The Patch

July 10, 2007

Tuesday 10th July 2007.

Filed under: Miscellany — Claire @ 7:40 pm

If I happened to spell benefit ‘bennefit’, or people ‘peeple’, would you cringe? Would you bemoan my horrible grasp of the English language? Or would you maybe agree with the Simplified Spelling Society, who have spent the past century campaigning for these alternative spellings to be adopted as the correct ones?

As an English student, I fall into the former catagory. I wince when I read an incorrect spelling, I find typos amusing but also horribly sad and I strongly disagree with changing a language which functions perfectly well as it is.

Our friends at the Simplified Spelling Society, however, believe that our language is complicated and hard for children to learn, with things not always being spelt how they sound and impairing literacy. They argue that changing spellings of certain words would aid children in grasping spelling and improve literacy overall.

Do I agree with this? What do you think? If I had to learn to spell the old fashioned way without any tweaking of the English language to help me, why shouldn’t the next generation? Millions upon millions of people have managed to pick up the current way of spelling words, and sure, it’s a challenge, but that’s a good thing. You’re learning a skill, it’s not meant to be plain sailing.

Imagine the cost of reprinting various books in Simple Spelt English? The unnecessariness of it all! Textbooks in schools would have to be replaced as they became ‘wrong’, us experienced English spellers who have spent all our lives learning the ways of our tongue will suddenly become ‘bad spellers’!

Masha Bell, a member of the society, believes that “Spelling is just a bunch of memorization”. Which is true, but would that be any different if we were to adopt simple spelling that sounded like the words we were saying? Because not everyone says words the same. There would still be some people who pronounced words differently (and therefore believed them to be spelt differently).

And by trying to change the way words are spelt, you’re getting rid of the history of the language. Most people, ie. non-English degree level students, might not really care where words come from, but I do. I find it interesting to know why words are spelt the way they are…and to have one uniform reason which has no history behind it just bores me. It would make the language itself boring.

Yes, if anything can aid children in learning better, it should be considered. But in this case, it shouldn’t be considered because it probably wouldn’t make much difference. Making spellings simpler would not really benefit enough people for anyone to bother exacting the change.

Wot a pyle ov nonsens.


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