R Inglish speling & punctuation 2 hard 4 kidz?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at 9:47 PM
A couple of months ago I read in a Times article that the president of the Spelling Society wants to dump the apostrophe. Apparently he also suggested pupils should be allowed to spell words phonetically. Mmm great idea.
Those of us of a certain age will remember the muddle that pesky duo Janet and John got us into.Yet John Wells, who is also Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London, thinks that the ‘burden’ of peculiar English spellings is ‘holding back children’. He claims text message spelling is “the way forward for English”. And he’s not alone.
According to a report in The Times a few months ago some educationalists think teaching spelling is elitist and discriminatory. Oh for goodness sake. Sometimes we just go too far with the old PC lark.
As the Times article’s author Mick Hume points out, isn’t this a bit patronising? It implies children aren’t capable of learning how to spell and use English correctly. Not a very encouraging or positive message to send out to them.
Mick Hume goes on to say: ‘if we want to understand one another we need universal rules for what different words mean, and this is often made clear through their spelling.’
Punctuation helps your reader make sense of what you’ve written. If they understand your message then half your job is done. It’s the apostrophe that seems to cause people more problems then any other punctuation mark. Trust me: it’s really not that difficult. Click here for some tips on how to use it.
Don’t forget my old favourite – that Royal Mail customer survey. It looks like our customers aren’t ‘held back ‘by the ‘burden’ of the English language.
According to the survey results, bad spelling and grammar could be costing UK businesses up to £41 billion in lost sales. Apparently more than 70% of customers wouldn’t trust businesses with poor communication skills.
So there you have it Mr John Wells, your ‘progressive’ ideas could have costly results.