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The Indian conquest of a US national contest

Fully 18 out of the last 22 winners (some years include ties, with two winners) including all winners in the last 10 years — are Indian American.

[The_Daily_Star; Dhaka,_BD; 2017-06-10]

The state of spelling in the age of Google

Gud spellen is eazier than ever, thanks to computers and spellcheck. And then there are the finalists of the National Spelling Bee, who took the stage last Thursday night to tackle some of the most obscure words in the English language the old-fashioned way — with a lexicographer’s understanding of the rules and brute memorization.

[Albert_Lea_Tribune; Albert_Lea,_MN,_US; 2017-06-07]

Trump’s covfefe takes hold in the land of the spelling bee

But do the American president’s orthographical errors really matter?

[subscription] Roughly 300 American children descended upon an inauspicious conference centre in the DC suburbs last week for one of the most wholesome of childhood pastimes: the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

[Financial_Times; London,_UK; 2017-06-07]

That’s not a croissant on your lapel

Maybe no one else cares about grammar and spelling. If only I didn’t. The level of improper English was high before Trump came to office and it’s steadily going downhill since. Not that Trump can be blamed for all of it, despite his Grade 6 comprehension level and Grade 7 vocabulary, comprised largely of superlatives like Fantastic, Fabulous, Great.

[Terrace_Standard; Terrace,_BC,_CA; 2017-06-03]

hey dude, u shud;/ read tHIs

Forsooth, English hath forsaken its dignity

As some of you may know, I am not a stickler when it comes to the English language. Beyond striving for clarity and brevity, I don't worry about rules my mother and my elementary schoolteachers insisted on. All languages are fluid. Those that aren't do not survive.

[The_Hamilton_Spectator; Hamilton,_ON,_CA; 2017-06-03]

Ananya Vinay Wins The 2017 U.S. Scripps National Spelling Bee

She correctly spelled the word marocain, a dress fabric made of warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns.

Ananya Vinay of Fresno, California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, taking home a $40,000 cash prize after 12 hours of picking her way along a precarious lifeline of consonants and vowels. Vinay, 12, correctly spelled the word marocain, a dress fabric made of warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns, to win the spelling bee held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

[Huffington_Post; New_York,_US; 2017-06-02]

Why Is The Scripps National Spelling Bee Hard? Because English Is, Too

Since 1996, contestants have spelled over 14,000 words and missed about 1 in 4 of them.

Last night, Ananya Vinay won the Scripps National Spelling Bee by spelling the word "marocain" — a dress fabric. That's one of more than 14,000 words contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee have tried to spell since 1996. Even though most competitors are native English-speakers, they still miss about 1 in 4 words. This contest is difficult. There are a lot of possible words. A committee picks them from Merriam-Webster Unabridged English dictionary, which has nearly half a million entries.

[Newsy; Columbia,_MO,_US; 2017-06-02]

In defence of grammar pedantry

It’s really ok to be a grammar pedant

There are two kinds of people in this world: pedants and everybody else. Pedantry isn’t confined to grammar, of course. Pedantry can be found in architecture, cooking (for example, Julian Barnes’s lovely little book The Pedant in the Kitchen), geometry, music, philosophy, politics and science. Think Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, the most popular show on American television.

[The_Conversation; London,_UK; 2017-06-01]

Inside the National Spelling Bee: Dissecting the winning words

At the National Spelling Bee, kids come from all over the country to spell words that find their roots all over the world. It doesn't matter if you're in kindergarten, like first-timer Edith Fuller or 8th Grade, like competition veteran Tejas Muthusamy, asking for a word's derivation is elementary to contestants here. And whatever Dr. Jacques Bailly's answer is Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish, some mix of any of them, or even the dreaded "unknown origin," the kids will use that information to help guide them forward.

[WCPO; Cincinnati,_OH,_US; 2017-06-01]

Last Week Tonight's' John Oliver is a Spelling Bee superfan

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver says because he's British, people in America think he can't spell. While wishing good luck to spellers in the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, Oliver said that thanks to British English, he has trouble spelling "colour," "centre" and, ironically, "humour."

[WCPO; Cincinnati,_OH,_US; 2017-06-01]

A Truculent Pride': National Spelling Bee Relies on Quirkiness of English

The language's oddities ensure the continuing popularity of spelling bees

The United States has a long tradition of spelling bees dating to the 19th century, when both children and adults competed. They were in vogue in the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century but for the most part, are a particularly American phenomenon, said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the School of Information at the University of California Berkeley. “You have to have a goofy spelling system,” he said. “Most languages spell more or less as they pronounce the words.” But English’s Anglo-Saxon roots, the influence of Greek, Latin, French and other languages have all contributed to a mishmash of spelling rules and a mismatch between spelling and pronunciation.

[NBC_Bay_Area; San_Jose,_CA,_US; 2017-05-31]

Minnesotans Can’t Spell ‘Beautiful’; Wisconsinites Can’t Spell ‘Wisconsin’

While Minnesotans often boast about the beauty of our lake-dappled state, we apparently have trouble spelling the word “beautiful.” On Tuesday, Google tweeted “America’s Most Misspelled Words” in honor of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, with state-by-state data on the top “how to spell” searches of 2017. For the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the trickiest word was “beautiful,” one that also proved difficult for Ohioans, Kentuckians, New Yorkers and Californians.

[CBS_Minnesota; Minneapolis,_MN,_US; 2017-05-30]

Michiganders misspell this word the most, according to Google

There is one word Michiganders misspell more than any other word.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee kicks off this week in Washington D.C., as some of the best and brightest will try to spell some of the hardest words in the English language. USA Today and Google pulled the most misspelled words in each state. Michigan's most misspelled word is: pneumonia. Alabama, Illinois, Maine and Washington all had the same word.

[Click_On_Detroit; Detroit,_MI,_US; 2017-05-30]

Between driver’s license and driving licence

The American culture is a powerful one. Whether it is its music, film, fashion or even socio-political tradition, it has a way of penetrating the world fast. Not fastly, though! The reality could apply to communication too. That is why when some people are faced with the options of choosing between ‘center’ and ‘centre’, ‘color’ and ‘colour’ as well as ‘defense’ and ‘defence’, they usually prefer the first. To them, ‘center’ is a trendier term than ‘centre’.

[The_Punch; Lagos,_NG; 2017-05-30]

Genuine New Words

This month on Lingua Franca, Lucy Ferris gave a perfect example of her own new-word creation while “feeling nauseated on a long car ride when I was about 8. … I had heard of people being seasick. But we weren’t at sea. So I thought I would coin a new term for how I felt. ‘Mommy,’ I said from the back seat. ‘I think I’m carsick.’”

