Been out of town for a couple of days, playing catch up now.
Let’s see, where to begin, Vyazma is right on my English ability. I must have been in my late thirties before I could spell the months of the year, still having trouble. At fourteen was on my own working as a roughneck in the oilfield. Made half a year of the sixth grade, by then I had gone to over thirty schools.
This is one of the many reasons I am on this site is to help with my grammar, so Vyazma is doing me a favor in pointing out my faults in grammar, at the same time exposing some of his miss-understanding about life. As communication is a skill and skills have to be learned, it is not something you are born with.
I never like reading because I could not pronounce names or places and that made reading un-enjoyable.
Saved up some funds and thought I would go back to school my junior year. I was told that I would have to go to the sixth grade. That was not going to happen. So I took the GED and entered the junior collage. I was put in a class for people with English trouble.
As luck would have it, in this town I had been to school three times up to the fifth grade in all totaling less than a years worth of schooling. I had relatives in this area and that was the reason I went back to the area. The English teacher at the college brought out some books gave to each of the students and ask if anyone could read them. She said the reason was that there was a school forty miles north of town that had taught the phonic alphabet and she was wondering if any of class was in that program.
It looked like Russian and nobody could read the books except me. I had no trouble reading the books. That was the first that knew that I had been taught on the phonic alphabet. The second two years of my schooling was on this alphabet.
You can see this alphabet at http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/
That was a real relief, because I was thinking I had a brain disorder that caused me to be unable to spell and pronounce words.
I think the college could have helped me, but working in the oilfield made me an alcoholic, I thought I could stop drinking for school, but that didn’t happen, school only increased my drinking so I quit school after a few months and went back to the oilfields.
Pretty much have been on the fast track until I retired. Never did any correspondent that wasn’t rewritten by my secretary. I was so bad that spell checker couldn’t help.
I would like to comment on you statement, “I’ve seen otherwise very intelligent people …”.
My thoughts are that intelligent is in the thinking, reading, writing and communication are skills whereas math and science requires thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have English skills.
I was also very surprised by what the brain retains at a very young age and how that can not be overridden by latter training. In the same line of thinking, Sunday school might be the grounds for a strong faith latter in life that can not be explained by reason.