Opinion: Spelling

POSTED: 05/28/12 2:26 PM

Everybody makes mistakes and we here at the Today newspaper are no exception. We’re not asking for forgiveness for every spelling error that slips into the daily columns of Today: we simply make honest efforts to keep them to a minimum.
In this context it struck us as funny (maybe remarkable is a better word) that the brief speech Parliament President Gracita Arrindell delivers to the participants in yesterday’s spelling bee competition contained at least three spelling mistakes.
Ah, maybe we’re overdoing this and the text that was emailed to us consisted of mere speech notes. Still we read stuff like “The Voicee of the Children Foundation is doing oir country a great service. u are making it possible ….”
Okay, so what have we got here? First it is the Voice of Our Children Foundation. Secondly it is our country. And thirdly it is You are making it possible ….
Grammatically it was also not one hundred percent. We read, for instance: “the country of Egypt went to the polls to vote; to elect their representatives.”
We doubt that the country went to the polls: the citizens eligible to vote went to the polls. And did the country then go to elect their representatives? If the country went at all (which we sincerely doubt) it went to elect its representatives. That’s because the word country is a singular form, not a plural one.
All this to show that spelling is easy to some, and a field filled with landmines for others. With the president of parliament we make our share of mistakes and we’re not proud of them. But at a newspaper that produces thousands of words every day we know that these mistakes are all part of our reality.
Is spelling that important? We think it is, and we are sure Gracita Arrindell is with us on this one. And spelling is under heavy pressure in these days of text messages, tweets and what have you. Twitter has taken text messaging to the next level by limiting the number of characters to – if we’re not mistaken – 140 per tweet. That forces users to be creative with their language; that is how the world got used to stuff like Food4Less, c u l8ter and similar shortcuts.
Is that bad? Not necessarily. But it is different from the way we used to communicate, different from what has always been considered correct spelling by pointy headed editors. As long as we understand each other spelling variations should not be a problem.
However, to this day traditional spelling is the way to go for those who want to find a regular job somewhere sometime in the near future. And there are plenty of students around who want just that. For them the spelling bee is an excellent challenge and we sure wish that the competition will become a tradition.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Spelling by

Comments are closed.