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-05-29]

These are the hardest words to spell in health and science

There are a lot of weird words you learn to pronounce and spell if you pay much attention to health, science and the environment. By the time Iceland's spectacular volcanic eruption simmered down in 2010, for instance, “Eyjafjallajokull” was as familiar as “Mount Etna.” You should hear “Papahanaumokuakea” roll off the tongue of Juliet Eilperin, who has been reporting on the Hawaiian marine national monument for years.

[The_Washington_Post; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-05-24]

Mnemonics: Tricks of the English trade

Are you struggling with remembering the spelling of words? Sigh no more as the answer lies in this article! There are many rules that, when learntproperly, can aid your memory of how to spell some tricky words. Take for instance, words spelt with ‘ie’ or is it ‘ei’ you keep asking? The following rule will guide you into spelling these words correctly.

[The_New_Times; Kigali,_RW; 2017-05-17]

Perhaps it's time to give up the fight against Americanisms

For some, they are the linguistic equivalent of nails down a blackboard, sure to leave them wincing at the abuse of the English language. But it may be time to give up the fight against Americanisms, Susie Dent the Countdown lexicographer has said, as she argues they are often closer to the true origin of words.

[The_Telegraph; London,_UK; 2017-05-16]

Can split digraphs help children learn to read and write?

It’s SAT season again, when many parents find themselves bewildered by the obscure grammatical devices their children must understand — thanks to Michael Gove

What is a split digraph? The words “bit” and “bite” differ both in the way they are spelled and the way they are said. The letter “e” indicates a way of saying the vowel between the “b” and the “t”. Advertisers make them up: “lite”. This tells us there’s a pattern here. Educationists say that drawing children’s attention to this helps them with reading and spelling.

[The_Guardian; London,_UK; 2017-05-13]

Britain will leave but English will remain

Reports of the language’s decline have been greatly exaggerated

[subscription] From hard borders to language barriers, European leaders are finding ever new ways to show Britain the price of Brexit. In a fresh dig at the UK last week, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, declared that “slowly but surely, English is losing importance in Europe”. The joke went down well with his audience. Elsewhere, it has been taken a little too seriously — both by the UK media, which is still fuming, and by francophone Canadians, for whom the decline of French as the language of diplomacy has been especially painful.

[Financial_Times; London,_UK; 2017-05-12]

Well, it IS a tricky word! Funny chart reveals how 52 teens tried to spell 'camouflage' - with just TEN getting it right and one guessing 'camoflaugue'

A biology teacher quizzed his ninth-grade students (14-15) on the correct spelling of the word. They were not allowed to use computers or phones. 19.2% spelled the difficult vocab word correctly. Camouflage is actually a French word adopted by the English language, which accounts for its odd spelling.

[Daily_Mail; London,_UK; 2017-05-10]

Pity our children – they’re being turned into grammar robots at school

From adverbials to digraphs, the damage done by the government’s imposition of grammatical techniques is now there for all to see

If you have no idea what fronted adverbials or split digraphs mean, beyond thinking that they sound unpleasantly medical, then you almost certainly don’t have a small child. For along with expanded noun phrases and the present perfect, they’re all grammatical terms that children aged 11 and under are required to identify and master as part of a new English curriculum seemingly designed to strangle at birth any love of writing.

[The_Guardian; London,_UK; 2017-05-10]

‘Shameful’ figures reveal decline in school literacy

The findings of the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy also suggest that no progress has been made in tackling a deep attainment gap between pupils from rich and poor families

Standards of reading and writing in Scotland’s schools have fallen to “shameful” levels under the SNP, according to critics reacting to the publication of a damning official survey of literacy. Just half of S2 pupils are now hitting or exceeding the expected level in writing, a significant decline compared to four years ago when almost two thirds were doing well or better. Alongside the poor performance in writing, the proportion of pupils who can read well dropped in P4 by six percentage points and in P7 by two points between 2012 and 2016.

[The_Times; London,_UK; 2017-05-10]

Womyn, wimmin, and other folx

“Womxn” isn’t a typo. It’s a powerful, increasingly popular label, encompassing a broader range of gender identities than “woman” — or even older feminist terms such as “womyn.” Events such as January’s “Womxn’s March” in Seattle and “Womxn’s Energy Week” at Kirkland College have drawn attention to a word distinctly of our time: a nontraditional spelling for people whose gender identity doesn’t fit in the traditional boxes.

[Boston_Globe; Boston,_MA,_US; 2017-05-09]

Russian Orthodox Church criticizes Kazakhstan's shift away from Cyrillic script

"The single standard for the new Kazakh alphabet and Latin graphic signs must be developed by the end of 2017, after consultations with scientists and public representatives. Starting from 2018 specialists will be trained to teach the new alphabet and prepare secondary school textbooks. The organizing and methodology work should be carried out over the next two years," Nazarbayev said. Initially, the Latin script will be used alongside the Cyrillic one, he said The Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science set up a working group in charge of the transition to Latin spelling, which started work on April 13.

[Interfax; Moscow,_RU; 2017-05-08]

English (il)logic to blame for Māori pronunciation difficulties

Blenheim, Foveaux, D’urville. Three New Zealand place names with ridiculous spelling - "unpronounceable" even.

True blue locals must have had a meltdown seeing those. "Auē, te hē mārika o ngā ingoa nei!" ("Geez, what ridiculous names!") they must have said. But New Zealand still did it, and those locals still learnt to say them. The world didn’t burn and no haywire eventuated. Sadly, place names are fickle things for a few - proper nouns for "problematising". Whether it’s a macron in Ōtaki or Taupō, or an 'h' in Whanganui, the moment a place name is up for debate the muskets come out.

[Stuff; Wellington,_NZ; 2017-05-04]

Malacca to use 'Melaka' in official state correspondence

The English spelling of Malacca will no longer be used in official state correspondence, said the state government on Wednesday. The state exco has decided that the name "Melaka" be used instead.

[The_Star_(MY); Petaling_Jaya,_MY; 2017-05-03]

The meaning inside of words

Words are laden with grammatical meaning. Take, for instance, particular word endings like ‘–s’ in tables; this indicates the plural form of the word table. As humans, we learn this in our childhood as we acquire language. There are several theories as to what exactly the brain is learning and how children are able to produce the plural form of words they’ve never heard before.

