suzmccarth wrote:
> Hi Steve,
> If I may speak as a teacher -
> > Ten Axioms on English Spelling
> > Edited and expanded by Chris Upward
> >
> >
> >
> > 1. Alphabets provide the simplest way to write most languages.
> >
> > SB: syllabaries are strong contenders when there are less than 5
> >vowels.
> > ref:, keyword:
> >syllabary
> Definitely, this statement is meaningless without definitions, as
> Mr. Daniels has said.

Suzanne gets an A. Barry will continue to get Fs if he doesn't learn
what questions to ask.

> However, children do go through a morphemic/syllabic stage of
> spelling before the alphabetic stage.
> I visited a kindergarten in HK last year where children were
> learning early writing in Chinese. (No Pinyin only Han characters.)
> They were going through similar but not identical stages as children
> writing in English.
> >
> > 2. The alphabet works by the principle that letters represent
> >speech sounds.
> >
> > SB: Most writing systems contain more than just sound signs.
> > They also include a few meaning signs (semagrams, word-
> >signs, logograms).
> I am afraid speech sounds doesn't mean much. Most writing systems
> are discussed based on the type of phonology that is represented.
> All writing represents speech sounds but of what type: consonants
> and vowels, consonants, aksara, onset and rime, syllabics and
> finals, syllables, morae, features?
> After that, logography is is discussed as a different dimension -
> but I could go on and on.
> >
> > 3. Literacy is easily acquired if the spelling tells readers the
> >pronunciation, and the pronunciation tells writers the spelling.
> I hate to do this but yes, define literacy.
> In various highly publicized international literacy studies
> Finland, Scotland and Japan have all done well - all different
> types of writing systems. The highest correlation is usually
> considered to be between "economic support of education
> infrastructure" and "level of literacy". You want to do a lot of
> research to make a statement about this one way or another.
> One Study comparing English and German children showed that in grade
> 3 German children were ahead of English children, but in grade 6
> they could all read at the same level of competency. The head-start
> did not alter the end product.
> I think the consensus is that anyone can learn to read any writing
> system, but some writing systems are harder to spell. I teach
> dyslexics so I don't say this lightly.
> Personally, I am waiting for a better spell-checker - one that will
> accept 'wut' for 'what'
> Anyway, you get the picture.
> > SB: Literacy is more easily acquired under these conditions. In
> >fact illiterates can learn highly phonemic writing systems in 3
> >months or less. Laubach (1960) said that 3 months was the average
> >for 95% of the 300 languages his organization developed literacy
> >materials for. Swadesh and Pike (1939) claimed to have taught
> >illiterate Indians in rural Mexico how to read and write their own
> >language and Spanish in two months.
> >
> > Kalmar says that a hybrid Tarascan /tə'raas kən /
> >alphabet had been devised in 1939 by Swadesh, Lathrop, and Pike, as
> >part of the Tarascan Project. (p.108) "The Tarascan Project became
> >the showpiece of adult biliteracy campaigns ... elevated [by
> >UNESCO, 1948] to paradigmatic status as a model for how to conduct
> >adult biliteracy campaigns in third world countries .... The
> >Tarascan Project established once and for all that indios -
> >illiterate indigenous monolingual adults - could learn to read and
> >write both their own language and the metropolitan language in less
> >than a month or two - provided both languages were systematically
> >coded in a single alphabet deliberately designed to be as hybrid as
> >possible, on the principle of one letter, one hybrid phoneme."
> The problem with these studies is that they are using a completely
> different, if valid in its own way, definition of literacy.
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...