Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Changing Spelling

The Times Online (UK) reported yesterday on a proposal to loosen English speling rools.

John Wells, Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London and president of the Spelling Society, will use the society’s centenary dinner this week to call for a “freeing up” of English spelling.

“The teaching of literacy in schools is a major worry. It seems highly likely that one of the reasons Britain and other English-speaking countries have problems with literacy is because of our spelling and the burden it places on children.

“It seems to be a great pity that English-speaking countries are holding back children in this way. There are lots of other things that are neglected in class because so much time is spent on spelling,” he said.

He also complained about the apostrophe, suggesting we either leave it out or leave a space instead.

Wells has a point about all the class time spent on spelling. When I was in third grade, Miss Grimm counted a word as being spelled wrong if we didn't dot the "i" or cross the "t." She'd say, "That could be a "u" or two "i"s. How am I supposed to know if the dot is missing?" So I'm still careful to dot and cross what needs dotting and crossing. It's such a pain!

If we give up worrying about spelling, then the Miss Grimms of the world can spend more time teaching our kids about safe sex and Heather's two mommies and self-esteem. What an unburdened world that would be!


Tsofah said...

Ehf wah deednt spin tyme on r spallin thin ah dohnt hev ta kere abut thuh pursen reedin whut ah rite. Ah ownle hav tah kere abuht mee. Ah dohnt hav tah bee rspnsible fer whaht ah due tah othrs. Ah dohnt kere abuht othrs aen ah dohnt kere abuht mahsalf aen ah dohnt theenk ah half aenethink vahlyouahble tah saay.

Thahts teechin meh reel gooode.

Tsofah said...

If you don't need a translation, then your teacher taught you to use the right side of your brain as well as the left side :-)

SkyePuppy said...


I understood you just fine!

Malott said...

Grat post!

Miss Grimm? Bet she was fun.

Public schools have become such a joke... Just a shadow of what they were when I was a kid.

In my class even the slow kid learned how to read and write and do simple math. The teachers praised him for trying and doing his best. So I'm sure his self esteem was just fine.

We didn't need to dumb-down the class. We treated others the way we wanted to be treated.

Maybe that stemmed from the prayers we said before lunch.

Bekah said...

oh my WORD. This is the craziest thing I've read in a long time. I even get upset when people, so caught up in text and messenger lingo, don't take time to write out real words. I can't imagine my blood pressure if spelling became optional. Good GRIEF.

Jacob said...

Somebody revoke that man's professorial credentials.

The idea that children cannot cope with the "burden" of writing competently in their own language is insulting to the children themselves. It reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons, when Lisa compains about the low standard of education at her school:

Lisa: I just don't feel challenged, principal Skinner,

Skinner: I understand you Lisa, but if we made things more challenging I'd have all the stupid students in here, furrowing their brows in a vain attempt to understand the situation.

SkyePuppy said...


Miss Grimm was a beautiful, young blonde, and we all loved her. She got married during Easter Break and became Mrs. Lowrey, and we had trouble pronouncing her last name.

My brother had her sister, also blonde and beautiful, a couple years later.

SkyePuppy said...


If you said, "Good GREEF," that would be OK with the Professor.

SkyePuppy said...