Thursday, 11 September 2008

I wudnt bovva wiv it

A language 'expert' has said we should stop worrying that 'textmessage speak' is creeping into general usage. John Wells, president of the Spelling Society, which campaigns for spelling reform, claimed that the informal language of texts, emails and chat rooms is the 'way forward'. The academic, an Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London, also called for the apostrophe to be abolished.

He said that reforms were necessary because the confusing English spelling system is placing a 'burden' on schoolchildren. He said: 'Let's stop worrying if people sometimes spell "you" as "u"; "your" and "you're" both as "ur"; and "whose" and "who's" both as "whos". Nowadays we often see "light" written as "lite" and "through" as "thru". Let's not hold up our hands in horror - people should be able to use whichever spelling they prefer.'

He added: 'Let's rationalise the use of doubled consonants. If "ballad" has double l, why should we not be allowed, if we wish, to spell "salad" with double l too? We should no longer fetishise the ability to sort out "their", "there" and "they're". There are more important things to life.'

Professor Wells also said it was time to dispel the idea that correct spelling was a mark of being educated. Instead of forcing school children to memorise irregular English spellings, he said that teachers should adopt a phonetic approach. He added: 'The teaching of literacy in schools is a major worry. It seems highly likely that one of the reasons Britain and other Englishspeaking countries have problems with literacy is because of our spelling and the burden it places on children. There are lots of other things that are neglected in class because so much time is spent on spelling.' He pointed out that in other languages, such as Italian, Spanish and Finnish, spellings are phonetic.

Professor Wells also said the apostrophe was 'a waste of time'. "Have we really nothing better to do with our lives than fret about the apostrophe?" he added.

Surely this guy isn't serious? Sadly, I think he is...

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