Sunday, June 21, 2009

Britain Drops Spelling Rule

Even if you are a horrible speller, I'm sure that you remember the rhyme "i before e except after c"....and then about 85,000 exceptions to the rule afterwards. It's the one rule that every school child learning English actually learns, remembers, and recites, even if they can never remember to follow it.

And now the British want to get rid of it.

Jack Bovill, leader of The Spelling Society, is looking to simplify the spelling of the English language, and feels that this is one way to do it. Because the rule has so many exceptions, there is just no reason to teach it and further confuse the children.

Is this a good idea? Would it help to make the spelling of the English language simpler? Do we need to take this route and people in general are dumbing down?

In some respects, I think it could be a good idea, especially as I witness the plethora of spelling errors made by my friends, former students (yikes!), and people trying to write profesionally. But would it actually help them? Or would it add to the "dumbing down" of society as people wouldn't learn the "new" rules, either?

How much of our literature from the last several years and decades would go by the wayside as the spelling would be completely different? Would reading Hemingway become as painful as trying to decipher Shakespeare and Beowulf?

Obviously English has evolved over the centuries, and perhaps this is just another step in the process.

And I am one of those people who learned spelling and grammar at such a young age, to the point where it is as much a part of me of my hair and arms. I tend to be resistant to change. But it just seems really weird to me to change the spelling rules.........

"British government spells end of "i before e' rules Yahoo!News Retrieved 6-21-09 from

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