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Thread: Clumsy sentence

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    #1

    Clumsy sentence

    The huge improvement in levels of readership in the 1960s largely coincided with the arrival of television, so the habit of book reading came to occupy proportionately less of people's leisure time.

    Is it just me or does this sentence sound illogical to you as well?

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    #2

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    I don't think it's just you.

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    #3

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    Unless people spending less time reading is an "improvement," this doesn't make sense.

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    #4

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    The main problem for me is what the writer means by 'levels of readership'.

    I have no problem with the idea of more people attaining some level of literacy but people in general spending less time on reading books in their leisure time.

    When I think of my own experience, I don't go back to the 1960s (when I was at school/university for most of the decade).

    In the 1970s, I spent perhaps 10% of my leisure time reading books in my leisure time. Less than quarter of that would have been non-fiction.

    In the last decade, I have been spending probably over 20% of my vastly increased leisure time reading. But most of my reading is done on my laptop these days. I probably spend on average less than 3% of my leisure time on reading books, and they are almost all non-fiction. My own bookshelves now hold fewer than 10% of the books they held twenty years ago.

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    #5

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    This sentence is from the YDS exam, an official language proficiency test held in Turkey.

    "The huge improvement in levels of readership in the 1960s largely coincided with the arrival of television,________.
    A) but there was a dramatic increase in the number of people who spent their time watching TV.
    B) thus people began to pay more attention to the best-selling books, especially detective novels.
    C) because the production of cheaper pocket editions within reach of a wider range of the population fostered reading.
    D) so the habit of book reading came to occupy proportionately less of people's leisure time.
    E) while the readership of humour biography, and history was decreasing among the younger generation."

    The correct answer was given as "D", which had made me think long and hard during the exam that it contradicts the word improvement. But after the exam, upon searching the sentence on the internet, I found the original. Now it does make sense to me, because the word literacy in the original was changed to readership. Here it is:

    "Despite the buoyancy of the publishing industry and the vast improvement in levels of literacy, the level of readership in Spain is the lowest in Europe, both of books (around 50 percent of population) and of newspapers (in the mid 1990s, 105 copies sold per 1000 inhabitants, compared with the European average of 232). A number of factors contribute to this somewhat contradictory situation. One is the very common practice of reading newspapers freely supplied in the many bars that are a focus for much of the leisure activity outside the home. Another very obvious factor is that the huge improvement in levels of literacy in the 1960s largely coincided with the arrival of television and its rapid growth in popularity, so that the habit of book reading came to occupy proportionately less of people's leisure time."

    The way it is written in the exam says the opposite of what the original says about readership. I think the sentence in the question should have been "the gradual decline in levels of readership..." so that it can be in agreement with what is given as the correct answer.

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    #6

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    But most of my reading is done on my laptop these days.
    I do the same, but watching TV in the sixties was not reading in any sense of the word. Did they even have audiobooks in those days?

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    #7

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    In future posts, angelsrolls, please give the full context in post #1 rather than #5.

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    #8

    Re: Clumsy sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I do the same, but watching TV in the sixties was not reading in any sense of the word. Did they even have audiobooks in those days?
    Recorded books for the blind, commonly called "talking books", go back to the thirties. They were distributed on 16-2/3 and 8-1/3 rpm discs. They're nothing like the commercial audiobooks that started to appear in the seventies; the text is read in a fast, deadpan manner which takes some time to get used to. I know because I borrowed a couple of recorded books from a blind friend when I was temporarily blind in one eye and unable to read printed text for a couple of months after an injury.
    I am not a teacher.

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