Here, I hear...

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011  comments  Print Reprints

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Do you know what a Heterograph is?

Neither did I, until I was shamed into researching the scientific name that is used to describe words such as "hear" and "here."

Defintion: Words with different spellings, different meanings, but the same pronunciation. (If you're wondering, because you're a bit anal, like me, Heterographs are a subset of Homophones. Homophones can have the same spelling, like "rose" and "rose.")

Why, you're wondering, do I need to know this?

Because, one day, your elementary school child is going to ask you to explain this.

Go ahead, try.

"Mom, what's the point of there, their and they're if they all sound the same?"

"Mom, whether I write to, too or two, when I read it out loud, it sounds the same and you know what I mean."

"Mom, explain to me why someone invented more than one way to spell the same sound!"

To which you will reply, while you're trying to make dinner and fold laundry, "Um."

And then you will go to google.

And then you will have this wonderful Heterograph term to introduce to your child, who has long since moved on to playing football in the backyard.

In any case, this recent interaction proved all of my friends-with-older-kids, right. They have all told me that, as my children make their way through school, so will I, again. I only thought that I was finished with English Grammar and Intro to Fractions. No, in fact, the second round is beginning.

At this point, it's just a bit of rust and dust to be cleared off of my brain. When pressured, I can spell, identify the parts of a sentence and remember my muliplication tables. I'm not so sure about complex fractions or research papers.

That may take "advanced googling."


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