A discussion in favour of teaching grammar, but against declaring one form of English as being the standard.

Justin Swanton

Loving the view from up here.
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Methinks that Standard English is more important today than at any time in the past as it is the written lingua franca of the English-speaking world. Probably most of our communication these days with anyone who isn't a family member is done by writing: emails, reports, posts, etc. And whenever we write we instinctively write in SE, not in our local dialect. If we do use local terms or phrases it's always in a humorous context. SE makes it possible for Anglophones from different backgrounds to talk perfectly and comfortably with each other in a context where accent and turns of phrase don't feature.

And, like it or not, we are more ready to take seriously someone who shows a mastery of SE over someone who doesn't. Call it linguistic jingoism if you like, but psychologically we think someone who can express himself fluently in SE is more intelligent than someone who can't. Which isn't true of course, but there you are.

So yeah, grammar is important. Or rather, indispensable.
 
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TheEndIsNigh

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I got teached Inglich at skool and it don't do me no arm.

Was O K. but being whacked by teacha for not doin it proppa maked it hard to figure it owt. What wive me bum smartin and that.



In fact, grammar and spelling is one area that I have real problems with. They did try to teach it at school but not until it was too late IMO.

From memory I think the first real "grammar" lesson was at secondary school. The trouble was sometimes it was more like the blind leading the blind as, at the time, secondary modern schools concentrated more on the "physical" methods of teaching. Quite a few of the teachers were ex army 'throw them into teaching' types. I probably learnt more about grammar (tense and sentence structure in the French lessons) though even that wasn't anything to write home about - Bonjuor.

I think the compulsory teaching foreign languages for all is a complete waste of money unless the pupils want or has a particular talent for learning them. By the time I left school pupils had to learn two languages until you were in year 5 (probably Y11 now) Had all those hours (four per week) been spent teaching English properly, I suspect education would be much improved in this country. I wouldn't mind betting (99.00%) of the average O Level language student never used the language ever again. I learnt more French by spending ten days visiting my relatives in France one summer, than I ever learnt in four years of French lessons. Plus, invariably the French that's taught (well certainly then) was completely unintelligible to native french speakers say in the depths of Brittany. Whenever I've been abroad on business (Germany and Belgium) our customers mainly wanted to use me as a sounding board for their English. My feeble attempts at "good morning" were usually met with polite derision. If the education people insist on kids learning Latin and the like then they should concentrate on the spoken word taught by native speakers with actual knowledge of the language. The department of Education would do well to have their noses rammed on to the grindwheel of Google translate and phone language apps. Maybe teaching the proper use of those would be better. In would save billions.

Rant over.

Don't get me started on the way they teach year 1-3 English now. Somebody must be making a fortune on the material they use which, quite frankly, I don't understad at all.
 
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