The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Walking home from work through the local suburbs of London, I notice a concurrence - the rise of the grocer's apostrophe goes unchecked, yet a further horror awaits me - the deliberate mis-spelling has become the norm. I see shops named 'PrEZEnce', a beauty clinic offering 'free sunbed 2 U', street advertising for a night out 'In Da House', a pub named 'The Two Half's', and most horrific of all, a local government sponsored drop centre called the 'Naborhood Centre'.

If there are few books in a child's home, few newspapers beyond the red tops (average reading age = 12), and young inquisitive eyes search out texts and examples to emulate ... and read the signs littering the walls around them every day of their lives ... is it really surprising they end up dropping into mobile phone 'textspeak' in the middle of an examination essay aged thirteen?

Perhaps the English that I teach is already a dead, outmoded tongue?