Down with skool!

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

by Colin McIntosh​

spellingEnglish is famously difficult to spell, although its uniqueness in this respect has been considerably exaggerated. The often-quoted ghoti as a spelling of fish (gh as in tough, o as in women, and ti as in nation) would never be possible, as the values attached to those letters are dependent on their position in the word. It is true that there are some unnecessary complications, though, and there have been attempts over the years to simplify English orthography. Not many have succeeded.

If we take the linguist’s view that speech is primary and writing simply a secondary representation of speech, then spelling should not matter that much. But attitudes to spelling are extremely firmly rooted in the English-speaking world. Any attempt to make the system more logical, efficient, or practical has to get past the language mavens, those self-appointed guardians of correctness…

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