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!