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Speling Duz It Reely Mater?


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I listened to a discussion on TV the other day about a University Don suggesting that we stop having high expectations of spelling, even at graduate level, saying if the words can be understood that that is all that matters. As a University lecturer he was 'fed up' with time taken correcting spelling mistakes and felt the 'content' was more important than the presentation. Some of the panel thought this was apaling (but spelt with 2 p's and 2 l's xD ) Others saw his point discussing how people who struggle to spell, or people with dyslexia are disadvantaged because the education/academic expectations are focused too high on the 'need' to spell correctly.

Points were made about this being the age of text spell, and one university accepts text spell from it's cohorts essays. Spellings and words have changed over the centuries, reflecting the 'current' society, ie: American spellings of some words, how we don't now speak / spell in Shakespearian (spl?) language.

I personally agree that the content is more important than the spelling, and even grammer. I remember sweating buckets writing my dissertation a few years ago, only to get my tutors feedback of "Peggy, you are working at yr 2 degree level, you need to improve your grammer" :o Not a single comment about the content, I went away totally deflated, I then set my computer to point out grammer errors at 'business level'. As I wrote each mistake was highlighted and I corrected it, after 10,000 words I had subconciously learnt and improved my grammer through these constant error messages, thus showing that what is around you affects how you communicate. So if you use text spell a lot, it will surely impact on your writing style.

 

The University Don wants alternate spellings of words to be included in the dictionary, so that in effect, these words are then NOT deemed as spelling mistakes, and he can then get on with marking content, intellectual thought and not how those thoughts are conveyed.

 

What do you think? Can you imagine a world where spelling is never an issue? Sounds good tome. :(

 

Peggy

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no, I think spelling and use of correct grammar IS important.Clearly, the content is too, and maybe it's simply because I was brought up in an age when it mattered, but I simply LOATHE all the m8 and how ru?? nonsense that passes for vocabulary nowadays! It's lazy,it's rude and it drives me mad! I think it's ok in everyday situations, probably, if i'm honest, amongst younger people than I am, after all, we all had our 'youth language' (I am a child of the fifties, and was a teenager in the 60's when all was peace and love, man......!), but for academic work, I think it's vital to demonstrate a proper grasp of language, particulary among those who aim to teach, at whatever level. The English language, with all its quirks and oddities, is rich and beautiful and yes, it evolves, but hopefully not to the point where we all speak in text 'shorthand' otherwise, I think it's an erosion of our general standards and manners.

 

 

(just reading this back and I do sound quite priggish!! sorry for that :o )

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I think it does, but I'm speaking as someone who has always found spelling easy. Personally I can't bear looking at text riddled with mistakes as it does visually annoy me! It is interesting how spellings have changed over the years. Apparently, I was informed recently, we used to spell words like theatre in the now American way with the ending as /er/. However because of a fashion for all things french the spelling was adapted to the french /re/ way round - hence center/centre, theater/theatre and so on. So much of our spelling comes from the history of our culture and the influences that have passed through our island and I think that makes it important too.

 

However as my sister is very dyslexic I can understand the difficulty that some people have with the seemingly erratic and illogical spelling patterns that exist in written english - she has had a very hard time from day one at school and for ever after (especially starting out in an era when dyslexia didn't exist!!). It has really damaged her confidence to put anything on paper so she did no exams to speak of and has suffered along the way as a consequence.

 

It's a tricky one!! however in the context of the original prompt for the thought I would always argue that anyone studying at a higher level should be able to turn out correctly spelt and grammatically accurate text - using technology to help or not!

 

Cx

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As someone who has always been a terrible speller I think it matters especially as has already been said for academic and professional communication.

 

Remember too when Shakespeare wrote his plays and sonnets there was no standard spelling so in the same piece of work a word may have several different spellings.

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My question, I suppose is not so much about should it stay or should it go, more about should our whole attitude towards 'spelling' change? People who want to 'spell' in queens english can still do so but those who don't but still communicate legibly (spl?) are not judged as inferior to those who do.

