Saturday, September 11, 2004, 14:49 GMT
''LOSE'' AND ''LOOSE''
Saturday, September 11, 2004, 14:49 GMT
Saturday, September 11, 2004, 23:43 GMT
Most native English speakers ARE poor and infrequent readers.
However, some categories of mistakes are particularly well correlated with functional illiteracy. A confusion between loose and lose is among these. Even more revealing is pronunciation of "ask" as "ax." Errors like this indicate (usually) that a person just hasn't seen enough written English to learn spelling well.
You can make excuses for this if you want, but in many quarters, people who make mistakes like this will be written off as illiterate dolts—and not entirely without justification.
Sunday, September 12, 2004, 01:49 GMT
As Damian pointed out, sometimes even good overall spellers (and avid readers) make mistakes in relatively common words. When we read, we don't analyze words letter by letter. Rather, research suggests that we recognize the shapes of whole words. So it's no wonder we don't always remember if the correct spelling is "piece" or "peice", "weird" or "wierd".
A related problem is that we skip over "grammar words" like articles and prepositions when reading. Instead, we concentrate on "content words", since they are all we need to understand the meaning. As a result, articles and prepositions are among the hardest aspects of English to learn. You have to train yourself to concentrate on them when reading.
How many times does the letter F appear in the following sentence?
"Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the
experience of many years."
Sunday, September 12, 2004, 01:51 GMT
Pedants will always find absurd justifications Tom.
Sunday, September 12, 2004, 17:44 GMT
>>When we read, we don't analyze words letter by letter. Rather, research suggests that we recognize the shapes of whole words.<<
"Acdcrnig to the rsaerech of an Elnisgh uvrietsiny it deos not mtaetr wihch odrer the ltetres are in a wrod, the olny iptromant thnig is to hvae the frsit and lsat ltetres at tiher rghit plcae. All the oehtr ltetres can be in a rndaom oerdr, sitll the txet can be raed wthiuot prloembs. The rsaeon for this is that we do not raed all ltetres spaertealy, but the whloe wrod."
This "text" has been circulating around on forums in Hungary (in Hungarian, this is my English "translation"). My question: would you understand it at first reading if it had an entirely different subject matter (i.e. if it wasn't about the very phenomenon it wants you to realise)?
Monday, September 13, 2004, 01:24 GMT
because most people are like me - completly and utterly mortified by the treachery of grammar and spelling.
Monday, September 13, 2004, 02:38 GMT
To dismiss blindly or the inability to answer valid arguments isn't much of a case. There's no excuse for a lack of arguments either. Here's another:
[aks] is/was a common regional pronunciation for "ask" which shows reason for a phonetically correct "ax", though it isn't quite the same parallel as "lose" and "loose".
Words "ax" and ask; and metathesis :
"I axe, why the fyfte man Was nought housband to the Samaritan?"
Monday, September 13, 2004, 11:53 GMT
The last message was in refutation to Mxsmanic's claim :
>>"Even more revealing is pronunciation of "ask" as "ax." Errors like this indicate (usually) that a person just hasn't seen enough written English to learn spelling well.<<
Monday, September 13, 2004, 14:09 GMT
I didn't loose and lose were pronounced differently :-( One with a z and the other with an s, right? I don't confuse them ortographically, that's easy or should I "say" eazy?
Monday, September 13, 2004, 14:58 GMT
Do some native English speakers really pronounce "ask" as "ax"? I can't believe this. Well, at least I've never seen anyone spell it that way.
Monday, September 13, 2004, 15:01 GMT
By the way, the letter "F" appears 6 times in that sentence.
Monday, September 13, 2004, 15:49 GMT
"Do some native English speakers really pronounce "ask" as "ax"? I can't believe this. Well, at least I've never seen anyone spell it that way."
Ever heard Whitney Houston speak? She always says "ax" instead of "ask", even though she had a privileged upbringing.
Monday, September 13, 2004, 18:16 GMT
That pronunciation can often be heard among African-Americans.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 02:57 GMT
In the United States, [aks] is a very common pronunciation of "ask" among black Americans, so much so that the two are closely identified with each other. A few other non-black minority groups make this mistake (mainly those with low literacy rates), but it is extremely widespread among blacks, and very rare within the rest of the population, so the correlation is quite high.
About 60% of blacks in the U.S. are functionally illiterate, so this probably has something to do with the correlation (the illiteracy rate among non-blacks is at least 30%). This type of mistake is very highly correlated with illiteracy (just like "loose" and "lose" confusion).
I'm surprised that Whitney Houston would say this, though. Educated blacks often learn the correct pronunciation as part of their education (but I don't know what sort of education Whitney has—a privileged upbringing alone does not equate to formal education).
Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 04:12 GMT
Re: Tom's passage:
If you scan each word and letter individually, you should count 6 Fs. Tom implied reading the sentence at a natural pace, which normally causes the reader to skip prepositions, eg. "of" which contains a 'v' sound to confuse things.
These fleeting moments of focal loss is similar to how I was considering the "lose" and "loose" issue and they do happen a lot. Trust me, just one slip can create many debugging adventures in the realm of computing. This is the basis for the misunderstanding between me and the Manic paintballer.