Spelling and Why We Must

Today’s workshop is a little different. It revolves around spelling, how important it is for some to be able to spell or whether, with all of our available tools, is it a relatively useless skill.

I admit it, I am not very skilled when it comes to spelling. I’m not terrible, but I doubt I’d ever win a spelling bee. And so I think, is spelling as valuable as it once was?

There a several things that come into the argument. First off, I think shorthand has really made spelling an after thought of any writing. Working as a secretary (or just writing) I know when I’m trying to get ideas on paper the last thing on my mind is spelling. I need to know what the words say and that’s it. Then generally I move to a computer where there are multiple autocorrect tools available.

Which brings me to the second contribution of the great spelling debate, autocorrect tools. Our society is spoiled beyond spoiled with autocorrection. When even our phones and other small devices correct our spelling for us, you know the last thing on our mind is how well we spell.

The last contributor I will list (though I’m sure there are others) is the evolution of language. There are certain periods of time when languages alter rapidly. I’m talking whenever a country has invaded another country, any large migrations, or any big changes in tools or knowledge. We have been sitting in a time where technology is flying and constantly changing not only the words we use, but how we communicate. For example, with our increasing use of texting we use other words, many shorthand terms are standard and everyone understands what we are saying. Now, whenever there are rapid changes in a language, I would believe that spelling becomes a bit more challenging. Whether its new words, or changes to a word, it makes adopting the changes slightly confusing and may lead to misspelling.

Example: the English language derives from many, many languages and with that comes the habits of those languages. So when we have an “ooo” sound inspired by or borrowed from an African word, we use two o’s like voodoo. But when that same sound is inspired by or borrowed from Latin based or Romantic languages we get the “ue,” silent e, combination like rune.

Now this is just a snippet of the complexity, (and my example is not perfect, there is still the dividing consonant in rune that changes the game a bit) but you get the point. The evolution of language, deriving from several backgrounds makes it a difficult task to determine if it is a “oo,” a “ue,” an “f,” or a “ph.”

Spelling is difficult, and why train yourself to become skilled in an art that is difficult when there seems to be no real value to it anymore because autocorrect will save you?

I will tell you why, because of all those people who spell later with an 8, or your and you’re just your. That is all the argument I need to remind me that spelling is important. Because every time I see “your coming to dinner” I die a little. And autocorrect may not save you because you’ve spelled a word correctly, not the right word, but a word.

Some grammar programs help catch those mistakes, but I mostly see them correct fragments, and double words (you know what I’m talking about-of of).

So although we have great tools to help us, and although it can be confusing or we could all just use shorthand, there is still an importance in learning how to spell.

There are tricks though. Some of my favorites are:

Desert vs. Dessert, spell dessert with two “s’s” because you always want more dessert.

Loose vs. Lose, loose has 2 “o’s” and takes up space, Lose 1 “o” and it gets lost.

Do you have any spelling tricks, and what are they?


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