28 June 2008

Thoughts on Spelling and Standardisation.

I'm watching a Drive Thru History video on Noah Webster. I've always found it readily apparent that when Americans way back when discussed things like Politicks and Historie, they could spell it any which way they wanted and no-one thought the worse of them. Today, however, thanks to the standardization of spelling, you can't write things however you want and expect People to think that you are well-educated.

Actually, it bothers me. It has for some time. Catherine asked me a while back why I sometimes write words like "labour, colour" and other words with obviously English spelling. Yet I don't write "gaol," nor yet "programme and centre" as the spelling of choice with these words. Part of the time it's because I like the English spelling of some words better than others. Part of the time it's because I like the American spelling of some words better than others. Part of the time it's because I've thought a fair bit on this issue and think that life oughtn't be dictated by the AP Stylebook or the MLA methods of documentation or what-have-you. And who died and made these folks God? Yes, I had a reasonably high GPA at an expensive liberal arts college, yet I deliberately "misspell" words.

I don't find myself to be a conspiracy theorist, but I do wonder why we all of us seem to be colluding together on the spelling issue. Were I an employer reviewing a business application with very poor spelling, I'm sure it would colour my judgement. Isn't that wrong of me? And yet, it could be a real spelling Maverrick who has carefully crafted his resume to reflect that he would be a Value-able member of our creative business community.

Do you home-schoolers, home schoolers or homeschoolers teach your children spelling? I do. Elf commonly writes things like "dozz" for "does" in his free writing, and yet Emperor usually instinctively correctly spells words like "trachea." Elf is a creative and innovative writer when he wishes, and I wouldn't want his spelling to hold others back from taking him seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating post!

    I have long--when not writing for something that needs to be "proper"--written "eachother" and refused to write "cannot".

    However, I would like to give a different perspective on the idea that "you can't write things however you want and expect People to think that you are well-educated." The internet is full of educated people who now use web short-hand. Perhaps it is the IM/gaming/texting generation, but ppl r hppy 2 type like this, kwim?

    Can anyone say, "lolcats"? Many of those jokes require a solid education to understand.

    Just some rambling thoughts.

    ~Luke

    ReplyDelete

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)