 

We are judged as intellegent or not based on our spelling abilities, which is not fair. Interesting point from Marion about Shakespeare's use of different spelling for the same words, now if spelling was an issue in his time would his need to 'correct' /make consistent his spelling have affected the 'flow' of his prose ?

 

 

Peggy

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Until 1755 there was no right or wrong way to spell words (blame Sam Johnson) although the invention of the printing press had begun the process of standardised spelling (blame Claxton)

Interestingly Peggy Shakespeare wasn't even consistent in spelling his own name

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Yes content is obviously very very important, but that doesn't mean that the written word should be spelt incorrectly. We write things down to communicate with others, and our writing needs to be accessible to them. If someone finds spelling difficult there are spell checkers, dictionaries etc. If someone writes something wonderful, but spells it badly, then they have let themselves down as they could correct it if they wished (I’m not talking about people with specific problems such a dyslexia, or relatively new to the language) we shouldn't have to struggle to understand an excellent piece of work because the spelling is bad. The more you correct yourself the sooner the correct spelling fixes in the mind. Correct spelling really does matter to me, even though I do make mistakes myself. Incorrect spellings can cause confusion. The English language is mostly phonic based, and there are rules and patterns to spelling to make it easier. Sadly the education system went through a period where these rules were not taught, which made it very difficult for people to learn to spell correctly later on.

A common spelling system makes written language easy to understand for everyone. Consider people spelling just as they wish: different accents would produce different spellings, which might well be incomprehensible for someone from another part of the country. With some words the spelling indicates the meaning, such as hole and whole, bow and bough, too, to and two. Translating and interacting with other languages would be problematic and would affect our ability to work and trade with other nations. I'm not sure they would be too impressed with us either.

Spelling affects reading, as once we have learnt to read we don't actually break words down but read by skimming and looking at pattern, shape or the top shapes of letters. If spelling was inconsistent and everyone did their own thing it would be very confusing. It takes a lot of concentration for me to read my nieces 'text speak' emails, and this is essentially another language which needs to be learnt, but I'm not her generation so having to learn it. Call me old-fashioned :o

I'm not sure about what happened in Shakespeare's day or before but a lot of people were unable to read or write, and French and Latin were two of the main written languages, hence a lot of our spelling system is based on them.

Just imagine a scenario where everyone in every country decided spelling to an agreed format should go. I think communication would become impossible.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6250184.stm

http://www.tes.co.uk/blogs/blog.aspx?path=...mp;post=2564540

 

You might find these interesting Jacquie ...

 

i think you got to the crux of the issue. If we all chose to spell words how we wanted how could we communicate effectively? Non standard spelling systems were fine in Shakespeare's time because few people were literate, there were few books (because they were expensive to produce) people didn't travel far from home so spellings related to dialect could be understood and often messages were verbal rather than written, but how would that work in our modern world? I actually like our idiosyncratic spelling system it says a great deal about our language and past history.

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Yes I think it does too. Perhaps easy for me to say as I find it easy to spell but I have had to witness my two boys who are dyslexic sturggle with spelling but they have had the benefit of computers to aid their writing. I think this day and age, dyxlexia is more understood and easier to recognise.

 

I liken it to maths, I am not a natural mathematician so I use a calculator to help me. What would happen if we were told you don't have to be that accurate with figures, near enough will do? :o

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Thanks for those links Marion, I found them interesting.

 

I must admit when texting became popular, I thought then that the way our teenagers were communicating with each other would impact on the way we look at words and how they are spelt. I am amazed that a young person can reel off a fairly long text within minutes but struggles to write a 'proper' paragraph in an essay. As well as using shortcuts, I suppose the interest in content has a lot to do with this as well.

 

Just thought, although I never learnt it, shorthand is similar to texting, I suppose. I wonder if one can learn shorthand without first knowing longhand?

 

Why is it that there are a few words I use that I ALWAYS spell incorrectly ie: appropriattely, however many times I see it?

Why is it I always have to say to myself i before e except after c, to be able to spell conceive properly, I know this code but why can't I ever remember it automatically as I write the word?

