Raining Spelling Bea Champ May Bee Floard.

Yesterday was National Dictionary Day.
Eye only no that because of a too-minute segment on yesterday’s ABC World Gnus with Charles Gibson.
Two summarize: the Oxford University Press analyzed a couple billion words and how wee common folk spell them.
Since about half spell “vocal cord” and the other half spell “vocal chord” they decided it was OK either way.
54% said it was “free rein” and 46% said “free reign.”
It was at that point eye blurted out, “what about rain?” I blustered and sputtered, as did my best half.
AwayWithWords said it well:

But teaching, writing, editing, and proofreading are not “that simple.” Those of us who ply those trades can’t afford to be descriptivists. We need guidelines. And if we can’t find them in respected dictionaries, where shall we turn? If we’re editing Warren Buffett, for example, and he writes “vocal chords” in one of his annual reports (as he once did; I wrote him a letter about it), do we let it slide or pick up the blue pencil?

Remember “new math?” Wee are on the verge of spelling buy consensus. As a blogger who isn’t burdened with the knowledge of righting as AwayWithWords is, I really appreciate beaing able two make the point that my spelling is acceptable in the Sixty Reform School Dickshunary.

Sew their ewe have it.

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Comments

Raining Spelling Bea Champ May Bee Floard. — 16 Comments

  1. Argh! Spelling is a pet peeve of mine, for sure! That was a tough read. My Hubby and I were just discussing this issue today, as we drove through Sonic. They had a sign in the window that said, “Buy any Brakfast Burito and get a Rout 44 OZ drink for 99 cents.” It made my blood run cold! 🙂

  2. It’s sad. OTOH, one of the best signs I have seen was from an Arts Festival… No Parking – You Will Be Toad.

  3. O.K., here is a great sign that was posted outside of a Portland, Oregon auto repair shop:

    “Artificial Intellgence is no match for natural stupidity.”

    Hum . . . . .

  4. An elderly rebbel! But if spelling is to change so ALL our kids can lern litracy, sumones got to rebel!

  5. It has tu bee old rebbels hoo rebell to make boath reading and riting for kids easier. The kids hav tu put up with it. Teacher and parents ar too bizzy tu stop and think about it, let alone doo ennything.
    Having tu memmorise umpteen spellings for wun sound (peep, people, peat, peter) is such a waste of life! But spellings which make lerning tu read hard ar even worse: do – go, are – dare, have – save.
    Dropping totally useless letters would be a good start: ar, hav, frend, bild, anser. ‘Atte, inne, olde, shoppe, worlde’ wer all tidied up in the 17th century. Let’s complete the job!

  6. @Allan, your message was full of typos
    @Marsha, your message was full of typos.

    Shape up people!

  7. The comments of spelling rebels (Allan and Masha) are not full of typos.

    What you are calling typos are intentional respellings prompted by the desire to use high frequency spelling patterns. *to *do may have made sense in an ancient dialect but today we pronounce the words tu do or too doo.
    /tü dü/ according to the dictionary.

    I think Allan keeps the spelling “to do” as high frequency word-signs and lives with the conflict with “so go”.

    Allan and Masha (and Noah Webster) believe that when the language changes, the spelling should also change.

    They also believe that silent letters should be dropped (dropt?). “have” contains a superfluous e that suggests that the word should be pronounced as in “behave”.

  8. The problem with simplified spelling and the use of a non-standard “house styles” such as the one used for over 30 years at the Chicago Tribune and the one used by Allan is

    1. They will be seen by some to be typos and misspellings

    2. They might slow down the reading speed for those of us who have memorized the spelling of 4000 or more words as a semagrams (meaning signs).

    I don’t have a problem with the invented spellings in
    “Raining Spelling Bea Champ Mae Bee Floard” or “*By *enny *Brekfast *Burito and get a *Rout 44 OZ drink.”

    Most words can be spelled 4 ways and still be understood from the context. Strangely enough, 28% of our 6th graders cannot invent plausible spellings for unfamiliar words. This is a problem.

  9. Hi Steve, thanks for commenting. I was being sarcastic when I said their comments were full of typos. I’m a smart ass.
    Re: your second post. I certainly don’t care if spelling changes as long as it isn’t done by popular consensus. I mentioned in my post at AwayWithWords that the lexicographers and linquists make the changes over time as old words fall away and news ones take their place.

    Thanks for the information on semagrams, I didn’t know that.

    Come again anytime, you have elevated the intelligence of my blog thrice fold. 🙂

  10. Let’s stick to traditional (analytic) phonics.

    To make it work better, spelling reform is needed.

    If we spell “grait” insted of “great”, long A will be easier.

    If we spell “receet” insted of “receipt”, long E will be easier.

    If we spell “hight” insted of “height”, long I will be easier.

    If we spell “steddy” insted of “steady”, short E will be easier.

    Easier phonics can mean easier lerning of spelling.

    Sorry for interrupting.

  11. We talk about it, rite about it, lobby about it, and arouse awareness of the problems that our spelling causes, until those powers that be accept the need for change, and get an international confrence of workers in the feeld of litracy to plan its form and implementation.