Sunday, September 26, 2010

Does spelling matter?

If u cn rad thws thpn I gess spillebg dusn't mzter.

I read an article last week about some schools in the area eliminating spelling tests. With computer programs that spell for you, does it matter if students can spell?

It matters to me, but I love words and always did well on spelling tests when I was a kid. I think those "100s" on spelling tests helped balance the "70s" I earned on math tests, which may have kept my self esteem on a somewhat even keel.

I really want to think that it matters, but I'm not sure if it makes a difference. If we can communicate, then what role does the technique have? I'm a stickler for spelling, but even when there's a mistake, I still (usually) understand the meaning. I've had a couple of papers lately that featured "texting" language in a sentence or two. I understood, and corrected them. But isn't the fact that I understood the most important aspect?

Right now, I'm having trouble justifying both sides of the argument. One side of me (the writer, teacher, English major side) is screaming out ARE YOU INSANE? DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF? OF COURSE IT MATTERS!

But the other side says laws change, language changes, spelling can change, too. Dictionaries are written/printed with ink, not stone. What do you think?

My friend, Donna Volkenannt, recently posted something on Donnasbookpub.blogspot.com about the death of the English language. Why isn't the issue ever the death of math?

Talk to you soon,

Mary

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