Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spelling matters

Why is it that more people than ever are going to university, yet the newspapers and blogosphere are full of bad English and mis-spellings.

Even dear old Auntie Beeb is not above throwing in a few split infinitives - including in news broadcasts - unthinkable!

I enjoy writing for the articles site Squidoo and they have a forum in which writers are encouraged to post links to their latest work for criticism. Despite the fact that there is a 'sticky post' at the top of the forum section, every other lens seems to ignore the suggestion to spell-check before publication.

Some of the writers are asking for work to be reviewed that showcases their real business, yet they are willing to sacrifice their credibility for the sake of spending five minutes checking what they have written.

English, as a language has absorbed words from many different sources but more often than not, the original spelling survives. The Welsh, Irish and Gaelic-speaking Scots would expect anything written in their languages to be properly spelt so why don't English speakers have more respect for the written word?

One answer is that there has been a 'fashion' in education for too long, that has valued ideas and content more than style or correctness of grammar and spelling and punctuation. That tide needs to turn and soon. What's the point of a degree if you spell it deegree?


Anonymous said...

'Irish and Gaelic-speaking Scots would expect anything written in their languages to be properly spoken' - A'hem first of all, the language of the the Irish and the Scots
is Gaelic, so to is Manx. Welsh is a Brythonic language also spoken by the Cornish and partially by the Bretons. Now it is incorrect to believe that the phonetic of every Gaelic word is the same. There is a great deal of variance in the phonetic of Connaught Gaelic & Munster Gaelic; different again with Scots Gaelic even though it is basically the same language! Gaelic words can be spelt in a variety of ways and still produce the same phonetic e.g. Daragh, Darra, Dara.
English: Then which form of that language are you referring to, for you have not been explicit.
Ultimately spelling matters not because a wrongly spelt word does not lose it's meaning. Grammer& punctuation matters greatly - I agree with you on those points, except that you never mentioned the latter! Have a nice day

Jenny Fletcher said...

Fair comment about Gaelic, and thanks for the info. While I realised that the language of the Irish and the Scots came from the same roots, your comment adds to my knowledge.

Yes it is possible to get the meaning of a piece of written English, even with spelling errors, but it's lazy and it irritates.

You will see that I have now added punctuation specifically.

I do wish that Blogger would add an option that specifically excludes anonymous commenters but without excluding anyone else. This commenter is lucky. If I'm feeling ferocious, no-name comments are axed!