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Honors Member, <br>Varsity Captain
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is this world coming to?

George Bernard Shaw was fond of pointing out that the word "ghoti" could just as well be pronounced "fish" if you followed common pronunciation: 'gh' as in "tough," 'o' as in "women" and 'ti' as in "nation."

This quote made me laugh. I remember a band called Ghoti Hook.
 

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I think the prof is only suggesting a limited number of variant spellings which in a sense (if English had standard spelling rules) might have been the proper spelling anyway. It would be interesting to hear if British/American variant spellings are 'corrected' in the other 'jurisdiction'.
 

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Not acceptable.

What seemed strange to me, though, was that I doubt that I've seen any of the cited misspellings. Aside from pondian differences, which I rarely see except around here, there are tons more common errors. Even at that, those aren't variants in any legitimate sense of the word, just misspellings due to inattention.

The ones I tend to see a lot are:

dependent/dependant
supersede/supercede
judgment/judgement (probably a pondian difference)
 

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I used to have a lot of trouble with separate. (I used to write audit reports and the word is used a LOT in those reports. LOL)

A supervisor's wife rescued me when she pointed out that "There is a rat in separate!"
 

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The ones I tend to see a lot are:

dependent/dependant
supersede/supercede
judgment/judgement (probably a pondian difference)
I think there is a difference between this type of spelling error and the errors produced by "phonetic" spelling and "abbreviated" spelling. The latter two I believe are primarily the result of texting and instant messaging that is almost universal now, especially with young people.

Although not technically a spelling issue, this has also led to the heavy use of acronyms. While we see some of these here (eg. lol, lmao), my 20 year old daughter can in some cases send an entire message to a friend without once using a proper word, and if she does use one it is probably spelled in some kind of abbreviated, phonetic manner.

What we are seeing is no different than what happened when we started using calculators first and then computers to do our math. For example, when I worked at a grocery store in 1965 I didn't have a computerized cash register telling me how much change to give, I had to calculate it in my head; and quickly if we were busy. And accurately if I wanted to keep my job. Now try changing the amount you give a teen age clerk AFTER he/she has put a different amount into the register and watch how most of them struggle to calculate your change in their heads.

Spelling is just the latest such change that advancements in technology has brought us.

Cruiser
 

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I used to have a lot of trouble with separate. (I used to write audit reports and the word is used a LOT in those reports. LOL)

A supervisor's wife rescued me when she pointed out that "There is a rat in separate!"
Funny, I always wanted to spell that one "seperate."

Real-time spell checking in word processors has mostly cured me of any spelling problems, though. It's tough to keep misspelling words when it's instantly pointed out to you.
 

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When I wrote audit reports, they had to be written by hand. (1979-1984).

Word processors would help, although one of my prime advantages back then was I had good spelling and grammar. I'm also good at calculating numbers in my head. Computers are taking away all my advantages, but then, I would hate to keep track of my 20 land development entities by hand (LOL)
 

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The first bit in the story doesn't make much since (sorry) to me.

The professor is fed up with students' inability to spell, so he wants to do away with spelling requirements? (Presto, Chango! Now, you're all good spellers!) I suppose he is primarily irritated by the increased workload that stems from having to deal with misspelled words, not the fact that the kids are ignorant?
 

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This reminds me of the fuss over "Ebonics" where, again, an academic was simply going to stop correcting misspellings and accept them as legitimate. Of course, since it involved race, it went into the usual unproductive, predictable political spinfest.

People who don't bother to learn to spell are like people who buy lottery tickets. They self-select themselves for failure. Encouraging either slipshod language skills or gambling seems immoral to me. (but then again, although I voted against a lottery in Georgia it went through so apparently I'm in the minority)

My pet peeve is "you're" and "your".
 

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At the risk of sounding like an old fart, it's indicative of a pandemic dumbing down of a society already on the decline. I blame reality TV (hell, TV in general), burned out teachers, parents who don't care/know any better, "participation" trophies, affirmative action, inefficient immigration policies, welfare, and G.W. Bush.

I remember years ago reading a story that my nephew had turned in as an elementary school creative writing assignment. It was full of spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors, none of which had been noted by the teacher. I asked my sister-in-law why, and she said that they didn't want to inhibit his imagination. He graduated from a state college last year and he still can't write for shite. Maybe there isn't a connection, but maybe there is.
 

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I think the biggest problem with this suggestion is this:

Rather than grammarians getting in a huff about "argument" being spelled "arguement" or "opportunity" as "opertunity," why not accept anything that's phonetically (fonetickly anyone?) correct as long as it can be understood?
If we were to allow these new suggested spellings, we're just going to get used to it and shortly will be in the same position, where we're allowing more words to be spelled incorrectly, where we'll get used to it again. Just one big downward spiral. Before long, once we've been subjected to them enough, these new spellings will be easily read and we'll be writing things like "I wuz dryveeng to fast and I got a speeding tikit." It would just be a temporary solution.

Reminds me of something in Freakonomics. I don't remember what he was trying to show, but the author used data to show that traffic accidents at intersections with stoplights show a larger decrease when the yellow light is longer than when traffic cameras are installed. This makes sense, because people then have more time to get through the intersection on yellow. But this is all based on the yellow light being X seconds long. If we change the yellow light from 5 seconds to 7 seconds, drivers are going to get used to 7 seconds and will still be trying to get through before it turns red, just as they did when it was 5 seconds long. It's a temporary fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The first bit in the story doesn't make much since (sorry) to me.

The professor is fed up with students' inability to spell, so he wants to do away with spelling requirements? (Presto, Chango! Now, you're all good spellers!) I suppose he is primarily irritated by the increased workload that stems from having to deal with misspelled words, not the fact that the kids are ignorant?
This would make an interesting spelling bee.
 

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I see that blowing $2 to $5 a week on lottery tickets self selects me for failure. How interesting.
Did you read recently that a business school professor (maybe even at Michigan State) found out that most of the states with state lotteries continue to sell tickets for games even when the big prizes for that game have been given out? So that if the top prize in some game is $5 million, and there are three $500k prizes, they keep selling tickets to that game. Their justification is that it isn't deceptive because most of the money in prizes is awarded in the little prizes, the $25 or $500 prizes. My reaction is so what? What attracts people isn't the chance of winning $250 but the chance of winning the $5 million.
 

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Not really. You just did an excessively poor job of self-selecting yourself.
So you're saying that in reality I actually was a failure in that I failed to self-select myself to fail? I disagree. If I did indeed fail by succeeding, then I succeeded in failing at self selection to fail.

Dang it, my head hurts now. Oh well, maybe I'll win the lottery tomorrow night and it will all be better. :icon_smile_big:

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Every attempt to respell the english language or allow variants runs into the sand because it just creates new problems

The real problem was caused by the english of the late middle english/early modern english era who changed the way they spoke so that by the time words were in print the spellings were old - ie as they were spoken just before printing came in - except Scotland and Northern England where "gh" was still pronounced properly until the 18th /early 19th Century for example ( ie as a gutteral sound - like "ch" in modern german). Other changes in vowel sounds and "e" at the end of the word changed more slowly "up north" as well - modern northern english still uses older english vowel sounds , the modern late sounds being used in the south.

William Shakespeare in a personal letter bemoans the fact the people are beginning to pronounce "neighbour" as if it were spelt "nebor" - suggesting he used the older pronunciation. ( in those days ne - would have been spoken like nay today)

Our language has never recoverd from the sloppiness of the earlier era, and we are paying the price for it now - so more sloppiness will just create even more problems in the future.
 
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