 

Is the above due to being taught wrong, or not sufficiently enough in the first place, and is a 'learnt' behaviour that I can't seem to unlearn? Habit rather than knowledge.

Our foster children use the term your'n, meaning yours, although a different accent /dialect to what we use, each word is recognisable and understood whichever one is used, and I don't think either of them are right or wrong. I think it is important to remember that words are not understood in isolation, differences in spelling can be decoded by the context the word is written in ie: There are too birds sitting on the wall (don't need to write two ). The whole in the bucket got bigger ( don't need to write hole).

 

Scan reading the links that Marion posted, It does seem that other countries have a higher success rate for literacy, part I think due to the formation of their written words within their languages and partly due to teaching methods.

 

Peggy

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Guest MaryEMac

I think that spelling is important. I find spelling relatively easy and mistakes jump out at me. When my daughter went into the juniors in the mid eighties, she had a supply teacher for a term who didn't believe in correcting spellings. i commented on this at a parents evening and was told that she wanted to encourage quantity not quality and my daughter would learn to spell as she got older. In the end I helped her with her spellings. It transpired when she was 18 that she was dyslexic and she has had to work really hard and to her credit she has managed it.

 

Mary

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(just reading this back and I do sound quite priggish!! sorry for that :o )

Ooh I just love that word narnia! :(

 

I am a bit of a pedant when it comes to spelling and grammar (especially when I see misplaced apostrophes). For instance in the email I received last week from the National Year of Reading team they told me all about a fascinating project about giving books to MP's. Words fail me.

 

I have been known to edit messages on here because I have only spotted typos as I've clicked on 'reply' and I absolutely refuse to use text language when texting friends or family. It has become a standing joke at work - my deputy supervisor loves it when she catches me out and finds a typo I have missed. :( Fortunately for me they don't happen often - but my obsession is known to cost me a fortune in paper for the reprints when I spot a mistake that I just can't live with!

 

I found that Lynne Truss has a website now, following the success of Eats, Shoots and Leaves - full of lovely misprinted signs for me to gloat over.

 

It happens to the best of us though: I remember long ago in my secretarial days coming across a carbon copy of a letter typed by one of the scariest but most respected PAs in our department - she had meant to type "Ship Street" but had typed a 't' instead of the 'p'. So you see, even the pedants among us can end up paddling that particular creek without a paddle! xD

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I don't particularly agree with the sentiments Peggy and find Masha's constant use of "text speak" very very annoying but it is an interesting argument http://www.spellingsociety.org/

 

 

I sort of agree with the need to look at all avenues to help people who struggle with spelling, interesting history especially the fact that a law was passed to 'modernise' spellings back in 1953 (I think, my short term memory is poor even though I've only just read it 10 minutes ago :o:( )

As with all campaigners (now there's a word with weird spelling) her ardent approach could be seen as off putting.

 

Now Marion, is there a subject that you DON'T have a website link for? xD

 

Peggy

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I think it is important. I hate text speak but I am a child of the 50s too!!! What bugs??? me !! is that you cannot use a calculator for the EYP maths test at university. How many people can honestly say they can do fractions and decimals and areas and percentages in their heads? I am lucky in that I have my o level maths but rely on a calculator most of the time at work. You would laugh at the spelling mistakes I made!!!

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I don't particularly agree with the sentiments Peggy and find Masha's constant use of "text speak" very very annoying but it is an interesting argument http://www.spellingsociety.org/

 

 

eye had a very good techer at englis from the olde skool type . we had tolearn spellins puntcuations an all that jazz u c my kids they always question me wen i pull em up on there spaekin and punctuation... :o

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My husband works in publishing where spelling and grammar are of paramount importance. He has recieved countless job applications in the past from graduates with appalling use of english, which are instantly binned. In this particular area of business the correct use of spelling and grammar is vital.

