Monday, August 25, 2008

Bad Speling Iz Ok Now?

This article has been in the back of my head, bugging me since I first read it. Mind, it's not the article itself that bothers me, it's the assertion that is being made in the article. Bad Spelling should be acceptable at the college level.

Spelling "truely atrosious," says academic (sic)

I've been mulling this over for weeks, and I've heard a few people make the argument that standardized spelling is a relatively new construct from a historic perspective. I occasionally misspell words, too. It happens, but I do try to correct it when I get a word wrong. Yet, I am still deeply annoyed that, in this, the day and age where computers will happily correct your spelling as you type that there would be a sudden lack of care about spelling.

When most correspondence was hand written, spelling was important. When most correspondence was done through manual type-writers, spelling was important. Now that machines can help us spell, it isn't?

This is a business problem too. With the globalization of the workforce, something I've dealt with first hand at my last few jobs, the person reading the message may not be a native English speaker. In fact, the person reading may not be able to speak or read English at all. Just as machines help us spell, machines help us translate one language to another. However, if I throw poorly spelled words into a translation engine, it will not try to translate the word at all (and rightly so). Passing the word right through in misspelled English.

I can see why this British college professor would be tired of correcting such misspellings, because in an academic setting, he can always expect that he is the primary audience, and his students must have a passing ability to communicate in English. However, if his idea is accepted, I would not want to hire the students that come out of his classes. They would do no good where I work. They would only serve to make communication more difficult with my co-workers from around the world, and worse - perpetuate the global feeling that the rich countries are becoming more stupid.

When someone who did not grow up speaking and writing English earnestly attempts to correct a misspelling by a native English writer, will that writer feel embarrassed? I hope so.

There's a whole different question about how someone who is unable to correctly spell words, made it past the college admissions exam, but I won't get into that now.

3 comments:

  1. everything should be spelled phonetically.

    it just makes sense, and it would be easier for everybody to spell correctly.

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  2. How would that account for local accents? In the US alone, there are three or four phonetic variants to many common words; 'car', 'you', 'what'.

    Also, the complete phonetic character sets are much bigger than what appears on most keyboards, either relying on Greek characters or confusing use of accent marks.

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  3. That Reuters article sounds like a DailySkew parody. It's crazy.

    ReplyDelete