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  1. #1
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    English is too hard to read for children

    The English spelling system is 'absolutely, unspeakably awful'. That is the conclusion of new research that has found that children face 800 words by the age of 11 that hinder their reading because of the way they are spelt.
    Monkey, asparagus, spinach, caterpillar, dwarf, banana, handkerchief, pliers, soldiers, stomach, petal and telescope have all been included on the long list of words that baffle children because they contain letter combinations that are more commonly pronounced in a different way.

    Monkey, asparagus, spinach, caterpillar, dwarf, banana, handkerchief, pliers, soldiers, stomach, petal and telescope have all been included on the long list of words that baffle children because they contain letter combinations that are more commonly pronounced in a different way.


    Much more: http://education.guardian.co.uk/scho...284503,00.html

    I truly hope English isn't dumbed down. i can't fathom why even half of the following list is problematic.

    having said that, it's phonetics, isn't it? that's what they're saying . . .

    100 of the most difficult words

    Orange, foreign, rhinoceros, properly, vomit, tambourine, tournament, tourist, heaven, engine, exquisite, opposite, advertisement, gnarled, rigid, risen, sinister, spinach, video, vinegar, tie, wheelie, quiet, science, crier, pliers, soldier, Monday, mongrel, monkey, courage, magic, manage, palace, four, journey, gnash, gnaw, gnome, ghastly, guard, miracle, miserable, pigeon, pity, prison, month, mother, nothing, once, smother, son, sponge, tongue, wonder, almost, both, comb, ghost, gross, most, only, post, programme, deny, reply, July, obey, caterpillar, chapel, damage, dragon, fabulous, family, famished, garage, glacier, habit, hazard, hexagonal, imagine, panic, radish, miaow, powder, cauliflower, plant, pyjamas, raft, rather, salami, task, vast, kiosk, kiwi, machine, encourage, somersault, swollen, souvenir.


    note: some of the above spellings such as 'programme' are British English spellings.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2003
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    Ever try to decipher gang signs? It's interesting that gang members can read their own signs, yet cannot master English. And, gang signs are not limited to English. You can travel throughout Europe, for one example, and see them everywhere. So, wherein lies the problem?

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    Atlanta GA
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    What an odd thing.

    I just asked my DD7 to read the list to me. She just finished 1st grade.

    Considering I dragged her away from the TV and the words are not in any kind of context, I thought she did very well. She pronounced 92% of them correctly. The rest were close but I counted them wrong if she hesitated or clearly had no clue what they were.

    The 8 she got wrong were:

    exquisite
    soldier
    ghastly (who even says that?)
    pigeon
    deny
    glacier
    miaow (not a real word, IMHO)
    kiosk (no surprise)

    Of course, she also won "best vocabulary" in her class, so maybe she's not the best test!

  4. #4
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    Jul 2005
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    Tennessee
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    I did the same thing with my seven year old. These are the ones he missed.

    foreign
    rhinoceros
    tambourine
    exquisite
    gnarled
    sinister
    mongrel
    miaow
    kiosk
    souvenir

    He got programme before I changed it, but looked at
    pyjamas like I was crazy. Then I changed it and he went "Ohh pajamas."

    What the hell is "miaow"?

    If a 7 and 8 year old can read them (mostly), how hard can these words really be?



  5. #5
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    May 2007
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    Lake Charles, Louisiana
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    I think the english language is extremely hard for children to learn because so many words look the same but sound different. Its hard to explain to your child why that word looks like another but sounds totally different.

  6. #6
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    I think miaow is like meow

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    What an odd thing.

    I just asked my DD7 to read the list to me. She just finished 1st grade.

    Considering I dragged her away from the TV and the words are not in any kind of context, I thought she did very well. She pronounced 92% of them correctly. The rest were close but I counted them wrong if she hesitated or clearly had no clue what they were.

    The 8 she got wrong were:

    exquisite
    soldier
    ghastly (who even says that?)
    pigeon
    deny
    glacier
    miaow (not a real word, IMHO)
    kiosk (no surprise)

    Of course, she also won "best vocabulary" in her class, so maybe she's not the best test!
    You have a brilliant child! :Banane35:

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxye View Post
    I did the same thing with my seven year old. These are the ones he missed.

    foreign
    rhinoceros
    tambourine
    exquisite
    gnarled
    sinister
    mongrel
    miaow
    kiosk
    souvenir

    He got programme before I changed it, but looked at
    pyjamas like I was crazy. Then I changed it and he went "Ohh pajamas."

    What the hell is "miaow"?

    If a 7 and 8 year old can read them (mostly), how hard can these words really be?


    I find rhinoceros very difficult. again, though, a brilliant child.

    "miaow" as in the cat's miaow. remember this is british spelling. "miau" is the German spelling.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2005
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    Tennessee
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    LOL I feel a little slow... meow!

    Thanks for the kidlet comment. I find him extremely bright, but I am his mother.. so I am not always unbiaed.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2003
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    That's ridiculous. Three kids in our home ALL read before the age of 5. Most of them are well above their grade levels even now.


  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
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    Let's see - they both had trouble with only 3 words: exquisite, miaow and kiosk. One with ghastly and the other with gnarled. Its that "silent" g.

    They both did very well! I to find it hard to see what the problem is. I would think there was more of a problem with words like:

    affect v. effect
    sale v. sell
    read v. read
    to v. too v. two

    And other such combos, not for reading, but for understanding.

    I have heard it said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Being an American, it is the only language I know so I can't compare. But I do still make some mistakes LOL.

    Salem

  12. #12
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    Apr 2007
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    southeastern PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelmom View Post
    What an odd thing.

    I just asked my DD7 to read the list to me. She just finished 1st grade.

    Considering I dragged her away from the TV and the words are not in any kind of context, I thought she did very well. She pronounced 92% of them correctly. The rest were close but I counted them wrong if she hesitated or clearly had no clue what they were.

    The 8 she got wrong were:

    exquisite
    soldier
    ghastly (who even says that?)
    pigeon
    deny
    glacier
    miaow (not a real word, IMHO)
    kiosk (no surprise)

    Of course, she also won "best vocabulary" in her class, so maybe she's not the best test!
    haha!!! I love it! You should be proud.

    I have a few 8 or so yr. olds in my neighborhood. I am thinking about printing the list out and testing them on it. lol.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmandaBrown23 View Post
    I think the english language is extremely hard for children to learn because so many words look the same but sound different. Its hard to explain to your child why that word looks like another but sounds totally different.
    I have always heard that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn - particularly if you come to it later in life Based on what I know about languages (which is not extensive, but I have a fairly decent grasp of Latin, Spanish and French), I'll agree. English has lots of exceptions to the "rules" - it seems to me - moreso than other langauges.

    My Dutch uncle was fluent in 7 or 8 languages and always considered English the toughest one to pick up.

    Of course, any language is easier to pick up if you grow up with it.

  14. #14
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    Aug 2003
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    2,551
    My friend Wenbi speaks Mandarin and she is always amazed at how we complicate words. Recently we were talking about the word grounds.

    as in coffee grounds
    (the result AFTER you use the coffee)

    as in ground beef
    (the process used BEFORE you eat the meat)

    as in legal grounds

    as in the estate had beautiful grounds

    we were both laughing over that one
    The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
    Bertrand Russell

  15. #15
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    Nov 2007
    Location
    san diego
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    Reading English is hard! All the unnecessary leftovers from Old English, like "gh". "Daughter" and "laughter" have one letter difference and are prounounced totally differently! Also "light" and "right"...why we have Miller LITE and RITE-Aid...

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