Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spelling Bees Are a Communist Plot

I'm re-reading my previous post this afternoon because, well I love my own writing more than words can say, and I discover several creative spelling alternatives. I spelled chocolate as chocolote, twice. I forgot that to demonstrate requires a little demon, I spelled it demostrate. And a little Fingerfehler typed the word to as t-h-e. While I corrected the errors because there is a seventh grade English teacher I'm still terrified of, I feel no contrition. Rather, I must point out my similarity with other masters of the language.
  • I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way. ~ Mark Twain
  • My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. ~ A. A. Milne
  • Correct spelling, indeed, is one of the arts that are far more esteemed by schoolma'ams than by practical men, neck-deep in the heat and agony of the world. ~ H. L. Mencken

  • Mark Twain's Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
    For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.
    Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.
    Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spikingwerld.


Adrienne said...
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Adrienne said...

KE - thanks for this. I've seen this several times before, as different things (this is the first time I've seen it attributed to Mark Twain). I've seen it as "The German Reunification Plan to Improve English" and various other similar titles, but in Russian, etc. It's cute! :-)

I would not say that spelling bees are a communist plot, but I would say that they don't have much real educational value. Having said that, spelling correctly *is* important, as I believe it lessens one's credibility. Like I always tell my students, it's about your purpose, and your audience...