I dunno.

(Also, I guess there's a lot of research showing "learning styles" is a myth? Which I don't know what to think about that, because my son is clearly an auditory learner. My other kid is all visual, like me. But the older kid and his dad are so, so auditory. If they watch a movie, they retain it all. Read a book on the same topic? Forget it.)

(Thank you for listening.)
jesse_the_k: uppercase Times Roman "S" with nick in upper corner, text below reads "I shot the serif." (shot the serif)

2014-08-23 11:13 pm (UTC)
You give great rant!

But: Fish and fiche sound the same but mean different things… Really? For me the first has a short i (like first) and the second has a longer i (like quiche) (which it would because French).

Great, great, rant.
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

2014-08-25 12:32 am (UTC)
Me, either. Except my 'fish' vowel doesn't sound anything like my 'first' vowel. Fish like 'dinner'. First like 'term'.

Microfeesh. Not microfish.
ratcreature: Like a spork between the eyes. (spork)

2014-08-23 11:54 pm (UTC)
I am baffled how anyone could learn to read English with the phonetic method. Really, I kind of pity anyone who has to learn reading with English, rather than a language that uses an alphabet in a sensible way.
ratcreature: RatCreature wearing a tinhat: That's crazy. (crazy)

2014-08-24 12:48 am (UTC)
But even with simple words it's hard in English. Because you need to remember all these letters in combinations and context instead of just learning the sound of the letter and it working every time, like the gh in ghost is an entirely different sound from the gh in tough and you don't hear it at all in though, meanwhile the ou in tough sounds different from the ou in though too, and different again from the ou in house.
bratfarrar: (writing)

2014-08-24 03:17 am (UTC)
Not to mention that "dove" and "love" don't rhyme with "cove" or "wove". That sort of thing is all over the place.
ratcreature: RatCreature's toon avatar (Default)

2014-08-24 06:36 am (UTC)
Yeah. When we started learning English in fifth grade we were taught IPA symbols alsongside, which were also in the word lists, so we could read and learn the pronunciation along with the spelling. It guess its not worse than having to memorize gender or plurals in other languages, but it seems so unnecessary to have an alphabet but not use it as one. (And of course I understand that there are historical reasons, and imported words and so on, but other languages manage to adjust the spelling of these much better after a while.)
bratfarrar: (loading)

2014-08-24 06:37 pm (UTC)
I think a large reason for this is that things just sort of ... happen, in English. You need to describe something and there isn't a word in English that does it? Just grab it from somewhere else and use it as is, and it'll either catch on or not. And because it's a very organic process--by which I mean there is no process--there's no standardization.
ratcreature: RatCreature blathers. (talk)

2014-08-24 07:22 pm (UTC)
But German does the same thing (there are a ton of words imported from French, Italian, English, Latin, Greek... I've once read that about a quarter of the words in a current German dictionary can be traced to other langues, though some have been around since Roman times and nobody thinks of those as borrowed anymore), only eventually German tends to adjust the spelling and/or the pronunciation to make it fit better. Not right away, but eventually, at least with widely used words. Which is why for example the English "cake" some marketer borrowed in 1889 to make their cookies sound more attractive (showing that misappropriated advertising Denglish is not a new phenomenon) soon was spelled Kek (around 1905), and then the plural Keks was made the singular with a plural of Kekse, because German tends to prefer -e and -en plurals over -s ones. And now you can barely tell that the German Keks used to be the English cake.
bratfarrar: (Default)

2014-08-24 09:44 pm (UTC)
Huh. I just discovered there's actually a ginormous Wikipedia article on this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language_spelling_reform. Could probably answer your question better than I could, as I'd have to fall back on the "that's just the way it is" argument, which isn't helpful at all.
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

2014-08-24 01:39 am (UTC)
I pity anyone who had to learn English, to be honest! It's a demented Frankenstein's monster of a language, made up of pieces of other languages. I could read before I went to school, which may have affected my lifelong problem with pronunciation. My reading was way ahead, but I didn't get to hear anyone *say* those words until much, much later.

Still, if you want a language that's easy to pronounce and totally phonetic, go with Japanese! It was such a relief to find something that doesn't have that trap in it.
inoru_no_hoshi: The most ridiculous chandelier ever: shaped like a penis. Text: Sparklepeen. (Default)

2014-08-24 02:22 am (UTC)
Ahhh, English. *long-suffering sigh*

My thing is that I am the weirdest mix of audio-visual-kinesthetic learner you've probably ever seen, which means spelling was occasionally interesting because it didn't sound like that. Ask me how fucking long it took me to be able to consistently spell things like "silhouette" or anything with "ie" combos (because I'd earnly heard "I before E except after C" and never knew there was more to that rhyme til like two, three years ago, AFTER I'd beaten most of those into my brain the hard way). (I still have to look some words up because they just look wrong any which way I try to spell them!)