[Times_of_Malta; Valetta,_MT; 2017-04-30]

Imperatives Of Spelling Exercise In Schools

Language is the human essence. It operates at two levels, namely: the phonic level (spoken language), and the graphic level (written language). English Language which is used globally, also manifests at these two levels. Therefore, in pursuance of proficiency and international intelligibility, neither the spoken aspect nor the written aspect should be neglected. Written English is the graphic representation of the English letters, sounds or symbols. In the view of TREGIDO (1962), “Literary or written English is more careful than spoken English. This is because, when anything is written down, it is often a permanent record which everyone can see, check and examine.” Thus, written English demands correct spelling of the English words. A wrongly-spelt word possesses a difficult problem to the reader and affects the proper understanding of its meaning.

[The_Tide; Port_Harcourt,_NG; 2017-04-26]

ASU professor uses German language to help students with dyslexia

At Arizona State University's School of International Letters and Cultures, teaching language helps prepare students for a globalized world. For Professor Sara Lee, it also lets her help students overcome dyslexia. “I see myself as a dyslexia specialist when it comes to teaching foreign language, especially German,” Lee said. According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, in the U.S. 15 to 20 percent of students have a language-based learning disability, the most common of which is dyslexia. Lee explained that this often makes students insecure when it comes to language learning. Based on Lee’s work, however, students can excel regardless, especially with German.

[Arizona_State_University_News; Tempe,_AZ,_US; 2017-04-25]

Children with reading and spelling difficulties lag behind their peers despite special education

The reading skills of children with reading and spelling difficulties (RSD) lag far behind the age level in the first two school years, despite special education received from special education teachers. Furthermore, the spelling skills of children who in addition to RSD had other learning difficulties also lagged behind their peers in the first two school years.

[ScienceDaily; Rockville,_MD,_US; 2017-04-25]

Here's How British and American Spelling Parted Ways

Why do Brits and Americans spell certain words differently? A colourful tale of dictionaries, politics, and national identity ensues here.

[video]

[Mental_Floss; New_York,_NY,_US; 2017-04-20]

Phonics works. New research suggests that sounding out words is the best way to teach reading

There has been intense debate concerning how children should be taught to read. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit tested whether learning to read by sounding out words is more effective than focusing on whole-word meanings. In order to assess the effectiveness of using phonics the researchers trained adults to read in a new language, printed in unfamiliar symbols, and then measured their learning with reading tests and brain scans.

[Royal_Holloway_News; London,_UK; 2017-04-20]

Lack of English knowledge could spell trouble across industries

In college, I edited student essays and learned that some people believed “next door neighbor” was written “next store neighbor.” I had to explain that you could not be an “FBI,” but you could be an “FBI agent.” So many students on the verge of graduating with a four-year degree didn’t understand that a complete sentence requires both a subject and a verb. Very few people know what a semicolon is; even fewer people actually know how to use it. To many people, “your” and “you’re” are interchangeable, as are “affect” and “effect,” “its” and “it’s,” or “to,” “too” and “two.”

[The_Galt_Herald; Galt,_CA,_US; 2017-04-19]

America’s Uncivil War Over Words

Americans can’t agree on much these days. They’ve obviously fallen out over politics. They can’t even agree on the facts. Now they’re fighting over words. For years, we mild-mannered lexicographers have been posting online about the most common lookup of the moment on our website. So when, in January, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters he wasn’t going to define the word “betrayal,” and lookups spiked, we saw it as our duty to post a definition.

[The_New_York_Times; New_York,_NY,_US; 2017-04-15]

School moves from woe to go in literacy

Educators in Australia are making impressive gains in literacy using phonics

Hillcrest Primary School in WA reports fantastic improvement in its children’s reading age while a report claims that O’Sullivan Beach School, south of Adelaide, SA found children in Year R-2 had a reading age seven months ahead of their chronological age and a spelling age nine months ahead.

[Education_HQ; Melbourne,_VIC,_AU; 2017-04-13]

Tadworth head teacher wants pupils who struggle to spell to stop being penalised

The head teacher of Tadworth school has launched a petition calling on changes to be made so primary pupils who struggle to spell are no longer penalised. Justin Kelly, head at Tadworth Primary School, has written a letter to parents sharing his reasons for setting up the appeal in the hope the Department of Education will make changes to the Key Stage 2 SATs test in Year 6 that "could make a big difference" to how students get on at the start of secondary school.

[Surrey_Mirror; Redhill,_UK; 2017-04-13]

Some facts about spelling

Over the past two weeks we have debunked some common spelling myths - from the idea that reading more will make one a better speller and that some people are weak spellers because they do not speak Standard English.

[Trinidad_and_Tobago_Guardian; Port_of_Spain,_TT; 2017-04-13]

Grammar-shammer: TOI joins a popular movement to liberate you from dictatorial rules of language

A hawk-eyed reader in Bengaluru every now and again points out a grammatical glitch or other lingual lapse in the paper. The reader’s ability to spot such mistakes is as admirable as it is misplaced, in that far from being oversights these errors are deliberate, and are part of a grand strategy to liberate English-users from the tyranny of the language’s many dictatorial rules.

[The_Times_of_India; Mumbai,_IN; 2017-04-12]

Spelng: Wat’s the Poynt?

Some people object to the practice of invented spelling, arguing that it produces bad habits that can be carried over into adulthood. While there might be some merit to this claim, there are others (particularly from the Natural Child Project) who argue that no one would ever forbid their child to speak until they had mastered the pronunciation of each word. Rather, parents encourage students to speak, engage in conversation, and then correct mispronunciations as they arise. That practice more than makes up for the mispronunciations that occur.

[Jewish_Press; New_York,_US; 2017-04-07]

Spelling myths vs facts

Spelling correctly is a skill that takes time and effort for everyone except the few who have very good visual memories. For most of us, seeing a word or reading it over and over is not enough to enable us to spell it correctly. We need to actively learn spelling.

[Trinidad_and_Tobago_Guardian; Port_of_Spain,_TT; 2017-04-06]

Spanish Spelling Bee

The Grants/Cibola County School District once again held their Annual Spanish Spelling Bee, or El Concurso de Deletreo en Espanol, on Tuesday morning, March 28 in the District Performing Arts Center.

