Where do the prescript/descript wings stand on spelling?
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I haven't posted since a "descriptivist" told me off mighetily (sic) when, in discussion, I mentioned that I hate the usage of "very unique". I slunk away, nose out of joint.
Where then is the divide on "correct" spelling? Thus, I imagine you all understood what I meant by my "mighetily". I use a word check when I am unsure, but why bother. I do not mean typos or, USA/UK spellings or mistakes which make a word unrecognisable, but rather when I use, say, an I rather than an E in an ending or ...able rather than ...ible.
Call me a fuddy-duddy/a running dog of.../an old fart but I still prefer "correct" spelling.
Thanks youz all, Guido.
Edited to correct grammar/spelling.
The person doing the survey would make a statement and then ask me to say if it was "very wrong, wrong, correct or very correct."
I pointed out to her that it was impossible to be more correct than correct and that very correct was not an option.
Eventually she got really annoyed with me and hung up after telling me that she hadn't designed the survey and that she was only doing what she had been asked to do. I referred her back to the people who authorised the survey in the hope that they would perhaps think twice before organising another such silly questionaire. But I'm not holding my breath ...
pinkozcat - I laughed out loud at your response! Good for you!
In my O'Pinny-on the perpetators of inadequate keyboards needing multiple clicks should be prosecuted for crimes against pedantry. It's not even possible to detect whether users are txting misspellings, so we can tut-tut at their ignorance!
I'm very much in favor of regularily updating the spelling conventions. Even though many of my fellow Germans don't agree, I love the new rules.
Some spellings slow me down more than others. Moderately phonetic things like "nite" bother me less, perhaps in part because as a teacher for many years I got used to some of them. Misuse of words bothers me more than it probably should, and dastardly attacks on grammar are even worse, I agree. All of these interfere not only with reading generally, but can kick me right out of a story I'm reading.
It's all about convention. The US and the UK developed separate conventions. Cell phone users and publishing houses developed separate conventions. No one's wright or wrong, but no one's going to move up the ranks at the Times writing txtspeak or 1337speak any more than they would writing like Robert Burns. Some conventions simply don't translate well.
#4 : Re txtspeak on exams: reputable citations with the relevant numbers or it didn't happen.
Also, there are a number of txt lexical items based on common T9 mistakes, so it is in fact possible to deduce the right word. It's a bit like doing anagrams, really.
It's going to be a long slog uphill, since many young teachers failed to learn much themselves. I knew an elementary vice principal who was notoriously bad at spelling, but didn't "have the time" to correct her own writing when communicating with the staff, on the grounds that we all knew what she meant, afterall. She was using an email program that had a built-in spellchecker, but for some reason I cannot imagine, never bothered to use it.
So how can we expect more from our students, when they have such poor role models?
Edited, since I hate to leave mistakes. (I forgot to "shut off" the italics!)
Please expand your ideas. And by the way, what is 1337speak and what are T9 mistakes?
And why would you/descpitionists want to know about my separation of US/the rest of the world in terms of the spelling of words. I imagine that the "colour/color" etc. thing, is as you said, just a convention that I mainly ignore, or even happily glide over.
Edited to get the spacing right.
T9: the software and keypad layout for mobiles without mini keyboards or touch screens. A few of the non-phonetic spelling mistakes this enables have been adopted into some text message varieties.
The reason a descriptivist would want to know about cross-national spelling differences is that, quite simply, they demonstrate how spelling conventions are formed. (And in the US/UK case, how recent the idea of spelling standards even is.) The differences between generational or medium-influenced spelling conventions form in much the same way. It's just that the spelling conventions about which all this outcry exists are the ones with less social standing and/or the ones perceived as having an association with social or intellectual faults (such as being lazy, illiterate, etc).
If you mean that learning a second language after the natural childhood learning phase is difficult, then as a person who learned the language of his country of residence as an adult, I can only agree.
Misspellings and typos in general do the same thing for me - I can't not see them, though some (many) books are good enough that I'll glide over them and get back to the story. I think the trick where you only have to have the right letters for the first and last letters of the words - this stuff - is neat, but I'd really rather have the word spelled right...
To me, the biggest difference between descriptivists and prescriptivists is not whether they believe in correctness or not, it's how things are determined to be correct. If you use an analysis of language--as used currently and through history--to demonstrate why something is correct, then you're a descriptivist. If you state baldly that something is wrong, without any backing evidence, then you're a prescriptivist.
A key point is that descriptivists are willing to accept change in a language, even when it "feels wrong" or "is stupid". What matters is whether the change is prevalent, not whether it's good or bad. Thus, if some txtspk words gets used consistently enough and start to be easily recognized by the population at large, well, then they've become part of the language.
Spelling - I'm convinced that people have or do not have an aptitude for spelling, and while I understand some words being misspelled, I'm old enough to remember when we had to memorize spelling words and multiplication tables.
But I'll accept "understandable(sp?)" mistakes, especially from international folks.
As for grammar, I grew up with the cadences of King James English, and learned the "sound" of good English, so I never learned the rules as well as I should. Though I do remember being taught "Never end a sentence with a preposition."
Favorite story -
During WWII, Winston Churchill had a number of secretaries to keep up with his speeches, etc. One sentence ended with a preposition.
The newest secretary took it upon herself to rewrite the sentence. The result was less than stellar.
The next day, the bulletin board had the "corrected" speech, with a note from Churchill.
"This is the sort of didactic nonsense up with which I will not put."
Spelling mistakes that don't matter in an email will indicate sloppiness when they appear on a resume. Grammar mistakes that don't matter in a facebook status update will imply a lack of education in a business letter. Conversely, in a formal invitation it might be most natural to say "...the people with whom I have spoken...." while it might seem weird and unnatural in an email (where it would be more expected to say "....the people I spoke to....").
Hell, some people deliberately misspell things online in order to seem "cool", and pedophiles will deliberately use bad grammar to convince the children they chat with that they are children themselves.
Ultimately, "correct" vs "incorrect" and "acceptable" vs "unacceptable" don't matter. What matters is this: What does my usage convey about me, in this context, to the person I'm communicating with? Will the person I'm talking to think I sound uneducated? Will he think I sound "cool"? Will he think I sound stuffy?
It varies. It depends on context.
Consider the story on the back cover of Eats shoots & leaves. In the story, that had been written as "Eats, shoots & leaves."
(I don't know if it's too long to quote.)
More importantly, there have been cases of prescriptions with very similar spellings being confused by an inexperienced pharmacy technician, causing serious medical complications.
My cousins lie about the family tree. I don't approve of annoying cousins.
But an overwhelming majority of the time, people can figure out from context what a sentence means, even with ambiguity-introducing or meaning-changing errors.
"Hell, some people deliberately misspell things online in order to seem "cool", and pedophiles will deliberately use bad grammar to convince the children they chat with that they are children themselves."
What I don't understand is this constant American fixation on foot-fetishists.
With that in mind, a potential word or construct can be analyzed by asking the question, "will this detract from my message in the target context?" If not, then it can be called correct or acceptable. Sure, not everybody will get all that subtlety, but I believe most people will get the important point. Then again, maybe I'm being optimistic...