Friday, March 18, 2005

Dumb and dumber

Terry was just telling me about an article he read in the Spectator which was about how the world is set up to help the disabled, yet there is no such support for the stupid. I wondered whether this was related to education at all. Then on Linda Clark I heard her talking to the guy from the Children's Bookshop. He spoke about a study just published in America which looked at a group of kids from different socio-economic groups and their word recognition. This is going to be a typically uninformed anecdote because I can't really remember the exact stats. The gist of it was that of the "professional" group children aged 5 had about 56 million word recognition throughout their life - the figure was 13 million for the "welfare class" who had less access to books. Read to your children.

3 comments:

Drive By Commenter said...

Not to question gist of what you're saying, but are there 56 million words in the English language?

Martha said...

I didn't quite know how to put that - but it is how many words they've heard - so not vocab. It means that they've been talked to more. So they've prob heard "the" about 18 million of those words...

Martha said...

In Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue he cited a couple of reports about how many words there are in the english language - figures varied (by memory) between 28k and 300k - depending on whether variants were included.