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Midday Matinee – 21st Century Spelling

February 13, 2013

Midday Matinee

Midday Matinee – 21st Century Spelling

I used to be a good speller. Not national spelling bee caliber, but a good speller. I am losing it. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Last Sunday I played Scrabble with two other people. I love Scrabble. I am the kind of player that grins with delight when I can use all my letters (50 point bonus for the non-players). I chortle when I can drop an X on triple word square making “ax” and “ox” for 62 points. I love words. I am competitive but will also happily play without keeping score.

During Sunday’s game I realized that I was thinking in a combination of English, LOLcat language, texting shorthand and ‘making sh!t up.’ Speak lolcat is a great resource for people who struggle to phonetically read the pootie diaries but somehow none of those words are good in Scrabble. The lolcat words have started to look familiar and real to me. Okay then.

I have a non-smart phone which lacks a qwerty keyboard. Texting anything beyond yes or no is a laborious process for me. “U” has replaced “you” just so I can respond before a day has passed. I appreciate the convenience of texting and so I have adjusted my spelling for the ease of getting a message out. In case you are too young to remember life before texting, families used to designate a meeting point at the front of the store in case they lost each other. It worked fine.

During the Scrabble game I was holding the letter Z. I drew it towards the end of the game and was running out of spaces on which to play it. DOZNET started to look like a real word to me. I Googled it just now and found links to an accounting firm. I was hoping for a government acronym. When Doznet looked ‘real’ I realized that the English language was in trouble. I was playing Scrabble like my friend from Barcelona for whom English is a third or fourth language. She has an excuse. Me? I am losing it.


  • NCrissieB

    Thank you for this, addisnana. English spelling is among the most difficult of any language, in part because our words come from all over the world and we have no phicksed fonetick rulez. Er … fixed phonetic rules. Ours is, after all, a language where …


    … can be a sea animal … if GH is sounded as in “rough,” O sounded as in “women,” and TI sounded as in “initial.” That is …


    Seen in that light, the miracle is that more of us don’t spell as badly as we might. 😉

    • addisnana

      Most illuminating reply and thank you. I knew I was in trouble when some “words” looked real and then I had to look again. Really cramped my Scrabble playing.

  • Given my own addiction to various LOLspeak pictures, as well as having been places where acronyms are more the rule than the exception, I can sympathize. I do note that while “spelling flames” used to be considered “weak” back in my USENET days, I still have a mental grimace when the youth of today can’t seem to distinguish between “your” and “you’re.”

    Then again, I also think we should ban calculators in schools, at least until they start algebra in high school.

    • addisnana

      I’m with you on the calculators but then I loved math. U r so right.

  • Jim W

    I learned “whole word” when I was in first grade. They tried to introduce phonics in third grade but all it did was confuse me. I can sound out a word using third grade phonics but it does nothing to help spelling. Spell check is god sent.

    • addisnana

      Those little red and green squiggles are a god send except when I type a real word which is not the word I intended to type. :roll: