Thursday, February 15, 2007

Yoo Kant Bee Seerius

"The Simplified Spelling Society (SSS) started in 1908 with the aim of updating English spelling. The Society publishes leaflets, newsletters, journals, books and bulletins to promote spelling reform of the English language. We also feature in the media on TV, on Radio and in Print...

...Phonetics is seen as the key to improving literacy and spelling. Learning a phonetic system is easier and allows the children of today to be more productive than we could ever be, releasing them to learn other essential skills in a fast moving world. There would be no more difficult words."

Ok. I'm as sympathetic as the next guy when it comes to what the SSS describes as "chaotic" English spelling, but this is a bit much. I heard a news story this morning (one that despite my best efforts I couldn't locate a link to) that talked about schools down south (shocker) lobbying for adoption of new spelling of words like "good" (gud) and "people" (peeple). As Joss Whedon would say "Yahbuhwhat?"

Sure, the SSS makes semi-legit claims about the difficulties of English spelling for children with dyslexia and similar conditions, but what happened to Gram-Ti telling Theo that was no reason to make excuses and that he has a responsibility to work harder than others (see: The Cosby Show)?

Am I just an unsympathetic ass? Maybe. But the argument that if we teach children to spell incorrectly now, in the hopes that once they understand the words' meanings they'll be able to spell them properly, just doesn't work for me.

Sure. English is a frighteningly complicated language with more exceptions to rules than cases where the rules actually apply. But that doesn't mean we get to go "Awww...peeple now arr too bizy for reelee lurneeng werd spelling - so let's not try to teech it anymore." And what are these other essential skills that the SSS says we're releasing young minds to learn? Ever heard of a house of cards? Or how about a skyscraper made of toothpicks, filled with rocks, and built on a swamp?

And somewhere far, far away - Anthony Burgess has rolled over in his grave.

See yoo in thu funnee payjez...

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