Meaning of Illiteracy


Illiteracy is the condition of illiteracy, a word of Latin origin (analphabetus) that in turn derives from the ancient Greek (ἀναλφάβητος, illiterates) that refers to a person who can not read or write. Anyway, the term usually has an extended use and it is used to name the individuals who are ignorant or who lack the most basic knowledge in some discipline.

Also considered an epidemic that threatens freedom and progress, illiteracy has alarmed the governments of various countries for decades and there are numerous campaigns to eradicate it. More than 800 million adults and more than 100 million children worldwide are illiterate. This means that, in general, these people do not know how to read their rights, the news in a newspaper, or write a Curriculum Vitae to look for work. The consequences of such limitations are as evident as they are terrifying.

In countries with compulsory schooling programs, illiteracy is very low. However, language learning is increasingly poor, given a number of factors, including the misuse of technology. In the mid-1990s, the conventions used to compose an email message and to chat posed a great threat to many teachers, who claimed that their students were writing worse and worse. Today, just 15 years later, in countries like the United States, children receive their first mobile phones before the age of 9. How much does technology affect language? Nothing, as long as it is applied with a constructive strategy.

Very complex languages ​​such as Japanese require even greater effectiveness on the part of teachers and attention and consistency on the part of students that would be unimaginable in the West. However, despite the stereotypical determination and discipline of the Orientals, illiteracy also attacks them. Ironically, to carry out one of Japan’s plans to improve the teaching of writing and reading, each student must bring a Nintendo DSi with them to school. The proposal is to use a program that captures and recognizes the words spoken by the teacher and sends them to each person so that they can follow the class and keep an automatic note, always with a spelling correct. There are also various programs that supervise manual writing carried out on a touch screen with the help of a stylus or stylus, to ensure precise learning of this complex language that requires, for example, that the order and direction of each of the strokes of a character are unalterable.

Digital and functional illiteracy

When a person learns to read and write but cannot apply this knowledge in a practical way, we speak of functional illiteracy. In this case, the individual is able to make a basic use of their language, but unable to understand written instructions, fill out a form, read a text in the media, interpret traffic signs or timetables, as well as use efficiently computer tools like a word processor, internet or a mobile phone. Although these people are able to understand isolated words, it is when they combine and adopt relative and contextual meanings that their interpretation becomes impossible impossible for them.

On the other hand, in recent years the concept of digital illiteracy has been developed, which refers to people who do not have the necessary knowledge to interact with new technologies (such as the Internet). Erroneously, this condition is usually associated with people of a certain age, probably parents and grandparents from the 80’s generation backwards. As in the case of traditional illiteracy, the causes of this lack of knowledge and understanding is not linked to age or, in many cases, to the economic level of the person. The great managers are, in general, impractical and frustrating teaching techniques, who do not think of the student as an individual but as part of a group that includes anyone of the same age, assuming that all its members show a similar degree of interest and ability.

A few years ago, the UN included education as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals, and set 2015 as the deadline for all children in the world to access primary education. To achieve this goal, not only do we have schools, but television and the Internet offer various free tools for learning the language, ranging from video series to texts, applications and even games.