Thursday, 7 August 2008

Ignoring Bad Spelling

I once got an ear chewing for sending an email completely full of alternative spellings. Admittedly it was quite an important one but i misjudged the recipients sense of humour and she didn't appreciate receiving an email that started with 'High Julie, Eye wood like two start bye saying that eye am aware..' and continued for the next 500 words in the same vein.
The English language has frequently been referred to as one of the hardest languages to learn because of such nuances of the language which allows for such emails. Aonethr qiruk is taht as lnog as the fsirt and lsat lterets are in pacle, it is still readable although your spell check may explode.
Outside of official documents or projects where the perfect English is required, I have never been much of a spelling nazi, to me what someone is trying to say is always more important than how they say it which is a view that may be frowned upon by English Language students but then English Language Students are widely regarded as being a bit pompous anyway.
Dr Ken Smith, a senior lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University, has opened a debate over his belief that misspelt words should be included as "variant spellings" and accepted into everyday use, not corrected and although i have my reservations, he has a point.
The English language has changed and adapted its spelling over time. For example musick mutated into music, rime into rhyme and we nowadays write fantasy to the original phantasy and show to shew so changes to how we spell is an ever evolving process.
The lecturer says teachers and academics should turn a blind eye to common misspellings such as 'truely', and 'argument' although critics suggest that it is the slippery slope towards the American style of spelling which is a slightly simplified version of English, such as color, dialog and favor and British kids should just learn the correct spelling rather than adapt the language around there shaky grasp of spelling.
My reservation is that lazy students will invariably shout 'spelling variation' when they get pulled up for writing 'commited' or 'imediately' and that just wont do. How can we act all snooty to Americans and Canadians for there spelling if we dumb down our own!


iMuslim said...

I find that living in the era of the 'spellchecker' actually makes it harder for me to make the effort to correct my continual spelling mistakes. It's all so automatic, your brain hardly has to register anything except the sudden appearance of the little red squiggly line... right-click, apply correction, done!

I wonder, do school kids these days type all their homework up on the computer? I started to regularly use the PC for assignments later in sixth form, and then once I started uni. Now I can hardly write a sentence by hand without reaching for the tippex... my handwriting is a mess!

Lucy said...

Good point imuslim, I have seen some very bright young people with spelling skills that would make my old English teacher have a fit. The use of spellcheck almost certainly has a big part to play in that.

Anonymous said...

Same as iMulsim - I don't bother too much with spelling because of spell check, and I've never bothered with grammar terribly much. As you say, I think there has to be a cutoff-point where is *does* matter, but otherwise who cares...

Anonymous said...

Only lazy Canadians spell things the "American way" unless im mistaken we spell our words the same as our UK friends. ie colour, flavour, etc.