Thursday, March 01, 2007

Does being good at language and spelling reflect intelligence?

Dick Cavett has a blog with the NY Times (I think you have to pay for the "Select" service to access it) and I've been enjoying it.

A few weeks ago, Cavett wrote a blog post on language and his frustration with the misuse and abuse of it. He made of point of commenting on W's transgressions in particular.

I love language, and I’m fond of Dick Cavett. Yet I’ve often wondered if those of us who love knowing (and flaunting) “the rules” have a certain gene that enables us to get it right.

This became real to me when I realized my son, who’s 8, has dyslexia. Those with dyslexia will probably never be great spellers and will struggle with the written word. What many of us take for granted does not come easily to these kids and adults. My son is wise beyond his years, but he can’t spell to save his life.

I’ve taught myself compassion for those who stumble over words. It’s easy enough to be snobby and think that our intellect is superior. I don’t think it is the case. I can still love those who can use language effectively and correctly. I just don’t make the assumptions I used to. Recently, researchers identified a gene that is responsible for dyslexia.

And, what bothers me even more than how President Bush expresses himself is the content of what he says, however he says it. That is where the problem lies (lay?) for me.

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