Wednesday, 7 July 2010

It's grammatical, isn't it?

Yesterday on me Twitter feed I created a stir, right, when I tweeted this...

People tweeted back arksing, wot does "this ..." mean?

Later I twittered this:

Why is it that so many people in their twenties have v little understanding of English grammar or basic sentence construction? Aaaaaaagh.

This provoked nuff reaction innit. Most people agreed with me (of course they did) but others - wait for it - blamed it on Conservative education policies, conveniently ignoring the fact that most people in their 20s would have spent their entire secondary school careers educated under Labour.

Oh hang on, more Tory maths (I blame the progressive educationalists saying it is illegal to add up or something). If secondary school is taken to be between the ages of 11-16 that means that only people aged 20-24 would have spent their "entire secondary career under Labour". So not a majority then (but enough of one in terms of creating a government).

Even if some people in their 20s did spend their "entire secondary education under Labour", that education, especially in early years, was under the legacy of the previous Tory administration. And by focusing only on secondary education, my argument also ignores the fact that the learning of basic English should start at a primary level. So however I try and spin this, to try and imply it might be all Labour's fault is highly misleading.

We all know that a lot of this started under Thatcher (probably...remember, don't let facts get in the way of an argument). But why blame 18 years of Tory rule when there is 13 years of Labour to fall back on? The first rule of apportioning blame in politics is that it is only OK to blame "the last lot" when they aren't your lot.

The fact that the teaching of foreign languages has declined by about 50% over the last ten years (is this right? I'm not sure but if I don't include a reference it doesn't matter) has undoubtedly had a knock on effect. If kids aren't learning languages, they're not learning grammar. Therefore I propose removing the cap on immigrants and let as many foreigners in as possible. That'll learn us.

I will finish by venting generalist stuff about an embarrassing decline in English standards etc which will ignore the fact that things have changed quite a bit in how English is now taught in schools. I will blame "progressives". Why, before we know where we are not only will A grades be given despite poor sentence construction and grammar but for being cavalier with facts as well. And that would never do.

PS: I will hope and pray that no one would be so cruel as to scour through my back catalogue of blog posts and pull me up on some of my own grammatical crimes.

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