Friday, August 08, 2008

Bad spelling 'should be accepted'

Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 14:05 UK

Bad spelling 'should be accepted'

exam room
The professor says he corrects the same mistakes year after year

Common spelling mistakes should be accepted into everyday use, not corrected, a professor has said.

Ken Smith says the most common spelling mistakes should simply be accepted as "variant spellings".

He lists the 10 most commonly misspelt words, which include "arguement" for "argument" and "twelth" for "twelfth".

The professor says his proposal, outlined in an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement, follows years of correcting the same mistakes.

Why can't 'truely' be accepted as a variant spelling of 'truly'?
Ken Smith

Mr Smith, a criminology lecturer at Bucks New University in High Wycombe, listed the 10 words most commonly spelled wrongly by his students.

He said: "Instead of complaining about the state of the education system as we correct the same mistakes year after year, I've got a better idea.

"University teachers should simply accept as variant spellings those words our students most commonly misspell.

"Mediaeval" and "Medieval" - both correct, but many people consider the latter to be the dumbed-down American spelling.
Mahatma, Stirling
"The spelling of the word 'judgement', for example, is now widely accepted as a variant of 'judgment', so why can't 'truely' be accepted as a variant spelling of 'truly'?"

Mr Smith also suggested adding the word "misspelt" to the list and all those that break the "i before e" rule - weird, seize, neighbour and foreign.

The professor said he was not asking people to learn to spell words differently.

"All I am suggesting is that we might well put 20 or so of the most commonly misspelt words in the English language on the same footing as those other words that have a widely accepted variant spelling," he added.

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