Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Static and Pun

Many of the patients I work with are not primarily English speakers, and even then I suspect many of them are poorly educated. Growing up in a shack made of corrugated metal in a community that derives most of its income from methaphetamine production is hardly an enviroment that encourages going to college.

They come here where they can run a leaf-blower for eighty hours a week so that their children can at least finish highschool and perhaps open a restaurant or auto-repair shop. Then in turn their next generation might obtain a real advanced education.



You have to admire that. I certainly do.

Then again, a lot of our patients are just stupid assholes who drugged and bullied their way through their school years and then went on to street life or the presidency. Whatever.

Some fun statistics:

One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.


--Jerrold Jenkins.

More:

Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.

--Bookselling This Week, November 10, 1997.

How about this literacy rate, eh?

1992: 20% of adults in the U.S. read at or below the fifth grade level.

--National Adult Literacy Survey reported in Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2003.




By listening carefully to the way people speak, sometimes you can tell that their language use is "unhinged" from the written word. Pronunciation, grammar, and general usage instead for them does not mentally link up to an underlying parallel "text."

Sometimes this presents as a jazzy and informed manner of talking, but more often than not it's an indication that the speaker is literally handicapped.

3 comments:

wunelle said...

If only our sitting president had had the initiative to actually organize and operate a drug-selling ring, I could respect some small facet of him. Alas, he's not even clever enough to live a successful life of crime except with his much smarter entourage in tow. (Well, who's in tow, actually?)

We will be like Germany after Hitler, trying for decades to explain how we let this man happen to us and to the world.

(Sorry this is so far off post!)

Eli Blake said...

Well, for never reading anything the rubes you refer to sure seem to be 'experts' on:

The Bible,

The Constitution,

Immigration Law,

Subversion in the Entertainment Industry,

Welfare Fraud,

Global Warming (or why there isn't any),

The criminal justice system,

Creationism,

Islam,

Affirmative Action,

The A.C.L.U.

and

How the schools should educate other people's kids (now THAT'S scary.)

nadine said...

i know i keep saying this, but i totally heart you and your blog.

not a stalker - just a pudgy married middle aged female phoenician who enjoys your posts.