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Re^12: Best practice or cargo cult?

by roboticus (Canon)
on Aug 03, 2007 at 10:37 UTC ( #630482=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Comment on Re^12: Best practice or cargo cult?
Re^13: Best practice or cargo cult?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Aug 03, 2007 at 15:27 UTC

    Yeah! I have a mnemonic for remembering how to spell that word and a bunch of other difficult ones. It goes like this: Don't F^%&^&%&^ bother! :)

    The only reason English persists with its ludicrous, illogical and inconsistant spelling, is because there are a bunch of fuddy duddies that believe that simplifying and regularising its spelling would somehow steal its power to captivate and move us.

    Personally, I put that right up there along side the beliefs and superstitions of some old time native cultures & religions that thought someone taking their photograph would steal their souls.

    Many other languages, including Dutch, German, Scandanavian have taken the step of regularising their spellings over the last 30 years, and the ongoing benefits to their younger generations education standards are manifest.


    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      I actually prefer to see words spelled correctly because I read fast, and when the word is wrong it stops me in my tracks.

      However, I sure wish we could fix a bunch of words and give 'em sane spellings!

      It's just like our computers: The 8008 was successful, and when Intel came out with the 8080, they wanted to keep their market share by making it "source code compatible" (if I recall correctly). Then, of course, the 8086 was another "source code compatible" upgrade. The instruction set is messy, and I really wish it had more registers. But most of the other CPUs with nicer instruction/register sets didn't get popular enough. So we're stuck with some oddball special cases in our assembler code....

      Update: I just recalled that at my son's school, they're not emphasizing spelling so much as communications. Perhaps the next generation will have a shot at improving our spelling!

        It's an oldie, but a goodie:)

        Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is that frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

        But just to bring it up to date, I found this page which sets out to debunk the theory, but part way down provides a link to this letter which suggests there is at least some basis to it.

        Notable in that letter is a statement that "This reminds me of my PhD at Nottingham University (1976), which showed that randomising letters in the middle of words had little or no effect on the ability of skilled readers to understand the text. Indeed one rapid reader noticed only four or five errors in an A4 page of muddled text."

        Which tends to suggest that people who read faster, are generally quite happy to skip over spelling errors and typos. This has always been one of my excuses as I tend to derive meaning from entire sentences at time--with the sometimes obvious effect that I derive the wrong meaning if the construction of the sentence doesn't fit the patterns I'm expecting.

        Whatever else, it made for an interesting read.


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      Many other languages, including Dutch, German, Scandanavian have taken the step of regularising their spellings over the last 30 years, and the ongoing benefits to their younger generations education standards are manifest.

      Given the unmitigated disaster that the Rechtschreibreform has been, I'm not sure citing it amongst the examples to follow is wise.


      All dogma is stupid.

        I know nothing of German, and cannot comment on the German experience.

        I did spend 3 years in Holland, and spent time attempting to learn Dutch and I became aware of Het Groene Boekje. One thing I noticed was that those over say 40, thought that the Green Book was a bad thing and in some way dimished Nederlandse. Those under, generally thought it was a good thing. And a teacher I was aquainted with was vermently in favour of it. I wonder if a similar range of emotions exist with respect to the German experience?

        For my part, I have to say that whatever the causes of my failing to make good headway--mostly pronounciation, I can read it really quite well--working out how I should be trying to pronounce something was never a factor. And, once my ear had become accustomed to Dutch sounds, and I was picking out the individual words, I could usually make a good attempt at spelling them, even if I didn't know what they meant and had never encountered them before.

        I was assured by the teacher that by age 6 or 7, most dutch children have stopped having any problems with spelling their language at all. And limited (just one guy from each country), anecdotal evidence suggested that the same was true for Danes and Swedes. Contrast that with most english language students, in any english-native country, and you'll find high proportions of university graduates, in subjects outside of English Lit. etc, that are still struggling to master writing their own language!

        For the sake of "retaining the flavour and uniquiness of that language", that's a complete nonsense.

        At this point, I could cite a raft of recent BBC news Education stories that show that both the UK and the US are falling further and further behind in the education standards of our young, compared to European countries, but you're probably not interested. And all that because a bunch of academics think that the English of Chaucer and the Bard is some how perfect. Pah!


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

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