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Karina Galperin: Why don’t we write words the way we pronounce them? 
Posted: 20 March 2017 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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lionello - 19 March 2017 01:47 PM

Why should everybody be compelled to spell exactly alike?  The fact is, that lots of people spell words differently, and I’m not sure that makes what they write all that more difficult to read. I can spot a spelling “deviation” from a long way off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s meant.

You’re not compelled to use standardised spellings, as virtually any page of the internet open for comments will demonstrate. But if you take that attitude towards spelling, you should be aware that many people will be irritated by it, and many will consider what you say not worthy of notice, even if the content makes perfect sense. There is no intrinsic reason why you shouldn’t go out on the street wearing pyjamas and dressing gown, but most people don’t, for similar reasons.

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Posted: 20 March 2017 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Why should everybody be compelled to spell exactly alike?  The fact is, that lots of people spell words differently, and I’m not sure that makes what they write all that more difficult to read. I can spot a spelling “deviation” from a long way off, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s meant.

What kurwamac said.

The flouting of spelling conventions is a disservice to the reader and damaging to your message. Not only does it take the reader longer to recognize what the word is—even if it’s only a few milliseconds—but once noticed, the reader is no longer thinking about what you are saying but is engaged in meta-analysis of how you are saying it. The reader is thinking things like, “this idiot can’t spell, why should I take them seriously” or “ooh, is that spelled correctly?”

The occasional typo happens—we all make them. And different forms of written communication require more or less strict adherence to convention. The immediacy of a text message, for instance, may trump spelling conventions in that medium. Or in some cases, a particular medium may have alternative conventions—again text messages come to mind—but these are still conventions. But the deliberate flouting of convention is generally a bad thing.

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Posted: 20 March 2017 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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The other thing is that while 98.3% of the time misspellings do not lead to genuine ambiguity or misunderstanding, that 1.7% can be a real pain. In a long document, context can solve most of these problems, but in a short text message or an email consisting of one sentence, perhaps with simplified grammar, context will often not save you.
“hole theory at odds with causality”? No it isn’t, ask Dirac. Oh… whole theory is at odds with causality.
“better to compile than submit”. Surely the students will need to do both. Oh ... better to compile THEN submit.
“record all changes, except tracked changes, and save” You get the picture.

Other times it is clear that a spelling mistake has been made but the reader can’t be sure what that mistake is.  I’ve encountered text with such poor spelling that the author’s intention is unclear. “not her too cach grandees”, “wha to girl when the get drunk”. It’s like your immune system: it can handle a few bacteria now and then but too many at once will cause systemic collapse.

But I admit that most of the time the worst that will happen is someone will give a bad impression.
moran.jpg

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