 

My 12 year old daughter never got the hang of spelling and over the years at primary school I noticed her work was full of spelling mistakes which went uncorrected. When I challanged this with her teachers I was shown in the primary curriculum guidence where it said that if the word could be understood then the spelling mistake should not be challanged. I cannot remember the correct quote but it said if children's incorrect spelling was challanged all the time then they would lose their confidence. So now, after all the years in primary school I have a confident 12-year old .....................but who can't spell!

 

Not being able to spell correctly is now causing her embarrassment and she hates it. Homework can be a nightmare and I have only just realised the extent of her inabilities. I am very angry to see that this sort of 'thinking' is still going on and that there will be more and more children in the same boat on leaving primary school.

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Not sure where I stand on this.

I dont use 'text speak'. My texts are always written in full with the punctuatuion as near perfect as I can make it (not a stong point)

 

I have read my childrens work with horror at the grammer I think more than the spelling, both of which can be terrible. Whenever I've pulled then up on the spelling they have told me it doesnt matter, teacher isnt worried about that (secondary school) To some degree I think thats right, the content is more important in some things. But when even the English teacher thinks that way, it impacts on every lesson.

 

I dont like bad spelling but when my youngest lad was in YR2, he was marked wrong for spelling 'pole' with a back to front P.

I had to argue with his teacher that in a spelling test, letter formation wasnt important, he knew how to spell pole, he could sound out the letters. She was adament that he should write it properly. We had to agree to disagree.

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My husband works in publishing where spelling and grammar are of paramount importance. He has recieved countless job applications in the past from graduates with appalling use of english, which are instantly binned. In this particular area of business the correct use of spelling and grammar is vital.

 

My 12 year old daughter never got the hang of spelling and over the years at primary school I noticed her work was full of spelling mistakes which went uncorrected. When I challanged this with her teachers I was shown in the primary curriculum guidence where it said that if the word could be understood then the spelling mistake should not be challanged. I cannot remember the correct quote but it said if children's incorrect spelling was challanged all the time then they would lose their confidence. So now, after all the years in primary school I have a confident 12-year old .....................but who can't spell!

 

Not being able to spell correctly is now causing her embarrassment and she hates it. Homework can be a nightmare and I have only just realised the extent of her inabilities. I am very angry to see that this sort of 'thinking' is still going on and that there will be more and more children in the same boat on leaving primary school.

 

 

I would think your husbands expectations are prevalent in many professions, but what of the graduates who would make fantastic publishers, due to say, recognising the creative talents of an author, are not employed due to inability to spell? An inability caused through lack of teaching as in your daughters case.

Maybe there should be equality of opportunity for all, irrespective of spelling ability. This attitude may bring more creative minds to the professions instead of being consigned to the bin. In the professions such as publishing, It would be overcome by providing more jobs for proof readers too. xD.

What if the now famous formula one drivers were told they couldn't compete because they did not know the mechanics of their cars ?

What loss there wold have been if J.K. Rowling couldn't spell? Would she have ever got published? (I'm guessing she can, but maybe she can't :o ).

 

Would it be such a bad thing if your daughter had the same employment opportunities as 'spellers', isn't it what she's got to convey, rather than how she presents it that is more important?

I once employed a lady of 30 who had learning difficulties, she had basic literacy skills, equivalent to a 6 yr old. She had previously been exploited by another preschool who let her work voluntarily, unpaid for 10 yrs, judging her as not as capable to be employed as other people who applied for jobs at the setting.

When I gave her a paid position, She proved was a very good practitioner in terms of interacting with the children, she was enabled to record childrens observations through using a dictaphone, she attended training and we spent time going over what she had learnt. My EYAT came in one day and said to me that in the event of my preschool being Inspected by Ofsted, that they would judge my provision based on my weakest member of staff, she was basically warning me that this member of staff, with a disability, which included the inability to spell, was a liability to the preschool. Yet she could observe and see how well she worked with the children and the team. Although she couldn't spell, she could write, she could also scaffold the childrens learning during her play with them, but most of all the children loved her, enjoyed her company and chose her as the adult they wanted to be with.

