But, I was also trained as a linguist (in the "I studied Linguistics" sense, although I can function quite well in French and Portuguese, if pressed, with a bit of Spanish, Korean & German thrown into the mix), and taught English as a Second Language for 12 years. I know I have an uncanny sense for spelling. I also know that while listening and speaking a language are natural acts, reading and writing (and thus spelling) are not.
When I StumbledUpon a(nother) list of commonly misspelled words, I thought I'd ramble on about my spelling philosophy.
- English has notoriously awkward spelling. The Norman Invasion of 1066, the Great Vowel Shift, Shakespeare...blame who you want, we're stuck with it.
- As we should be. The word "night" has a history and depth that "nite" will never have.
- In the grand scheme of things, being a "good" or "bad" speller is not important.
- That said, there is a social stigma to incorrect spelling, so when it is important, spell words properly.
- When is it important? Unfortunately, pretty much any time you want to be taken seriously. When you're a contractor quoting for a job (I've sat on Strata Councils -- when two quotes are really similar, we would go with the slightly more expensive one, if the cheapest quote had spelling errors. Our reasoning? If the guy wasn't paying attention to those details, what else would he miss?), or when you're writing your resume, or...you know the list.
- It's also important for credibility on the web. "U R 2 cute" is fine in chat, but if I end up at a blog that is written like that, or someone comments on a blog using texting shorthand, that's it. I tune out. Blame it on my age or 'unhipness', but it just tells me that this person was too lazy to write full words. (And don't even start me on things like "24/7"!)
- And, saving the best for last: Never trust a spell-checker to find your mistakes. It will miss your homonyms, those words that sound the same have different spellings: its/it's, there/they're/their, etc. And, it will miss your 'slips of the finger' -- when you type "form" for "from" and so on. If it's important, get a friend to check it, or hire someone in your office to do it for you.
All of that said, I'm not an ogre when it comes to spelling -- at least not socially. I do not sit with mental red pen correcting the odd error in my comment section (Except with Metro, he should know better!).