June 2, 2004

And you thought Nader was a lost cause?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at June 2, 2004 6:58 PM

A handful of kooks and/or visionaries are picketing the National Spelling Bee in advocacy of English orthography reform:

Spelling bee protesters: "Enuf is enuf!"
Seven members of the American Literacy Society picketed the 77th annual spelling bee, which is sponsored every year by Cincinnati-based Scripps Howard.

The protesters' complaint: English spelling is illogical. And the national spelling bee only reinforces the crazy spellings that lead to dyslexia, high illiteracy, and harder lives for immigrants.

One could ask just how much of an impediment illogical spelling really is to literacy, when a country like Japan, whose writing is almost completely decoupled from phonetics, is able to achieve 99+% literacy rates. Or one could ask how they could hope to get this adopted in the US, when we won't even get on board with the metric system. For that matter, one might wonder whether creating yet more variation in spelling throughout the English-speaking world is a great idea, seeing as different countries already insist on their own favo[u]rite orthography. But one need not wonder why they choose to picket at the National Spelling Bee rather than some more authoritative entity (Merriam-Webster, say): They do it because the journalists are really bored and will cover it.


I'll be the first to admit that English isn't the easiest language in the world to learn, but OMG, wouldn't it be a lot easier to get one person to be a better speller than to change the whole freakin' system?!

Spelling ability in this country is already at its lowest level since the days of the Gutenberg Bible and now people want to pick the easiest ways to spell (what should be) the easiest words?

It's already embarrassing that we refuse to adopt the metric system in this country because we'd (apparently) rather keep Pee-Chees at our sides so we can properly convert bushels, pecks and avoirdupois instead of a system based on 10.

Now there's a whole group of people who act like synonyms should be locked up forever like the enemy combatants at Guantanamo.

C'mon, people. Turn the spell checkers off and use your brain for something other than internet chatrooms, please.

I'll start you off with a bit of advice. When you want to turn a singular noun into a plural noun, just add "s" or "es". Do not, I repeat, do not add an apostrophe "s". Those should only be used as contractions or to show possession.

If I had a dollar for every time I see that mistake, I'd be able to fund my own presidential campaign.

I thought I'd heard it all when parents out here in Washington complained about how hard the tests were.

Spelling isn't difficult. It just takes a little bit of work.

Posted by: Michael Busick | June 4, 2004 1:08 PM

Correct use of the apostrophe is more properly the domain of grammar, rather than spelling, but since you bring it up, here's a handy usage guide.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | June 4, 2004 1:58 PM
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