 

So do we not employ early years practitioners because they can't spell? If a new system was devised, which made spelling easier, ie: a 'modern' version of our current words, then our literacy scores may become similar to those in Italy where their language is more phonetical than ours. We wouldn't lose any words from the English language, just spell them in a way that can be learnt by all. I would guess the 'transition' to the new words would be similar to when we moved to decimalisation.

 

I suppose I've covered two thoughts here;

 

1/ attitudes towards people unable to spell (for whatever reason)

2/ Whether the spelling of words should be 'modernised'

 

Peggy

 

Peggy

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What if the now famous formula one drivers were told they couldn't compete because they did not know the mechanics of their cars ?

 

 

Top Gear had a vehicle a few weeks ago which wasnt to be driven by under 25's. It was pointed out that Lewis Hamilton is 24!

 

Not relevent to spelling thread, but I suppose spelling depends on your profession, what your job entails and like Peggy's assistant how competent people are in other areas.

I might need to do GSCE maths in order to tutor adults in childcare introductory classes. I wish I knew why.

 

Refering back to my son, his stories were fun and full of detail. Did the spelling matter?

Honestly, I dont think it did.

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quote "I might need to do GSCE maths in order to tutor adults in childcare introductory classes. I wish I knew why."

 

Hmmm............................................................................

...................No, I can't think either, Rea. xD:(:o

 

 

adding up profile scores and equating a percentage doesn't come in until at least level 3, does it?

 

 

Peggy

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I hate to say it but from what I see in my area, colleges are encouraging lots of young people into child care courses when they clearly haven't got the interest (or even worse the ability) We are getting student's on the level 3 course who can't read a picture book because their literacy skills aren't up to reading even simple texts. We have also had students who want to be literacy and numeracy support assistants who don't have basic GCSE's.

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My thoughts exactly Marion :o

It's not only spelling /reading but spoken English too

My current real pet hate is hearing a student say to a child 'Yes we was wasn't we'

As for the reading skills I agree again sad though it is for me to do so xD

Edited by Geraldine
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I personally prefer correct grammar and spelling.

 

I think it matters a lot when it comes to applying for jobs as it tells the prospective employer that you can produce work to the required standard.

 

I think the decline in the amount of reading people do has had a huge impact on the general ability to spell. If we read more books our spelling would improve.

 

I receive a huge amount of emails from teachers and the general standard is quite shocking.

 

I saw this the other day. It shows the dangers of relying on the spellchecker on your pc.

 

I have a spelling checker.

It came with my PC.

It plane lee marks four my revue

Miss steaks aye can knot see.

Eye ran this poem threw it.

Your sure real glad two no.

Its very polished in its weigh,

My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a blessing.

It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays comes posed up on my screen

Eye trussed too bee a joule.

The checker pours o'er every word

To cheque sum spelling rule.

Bee fore a veiling checkers

Hour spelling mite decline,

And if we're laks oar have a laps,

We wood bee maid too wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling

Is checked with such grate flare,

There are know faults with in my cite,

Of nun eye am a wear.

Now spelling does not phase me,

It does knot bring a tier.

My pay purrs awl due glad den

With wrapped words fare as hear.

Of witch won should be proud,

And wee mussed dew the best wee can,

Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays

Such soft wear four pea seas,

And why eye brake in two averse

Buy righting want too please.

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I have at times been accused of being a perfectionist at work becuase I have a pet peeve about spelling. To me it is about attention to detail, we often have children with the same name spelt slightly differently, staff spell the names the same because its 'easier'. If it is written and to go out to the parents then it needs to be spelt correctly, I have been known in the past to send my own children's work back to school with the teachers badly spelled corrections corrected. I would hate to find parents reading comments about their child wading through spelling mistakes its not the impression I want them to be left with about the nursery.

I know I am lucky to not find spelling particularly difficult, but then spelling was drummed into me as a child. My 18 year old is in a similar position to others who have grown up with the belief that correcting spellings would destroy confidence, she has just taken 'A' level English and struggled with every minute because of her spelling.

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