Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

The other day I did a Skype session with teachers at the Lincoln Community School in Accra, Ghana that I visited this fall. They were preparing to have the entire elementary school teach from one theme at the same time. They were building on the example set by Jenn Munnerlyn at Abu Dhabi who helped her school get going by teaching lessons across elementary all from the same Real Spelling theme "Learning from Love" on Valentine's Day. (See the videos of those lessons at this link!)  

One of the conventions that I addressed from that theme is that "No complete English word ends in <v>, write <ve>". This morning I got a great email from Nathan, a Grade 5 teacher whose studnets who, I am pleased to note, were not about to just accept such a statement without challenging it. For the rest of this post, I will paste the correpsondence that followed...

Hi Pete,

I am sitting with my students and we are trying to prove you wrong. It appears that "shiv" is a word. What are your thoughts? 
 
I made the mistake of telling the students that if we did find a mistake in your logic, they could call you a "bozo".
 
Sorry. Good luck.
 
Nathan & students
 
shiv |SHiv|noun informala knife or razor used as a weapon.ORIGIN probably from Romany chiv blade.

Here was my response...

Ha!

I hereby welcome the prospect of being bozoed by your students! Indeed, based on the rules  of the challenge - finding a mistake in my logic -  I look forward to the occasion of my bozoing by your students as that would mean that they give me evidence that helps me think more clearly about something than I would have without this noble challenge.
 
However, in this case, I have to share that I remain unbozoed by your team of scholars. 
 
The assertion I made was that "No complete English word uses a final <v>, write <ve> instead." 
 
You and your team counter:
 
 It appears that "shiv" is a word.
 
and present this evidence from your Mactionary:
 
shiv |SHiv|noun informala knife or razor used as a weapon.ORIGIN probably from Romany chiv blade.
I'm going to encourage you and your team to investigate your statement, my statement, and the information from your reference to see if you can explain to me why I have yet to earn the bozo designation.
 
I suspect that you may have also shared my statement that complete English words do not use a final <i>. You may understand the information in your Mactionary better if you consider this entry for the word <ski> that I got from www.etymonline.com:
 
ski (n.)   
1885 (there is an isolated instance from 1755), from Norwegian ski, related to Old Norse skið "snowshoe," literally "stick of wood," cognate with Old English scid "stick of wood," obsolete English shide; Old High German skit, German Scheit "log," from Proto-Germanic *skid- "to divide, split," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split" (see shed (v.)). The verb is 1893, from the noun. ski-jumper is from 1894; ski bum first attested 1960.
 
 
Would you and your students be willing to put our bozo challenge correspondence up on Real Spellers? I suspect it will not take too long before someone finds an error in my logic about some statement I make and thus earn the illustrious title. And the faster, the better I say. The quicker I earn that title the quicker I improve my understanding!
 
Similarly, the more doggedly you and your team -- and others on Real Spellers --  look for evidence that I have earned that title, the deeper the understanding of our community will become!
 
Cheers,
 
Pete
 
PS I've Ccd my friend The Old Grouch from Real Spelling as I suspect he will delight in the challenge of your students. As ever, I'm happy for him to seek evidence of my bozoness. I am sure he will also delight in hearing what hypotheses you come up with to explain why your first attempt has failed to succeed in this exciting quest!

See the following post to see the Old Grouch's response. I hope to hear from others from the community too!

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