Spelling is Ded

Give it another twenty, thirty years. Let those of us who care, who do the job interviews and hiring, who decide what gets published – give us time to die. Then you can declare spelling dead.

People complain, “Spelling / grammar / punctuation – I’m no good at it.” The implication is that we should overlook their mistakes since they admit that they make them. It’s like saying, “I’m a jerk. But since I recognize it, it’s okay!”

Spelling and grammar are not genetic traits; they are habits. I can hear you sighing. Habits are not popular things. They are 1) something you don’t want to do but feel like you should; or 2) things you do and feel guilty about. The amount of fun is limited in either case.

If you’re writing, you should care about spelling / grammar / punctuation. Wouldn’t you speak more clearly if someone said they couldn’t understand you? If you are expressing yourself, you should care about how others receive that expression.

I admit that English spelling is illogical, stupid, not based on phonetics, as the spelling of most languages is. It’s a bear. Kids graduate from high school unable to spell ‘immediately’ and ‘definitely.’ If they put spelling on the graduation test, we’d have to fail a lot of people.

Small commercial: this is why people should learn Latin. I have yet to meet a Latin student who hasn’t improved their spelling of English. Once you know what conjugation a verb belongs to, you will never again wonder, “Is it -ite or -ate?”

To be honest, I have little love for English spelling. But I do love the language, and accept the quirky spelling the way I put up with a lover’s annoying traits. It’s not worth arguing about there, their and they’re. Why get all bent out of shape over misapplied apostrophes?

When I was much younger, I thought it would be a good idea to divorce traditional spelling and learn the Shavian phonetic alphabet. With some practice, I got pretty good at it. The problem was that nobody was as enthusiastic as I was. Though everyone complained about spelling, nobody seemed willing to make an effort to change. Books and magazines were printed in standard English, so there wasn’t even anything to read except for my own notes.

That is life. Once you realize that people don’t change unless forced, you will be much happier. Spelling isn’t going to change, and people aren’t going to suddenly improve their spelling, so I might as well just accept it. Or except it.

Owed to the Spell Checker:

I have a spelling checker –
It came with my PC.
It plain lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it’s weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
An wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.
And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to be a joule
The checker poured o’er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.
That’s why aye brake in two averse
By righting wants too pleas.
Sow now ewe sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear for pea seas.

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