[Cibola_Beacon; Grants,_NM,_US; 2017-04-05]

You Say EEther, I Say AYEther

Say what you will about it, either deserves a second look. Or a second hearing. And neither too, for that matter. In a usage book like Merriam-Webster’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage, you’ll see that in its written form, either presents usage experts with conundrums, having to do with meaning and verb agreement. Even to summarize those discussions would occupy more space than this entire column, so forget about that. What I’m interested in is a simpler yet more mysterious matter: how you say it.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-04-04]

A language that separates us?

When it comes to handling the English language, some choose not to care much about complex English grammatical rules and terminology that are based on Latin, a dead language anyway. But, for the pretentious souls, the textures, subtleties, and nuances of language are significant enough concerns that make them refer to higher authorities for guidance, ‘A Dictionary of Modern English Usage’, (‘Fowler’) for routine advice on vocabulary, syntax and punctuation, and to ‘The King’s English’ when they need more detailed instructions on such subtleties as the appropriate uses of ‘shall and will’! Then, there is the perennial favourite of the Civil Service, ‘The Book of Plain Words’ by Sir Ernest Gowers, offering the simple advice: ‘Be short, be simple, be human’, easily the best advice on how to write English.

[The_Island; Colombo,_LK; 2017-04-04]

5 Live Drive

[audio] (Interview with Stephen Linstead on the Apostrophe Vigilante of Bristol. 41:42 – 47:47. Expires on 2017-05-03 approx.)

[BBC; London,_UK; 2017-04-03]

Why there are no native speakers of Standard English

My column from three weeks ago provoked a conversation at a scholarly online forum about the meaning, history, and utility of Standard English and about why we should continue to use English as our language of instruction at all levels of education in Nigeria. I will expound on Standard English this week and devote next week to discussing the benefits and drawbacks of instruction in our native languages. So what exactly is “Standard English”? Well, Standard English is the English that is taught in schools, that is codified in grammar books (starting from about the 18th century, as I will explain further), that is “curated” in dictionaries, and that is privileged in and popularized by mainstream media.

[Daily_Trust; Abuja,_NG; 2017-04-02]

Michigan teacher gives fake spelling test to students as April Fools' joke

A local teacher played an awesome prank on his class for April Fools' Day

[video] Joe Dombrowski, a fourth-grade teacher at Oakland Elementary School in Royal Oak, decided to give his students a phony spelling test. The teacher presented students with a bunch of made up words to spell, and of course, they didn't do very well. You can hear the students complaining while the correct spelling is announced for the made up words.

[ClickOnDetroit; Detroit,_MI,_US; 2017-03-30]

Landmark Study Finds Better Path to Reading Success

This study proves what exemplary teachers have been doing correctly for years.

In a landmark study two Canadian researchers in developmental psychology, Gene Ouellette and Monique Sénéchal (2017), have mapped the powerful beginning reading-writing connection, moved us closer to being successful teachers of reading in first grade, and cleared up decades of confusion. It’s important because reading scores in first grade have flatlined for decades—especially in the United States. This study can move us forward.

[Psychology_Today; New_York,_US; 2017-03-30]

Etymology gleanings for March 2017

The hope is to retain what we have but rid it of the most obvious silliness and redundancies (mute and double letters, among others).

[OUP_Blog; Oxford,_UK; 2017-03-29]

Spelling and knowhow: the oddest English spellings, part 23

We are so used to the horrors of English spelling that experience no inconvenience at reading the word knowhow. Why don’t know and how rhyme if they look so similar? Because such is life.

[OUP_Blog; Oxford,_UK; 2017-03-22]

The real language of life

As a writer, I often get excited about writing this column and sharing something I’ve discovered, learned or find motivating. With the writing of this very column I got all excited and then I hit a roadblock. I was thinking about the term “hay day,” an expression often used by we mountain folks, and then the roadblock problem was discovered. I am counting on the thought that many of you will be as I found myself to be with respect to a “hay day” expression.

[Harlan_Daily_Enterprise; Harlan,_KY,_US; 2017-03-21]

How to get primary students excited about spelling

[video] Language and literacy specialist Lyn Stone joins Teacher magazine in today’s video to discuss ways teachers can get primary school-aged children excited about spelling. She says that spelling goes beyond the ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ formula that has been used in schools in the past.

[Teacher_Magazine; Camberwell,_VIC,_AU; 2017-03-21]

More lies about English spelling

It is therefore completely wrong to claim that the English spelling “system became gradually more consistent over a period of several hundred years", as Mark Aronoff and Kristian Berg have done. - English spelling was made, or allowed to become, increasingly less regular over the centuries, and that is why learning to read and write English now takes roughly ten time longer than Finnish or Korean, with their completely regular writing systems.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-03-20]

False claims about spelling

Proposals for new teaching methods often include dodgy claims about other methods and English spelling, as in http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2017/march/beyond-phonics.html. I could not help but respond to seven points in it.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-03-20]

OK, Okay, Happy 178th Birthday!

This Thursday, March 23, 2017, is the 178th birthday of America’s (and the world’s) greatest word. OK? Yes, OK is the word. And it was born on Page 2 of the Boston Morning Post on Saturday, March 23, 1839.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-03-20]

The century of American global domination of language is over, a linguist says

“The American century has happened,” she writes. English has the edge on other languages as a “universal” global language because it’s already widely used—and some burgeoning powers such as India already have their own relationship with the language, and distinctive ways of using it. If English continues to hold the lingua franca status, she writes, the influences that change it “may be coming from other places altogether.”

[Quartz; New_York,_US; 2017-03-13]

Sloppy copy

Samuel Johnson damaged English spelling more than all other meddlers combined. He probably didn't deliberately aim to make learning to read and write English more difficult. He achieved it, by trying to make English spelling more Latin. He still regarded English as an inferior language, despite being very familiar with Shakespeare’s work. He thought it unlikely that English would ever become fit for intellectual discourse. He much preferred Latin for writing poetry.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-03-13]

Beyond phonics - the case for teaching children the logic of the English spelling system

Why is there the letter 'g' in sign? Why not spell the word 'does' duz?

A recent paper published in the journal Educational Psychology by Professor Jeffrey Bowers from the School of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol and his brother, Peter Bowers, based at WordWorks Literacy Centre in Ontario, Canada, argues that phonics is a flawed approach because it mistakenly assumes that the primary purpose of letters is to represent sounds.

[University_of_Bristol; Bristol,_UK; 2017-03-13]

Poor literacy hits health

Medical chief's warning over failing campaigns

[paywall] Scotland’s chief medical officer has warned that campaigns to reverse the country’s poor health record are failing because people in deprived areas do not have the literacy skills to understand them. Catherine Calderwood said that healthcare professionals who relied on traditional methods such as leaflets to get their messages across often failed to communicate with those who needed them most. Dr Calderwood, whose annual report last week called for a survey of the strengths and weaknesses of NHS care across Scotland, said that while in affluent areas simple advice to young mothers was understood within weeks, it took far longer in poorer communities.

