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Does spelling reelly matter?

The spelling bee is a revered American tradition that is unique to the English language. Other languages, especially romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian, are more rigidly phonetic. If you can speak the words, you can spell them. There are exceptions, but they aren’t numerous enough to warrant a contest - and they are few enough for most people to master.

[Daily_News, 2013-11-22]

Today is a holiday in honour of world’s greatest alphabet

October 9th is a South Korean national holiday held in honor of the invention of the Korean writing system, which experts have called the most “scientific” (also “ingenious,” “rational,” “subtle,” “simple,” “efficient,” “remarkable”) writing system ever devised.

It’s a bit outside of OSNews’ regular stuff (although not unheard of), but as a language specialist myself, Korean, and Hangul in particular, has fascinated me for quite a while now. In contrast to other writing systems, which have developed over centuries – or millennia – without clear guidance, Hangul was more or less designed and set in stone 600 years ago, specifically for the Korean language. It is an absolutely beautiful alphabet, with a clear structure, and a unique way of organising letters – they are grouped in square morpho-syllabic blocks. To the untrained eye, Hangul may resemble e.g. Chinese characters – however, each ‘character’ actually consists of several letters.

[OSNews; NL; 2013-10-11]

Does spelling matter?

As part of his agenda to improve primary school education, Michael Gove plans to invest more teaching time in driving up standards of spelling; his proposals include a list of 162 words which all eleven-year old children will be expected to spell correctly. As his critics were quick to point out, Gove’s belief in the importance of accurate spelling was somewhat undermined by a number of misspellings in the White Paper itself; Tristram Hunt gleefully suggested that Gove, “of all people,” should be able to spell bureaucracy. This highlights one of the golden rules of orthography: before you criticise someone else’s spelling, be sure your own is up to scratch.

[OUP_Blog, 2013-04-01]

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