Great Debate

SpellingI recently read an article in the New York Times that discussed remarks made by Simon Horobin, the author of Does Spelling Matter? Horobin says that people like to constrain language too much and English spelling should be a bit more standardized. He argued that spelling and intelligence are not related. This got me thinking: can smart people be poor spellers? What about good readers? Or even writers?

Adult educators stress the importance of spelling, along with grammar, to their students. But is it necessary? If we argue Horobin’s point, both of the following sentences don’t change meaning with different spellings:

Are you going too put that their?

Are you going to put that there?

Reading the first sentence silently made me cringe, as I’m sure it did you too. Now, read it again, but out loud. The meaning of the sentence is the same. Yet, what are the impressions we would get if we read the first sentence on a formal document?

Spellings have changed over time. Could educators make their jobs easier if we rallied behind Mr. Horobin? Or, would we only discredit ourselves, as a nation, in the global market?

Courtney Keating, Education Coordinator

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