[The_Times; London,_UK; 2017-03-11]

Study Reveals the English Language Organized Itself

A paper published in the journal Language uses an examination of English spelling to show that even without regulation the language evolved to be orderly

A Stony Brook University-led study of the history and spelling of English suffixes demonstrates that the spelling of English words is more orderly and self-organized that linguistics have previously thought. The finding, details of which are published in the journal Language, is an indication that the self-organization of English occurred even though the language has never been regulated or governed through the centuries.

[NewsWise; Charlottesville,_VA,_US; 2017-03-10]

5-Year-Old Girl, Youngest to Make National Spelling Bee

Five-year-old Edith Fuller is the youngest person ever to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Schoolchildren across the United States have been taking part in local and state spelling competitions. These competitions are called spelling bees. The young competitors spell words that even some adults may never have heard of. More than 280 local winners will earn the right to compete in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. The event will take place from May 28 to June 3 near Washington, D.C., at the National Harbor in Maryland. Most competitors in the National Spelling Bee are between the ages of 12 and 14. But this year, one competitor will be less than half that age -- five-year-old Edith Fuller.

[Voice_of_America; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-03-09]

As she is spoke

These days the speed of change means that even adult-speak is not constant

From time to time we get flurries of agitation in the letters column of newspapers about poor pronunciation and grammar. These are often directed at television personalities and commercials or our previous prime minister. They also come from parents or grandparents complaining about how young people today are mangling the English language: shower with a "wa" at the end, lots of "likes" in a single sentence and "should of" instead of "should have". Then there’s the misuse of words such as "literally" when "figuratively" is meant. A friend of mine told me recently that she had "literally died from laughing".

[Otago_Daily_Times; Dunedin,_NZ; 2017-03-06]

From bad to much worse

Spellings for the /ee/ sound were made irregular mainly after 1430, when English was re-adopted as the official language of England again.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-03-06]

Spell Much? Tweets Go After Twump’s Issues With Orthography

In worst possible timing, president’s misspellings of “hereby” sandwich his message about fixing American education

Just when Donald Trump was trying to sound really indignant and presidential about Democrats’ meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin years ago, along comes that pesky word “hereby,” which the president misspelled not once but twice in tweets.

[Huffington_Post; New_York,_US; 2017-03-03]

Sombre thoughts: Orphaning English?

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a sombre occasion, eliciting a handshake between what is becoming seasonal patriotism and constantly increasing cosmopolitanism. For Bangladesh, it is extra-special since it falls on a day revered for a denied language from far before. Many other countries forging independence after World War II may also find the celebration to be extraordinary, especially since, under the weight of globalising forces, many languages spoken by either limited or declining populations have been evaporating, or have simply devolved into a lower tier: out of the 7,000 languages on this planet, the UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger identifies 2,473 at risk, placing them in five categories, ranging from the least to the most risks, dubbed "vulnerable"; "definitely", "severely", and "critically" endangered; and those already extinct.

[Financial_Express; Dhaka,_BD; 2017-03-02]

A 10-Year-Old National Spelling Competition In An Unlikely Place

In a country with numerous languages and dialects and a literacy rate below the world average, nearly 200 kids gathered in this auditorium hoping to spell "baculiform." And Ghanaian kids have been doing so for 10 years now.

[10_News; San_Diego,_CA,_US; 2017-02-28]

First silly spelling changes

The monks who devised the first English spelling system in the 7th century had a bit of a problem. – The biblical Latin on which they based it, used the letter v for both the /v/ and the short /u/ sound. This usage continued in English too until the 17th century. The Victorians still used it even in the 19th century, when they wanted to make inscriptions look older, as when restoring Chester Cathedral, in the words ‘vp’ and ‘vnder’.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-02-27]

Good English spellings

English consonant spellings are mostly good – much better than vowels ones. Except for doubled ones like ‘very – merry’ or ‘arrive – arise’. They are really vowel spellings too, because they are meant to show that a stressed vowel is short (dinner), rather than long (diner): http://improvingenglishspelling.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/long-and-short-vowels.html. Doubled consonants have the same pronunciation as single ones.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-02-27]

The English alphabet 'code'

Isn’t a bit odd that in all Anglophone countries, many university teachers and schoolteachers are ignorant inept? Why should that be?

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-02-27]

Bolder than a boulder and other stumps and stones of English orthography

One good thing about English spelling is that, when you look for some oddity in it, you don’t have to search long. So why do we have the letter u in boulder (and of course in Boulder, the name of a town in Colorado)? If my information is reliable, Boulder was called after Boulder Creek. A boulder near a small stream won’t surprise anyone, but the letter u in the word and the place name may, as journalists like to say, raise some eyebrows. Bolder (the comparative degree of bold), oldercolderfolder, and holder do without u, but shoulder, unexpectedly, sides with boulder. American spelling has mold in all its meanings and the verb molder, while the British norm requires ou before l. What is going on here?

[OUP_Blog; Oxford,_UK; 2017-02-22]

Spelling's not for eveyrone, Mr. Precedent

Remembr speling? Neither does our president. In his first tweet as POTUS — posted at 11:57 a.m. on Jan. 21 — @realDonaldTrump tweeted, “I am honered [sic] to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” (He later deleted the message.)

[Los_Angeles_Times; Los_Angeles,_CA,_US; 2017-02-20]

My New Crush on the Dictionary

I live in the town that was Noah Webster’s birthplace, so perhaps we’re already a little dictionary-happy here. A huge statue of him fronts the downtown Noah Webster branch of the library, and the latest, hippest development in town is called Blue Back Square, in honor of the little blue-back spellers that Webster first published in 1783. Less is known about Charles and George Merriam, whose publishing firm bought the rights to Webster’s dictionary after Webster’s death in 1843, but recent visitors to the company’s Twitter feed have agreed that Merriam makes a delightful baby name.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-02-19]

Grammar doc

Dr. Brian Deady is compelled to correct one of medicine’s most commonly misspelled words

Today, I am paired with a young man who seems bright and keen to learn. He has just done a history and physical examination, his first of the day. I hear his presentation, “Alexa P. is a three-year-old girl, brought by her mother with a one-day history of vomiting and diarrhea.” But what I read on the chart is the word written with a double “t” before the “ing”: vomitting.

