Saturday, August 09, 2008

Spelling Nazis are us

I am a bit pedantic with spelling. I am not perfect, but I am always jarred by blatently blatantly incorrect spelling.

This gentleman wants to lower the bar. I say no. It is bad enuff with email, chat, gaming and SMS without deliberately accepting spelling variants. That will happen over time. Look at Yanqui English.

Rather than grammarians getting in a huff about "argument" being spelled "arguement" or "opportunity" as "opertunity," why not accept anything that's phonetically (fonetickly anyone?) correct as long as it can be understood?

"Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea," Ken Smith, a criminology lecturer at Bucks New University, wrote in the Times Higher Education Supplement.

"University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell."

To kickstart his proposal, Smith suggested 10 common misspellings that should immediately be accepted into the pantheon of variants, including "ignor," "occured," "thier," "truely," "speach" and "twelth" (it should be "twelfth").

I mean how does atrosious look to you? Atrocious? It does to me, the soon to be spelling snob elitist.

That would annoy me and distract from my ability to read a paper. I think of email and sms need to be spelt spelled correctly. Hannah has spelling lists every week now and I can certainly identify with some of the challenges that kids go through constructing English words in a way that makes sense. Part structure, part pattern, part familiarity, part phonetics. Worth struggling through I think. It is all very well to use spell checker and dictionary.com, but the ability to spell correctly is very useful life skill that is being eroded.

And is it mispell or misspell?


River said...

That's misspell, definitely.
Definitely, not definately.
Bad spelling makes me crazy.

Colin Campbell said...

Glad u tink dat weigh

Liz said...

Whoops, blatently?!

Sorry, I'm a spelling semi-professional. As long as I don't have to spell words like occurred or my favourite, exageration. Double Rs catch me out all the time.

Ruthie said...


Totally unacceptable.

First "ginormous" was added to the dictionary, now this?

Sean Jeating said...

End of March I'd hardly know how to spell shornalyst, and only three months later I happen to be one. I could huck the whole world. Shornalism is the most wonderfull profashion in the world.

Sean Jeating said...

And here's one for Miss Pelling.

jmb said...

Totally agree with this one, after all I spent two years as a proofreader in my youth. That said I am very grateful to Spellcheckers.

Sammawow said...

Terrific post! Incorrect spelling makes me crazy. I am always surprised how often words are spelled incorrectly in menus!

jeanie said...

I cannot stand bad spelling. Its like running fingernails down blackboards for me. I think it is something to do with my mother sending my letters from boarding school back to me with spelling corrections.

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