Oh my God, this made my hair stand on end. I cannot begin to describe how incredibly appalled I am by this concept. In fact, I meant to post about this earlier in the summer and for some reason it fell off my radar within the WordPress Dashboard until the other day.
The Simplified Spelling Society has been campaigning for a century to make the spelling of the English language easier and recently picketed a spelling bee in the U.S. to make their point.
Masha Bell, a member of the society and author of Understanding English Spelling, believes that reform of the spelling of the English language could help children learn to read and make life easier for some adults too.
Learn – lern
Slow – slo
Beautiful – butiful
Prof Vivian Cook, a linguist, expert in second language learning and author of Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary, believes changing spellings would be unnecessary, expensive and could harm children’s ability to read.
So yeah the remainder of the post is the debate between the two women. Go read it. It’s shocking.
I am so astonished, dismayed, and horrified by this idea that it renders me all but speechless.
Now I am a college instructor. Anybody who’s been around my blog for a while will have heard me mention it from time to time, grousing about the horrific spelling and grammar of many of my students. It is stated clearly in my syllabus that there will be half a point counted off for every error in every submitted assignment, which doesn’t alarm my students until I start actually counting off and they realize how many errors they make. I had one excellent post on discussion board last week (worth 5 total points) that was worthy of the full point value. It was excellently argued and supported. He got a 3.5 because he didn’t know how to use a comma.
It’s bad enough to have to deal with students who try to use texting or instant messaging abbreviations in class assignments (yes, this does happen). But reading (or rereading actually) this post just makes me want to weep. I cannot possibly describe how ignorant these people look. Butiful indeed. Bah. They look stupid and uneducated. What they propose is essentially to grant permission for people to be lazy and not bother to learn how to do something properly. I feel the same way about these people who want to allow Ebonics in school. For the love of Pete! Anybody can learn proper English! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of phonics. My spelling was hellacious up until about high school because, yes, English is not generally a phonetic language. But you know how I finally learned to spell? I read. All of those years of spelling words in school meant absolutely nothing because without reading them and using them on any regular basis, they didn’t stick.
The Simplified Spelling Society’s time would be better spent devising ways in which to encourage reading. It’s the only really good way to teach spelling and grammar–frequent exposure to the written language. Make people love to read again, such that they take time out of their hurry up lives of texting, instant messaging, and constant TV watching and internet browsing and actually, I don’t know, use their brain.
I will, no doubt, offend someone or other with this post. Please no hateful comments. I am entitled to my opinion just as the SSS is to theirs.