Spellings – a victim of the modern day convenience!

The British have been trying to make their own life easier (after-all English is said to have been made by the Devil). They have discovered, after all these centuries, that the rules behind the English language are far too complicated, and don’t really serve any purpose. It seems that the only place where the British will read about “i before e except after c” is in their history books. In the 21st century, with the advent of the information age, it is felt that some of these rules are irrelevant; a learner’s time would be better spent trying to master the requirements of the information age.

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We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.
~Oscar Wilde

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Some Indian education boards too have determined that spelling (in Queen’s English) are not very important – and have decided to be more considerate towards its alternative counterparts. The relaxation has been justified on the grounds that the world is becoming a smaller place and the way we teach the language in the modern day should recognise global influences and differences (Viva Americana Spellings!). Indian schools will now accept American (and we know the Americans are very flexible when it comes to spellings) spellings, spellings that don’t change the meaning of the word and spellings that are phonetically correct (of course, different boards may have different criteria – thus adding to the confusion).

Medically too, there is a growing body of research to suggest that remembering spellings and its rules are a problem for people with learning disorders. The de-emphasis on spellings will certainly be welcomed by these people as it will make their life easier.

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It’s a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.
~Andrew Jackson

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In my case too, this is good news as I cannot spell to save my life (when it comes to spellings, I like to think I have ADHD and my doctor is just not on the ball). All my life I have been aware of this deficiency and have tried to compensate by keeping a dictionary close to me. The computer has come as a boon that automatically corrects all my spelling disasters like a magic wand.

However, with the growing de-emphasis of spellings and the growing use of the short text style of writing, I wonder what written texts will look like in 20 years. I recently had a comment on one of my blogs written in short text style, for which I literally required a decoding key (There was not one word that was spelt correctly and I don’t recall seeing a vowel). What a nightmare!!

Rewrite of the last paragraph in short text style:

Hwvr, wth d grwng d-mphss f spllngs n d grwng use f d shrt txt styl f wrtng, I 1ndr wat wrttn txts wll luk lik n 20 yrs. I rcntly hd a cmmnt n 1 f my blgs dat ws wrttn n shrt txt styl, fr wich I ltrlly rqrd a dcding ky (Thr wsnt 1 wrd tht ws splt crrctly d I dn’t recol c`ing a wow`l). Wat a nitemare!!

1 Comment

  1. I think, every language has a core and written words carry a lot of sanctity. The way a person writes, says a lot about him/her.
    Personally, I do not appreciate short-hand, especially when the person does not know exactly which alphabet to remove (most people do end up removing vowels as mentioned!!!). It also lacks universality since only that person can interpret it best. I think, outside first language, if one is striving to learn another language, then the grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, semantics etc should be given due attention and respect, because that is the essence of the language.
    As such C cannot replace see, Q cannot replace queue and B cannot replace be, not matter what. I am not big on languages and their origins, but I am sure each word has its evolution history. Though its important that correct spelling should be emphasized on for the sake of the language, exceptions can be made for people with learning disorders and tools like Microsoft word can aid them. But I disagree that the whole concept of right spellings should be eliminated as it will retard the effort to learn the language in its full spirit right at the onset.

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