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Witless
Haven't started a topic in a while.. lifes been busy lately.

Still not sure if people read my topics but luckily (for me) I am quite happy to discharge my thoughts into the issues forums regardless.

I finally coalesced my thoughts about the topic of people who have problems with spelling and grammer structure. There are some people who's bad spelling is plain lack of education that much is obvious. But then there's those people who are obviously smart and well educated but their spelling and grammer isn't just bad it's severe.

From my own point of view I have poor grammer, but my main issue is I often mix up my words pretty severly. Anyone who's got me on their msn list will notice that I miss out a word or I will replace a word with a completely unrelated one every three lines or so. It's just something I have always done and don't really know why. It is occasionally frustrating to get corrected repeatedly. So I have developed this nervous twitch of self correcting after every mistake when I notice.. which in turn has caused some people to react with a ".... I kinda guessed what you meant tongue.gif". Which means I now have a double nervous twitch of making a calculated decision as to when and when not to correct myself each time I make a mistake.

...Anyways, that's another story. I just wonder sort of things cause it, and whether we're unfair on people who are always going to struggle with language and grammer. I speak to people very often who seem to really be able to contribute on a lot of subjects that require people to be amazing essay writers. Richard Dawkins who wrote Ancestor's Tale is poor at English and admits only having done so well because he went to an amazing school with a great support structure under him.

Seems a bit harsh that very often it's suggested that we all have our strengths in different areas. But then if you're bad at both maths and english then you'll suffer.

I myself only really get through any kind of written stuff thanks to some friends with english degrees and habitual abuse of the spell check (the F7 key which is the shortcut for spell check is almost as faded as the letter keys on my pc keyboard).

I know it's all well and easy to say that if that's people's weakness then they just need to try harder. For some people that's true. But for others they do try and try and it progress is forever slow.
I read constantly, and write a lot of stories all the time. But I don't really seem to be getting over my problems, so I still have to rely on grammer/spell checks all the time. Without those then I am pretty doomed.

I have always been fascinated by what causes some people to just seemlingly be inately forever plagued to not be able to get their head around spelling and grammer. While for others it's as clear as empty space as to how to get these things. Luckily there's lots of reasons (I would have been sad if there were only a few).

Aswell as the plainer ones like lack of education, there's the way the brain develops. What I already knew was that certain areas of the brain light up when accessing written language and grammer (speech shares some areas of the brain with written language but mostly has different areas). But what I didn't know is that there seems to be very specific areas for grasping certain concepts within language. It's possibly for example to have a concussion that knocks out a very specific type of speech.
There's even a gene called the FOXP2 gene that when mutated causes lack of comprehension in certain types of language structure in humans (something I learnt courtesy of Ancestor's Tale.)

Then there's other more subtle situations. People with slow to develop muscles around the vocal chords go on to have slow to develop language centres in the brain. Here's one I particularly like: People that are exceptionally quiet as children often go on to have difficulties understanding the subtleties of grammer biggrin.gif .

Back to something I mentioned earlier in the post. I sometimes do have this feeling that everytime someone corrects me under the title of "I get frustrated when I see something so simple spelt wrong" I feel like I am being called lazy for not getting it right, or even worse like I am being talked down to. In a formal setting not so much, but to get corrected in a txt message or msn conversation can cause me to get a bit twitchy. It's only really the rational part of my mind giving me an explanation like "they're just trying to be helpful" or the one that makes me feel better, "probably their OCD need to fix things" ( tongue.gif ) that causes me to just stay quiet about things.

But anyways.. on a more positive note, despite school getting me down in my teens and putting me off reading a lot when I was an avid reader as a youngster. I seem to have re-discovered my love of reading very strongly in the last 4-5 years. So that's nice.

To end on a question, how do you guys feel when you watch someone struggling. Empathy or frustration? Maybe something else entirely?
Daria
My older sister, younger brother, and many of my friends are dyslexic so I'm used to people missing out letters/ whole words in letters/ msn etc. I can understand if someone has difficulty with spelling and grammar (sorry Witless, but it jumped out at me as soon as I read the thread title >_<) but people who are lazy with their spelling really frustrate me.

Having said that, I double up letters all the time: forrest, honnest etc etc.
I_am_the_best
I find it frustrating when someone spells things, which are seemingly easy, wrong and used to correct people a lot. But I don't see the point in it anymore, I know what they mean and if they're going to be writing anything official then they can just use a spell check most likely, and so it's not really helping either. I also feel a little like I'm being patronising. Also hypocritical because I am not so good at literacy. My spelling is poor, it takes me a while to get a grammatically correct syntax and I'm bad at making appropriate choices of words so end up jauntily mixing 'posher' language and syntax with regular words and sounding annoying and up myself. Oh well, life goes on. I also think that sufficient knowledge of grammar and spelling is decreasing because so much is done on the computer which can check it for you.
CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane
I think you mean 'grammar' tongue.gif

sorry sad.gif

I usually don't get annoyed when people make spelling/grammar mistakes, although there are some things that bug me, like when people mix up you're/your or there/their/they're or when its obvious that people haven't put any effort into making what they've written readable (e.g. writing in text speak)

My own spelling and grammar isn't too great though and I'm really bad at writing. It takes me a long time to put thoughts into words in a way that...is...good.. so I can empathise with people who have problems with spelling/grammar.

I'm studying physics at uni, so a lot of the work I have to do is solving problems and there isn't much writing involved, but every now and then there are essays or presentations where how you communicate the ideas is almost as important as what you are actually saying. It sucks for people who aren't good at those things but I guess since the skills involved are so useful it's helpful to have opportunities to practice them.

