Thursday, August 7, 2008

Communicate without compromising the basics... please!

BBC NEWS | UK | Bad spelling 'should be accepted': "Common spelling mistakes should be accepted into everyday use, not corrected, a professor has said.

Ken Smith says the most common spelling mistakes should simply be accepted as 'variant spellings'."
My rational, logical side says 'this makes sense'... my emergent grumpy old woman side says...


Variant spellings are variants... incorrect spellings... are... wait for it... INCORRECT! For gawd's sake. Surely there has to be something which differentiates people studying at degree level from children messing up their spellings as part of their homework? Communicating accurately, concisely, thoughtfully - these are all valuable skills. They are valuable academic skills. They are valuable skills in the workplace. In life in general. Is it really that harsh to correct an incorrect spelling? Why not just learn those words? No, it's not the most engaging of activities to have to learn to spell... but... is it really the best way to hold your hands up and go 'well, let's give up and change the dictionary to accommodate the mistakes... correcting them's a bore'.

I love informal forms of writing. I love hearing people just express themselves. I also love reading things that don't make me cringe and wince at how badly they've been written when they're meant to be of a certain standard.

In a climate where the worth of higher education and education at all is challenged on an almost daily basis... why put out stupid articles like this which will have people champing at the bit to declare yet another instance of the 'dumbing down of education'? Please let things like this be filed under 'Stories that got published because we had a bit of space to fill' rather than anyone actually intending us to amend our language to accommodate people who can't find the spell check facility or... that wonderfully low tech thing... a dictionary.

*rolls eyes*

1 comment:

  1. I remain a grumpy on this! Reforming the more bizarre spellings is one thing, a free-for-all quite another matter, I think. I cannot find any reason for allowing higher education students to ravage the language randomly - if they want good marks from me in an academic context they have to demonstrate a good mastery of formal written English. On the other hand they can text me in whatever way they want - just as long as the message is clear! PS ...and, yes, we all make mistakes sometimes but a mistake is by definition a mistake not wilful dismissal of standards. Mutter, mutter... ;-)


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