[The_Globe_And_Mail; Toronto,_ON,_CA; 2017-02-16]

The Trump administration has a spelling problem. But how bad is it really? We investigate

President Trump’s administration has a spelling problem, and it seems to be getting worse. The latest cringe-worthy gaffe, courtesy of the Education Department, was a double whammy: In a tweet Friday, the agency misspelled the name of the late scholar-activist and NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois. Then it followed up with a correction, with its own glaring error: “Our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.”

[The_Washington_Post; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-02-15]

How Can We Take The Trump Administration Seriously When It Can’t Even Spell Good?

You know it’s gotten bad when the dictionary feels the need to weigh in

In January, less than 24 hours after becoming president, Donald Trump sent out a tweet telling the nation he was ready to lead. He seemed to follow a simple checklist: Tell the constituents they’re awesome. Remind them of your job title. Throw in a few words about honor and service. Easy enough. The 18-word tweet dropped just before noon. “I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” Trump wrote, deterred neither by auto-correct nor the red line that likely appeared under “honered,” imploring him to take closer look.

[Huffington_Post; New_York,_US; 2017-02-14]

What if the President Couldn’t Read?

A rumor has been circulating about our new president’s level of literacy. First suggested (I think) in a blog post for The Times of Israel, the notion that the president not only doesn’t like to read but cannot read above the fifth-grade level of his campaign rhetoric has made the rounds of Samantha Bee, the Daily Kos and other left-wing opinion makers. I am not here to spread that rumor, but to ask what it might mean for our understanding of both this unusual president’s character and the future of any such administration for the chief executive to be functionally illiterate.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; New_York,_US; 2017-02-14]

Americans revolutionised English spelling, but were stopped from going too far

If you get confused about why a common English word is spelt differently – ‘centre’ or ‘center’ – blame the Americans for wanting to be different from their colonial British masters after the 1776 revolution that eventually created the United States. The change in English spelling if [sic] often attributed to Benjamin Franklin – an inventor who described as a ‘Founding Father’ of the US, with his legacy enshrined in the US$100 currency bill and often described as ‘the only president of the United States who was never president of the United States’. His suggestion that English words be spelt the way they are spoken gained much favour in the newly independent nation – but most balked when he proposed to drop some letters like ‘c’, ‘w’, ‘y’ from the alphabet.

[The_Rakyat_Post; Kuala_Lumpur,_MY; 2017-02-14]

WTF? Inauguration Photo Features Embarrassing Trump-Style Misspelling

A challenge “to” great for the Trump administration: spelling

It’s not clear who was responsible for the mistake, and who missed it in proofreading. But Trump has certainly set a tone in his administration as the misspeller in chief. His tweets have been riddled with mistakes, including words like “payed,” big “shoker,” “loose” instead of lose, “big honer,” and “leightweight choker” (referring to Marco Rubio). Possibly everyone’s favorite concerned China’s “unpresidented” seizure in December of a U.S. Navy drone. (It has since been erased from Trump’s site.)

[Huffington_Post; New_York,_US; 2017-02-13]

Forget #alternativefacts — let’s talk about alternative spelling

The quest to Make America Great Again does not include its dictionaries

On Sunday evening, the Library of Congress was forced to pull the $16.95 “Donald Trump Inauguration Print” from its online store after a typo in the pull-quote was widely mocked on social media: “No dream is too big, no challenge is to (sic) great. Nothing we want for the future is beyond our reach.”

[The_Star; Toronto,_ON,_CA; 2017-02-13]

Poor spelling is the latest lightning rod for a divided American public

There’s an unlikely new battlefield in the already divided American public sphere: the defense of proper spelling. The US Department of Education stepped into the minefield this weekend with two typo-ridden tweets, one meant to correct the other.

[Quartz; New_York,_US; 2017-02-12]

A Quarrel Over the Letter ‘K’ Breaks Out in an Unfortunate Place: Kazakhstan

Former Soviet state aspires to ditch its cumbersome 42-letter Cyrillic alphabet in favor of a Latin one—but which letter should represent the nation’s distinctive guttural ‘K’?

[subscription] Almaty, KAZAKHSTAN—Or should that be Almaty, QAZAQSTAN? This Central Asian nation sandwiched between Russia and China is arguing over a surprisingly elemental question: how to spell its name.

[The_Wall_Street_Journal; New_York,_US; 2017-02-10]

New slang: All about the language of ‘The 100,’ from the man who created it

David J. Peterson is the award-winning creator of Dothraki and High Valyrian in “Game of Thrones,” the multiple languages and dialects of “Defiance” and Tarsem Singh’s epic “Emerald City,” and many of the languages of the Marvel cinematic universe

Trigedasleng is the name given to the language that evolved on Earth over about a century and a half from a mix of modern English and a code with mysterious origins. Used exclusively by Trikru at the outset, by the time we meet the Grounders in the show, the language has well outgrown its original circumstances, and become a de facto lingua franca amongst all the Twelve Tribes.

[ScreenerTV; Chicago,_IL,_US; 2017-02-08]

Shoker! Rediculous chocker Trump attaks and dishoners English with ever-dummer spellings

The Trump White House on Monday night, attempting to demonstrate that the media had ignored terrorism, released a list of 78 “underreported” attacks. The list didn’t expose anything new about terrorist attacks, but it did reveal a previously underreported assault by the Trump administration on the conventions of written English. Twenty-seven times, the White House memo misspelled “attacker” or “attackers” as “attaker” or “attakers.” San Bernardino lost its second “r.” “Denmark” became “Denmakr.” [Syndicated to Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, The Chippewa Herald]

[Washington_Post; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-02-07]

How Not to Teach Chinese

In a post written during my bewildering one-week visit to Chongqing I mentioned that my traveling companion had taken several courses in Chinese in college, but not one single time did she turn out to be able to read anything in the Chinese script that helped us get around.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-02-06]

Classic literary texts beats dumb txts

[paywall] THE criticisms surrounding the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority’s Year 9 literacy test based on a text message employing emojis are well deserved. As argued by the Editorial in yesterday’s Courier-Mail: “If we want to dumb down the next generation this is the right way to go.” In addition to being simplistic and more suited to testing primary school children and not Year 9, the emoji test requires minimal comprehension skills. And the sad reality is that the latest incident is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to being simplistic and more suited to testing primary school children and not Year 9, the emoji test requires minimal comprehension skills.