Spell checks are helpful, but they don't catch everything. For example, a few weeks ago I had to write a lab report for an experiment I did, and somehow managed to write this without noticing:
"The potassium of sample is placed in placed in the oven section" huh.gif

(aaargh, this post took me about an hour to write dry.gif)
sirdudly
My old band teacher had this really bad joke about how dyslexic kids got presents from Satan on Christmas. I always feel a bit bad inside when I'm reminded of it because having that sort of condition must really be frustrating and difficult. It hinders expression and causes grief. But there are other ways to express things, and I hope that you may find a proper outlet someday soon.

As for improper spelling and grammar, it's the effort that counts. If someone is genuinely attempting to better their communication skills, there is nothing wrong with making mistakes. Fixing errors is an important method of teaching.

Unfortunately, there are a great deal of people in this world who are simply apathetic to proper communication. The people who type everything in textspeak and miss out on improving their skills will develop bad habits over time. It gets staggeringly annoying when they are impossible to understand.
elphaba2
Oh dear. There's an Grammar Nazi thread in the Pit of Old Threads where I can be found in all my patronizing fifteen-year-old glory. Sorry, team.

I edit things for my school paper, and so I am that person who circles "it's" and writes a note next to it. Typically, these kinds of mistakes exist because the writer wrote the article in ten minutes the night before the deadline, but I'm afraid that I never really consider dyslexia because I generally know the writers. I chalk their errors up to lack of education and lack of effort. I get frustrated when the quality of writing is low, and yes, I consider grammar a part of that.

That said, I am a gigantic hypocrite. My dad writes as part of his job, and does a monthly column in a news-letter about grammar, so I was raised with "Sammy and who are going to the store?" and all that. It's always come to me intrinsically, so it's hard for me to understand why it doesn't for others, even though I know on a factual level that bazillions of other people didn't grow up with my dad and the many annoying habits and syntax-comments that he holds so dear. The way that I became so used to proper grammar was through my parents telling me that incorrect grammar makes me look like a lazy person--indirectly saying that people with incorrect grammar are lazy.

(Witless, it occurs to me that this thread is asking people to be decent people and not nit-pick all the time. This makes me realize that I am a nit-picker who should be sent off the Island. My apologies for being basically a bad person.)
Wytukaze
As many of you will know, I used to have a compulsion where I'd correct any spelling mistake in IRC or wherever. I've got over that now, I think. (Please don't tell me I'm wrong AND unobservant of my own actions.)

As far as spelling, I've always been good at it. I mean, I've only ever had to actively learn one spelling, ever: "necessary" (one coat, two shoes, or so it goes); the rest, I just sorta absorb. My sister, on the other hand, is dyslexic, and has had to actively learn each and every spelling of a word she knows - the systems English has, such as they are, just don't.. appear for her - and it leaves me gobsmacked thinking about how much work and effort a dyslexic has had to make to get some pretty phenomenal achievements.

As an aside, the majority of dyslexics would probably do alright with (would find more suitable), say, the Chinese writing system. I won't bother going too far into the psycholinguistic theory, but a simplified explanation would be: there are two ways of reading a word (in the English and similar writing systems): letter-by-letter (or rather, grapheme-by-grapheme and thus sound-by-sound) or by memorising the particular sequence or shape of a word, and both methods occur simultaneously in the brain, having a race. So, for example, with a more 'logically' spelt word like "fish" (which corresponds just fine with the the three sounds f-i-sh) the letter-by-letter way gives you an answer first, but with "yacht" it's the other way that wins out. Now, there are several types of dyslexia, as we probably all know, but a large number of dyslexics have difficulty with the grapheme-by-grapheme method. Chinese, unlike English and every current European writing system, uses ideograms which don't have immediately recognisable phonic components, so the memory method is the only route required.

Ahem.

As for grammar, well, whatever. Some things are ungrammatical in English and none of us, as native (-enough) speakers, will ever make that sort of mistake. Other things are just improper in the constructed formal system we have - that is, it's artificial, so a lot of us, me included, get it wrong. It's OK in my view to correct spellings because it is, by necessity, an artificial system. Grammar, on the other hand, is natural and imposing artificial rules on it just leads to trouble.

Again, merely my opinions. I'm not saying don't learn the rules we've made for ourselves, just don't take them too seriously unless you're trying to write formally.
gothictheysay
I know someone who was taught in a method of "spell things however you like" (okay, I don't know the method, but it's something like that) in middle school and has suffered ever since. There are specific problems he has that can be pinpointed - doubling letters and such - but it's confounding to me because he reads so much. He's not dyslexic or anything like that, he's incredibly smart, but he just can't spell! One of my friends has somewhat of the same issue. I try not to be too high and mighty about my spelling and grammar, although sometimes I think it comes off that way. It just comes really easily to me, almost like it does to Wytu. Not that I've ever had to only learn one word, but there are only a few words I actually have trouble spelling. I'm an incredibly visual learner, so I see a word and I remember it. Of course, my pronunciation is horrible - getting better, but when a word in English doesn't follow a rule, I'll probably butcher it. It does annoy me - i.e. reading "grammer" made me wince, but I wouldn't have corrected it - at least not after reading the opening post tongue.gif I don't lash out at people to correct them like I usually do, but I still probably correct too much. I think it depends on the person. Generally, if I am being a pain in the arse, I like to be told so I can stop. But, most of the time I am trying to be helpful. Either that or it really annoys me (almost OCD-wise!) Anyway, most of the people I correct are people I talk to often anyway, so I know that they usually don't mind. Like it's okay to tease Novander about messing up "its" and "it's" (unless he's lying to me and crying at night about it, but I don't think that's true) and for me to jump on Wytu whenever he makes an error because he's a linguistics major. And I remember that Grammar Nazi thread, elphaba2, and being part of it and liking it wink.gif
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