[ Issue 44 ]

Language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour all deserve Emily Bronto's approval

Bikwil offers acclaim to language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour


Tony Rogers devotes Issue 44's Editorial to the upsurge of aliteracy (sic) over the past quarter-century.

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Toast for Two — Tony Rogers


Have you ever run across the word aliterate? Not alliterate, with two l’s, but aliterate, with one. In its own way it bears a relationship to illiterate similar to the one amoral has with immoral. (There’s also a noun meaning “an aliterate person”.)

Aliteracy, it seems, is on the increase, particularly in English-speaking countries since the 1980s. Some blame computers (especially the Internet), others movies and television. In America, despite the widespread popularity of book clubs there, only 6% of those who do read belong to such a club.

I’m struck by the phenomenon myself whenever I enter someone’s house where few or no books are to be seen. Sometimes there are more remote controllers than books. Not that this often happens to me, because all the people I know love to read, but occasionally it does and I get a shock. It’s happened in reverse, too: someone comes to my place for the first time and I hear, “Heck (etc.), you’ve got a lot of books! Have you read all of them?”

Studies of aliterate school children have shown that there are three distinct types: “dormant, uncommitted, and unmotivated”.

Bikwil readers, on the other hand, are motivated, committed and, though a bit physically drowsy some afternoons, not mentally asleep.

So I propose two toasts today — one to you for your continuing literate support, and the other to all those teachers out there coping with their frustrating task of trying to persuade reluctant non-readers.

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