Between that and the fact that I was reading at college+ levels by 10 or so (not necessarily understanding everything, but definitely mostly getting it from context) but didn't really have cause to speak some words, I sussed things out in my head and called it good. I still pronounce some things really weirdly if I didn't get a correction that stuck (which is why when I look at "how do you say [X]?" things, my pronunciation ends up ALL OVER). I'm also a language/accent sponge, so that adds another fun level... >_>

And that's before adding in the fact that I'm mostly deaf! (I've amazed audiologists with how well I speak for my level of hearing loss.)

Also, I'm reminded of this quote: "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." —James D. Nicoll
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

2014-08-24 04:03 am (UTC)
ROTFL. I love giving the why English has the least phonetic spelling and the why we don't have spelling bees in German lectures. I don't know if it's true or not, but my teacher used to say, when it's alive it's Germanic; when we serve it it's French and if you fall into the water you scream HELP (hilfe) not AID (aide(z)). My language is the bread and butter of English (and still the more phonetic :)
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

2014-08-24 04:29 am (UTC)
OMG, now I'm grinning over here. Yes!!! And it's even worse if you're Scottish!!!

Like, seriously, my mom's bad English (speak a lot of Ks and rolling Rs) was understood better than my school English in Scotland.

Spelling isn't too hard though when you follow certain rules (namely doing the d/t c/k and the Great Vowel Shift in reverse) The latter is the thing of evilness that has condemned poor English speaking children to special spelling bee hell!!!

German isn't quite like Latin, but for the most part if you know how it sounds (and know the rules) you know how it's spelled. Phonetics was always crazy easy in German. It was the English that made me cry (and we literally would get an English text and had to transcribe it--and in British English to boot...no damn Yanks there!!!)

out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

2014-08-24 12:04 pm (UTC)
If not for accidentally losing my reply, you would have had a sarcastic reply on trying to understand that license (noun) is pronounced exactly the same as license (the verb) and how annoying it was to grow up with "jail" on my cartoons when spelling lists insisted on "gaol". Australian English is a messy mix of USA and UK rules, designed to be confusing.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

2014-08-24 06:05 pm (UTC)
Apparently I am alone in this, but I love the way English has so many different languages incorporated and I love how you can trace history through words that have been retained (and even ghosts of changed pronunciation--chair got imported before 'ch' became the /ʃ / sound in French, you can see we imported 'pedestrian' after the Grimm's Law shit happened so we have 'foot' but 'pedestrian'). And personally I'm very pleased that English has dropped cases using inflection and just gone with using prepositions and stuff. I'm sloooowly trying to learn Greek and like just. The declensions. The cases. asdfjoweds

On the other hand, I get why it's frustrating. I have awful memory so I have no idea if I struggled with spelling or not (French immersion when I was younger, so I dunno if that did anything) but I do volunteer work with adult literacy programs so yeah. It'd be nice if our orthography matched everything else to make it simpler.
bratfarrar: (Default)

2014-08-24 06:38 pm (UTC)
Yes--it's wonderful if you already (mostly) know it, but a pain if you don't.
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)

2014-08-24 11:18 pm (UTC)
I got linked to this, and it's really sort of epic, so I've added you to my circle to stalk you, is where the random person comes from. I'm safe to ignore, I do not post.
druidspell: Wicked girls saving ourselves (Determined)

2014-08-25 12:07 am (UTC)
I never had phonics-based learning, and I was so confused by some of my classmates who came to my elementary school later who did phonics in their kindergartens--didn't they know that was going to fuck them up later? Because "phonics" isn't even spelled phonetically.
Now I have my answer: Yes it does fuck them up later, yes they are still probably angry about it. ;)
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

2014-08-25 12:39 am (UTC)
How did you do? :D

Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant

My 'aunt' actually *does* rhyme with 'haunt', not 'grant'.

English is a beautiful fucked up thing. And that's not even counting the regional differences. Oy vey.
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)

2014-08-25 08:20 pm (UTC)
Fish and fiche sound the same

I have a fancy box at home in which I keep some emergency money. I call it the cash cache.
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

2014-08-27 06:15 am (UTC)
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

2014-08-27 06:18 am (UTC)
My school tried to teach us Whole Word, but it was a fancy private school so when the parents threw a fit they switched over to phonics. I can't spell any damn thing at all though. I had an electronic dictionary as a kid, and I often got the words so wrong it didn't have a clue.


seperis: (Default)



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