Illiteracy in Your Own Society.

Essay by oddchic87College, UndergraduateA+, September 2005

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Try and envision our society without a common language. This could be a moderately hard idea to grasp. If this theoretical idea were in fact true, a typical conversation between two individuals would be as follows: one of the two would begin the conversation by making noises representing their language; the other person would not understand these noises and respond with unrecognizable noises, representing their own language. As you can well imagine, this would become absolutely exasperating. Literacy is one of those words where everyone has their own definition for it. There will always be some degree of difference between each individual's beliefs of what literacy means. Literacy is often defined as the ability to read and write, however, this is not the case. Literacy is not only the ability to read and write, but also the ability to communicate effectively within your society. This means being able to speak, listen, read, write, comprehend, and view; thinking is an integral part of all these processes.

In order to communicate and express yourself effectively to another you must be literate for that other person to understand you. If you are not educated enough to be able to communicate efficiently you are believed to be illiterate.

People who cannot convey their messages properly are frequently misunderstood. Individuals are most often than not looked down upon and considered to be slow or dumb when they cannot communicate effectively within their own society. Although, an individual's definition of literacy could possibly be different from another's definition of literacy, people do not have any respect for those who are perceived as illiterate. In Amy Tan's essay, "Mother Tongue", she divulges her experience, "I know this for a fact, because when I was growing up, my mother's "limited" English limited my perception of her. I was...