Friday, August 25, 2017

Opaque languages vs. transparent languages

This morning, I read a post by Dr.Timothy Shanahan where it is stated that English is an opaque language and these are my thoughts on that post.

Many articles have been written on transparent languages such as Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Malay and many other languages which are easy to learn to read. 

Of course this means that children reading in any of the transparent languages learn to read quicker because of the correspondence between writing and pronunciation. Children are also able to read new words based on the consistency of the reading rules in transparent languages.

It is easy for our professors to use this ‘opaque language’ excuse and say that this is why the illiteracy level is still as high as it was 30 or 50 years ago.

BUT, hold on a second. Ponder over the fact that kids predisposed to shutting down do actually disengage from learning to read in English. They DISENGAGE from learning to read. This is not the same as saying it takes a longer time to learn to read in English.

It will be obvious to anyone who uses his common sense to figure this out. We should ask:
i.                    Why these kids shut down in the first place?
ii.                  Why is this happening in all countries all over the world?
iii.                How is it possible for intervention/remediation to bring these kids back to grade level and keep them at grade level?
iv.                What is it that is done during remediation that is different from teaching in schools?

I believe it is high time that we stop giving excuses for our short comings and do what is necessary to alleviate illiteracy level in US and the rest of the world.

Start by asking Timothy to give answers to the above 4 questions.


Anonymous said...

It would be great if this post linked back to the original post from Dr. Shanahan, or any research at all, so that readers could put these ideas in greater context.

Unknown said...

I was thinking the same thing re trustworthiness... this may help