Pamela Snow: Language is literacy is language

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Pamela Snow: Language is literacy is language

Post by geraldinecarter » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:22 pm

This is an extraordinarily good paper from Professor Pamela Snow

Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture: Language is
literacy is language - Positioning speech-language
pathology in education policy, practice, paradigms
and polemics

passage after passage deserves to be quoted - this is just one:

'spoken language and written language are
not one and the same and nor is the process by
which they are acquired one and the same. One
requires much exposure, immersion and real-time
experience in the interpersonal space, while the
other requires specific instruction and repeated
practice. A failure to understand and accommodate
this apparent paradox seems to underlie much of the
persistent influence of Whole Language instruction
and its descendant educational ideologies and
pedagogies, e.g. Reading Recovery and so-called
‘‘Balanced Literacy’’.

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Re: Pamela Snow: Language is literacy is language

Post by kenm » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:00 pm

Homo sapiens is the only known species with speech based on a generative grammar. Since the 1960s, experts in linguistics (e.g. Chomsky) have been telling us that normal infants are equipped with a general syntax that exposure to speech enables them to refine into the particular syntax of their native tongue. Combining this with a vocabulary that they also acquire largely by exposure, they then become able to speak an infinite number of sentences. The general syntax engine must have evolved over 50000+ years because language enabled more successful cooperation. Written language is thought to be some 5-6000 years old and literacy was reserved to a small minority until the last few hundred years or so. Its impact on the human genome has been negligible so far (note that from c. 1000 CE to 1500 CE a large fraction of literate Europeans were nominally celibate). The apparent paradox is not one to a person who understands these processes.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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