[Courier_Mail; Brisbane,_Queensland,_AU; 2017-02-01]

Kenya: Curriculum Does Not Equip Pupils With Skills - Experts

Only 19 per cent of pupils in Class Five in the country can spell the word "cough" while only 31 per cent in the same class can spell the word "umbrella", a conference heard Monday.

[AllAfrica; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-01-31]

Dear Justine Greening, whatever happened to ‘eradicating illiteracy’?

In 2011 the schools minister trumpeted the benefits of phonics teaching. But a quarter of seven-year-olds’ literacy skills still haven’t made the cut

ack in 2005, the BBC reported David Cameron (you’ll remember him), then shadow education secretary, saying: “The biggest problem facing education today is the fact that one in five 11-year-olds leaves primary school unable to read properly.” Moving forward to 2011, I was at the launch of the Reading Agency’s summer reading challenge, an initiative that encourages children to read books during the summer holidays. One of the speakers was Nick Gibb, then, as now, schools minister. He told us about phonics and said the phonics teaching being rolled out in schools in England would “eradicate illiteracy”.

[The_Guardian; London,_UK; 2017-01-31]

Literacy tests for Year 1s moving closer

Australia's six-year-olds will likely have to show off their counting skills, name shapes and sound out words under a "light touch" test to check their schooling progress

Education Minister Simon Birmingham has appointed a five-person panel to develop the new assessments for Year 1 students. They'll report back to the nation's education ministers in the middle of 2017. Senator Birmingham has been pushing for the skills tests after several studies, including international comparisons, found Australian children were falling behind.

[Education_HQ; Canberra,_AU; 2017-01-30]

How British and American spelling affects the SEO of Australian companies

Do Australians spell more like Brits or Yanks? And why does this matter to your SEO? In this guest post, Matthew Bakmaz explains how to better target your customers through spelling

In one of his career’s most memorable moments, Arnold Schwarzenegger assuaged the fears of a room full of medically astute kindergarten students concerned about his headache by telling them “It’s not a tumor”. While this may have been true for detective John Kimble, it appears that it is not the case for Australians today. Using Hitwise data, we have found that Australians are more likely to use the term ‘tumor’ than they are to use the term ‘tumour’ in their search behaviour.

[Mumbrella; Chippendale,_NSW,_AU; 2017-01-27]

Is English spelling irregular?

I think that English is highly irregular, but when I said so in my first Staffrm piece, John Walker disagreed: “The real problem is training teachers to understand how the English orthographic code is structured conceptually, how the spelling system relates to the sounds of the language ... To the untutored, the English spelling system looks random and chaotic…”

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-01-27]

Should English spelling be modernised?

In my first story ‘A lesson from China’ I mentioned that the adoption of Pinyin had reduced China’s illiteracy rate from 85% to just 5% and suggested that maybe we should also think about using some simpler spellings, like ‘thaut’ and ‘throo’, alongside their tricky traditional versions, to help with learning to read English. – Ten years ago I had done so when helping struggling readers, and it seemed to work well. But then teachers often think that they’ve come up with the best thing since sliced bread….

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-01-27]

A lesson from China

After the recent death of Zhou Youguang, the developer of Pinyin, the alphabetic writing system for teaching to read traditional Chinese characters, several obituaries mentioned how he transformed Chinese literacy levels: before China adopted Pinyin in 1958, its illiteracy rate was 85% - now it's merely 5%. Originally designed for the teaching of reading, Pinyin is now also used for typing on electronic devices and gradually replacing traditional Chinese writing altogether.

[StaffRm; Brighton,_UK; 2017-01-27]

‘But you can’t read’ – English, dyslexia and me

English student Holly Platt-Higgins on why she didn’t read a book cover to cover until the age of 14 and how she discovered literature

As soon as I told family and friends that I was applying to read English at university, I had a stream of concerned comments including ‘but you can’t read’, ‘but you couldn’t spell your own name until you were about 12’, and my sister’s personal favourite, ‘but you’re a leckie-loser’. I suppose I learnt to find the comedy in it – all of these things were true but they didn’t seem to matter. I love my subject, I was determined to study it in the most intense and rewarding environment available to me and, although I can’t spell ‘elixir’ or ‘ephemeral’ or ‘sanguine’, I know what these words mean, I know what they make me feel and on a personal level, and that’s enough. Dyslexia is something other people notice about me – they notice it takes me a long time to read a page and that I haven’t spelt word correctly or that I’ve used a comma in the wrong place – but I don’t. I do not know how not be dyslexic.

[Varsity; Cambridge,_UK; 2017-01-27]

Moving Toward A Better Global Understanding Of Literacy

Make no mistake - raising global literacy levels is a formidable challenge. Today, nearly 17% of the world’s adult population is still not literate. Low literacy and limited language proficiency among parents is the strongest predictor of a child’s ability to thrive academically. With some 775 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills, children are placed in an increasingly untenable position - to act beyond their years and help their families navigate the world. In a year that will continue 2016’s trend of being marked by huge patterns of human migration across the world, the challenge that falls on the shoulders of educationalists is to marry speed and practicality in tackling literacy in a changing world.

[Huffington_Post; UK; 2017-01-26]

Post-Master General blames mass failures in English language on GSM

Mr Adebisi Adegbuyi, Nigeria’s Post-Master General, has blamed the mass failure in English Language, at both local and international examinations, on the advent of mobile communication systems. “ It is worrisome that students cannot spell words correctly; they are more used to short codes and symbols they use in sending Short Message Service (SMS) on their mobile phones,” Adegbuyi said in Jos, on Thursday.

[Vanguard; Apapa_Lagos,_NGA; 2017-01-26]

Spellbound: There’s more to spelling than P’s and Q’s

Ruminations from ‘Elizabeth Snyder, Judge’

Absolute power can be intoxicating. And frightening. As one of the Kenosha Rotary Club volunteers who served as a judge and word pronouncer Monday night at Kenosha Unified School District’s middle school spelling bee, I was told — right there in the official rules — that judges “are in complete control of the competition and their decision is final on all questions.” Luckily, we didn’t have to render any controversial rulings over the more than three hours that students spelled words like pertinacity, castellated, ague and spelt. Yes, spelt. It’s a word; look it up.

[Kenosha_News; Kenosha,_WI,_US; 2017-01-25]

Ar yu awer of the werk of melvil dui?

Mr. Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System for libraries when he was a 21-year-old student at Amherst College in Massachusetts. But another big venture on his part was to simply the spelling of the English language.

