Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#26116 - 04/07/01 03:34 PM moron spelling  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
Rather than being about "modernized spelling" or standardised spelling, this is an exercise (why not exercize? or excercise?) in comparative spelling: how did we come to this sorry state? By now we know that (in the main) we have Johnson to thank for much of present day English orthography and Webster for attempting to formalize(!) the American strain.

Johnson always took the conservative side, opting for "a scholar's reverence for antiquity". Thus he had contradictions like moveable and immovable, deign and disdain; and even in the -our family, interiour and exterior.

Into this random standarisation comes Webster (only fortysome (why not fourty?) years later to be an advocate for phonetic spelling ("those people spell best who do not know how to spell", quoting Franklin) -- but many of his innovations didn't take root, just enough to re-muddle the situation.

Which brings us full circle to the root of the problem, which others touched on in the "modernised spelunking" [hi shanks] thread: it's too late in the game (and the game continues to evolve out of anyone's control).

Inevitably, discussions on modernization become academic, in the word's most pejorative sense. At the end of the day, who would decide? Would we take a vote, being the democratic lot that we are? In a way, the vote has already been cast. It is summarized(!) in the OED.


#26117 - 04/07/01 09:48 PM Re: moron spelling  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman
BlanchePatch  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
New York City
"those people spell best who do not know how to spell", quoting Franklin
Another Franklin -- Delano Roosevelt -- tried to encourage the modernization of spelling, and proposed a number of simplifications. "Nite" is the only one I remember. I don't think any of them caught on.


#26118 - 04/07/01 09:55 PM Re: moron spelling  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
Geoff Offline
old hand
Geoff  Offline
old hand

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
Portland,Oregon, USA
When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were going to discuss a certain marginally sentient teenage actress, but then I saw that, being the proper type that you are, Spelling (the family name) was spelling (no capital). Alas, no moronic lass to lash.

Modernisation, if that's an appropriate term, does injustice to one's ability to recognise the etymology of a word. I'll sing a verse with Teyvya from Fiddler On the Roof and advocate TRADITION! In an earlier thread I ranted about corporate corruption of English, such as "Rite Aid" being the name of a drug and sundry store when, by rights, it should be a ritual and Sunday sermon sales store.


#26119 - 04/07/01 10:11 PM Re: moron spelling  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,439
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wow  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,439
New England, USA
Some of the Modern spelling advocated by Mr. Wade are part of the reporters' shorthand many have used for years.
2/2 for Mr. & Mrs.
ru for are you
K for thousand (100K for 100,000,)
and just one stroke through the S to make a dollar sign.
Reporters had some really interesting individualist codes for quotes!
wow


#26120 - 04/08/01 12:17 PM Re: moron spelling  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman
BlanchePatch  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 76
New York City
Modernisation, if that's an appropriate term, does injustice to one's ability to recognise the etymology of a word.

But it's a series of modernizations, innovations (and errors?) that comprise the etymology of a word, isn't it? A modernization simply enriches the etymology. How's that for a rationalization?

That said, I am really fond of old, vestigal things, whether parts of words, bits of architecture or techniques in a recipe. To me, they can be an enticing mystery and can lead to a new understanding of how the world got the way it is today. And when a word is modernized, it loses those clues.

But pity those of us to whom correct spelling is not second nature. Spell checkers help, but only part of the time. Perhaps we need two versions of English spelling. Clothing and food and architecture have developed distinct modern and formal styles. Would spelling benefit from the same? Or would that relegate the "formal" style to the same rarefied, lonely, and stiff precincts as those of dinner jackets, haute cuisine and drawing rooms?


#26121 - 04/08/01 04:23 PM Re: moron spelling  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
Geoff Offline
old hand
Geoff  Offline
old hand

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 819
Portland,Oregon, USA
But pity those of us to whom correct spelling is not second nature.

BP, there was an article in our local newsrag about English speakers having more dyslexia than speakers of any other language. Being of polyglottal origins, English confuses the dickens out of most people, myself included! So, if we can, as you say, trace a word by its spelling, it makes things much easier, IMHO.



Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,878
Posts223,909
Members9,019
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Rogerdoctor, SquareDonut, WonderW, Trailjohn, Reddit
9019 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 58 guests, and 2 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 8,974
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.012s Queries: 13 (0.003s) Memory: 2.6848 MB (Peak: 2.7888 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-09-19 15:02:51 UTC