A university lecturer who has become so fed up with correcting his student’s spelling mistakes has called for ‘variant’ or perhaps that should be ‘vairient’ spellings to be accepted.
The good doctor argues that it is criminal to beat ourselves up over spellings so we may as well just get on with it.
He suggests a list of 20 or so of the most commonly misspelt words plus words that break the ‘i before e’ rule. (Personally I don’t think the ‘i before e’ rule is a rule because there are far too many words that don’t do it, it was just a ditty they taught you at school to get the idea into your head.)
He suggests the list would include the words:-
He explains that he is not expecting people to learn a new spelling, well obviously because they haven’t managed to learn the proper spelling in the first place, he just wants us to accept ‘variants’.
Surprisingly Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society agrees, adding that his society has long been in favour of a simplified, more phonetic, approach to spelling.
I’m afraid I have a problem with this. I know it’s not PC but it is supposed to be the top brains in the country that go to university.
Now where do we stand if these high flyers haven’t got enough nous to accept that they are not very good at spelling and therefore should use a spellchecker, reach for the dictionary, dictionery, dikshunairee, or just plain ask someone who might know how to spell a word.
In the context of students, if they can’t be bothered to find out howto spell a word correctly, then how can you be sure they have carried out their research adequately? And bearing in mind that if these students are doing the necessary reading they should be coming across the words that they regularly misspell, so why are they not picking up on how the word is spelt?
Oh hang on, silly me, that would be called “learning”.
So there you have it, instead of trying to inspire people to do better we should just decide we don’t give a flying fuck. (I bet none of his students misspell that word.)
The Pursuit of Mediocrity Part 1 is posted on the Machiavelli blog.