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  1. #21
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If the word is being used in that why, then my approval or disapproval is irrelevant.

    I am concerned with the discussion in this thread. You started by asking our opinion of. "'Language is the social underpin of our society, responsible for every action that takes place."

    It became apparent that you were using 'language' in a rather broader sense than most of us do. When asked about this, you wrote, "More so literacy practices. More or less, being 'literate in the 21st century'." When I asked you about 'literacy practices', you wrote, "We're taught that language is used for everything, and literacy practices is the 'pattern of activity around literacy'. For example, reading a book that follows a specific set of practices. IE top to bottom, left to right. Most basic." That sounds to me like reading and writing. That was just the most basic example I came up with. I never meant to give the impression that it was restricted to that.

    Three posts later, you wrote, "Literacy encompasses reading/writing/listening/comprehending/representing etc. Not just in written word. This is specifically why I mentioned the 21st century. She may construe you sitting down to be a sign? (literacy) and bring you a cold beverage because of that."

    You are using words without defining the special ways in which you are using them, and then changing the definition as you go along. If you have this sort of question in the future, please define your terms before we start.

    Sorry, I just assumed teachers/professionals in this area would know this.

    Since I've been at uni, we've been taught that specific definition of literacy, and that definition is what the new Australian Curriculum was based on. They've tagged the old definition of literacy (reading and writing) as archaic. Specifically updating it to 21st century standards.


    This is the best online resource I've found. The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies


    Otherwise, my textbook, Literacy and Education, by Kate Pahl and Jennifer Rowsell. (Honestly a god awful textbook but what we were given none the less.)

    It's an enormous expansion of literacy.
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  2. #22
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    Since I've been at uni, we've been taught that specific definition of literacy, and that definition is what the new Australian Curriculum was based on. They've tagged the old definition of literacy (reading and writing) as archaic. Specifically updating it to 21st century standards.
    I wonder how The National Literacy Trust for England and Wales, the Scottish Government and its Literacy Action Plan, The Irish and their National Adult Literacy Plan, The Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, UNESCO, and countless governments and other organisations would feel if they learnt that their use of the word 'literacy' was archaic.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #23
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I wonder how The National Literacy Trust for England and Wales, the Scottish Government and its Literacy Action Plan, The Irish and their National Adult Literacy Plan, The Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, UNESCO, and countless governments and other organisations would feel if they learnt that their use of the word 'literacy' was archaic.
    In all honesty if their definition is only for reading and writing, then yes, it is archaic. They're living in the 20th century. Literacy has gone so far beyond that now.

    And just so it isn't misunderstood, I'm referring to literacy for children, taught in primary and high schools.
    Last edited by HanibalII; 25-May-2013 at 14:07.
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    In all honesty if their definition is only for reading and writing, then yes, it is archaic. They're living in the 20th century. Literacy has gone so far beyond that now.
    Who says?

    Some people decide to broaden the scope of the word 'literacy' in their particular area, and then decide that everyone else from UNESCO down is using the word in an archaic way! I suppose they would like to make it compulsory for those who wish to talk about reading and writing skills to find another word; literacy is now taboo for them.

    I find that insufferably arrogant, whether it's your opinion or that of the NCTE.
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  5. #25
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Who says?

    Some people decide to broaden the scope of the word 'literacy' in their particular area, and then decide that everyone else from UNESCO down is using the word in an archaic way! I suppose they would like to make it compulsory for those who wish to talk about reading and writing skills to find another word; literacy is now taboo for them.

    I find that insufferably arrogant, whether it's your opinion or that of the NCTE.
    It's also that of the Australian government. Why should comprehension of oral texts be excluded frlm literacy? What about comprehension of picture books? What about multi modality? The use of more than one text type in conjunction? That was never included in the definition of literacy in the 20th century.

    Are you saying it's wrong that some governments prefer to update their definition and include it under the same banner?

    How exactly do you define the teaching of multi modality? If you don't consider that literacy what do you consider it? The same as comprehension of signs/symbols and pictures?
    In literacy in Australia we teach students to interpret the meaning behind pictures as a text of their own. We make a literal meaning of "a picture says a thousand words".

    If governments in Britain/Ireland/Scotland and other countries you mentioned don't consider the previously mentioned literacy what do they consider it?
    Have they so narrowed their scope they don't consider anything other than reading and writing literacy?
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Phew. I got a little warm in my lost post.


    I have no objection at all to words changing their meaning. ‘Literate’ itself has had the meaning of ‘being able to read or write’ for not much more than a century (see the definition below), and I was talking about ‘computer literacy’ more than twenty years ago.

    I also have nothing against people who argue that basic education should concentrate on more than just the ability to read and write. In fact, I have never thought that reading and writing were the only essentials of basic education.

    My main objection to the idea that ‘literacy’ with the meaning of ‘reading and writing’ is archaic is that it seems to be an attempt to hijack words that are used by national and international organisations throughout the world in the senses that most dictionaries list first: literate, literate - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education , literacy. literacy - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education

    These words may gain extra meanings. They may, in time, lose what is now listed as the first meaning. However, to say that the first meaning is now suddenly archaic is, in my opinion, unacceptable. People use words in the way that dictionaries define them, and dictionaries define words on the basis of the way people use them. That’s a circular description, but it is, if somewhat simplified, what happens. Word-usages become archaic only when most native speakers no longer use the words in those particular ways.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #27
    HanibalII is offline Member
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Phew. I got a little warm in my lost post.


