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calendar   Wednesday - September 10, 2008

Don’t be stoopid, spelling matters.  (just what I needed to see today after Drew’s post yesterday.)

OK Drew and all.  Take note.  Except for an occasional lapse where I forget to use the spell check, I really think I need to stop spelling things the lazy way.
Even if I still think English spelling is illogical. No matter.  Drew started it yesterday and now this lady (whose name is Pearson) has made me see the light of day. 
Harrumph ... we’ll see.  It isn’t comfortable discovering one has bad table manners.  In public yet.

Don’t be stoopid, spelling matters
By Allison Pearson

Last updated at 2:14 AM on 10th September 2008

Professor John Wells says teaching students spelling is a waste of time.

The president of the Spelling Society says we should stop teaching our children correct English spellings because it is holding the little darlings back at school.

Learning to use the apostrophe is also far too much trouble, apparently.

Unlike John Wells, I cannot claim to be a distinguished professor at University College London, but even I can see the flaw in his brilliant plan.

Theres only wun problem if there not gunna teach kids how to spell there own language and use the apostrophe. No one will have a klew wot there on about, innit?

See. That’s what English looks like if you spell words according to sound rather than meaning.

It may make things easier for the lazy writer, but it’s far harder for the poor reader who is forced to think twice.

Correct spelling and grammar are the table manners of the written word. They may seem petty, but without them you end up with an almighty mess.

Yet the prufessa, as I suppose we must call him, insists that this country’s appalling illiteracy problem is caused by having to learn those pesky irregular spellings.

He says they place a ‘burden’ on children and damage their education.

Funny how every previous generation and tens of millions of English speakers around the world have somehow survived this intolerable imposition.

Blaming tricky spellings for illiteracy is like blaming cars for lousy driving. It neatly shifts the responsibility away from where it belongs.

If Prufessa Wells was a lone crackpot it really wouldn’t matter all that much.

Unfortunately, he is part of an educational establishment which seems to want to remove all difficulty from schooling in the name of social equality.

Garlanded with degrees and boasting minds as well stocked as the finest library, these men and women choose to vandalise the body of knowledge which got them their prestigious jobs in the first place.

What you end up with is the situation we saw over the summer where one examiner came across a boy who had just written ‘F*** off ‘ on his English GCSE paper.

Was he, as you might hope, instantly failed? No, on the instructions of the chief examiner, he was awarded marks for successfully conveying his meaning!


My kids laugh at me for using punctuation in text messages. ‘Like, Mum, how uncool is that?’ Tragically uncool, actually.

But as a former English teacher and full-time grown-up, I know that my job is to hold the line on appropriate language and to defend what’s valuable in our culture.

Let the kids get on with trashing it, as they always have. It’s the privilege of each new generation to refashion English in their own private world.

But it’s up to their parents and teachers to explain that a more formal standard, which everyone can agree on, is called for in college and in work.

Prufessa Wells and his kind do the younger generation no favours by expecting less and less of them.

When I hear Prufessa Welz say that spellings used in e-mail and text messaging ‘show the way forward for English’ I want to skewer him on a sharpened quill.

If university professors aren’t in the business of telling young people that some things are worth making an effort to acquire, then who the hell is?

He should try saying that to the editor of a newspaper on which I once worked. Every week we got a pile of job applications and there was a simple rule: if they contained a single spelling mistake, they went straight in the bin.

Give a job to someone who can’t spell standard English? Uv got 2 b kiddin.

http://tinyurl.com/585ccn


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 09/10/2008 at 02:25 PM   
Filed Under: • Colleges-ProfessorsEducationUK •  
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