[Adirondack_Daily_Enterprise; Saranac_Lake,_NY,_US; 2017-01-21]

Manglish getting more mangled

“Before you cross the strict, use your ase”. Understand that? Not likely, because even Manglish is getting mangled in Malaysia. In case you’re wondering what the sentence means, it was a student wanting to say: “Before you cross the street, use your eyes.” There are other examples. “The school are so many teacher and friend. I can read the book in this school.” “We in deed very conscent of student safety...” and “It is beyond our limit as it held at outside of campus”. The last two were excerpts from a press release from the student representative council of a local university.

[The_Star; Petaling_Jaya,_MY; 2017-01-21]

One country, two systems

The coexistence of pinyin and Chinese characters highlights the role of emotion in language decisions

FEW people live to 111. Fewer still leave as big a mark on linguistic lives as Zhou Youguang, who died on January 14th. Mr Zhou was the chief architect of pinyin, the system that the Chinese use to write Mandarin in the roman alphabet. Pinyin has not, of course, replaced the Chinese characters. Rather, it is used as a gateway to literacy, giving young children a systematic way to learn the sounds of the thousands of characters required to be literate in Chinese. Pinyin is also used by most Chinese people to input Chinese characters into computers: type a word like wo (meaning “I”) and the proper character appears; if several characters share the same sound (which is common in Chinese), users choose from a short menu of these homophonic characters.

[The_Economist; London,_UK; 2017-01-19]

Pinyin: The Story of Zhou Youguang

This is the story of how an “amateur” with courage and passion can change a huge nation and enhance the lives of many millions of ordinary people. Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin, died last Saturday in Beijing. He was 111 (one hundred and eleven)! Here is his story. We can learn a lot from it.

[TIMnovate; Haifa,_IL; 2017-01-17]

Zhou Youguang, whose Pinyin writing system helped modernize China, dies at 111

Zhou Youguang, a onetime Wall Street banker from China who developed Pinyin, a Romanized writing system that has helped more than 1 billion Chinese and countless foreigners learn Mandarin, died Jan. 14 in Beijing, one day after celebrating his 111th birthday. State-run media outlets in China confirmed his death but did not provide additional details. In addition to his contributions to language, Mr. Zhou also survived three years of exile and forced labor to become one of his country’s most outspoken dissidents. Mr. Zhou’s writing system, formally known as Hanyu Pinyin — or “putting sounds together,” as its name is sometimes translated — had a transformative effect on Chinese society.

[The_Washington_Post; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-01-16]

China's Zhou Youguang, father of Pinyin writing system, dies aged 111

Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang, who created the writing system that turns Chinese characters into words using letters from the Roman alphabet, has died aged 111

"We spent three years developing Pinyin. People made fun of us, joking that it had taken us a long time to deal with just 26 letters," he told the BBC in 2012. Before Pinyin was developed, 85% of Chinese people could not read, now almost all can.

[BBC; London,_UK; 2017-01-14]

Zhou Youguang, Architect Of A Bridge Between Languages, Dies At 111

Zhou Youguang, the inventor of a system to convert Chinese characters into words with the Roman alphabet, died Saturday at the age of 111. Since his system was introduced nearly six decades ago, few innovations have done more to boost literacy rates in China and bridge the divide between the country and the West.

[National_Public_Radio; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-01-14]

Being a good speller has its advantages

“Spelling is diffcolt, chalangin, er, hard!” — Anonymous

[limited access] Seemingly there is a reform movement underway to change the English language as we know it and to reform the spelling of difficult English words to be spelled more phonetically. Instead of spelling the word enough as we do there would instead be preferred spellings of something like “enuff.” Where were these people back when most of us spent arduous nights at home learning how to spell words that made absolutely no sense at all in their correct spelling?

[News_and_Tribune; Jeffersonville,_IN,_US; 2017-01-14]

Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111

Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media reported. He was 111.

[The_New_York_Times; New_York,_US; 2017-01-14]

Chinese Linguist Zhou Youguang Dies at 111

Zhou’s Pinyin system of Chinese has virtually become the global standard

[subscription] Zhou Youguang, a linguist considered the father of modern China’s Pinyin Romanization system, died Saturday at the age of 111.

[Wall_Street_Journal; New_York,_US; 2017-01-14]

Sorry Guardian - You Get An F minus for linguistics

The Guardian, or as it is more affectionately known to its readers, The Grauniad, seems to think that it takes a native Russian speaker to write 'f' as 'ph'

Any English person with a good education would, on hearing over the telephone the business name 'Alfa', write it down as 'Alpha'. That is the normal English spelling, not only in England, but in many countries. It is the favoured spelling of 'Alpha and Omega' in the Bible. In the respected opinion of my good friend Google the 'ph' version is more common than the 'f' version.

[Science_2.0; US; 2017-01-13]

Tpyos vs. Mispelings: a Presidential Matter

Today I’m obsessed with the difference between typos and misspellings. Why? Because the storm of tweets sent out by our president-elect reveals an unusual number of orthographic oddities.

[The_Chronicle_of_Higher_Education; Washington,_DC,_US; 2017-01-10]

Do YOU have spelling OCD? Only the most pedantic of English language perfectionists will score full marks on this tricky test

• A new quiz from Playbuzz claims those who score full marks have spelling OCD • Users will be asked to select the correct spelling of a word from 2-3 options • Those who score 13 or above are said to be obsessive when it comes to spelling

We all know someone who is a real stickler for spelling and grammar happy to point out the smallest mistakes to their friends and family. However, this quiz is set to determine those who can spot a misspelled word from those who are obsessive about spelling. Devised by Playbuzz, the latest quiz claims that those who score full marks have 'spelling OCD'.

[Daily_Mail; London,_UK; 2017-01-09]

Urdu orthography: history, reforms and some unresolved issues

URDU orthography, or imla, has long been a bone of contention. And the root cause is the lack of standardisation and unification. For certain words Urdu lacks, let’s face it, orthographic standards that can be agreed upon by all and sundry. As a result one can find common words spelt differently in different publications and it can be confusing and frustrating for students. The main culprits, I am sorry to say, are Urdu newspapers and magazines. The editorial staff of most of the Urdu newspapers and magazines is generally indifferent to key issues relating to language, such as orthography and usage.

[Dawn; Karachi,_PK; 2017-01-09]

Your English Is So Good!

Whenever I declared that I was born in a non-English speaking country and lived there until middle school, I frequently got the response, "But, your English is so good!" As if speaking in English was the only mark of intelligence or education.

[Huffington_Post; CA; 2017-01-09]

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