At my work email. So no penis enlargement today.
My duckling at work is from Cameroon, and every once in a while he breaks into evangelism on his country of birth, and therefore we look at Google World at every inch of Cameroon while he finds youtube videos because he thinks it's funny to start me off with Cameroon English that unexpectedly breaks into French (I automemorize lyrics and he told me once I was the best he'd ever heard at mispronouncing French so well that it sounded like a whole new (very sad) language, so you know, I win for that).
This is related; this is neither talent nor skill, I've mentioned this before, it's not even useful, but more like having the ability to spit Guinness World book record--I realized the probable reason why I never had a problem spelling anyone's names on our work board if I saw it once (our developers are from India or Nepal generally, so very few Western-oriented or Korean or Vietnamese, the latter two were communities in the right zip codes for my office to handle when I was a caseworker, yes, it's that random) or--historically--always got my written Russian homework flawless in class even if Russia itself might cry if it heard me speak the language. Also, given a list of any number of words and meaning once, I could use them perfectly in context and never miss spelling them by a letter, but if you do not tell me right then how to pronounce them--I mean right then--I will never pronounce them right in my head and this will follow me forever when I say them.
Not many of you probably know or care much about the education of children in the US being a thing that is debated hotly when it comes to teaching them to read; or you might, so you know every few years, they switch between Fun With Phonics and whole word learning. You want to watch a bloodbath, get any group of educators together and throw that out; if these were the days of duels, gloves would be slapping everywhere and dawn would be the new prime time for drama viewing.
My class was very Fun with Phonics (this changed and changed back every few years) and because of that I will shove a glove in your ass if you say it's not the best forever, but there's a price to be paid for teaching kids to sound out shit first.
1.) You learn adults are fuckers who fuck with you very early with 'the'.
That's the thing about phonics as reading; almost all the word at primary level are fine, but that's an article and you cannot get away from it. A lot of teachers roll with it, and some have to have taken that into consideration early on, but my most vivid memory of the kindergarten education process was going over and over to my teacher because I trusted her and I couldn't believe she meant it when she said 'the' did not sound like 'tuh-huh-eh'.
She just told me the entire alphabet, letters have sounds, sounds have meaning (there was a blackboard and a pointer), this can be expressed on a page beneath the cute picture of a girl (blonde, always fucking blonde) playing with a dog (brown, very). I nailed that shit, and it was true, all of it...except 'tuh-huh-eh' was not 'the', what is this bullshit?
Once I accepted 'the' into my heart as my phonics betrayer (it took a full year and we won't talk about how much that delayed literacy but again, a year), it got better; all the 'th' and 'ch' were allowed in my soul and eventually silent 'e's would join them along with all the others, but the scar of betrayal never really healed, Mrs. Figueroa.
2.) Your spelling will forever be fantastic except for all the ways it won't be and it's because of France.
Spelling was easy kindergarten through third grade, because again most words are phonetically consistent at that level, or so close that visual plus audio once and you're fine. Except.
You meet 'beau' and fuck everything ever. Buh-eh-ah-uuuuuuuthefuckisthis that is nothing like 'bow', that's buh-oh-wuh and we have one of those b-o-w bu-oh-wuh not b-e-a-u buh-eh-ah-uuuuuutheydon'tdothis, Mrs F didn't lie that much, did she?
...French, you say? Really.
Xenophobia is terrible and American exceptionlism is very wrong, but ask yourself; how many kids were perhaps influenced by getting a 99 but not a hundred because the French language exists and didn't get a golden star but a silver one--a silver one--on the paper when they got it back and an 'x' by that word? Not that I'm still bitter, just saying.
It might be the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066 causing the English language to be supplanted by Norman French, not even real French because fuck French we got the discount edition, causing only the lower classes to use English for centuries while French, being so very (discount) French, stuck its words helter-skelter into every conversation until Chaucer existed, married John of Gaunt's sister-in-law, and set the world right with many tales, and French--fucking French--eventually went away but those words stuck. English needed those because its development had been slowed, we had to catch up fast (German was mocking us with its vocabulary and Spanish was grinning very Catholicly), so we needed words and fast. What to do?
Fine, English said, picking up a sword, righteousness, a Revolutionary War, and a future Webster's dictionary, unrevised: shit just got real. Time to level the fuck up.
English takes all the words, all of them, the ones you wanted and the ones you didn't, sorry, but like a wolf who tastes the hot blood of a fresh kill for the first time (language is tasty indeed, nothing like it), it wants more.
B-o-w and b-e-a-u are 'buh-oh-wuh' and discrete plus discreet because Latin or Greek same meaning different context mostly, watch English laugh at your protests, bring it on, we have the 'c' and the 'k' and we like it, same sound but sometimes not, a-e-i-o-u and sometimes y because fuck you English does what it wants with consonants and vowels. Fish and fiche sound the same but mean different things, you want more? English does, too. Did you see phonics is ph but sounds like 'f'? We even have 'q' right there in the alphabet and it needs to get laid by 'u' to make a sound but fuck if we care, it's our letter and have fun with it. 'X' took many sounds for its own and uses them all and we let it because we like rebels.
Also, Latin? I split an infinitive every day just for you. And English told me to say 'hi' and fuck you.
Silver star. One. Word. Wrong.
3.) You will realize quite early that writing is better than talking for a lot of reasons and fuck everything.
Phonics works for many words and most kids will roll with it, but that doesn't change the severe cognitive dissonance that will haunt some few. Among that group will be those that can deal, and then there's the ones that have to live life with oral readings where you will be constantly translating b-e-a-u to 'buh-oh-wuh' because William the Conqueror was a douche but with many different words and that wears on you and sanity may not hold out long.
Reading and writing become havens of wonder because pronunciation wasn't fucking with us, which is why certain essays are college level vocabulary (content hilarious) while long division is still a mystery Mrs Young stop fucking with me you want me to carry what?
Writing is the perfect medium when you learn sarcasm as well (once you learn the definition of subtlety and forgive the b for being inexplicably silent and even now often forget), and a generation met the internet--all text, all the time--with the advanced tools necessary to troll the fuck out of it.
So I can spell anything I see at most twice (three times over five syllables, phonics is fun but also set to a four four beat to learn), but English/French youtube videos autolyric memoriation means I will sing things I can't pronounce and my duckling French speaker thinks it's funny because I can't pronounce fucking French.
People say they want to go to Paris all the time; oh, so do I, you have no idea.
I fly into that country, mispronounce 'Bien' awkwardly beneath pitying smiles, tell a cab driver three times where to go while he rolls his eyes at Americans because I took French while in Finland and I still couldn't get it right, go to the Eiffel Tower and climb to the very top.
And I will say: "William the Conqueror was a douche, I will split every infinitive I see, and b-e-a-u is not fucking 'buh-oh-wuh'!"
And give myself a gold star.
Next: Normandy. I can't wait.
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