I work with language, so it goes without saying (I hope) that I care about spelling.
That said, I don’t think texting heralds the death of the English language and I don’t fall from my chair with horror if an email or text arrives with minor spelling mistakes. Indeed, I think texting and Twitterese are new skills that I haven’t really mastered yet.
I hate making spelling mistakes myself, though – that’ll be the Virgo in me.
It also bugs me to see “official” writing – business letters, newsletters, reports, web content, books, marketing material – with spelling errors. And don’t get me started on CVs. You don’t need to know all the difficult words by heart – we’ve all got spell-checkers and should use them, and dictionaries, albeit with due care. Printing out your material before you finalise it is another – for me essential – way to check for spelling and other errors.
Some people say spelling accuracy isn’t that important, as long as the meaning is clear – communication is all. I take their point, for people who haven’t been taught properly, who have dyslexia or some other language disorder, or who just can’t get to grips with spelling.
For the rest of us, and especially for language workers, correct spelling is a sign of professionalism and enhances our credibility. Bad spelling indicates a lack of care and a disregard for our readers.
All of that said, we’ve probably all got our spelling bugbears. Mine are gauge, manoeuvre and Libya (which I use week in, week out in my translation work but always stumble over). Yesterday I got stuck with “intriguing”.
I’d love to hear your comments on spelling – have you got your own bugbear? Are there any words that non-native English-speakers find particularly hard or annoying? (I won’t say “illogical” as that probably encompasses most of the language!)
Beez courtesy of Jelene Morris
By Marian Dougan