English making us Dyslexic?

As a non-native english speaker, I am always amused when native speakers ask me how do you spell it?  I go on to say V-E-N-K and she repeats BEN.  NOOOO…  It is V, as in Victor. OK.. VENK-A-T .  It does not work.  I resort to V as in Victor, E as in England N as in Norway and so forth.   -A-R-A  By that time she is lost, and complains that my name is too long.  I try breaking phonetically.  VEN-KA-TA-RA… no it does not work either.  Unable to bear her breakdown, I say – OK. call me Venkat, VEN-KAT!   I used to empathize, ‘Yeah! Sorry, my name is too long.’  I have lost patience. Nowadays, I retort, “Shame on you!  if you can’t spell a word so simple phonetically.”  Every alternate letter in my name is a vowel, making it easy to spell and what do you spell is what do you get.  Not only they can not spell it right, they can not read my written name either.  It is not Françoise Baudelaire or Björn Þórðarson. I have argued with my friends about the north american education system to be blamed for not emphasizing spelling.

By the way!  When I hear her name, I just ask, “That’s with two ESS and one ELL, isn’t it?”  Melissa  smiles and nods. I do not have problem in writing George Stroumboulopoulos.  I easily break the tough family name as STROUM-BOU-LO-POULOS.    May be, just may be, I might spell it as paulos.

Annie Murphy Paul attributes this problem to the english language itself.  Knight, Knee, Knot, Yacht, Colonel… Roughly, 25% off all english words are not spelt phonetically.

Cross-cultural research demonstrates that the trickiness of English affects how quickly American children learn to read and write. After just a few months of instruction, for example, children living in Italy are able to read and write any word they encounter, because their language is almost perfectly regular: each letter or combination of letters maps reliably onto a particular sound. Children in the U.S., on the other hand, must endure years of drills before they have mastered the intricacies of bough and bow, weigh and way.

They do eventually learn and these and they become ‘second’ nature to the american kids.  So,what is the big deal, you may ask.

About twice as many Americans as Italians fit the definition of dyslexic, even though brain-scan studies suggest that the two populations have similar proportions of people with the mental processing deficit associated with the disorder. The irregularity of English ruthlessly exposes this brain anomaly, while the consistency of the Italian language allows readers to compensate for it. Dyslexia, remarkably enough, may be partly

There have been several reforms in the past, most notably by Webster and later with a big funding from the philanthropist Carnegie for Simplified Spelling Board.  But these were only moderately successful, at best. Annie, however is optimistic in that the spelling reform is now emerging, bottoms up, curiously from the same text-generation kids that we deride for lousy spelling.

Beverly Plester is a psychologist at Coventry University in England who has conducted research on how young people express themselves in electronic media. “When using text language, or ‘textisms,’ children revert to a phonetic language,” she observes, spelling words the way they sound. Such streamlining is similar to the way in which the simplified coinages of commercial English have slipped into wider use —  donut for doughnut, thru for through and nite for night.

Cure for culturally induced dyslexic disorder for native english and french speakers is ready to be delivered through electronic media.  I am now confused if I should correct my son when he txts me.

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