Mounting scientific evidence has established a direct link between dog ownership and poor literacy among a large proportion of the Australian population.
In a worrying trend for the nation, experts have traced an increase in dog ownership and a decline in literacy standards among the populace, and they fear the problem will only get worse.
The inability to read even the most basic texts is being blamed for the behaviour of many Aussie dog owners. Countless dogs are taken to off limit areas such as beaches, rock pools, parks, children’s playgrounds, barbecue areas and sports grounds throughout the country. The only explanation for such flagrant disobedience is the inability of dog owners to read the multitude of signs informing people of the rules.
Standards of writing have also declined, as the following examples illustrate. In response to an article about dog owners breaking the rules at Sydney’s Mackenzies Bay *, Michael wrote,
“Up you’res kieran im gonna take 10 dogs n do drugzzzz”
This was sent directly to this very website. It is not a text message. Let’s unpack the utterance.
- It starts with a capital letter, well done Michael.
- ‘you’res’ is not a word. Michael was trying to say ‘up yours’ which is a crude insult in colloquial English. This dog owner can’t even swear properly.
- kieran is a proper noun, so the k should be capital.
- ‘im’ should be written with a capital I and an apostrophe.
- ‘n’ should be ‘and’ – again, this is not a text message.
- ‘drugzzzz’ should be spelt ‘drugs’. Michael must have already taken some before he wrote this message.
The second example of the death of the written word in Australia comes from Adam Smith, in response to the same article.
“Hi Kieran. Fuck you and your shit article in the beast. I will make sure and take my Dog to Mackenzies Bay more frequently from now on…”
Adam can swear properly, which is refreshing.
- the beast is the name of the magazine (which is well worth reading) so it should be written The Beast.
- “I will make sure and…” should be written ‘I will make sure to…’ so the reader knows exactly what Adam is making sure to do.
- Dog does not need a capital d, unless Adam is a Christian and thinks his dog is God.
Authorities and educational experts have tracked declining literacy in the country for many years. The national literacy and numeracy test, called NAPLAN, has demonstrated a steady decline among students as they progress from primary school to high school.
University lecturers and tutors complain of undergraduate students who are unable to construct basic sentences or understand basic course material – and they are the best and brightest of the country’s youth. Conversely, Australia continues to fall behind many other countries in international literacy and numeracy standards according to results of standardised exams.
In a country with an undeniable literacy and numeracy crisis, more than one in every three households owns at least one dog, or about 40% of the population.
The irrefutable link between dog ownership and poor literacy is a problem that looks set to plague Australia for many years to come.
*The article referred to is “Safe Injecting Space Planned for Mackenzies Bay” which appears under the category Satire on this website, and at http://www.thebeast.com.au