Yes, English matters.

Since at least the 1990s there has been a belief that the study of English at school isn’t all that important. When I was a teenager, students who prioritised maths over English in their course choices automatically graduated from college (the final two years of high school) with a significantly higher university entrance score, even if they didn’t get a particularly high grade in the subject.

With the recent push for more and more science in schools, an attitude has developed that English is a subject for stupid people. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard people in their teens and early twenties refer to English as a “dumb people subject” in recent years.

And now we have this story coming out of New Zealand:

New Zealand students say word ‘trivial’ in exam confused them

High School students in New Zealand who didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant in an exam question have demanded not to be marked down as a result.

More than 2,600 people signed an online petition over the “unfamiliar” word.

The students were asked to write an essay based on the Julius Caesar quote: “In war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”

Examiners said the language used was expected to be within the range of the year 13 students’ vocabulary.

If people in this world had better reading, comprehension and analytical skills, fewer people would be so susceptible to Russian propaganda and far-right conspiracies. If more people were better at English (or whatever their native language is), and better able to understand the rights and wrongs of the media they come across, we wouldn’t end up with people like Donald Trump running this world.

English isn’t for “dumb people”, and people with poor language skills shouldn’t brag about being smarter than those of us who read and write.

The Week: 29th January – 4th February

Wednesday summer sunset in Canberra

One of our (still fluffy!) young magpies hanging out on Friday afternoon.

Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018?

jemima-khan-impersonates-melania-trump-for-halloween-2016

My review of His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

My review of Honor-Bound Lawman by Danica Favorite

Honor-Bound Lawman (Love Inspired Historical) by Danica Favorite

Rereading Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber

Formula One (finally!) gets rid of “grid girls”

Formula One Race Podium Melbourne Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 20th March 2016 Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Sebastian Vettel F1

For Chinese New Year

Chinese-themed Book Sculpture

 

Rules of the Road for the Regency Language

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Elizabeth Garvie David Rintoul Elizabeth Bennet Mr Darcy

There was an interesting article over at Austen Authors a few days ago:

Rules of the Road for the Regency Language

While talking a little about the differences between UK and US terminology, it also goes into the history behind it, and another thing I know many aren’t aware of: the grammar is different. For example, there are times when American English would refer to something as singular, where in British English it would be a plural.

The one that always gets me: US English saying ‘the staff was’ when we say ‘the staff were’ in Britain, Australia etc.

Because I read so many US-produced review books I think I do okay switching between the two versions of English, but authors should take note when writing dialogue. I’m okay with US grammar in my historical romance as long as it’s not coming out of the mouth (or the pen – I get picky over letters in books!) of a Brit.

The blog post – and the entire site – is well worth a read. I am really impressed by how much detailed research some authors dive into.