"Bad spellers of the world, untie!"– Graffito
By Scoti Springfield Domeij
Are You Orthographically-challenged?
(Hint: Orthography refers to "right spelling.")
I used to be a great speller. Spell check ruined my memory.
One day during critique group, Beth said, "Is that spelled correctly?"
"It passed spell check," I replied.
"I can't believe you said that," Beth said.
Then I realized, I blindly rely too much on spell check—an imperfect correction system. I had substituted spell check for proof reading. Every time I rewrite or before I send a manuscript to my critique group or to an editor I click on "Spelling and Grammar." It's my habit.
I have always loved reading, writing and spelling. In second grade I was a spelling whiz. When I had children, I expected them to excel in these subjects. I grieved when ADHD disabled my son's reading and spelling skills. I also felt like a failure. In second grade, my son's verbal skills tested out at grade nine, even though he failed reading and spelling. My daughter-in-love sent me this email with these instructions—
FORWARD…ONLY IF YOU CAN READ
Only great minds can read this This is weird, but interesting! fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr t he ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.
This email looked like my sons' school papers that their teachers had to decipher. Apparently, I have a great mind and so do my sons. I raced through the paragraph and so did my son. Being able to read this scrambled email proves Andrew Jackson's belief, "It's a d*#* poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word. Did I mention that I have creative sons?
To the college professors and editors that teach, "Bad spelling makes you look lazy," I proffer, "Bad spelling is the sign of a genius or a great mind." However, dear writers, editors agree with Mark Twain who said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
These links provide some interesting thinking about "right spelling."
- Writing without typos is totally outdated.
- Spell it like it is: The idea that we shuold except student's spelling misstakes as merely 'variant spellings' speaks to the denigration of Trooth in education.
- Spell Czech king for miss takes.
Don't relinquish the value of your knowledge to a computer or to someone that judges you—failure—if you can't spell.