More on the Spelling Brouhaha

As noted in a previous post, various folks are after us for spelling laziness. I admit have some sympathy for their point of view. I enjoy reading more when words are spelled properly.

The new Register article on the subject notes that the Daily Telegraph claims that “text speak, reliance on spellcheckers and general bone idleness are about to consign our beloved mother lingo to orthographical oblivion.”

I work for a large computer company and see many e-mails each day. From time to time one comes through in all lower case. Others come through with numerous spelling errors—so numerous I wonder if they were the result of hurrying or if the sender simply can’t spell.

I’ll be frank. To me, every misspelling, even in quick e-mails or text messages, diminishes the sender’s credibility. If they can’t spell, what am I to think of the opinion they’re trying to sell to me? To me, reading and writing are foundation skills, and if that foundation is shaky, what rests atop it could be pretty shaky too.

Yes, I know that people are rushed and use Blackberries and never learned keyboarding skills. But I don’t think that’s an excuse. That same rushed person took the time that morning to dress appropriately for his or her job, because in business appearance says much. Well, a person’s spelling is part of his or her appearance; sloppy spelling means sloppy thinking.

Do we all misspell words from time to time? Certainly. But should a misspelled word appear on your resume? (I’ve seen many!) In your Master’s Thesis? On your website? Since, as writers, the language is our medium, let’s treat it with respect. To erode it with sloppiness erodes our ability to communicate.

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2 Responses to More on the Spelling Brouhaha

  1. Mike Herr says:

    Then there is this: i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was
    rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a
    rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr
    the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the
    frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl
    mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae
    the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as
    a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was
    ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.”

  2. dave says:

    Yes indeed. I’ve seen this floating by a few times. It would be nice to have a link to the Cambridge research paper for those who want more detail. It does seem that people read this way. I’ve heard people reading aloud who substitute words with the same beginning and ending characters. It makes me wonder how well people can really read.

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