    I have no objection at all to words changing their meaning. ‘Literate’ itself has had the meaning of ‘being able to read or write’ for not much more than a century (see the definition below), and I was talking about ‘computer literacy’ more than twenty years ago.

    I also have nothing against people who argue that basic education should concentrate on more than just the ability to read and write. In fact, I have never thought that reading and writing were the only essentials of basic education.

    My main objection to the idea that ‘literacy’ with the meaning of ‘reading and writing’ is archaic is that it seems to be an attempt to hijack words that are used by national and international organisations throughout the world in the senses that most dictionaries list first: literate, literate - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education , literacy. literacy - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education

    These words may gain extra meanings. They may, in time, lose what is now listed as the first meaning. However, to say that the first meaning is now suddenly archaic is, in my opinion, unacceptable. People use words in the way that dictionaries define them, and dictionaries define words on the basis of the way people use them. That’s a circular description, but it is, if somewhat simplified, what happens. Word-usages become archaic only when most native speakers no longer use the words in those particular ways.

    Maybe archaic is too strong a word. Perhaps 'incomplete'?
    The problem I've noticed is that people use literacy to only mean reading and writing. When people use it to only mean reading and writimg it is archaic. This is one of the reasons Australia is implementing a nationwide curriculum with a specific yet broad definition of what literacy is. With time the everybody will recognise the broader meaning.
    I have always considered literacy more than just reading and writing.
    The only way dictionaries will update is then is when people start recognising the broader definition.

    I'd honestly write more, but I'm tired and I'm using my phone. Lol

    There's a great article I'll link tomorrow. You might find it an interesting read.

    And what did you mean by "I got a little warm in my last post"?
    Last edited by HanibalII; 25-May-2013 at 13:00.
    I'm not a teacher yet, but I am studying a Bachelor of Education with an English Literature major at Charles Sturt University, in NSW, Australia.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    It's also that of the Australian government. Why should comprehension of oral texts be excluded frlm literacy? What about comprehension of picture books? What about multi modality? The use of more than one text type in conjunction? That was never included in the definition of literacy in the 20th century.
    And these things are not included in most people's understanding of 'literacy' today.
    Are you saying it's wrong that some governments prefer to update their definition and include it under the same banner?
    I am saying that it is wrong for one person or group to decide that the way a word is understood by most native speakers and defined in most dictionaries is archaic.
    How exactly do you define the teaching of multi modality? If you don't consider that literacy what do you consider it? The same as comprehension of signs/symbols and pictures? In literacy in Australia we teach students to interpret the meaning behind pictures as a text of their own. We make a literal meaning of "a picture says a thousand words".
    The skills are valuable, but I would consider these, and other skills to be under the broad headings of 'oracy' and, possibly, 'numeracy'.
    If governments in Britain/Ireland/Scotland and other countries you mentioned don't consider the previously mentioned literacy what do they consider it? Have they so narrowed their scope they don't consider anything other than reading and writing literacy?
    They haven't narrowed their scope in education, but they generally do not subsume oracy within literacy. You seem to be assuming that, because they don't use the word in the way you care to use it, they are not interested in the skills you mention. They don't consider these to be concerned with 'literacy' any more than they consider art, music or science to be part of literacy. This does not stop them us talking about musical/scientific/etc (il)literacy, but we are then specifically restricting the meaning of the word.
    Last edited by 5jj; 26-May-2013 at 09:47. Reason: format
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  9. #29
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post
    The problem I've noticed is that people use literacy to only mean reading and writing.
    That's not really surprising when you consider that that is what the word means.
    When people use it to only mean reading and writimg it is archaic.
    Neither you, the Australian government, nor any dictionary can arbitrarily decide that a meaning of a word is archaic.
    This is one of the reasons Australia is implementing a nationwide curriculum with a specific yet broad definition of what literacy is. With time the everybody will recognise the broader meaning.
    Everybody in Australia, possibly, if that is the way the word comes to be used in the Australian education system.
    I have always considered literacy more than just reading and writing.
    Fine. You seem to be a disciple of Lewis Carrol's Humpty Dumpty: "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
    The only way dictionaries will update is then is when people start recognising the broader definition.
    Quite. Dictionaries do not yet recognise the broader definition because it is not widely used. The widely accepted meaning is, therefore, not archaic.
    And what did you mean by "I got a little warm in my last post"?
    I do not normally use such expressions as 'insufferably arrogant' in my forum posts.
    Last edited by 5jj; 25-May-2013 at 13:43. Reason: typo
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: Language is the underpin of our society

    Quote Originally Posted by HanibalII View Post

    And just so understanding isn't misunderstood, ...
    And there's the problem with this postmodern crap. Your child's English teacher can teach how to read a picture, but they have trouble writing a meaningful sentence. The concept of an English teacher who knows how to express themselves in English, and how to teach others, seems to have vanished. Maybe it's time to accept that English teachers no longer teach language use, and that there's space for a new concept, such as Language teacher.

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