Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Kan eny wun spell ova heer?

I am a mother of three children all attending Mentor Schools. One thing that strikes me, when they are all doing homework, is their lack of grammar and spelling skills. (Now, before I start to rant and rave, please let me tell you I am by no means an expert at Grammar but I try, and that is what counts.) My husband and I do all we can to correct these mistakes and most of what we teach they remember.

However, what appalls me the most is when I see work they have done at school, complete with grammatical errors, checked by a teacher and not corrected. (the majority of the time, the students grade each others work – the blind leading the blind you wonder?) I have been told by teachers that the emphasis should be on the quantity of the work, not the quality.

Quantity not quality – you heard correctly.

Now, I did not go to school in the dark ages, I graduated in 1986, but one thing we were taught amongst others is that spelling matters. If an essay was a pie, spelling would be the gravy that holds the meat and vegetables together. We had daily spelling tests, and your grade was lowered (no matter what the lesson was) for bad spelling.

These days, bad spelling and poor grammatical skills are a given and the teachers I have met apparently think this is acceptable.

I think in today’s society, people are more accepting of spelling mistakes as it is such a common occurrence. These things just blend in with their everyday lives.

Here are 3 prime examples of bad spelling and how it has become acceptable. (all 3 examples were found on one road not far from where I live). Each one, worse than the previous.

Example 1 – complete and utter spelling mistake – A gas station sign


Granted it is “only” a gas station, but a mistake none-the-less.

Example 2 – An attempt at something I’m not sure what.


A prime example of American Businessmen trying, it appears, to be quaint, as in “Ye Olde English Shoppe”. However, as you can see, they missed the E and just assumed quite rightly, either nobody would notice – nor bloody care. I see this sign every day while driving by and I can’t begin to tell you how much of a headache I get. I’m not sure whether I am the only English person living in Mentor-on-the-Lake, and therefore suffering alone, but Businessmen, it’s either SHOPS (one P) or nothing at all.

Example 3 – A deliberate mistake that we have all come to accept.


This is seen so often that I’m sure if you polled 100 students as to the correct spelling of this word, 80 percent would agree this is the right way.

Could someone please explain to me how our children are to learn spelling and grammar if in their everyday lives, they are bombarded with blunders like the aforementioned.

We live in the year 2005 people, there is a marvelous invention called “spell check” which amazingly as it sounds, not only “Checks spelling”, it also gives grammar hints should you be writing something incorrectly. Before we had computers, there used to be this thing called a “Dictionary”. Imagine that, a book that teaches you how to spell!

There is no reason that this should be allowed nor accepted. Are we just too lazy as a society to do anything about it? Apparently.


Anonymous said...

Hay, I went to Mentor, I can spel just fine!


Ms Mac said...

Oh Lordy, this is something that drives me insane! I used to get to frustrated when I got letters home from the boys Kindergarten which were written by the "Committee mums"- you know the ones I mean- and were full of spelling mistakes and my own personal pet peeve, the errant apostrophe. And they'd print them like that and either noone else noticed or noone had the guts to point it out to them.
The schools in Aust had a thing about not correcting the spelling of the kids' work for fear of "stifling their creativity"!
Spelling mistakes I've seen have been
1- 3 "draw" tallboy $100 (it's a "drawer" whatever your accent)
2- our local "Fish'n'Chipery" (I'm petty sure it's a Chippery- no?)
3- Pink "Flyod" (that one was graffiti in Sydney and made me laugh every time I saw it!)
I'm soooo with you. Now to go back and proof read before publishing in case I'm made a complete arse of myself somewhere!
One day I'll share the story of the teacher who taught my son that the second month of the year was pronounced Feb-you-erry and where we borrow books is pronounced Liberry!
Sorry, have rambled!

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, that is quickly becoming the norm. Last night, my instructor told me that he is more interested in the ideas that are presented than he is in the way they are presented. That includes any spelling and grammatical errors.

He went on to say that in this day and age, people shouldn't have to be able to spell or multiply or even add properly, since we have computers to do all of this for us.

The entire class was outraged. I am thinking about transferring to another teacher's class.

The worst thing is, he actually has a Master's in Education -- from Harvard.

Anonymous said...

I find inducing plurality with an apostrophe and then an s quite annoying

Andi said...

Huh? Is this a good comment or a bad one? I mean, come on...........

mr. mac said...

I think that the plurality comment is in the same vein as ms.mac's errant apostrophe pet peeve i.e. people who write banana's when they mean bananas.

I went to university as an adult and the 'children' that were my classmates had the most atrocious literacy skills I have ever seen. Our 7 year old writes better than most of them could!

Coupled with the fact that RMIT was forced to sell places at the university to full fee-paying asian students (who are all geniuses with numbers but cannot string to words together) in order to actually pay the bills, meant that I ended up being the "Tippse" (pejorative German term for typist) in every project team because I was the only one who could read and write at an adult level.

So you are not alone in bemoaning the state of literacy in english-speaking countries. I could be inflammatory and say that you do not really live in an english-speaking country anymore, but that would just be nasty ;-). The only thing we can do is enforce high standards on our children and hope that they feel the same way that we do when they grow up.


mr. mac said...

Caught myself there: "to" instead of "two" - who's illiterate now?

Don't you hate that!

Andi said...

The thing is with the to and too, is that when you actually say the word too as in "I hate that too" you actually make an OO sound so why is it so difficult to put oo on the end? I swear, sometimes I think I'd be a great teacher, but I'd want to kill myself by the end of the first day so that probably would not be a good idea!

Anonymous said...

other highly unacceptable examples include: drive thru and krispy kreme (drives me knutts)