Spell it RightAugust 17, 2007
I think I used to have impeccable (does this have a single c?) spelling skills. People used to ask me about the spellings of difficult words, and I would give them strings of letters that were as canon as your Webster’s Dictionary. But these “difficult” words were, however, difficult only at the age level we were in. I’m not so sure if I could spell words that people in my age level consider “difficult”.
I think I may have regressed to the level of some Americans. I do not generalize all Americans, but many of the Americans I’ve known have bad spelling skills. I think it’s because their spelling usually does not follow the sound of their language. Take “light” as an example. Had English readers not been preconditioned to read it as “lyt”, they would be pronouncing it as “lig-h-t” today. Then what about “plaque”, “char”, and “lead”? And who didn’t have a hard time reconciling “o-n-e” to sound like the number “1”. Plus there are a myriad of these words in the English language!
I blame the call centers for degrading my spelling skills. I think learning “proper” American accent caused me to confuse words and their spellings. Earlier at class, I was stumped by a question in the quiz. I knew the answer was endothelium, but I didn’t know whether it was spelled as “endothilium” or “endothelium”. I replaced one word with the other several times before settling to write the confusing letter as a cross between an i and an e. Besides, my chicken scratch could be interpreted in a million “correct” ways.
Then there was this exam later that day. I had to explain the functions of synarthrosis, amphiarthrosis, and diarthrosis. By the way, the types of joints classified according to the degree of movement that they allow. I knew that synarthrosis are immovable; amphiarthrosis are slightly movable, and diarthrosis are freely movable. I just wasn’t sure if movable was spelled as “moveable” or “movable”. I wrote the confusing word several times on inconspicuous* sides of the paper, and promptly erasing them by overwriting them with random text so as not to tarnish my spelling reputation. It wouldn’t be right for others to doubt my “skills”. Thankfully, I intuitively* settled on the latter spelling, the correct one.
Yet as I was writing this blog, I made a startling discovery. I saw a few stray red lines running beneath some words. So it could not have been the American accent that is degenerating my spelling skills, it could only have been the good old spell checker. I have been so dependent on the bugger that it completely crossed my mind that I’ve even forgotten of its ubiquitous* presence*. Perhaps degenerating spelling skills is a natural product of technology, but I refuse to give in to it. After all, manual written exams still require proper spelling.
*Words I may or may not have spelled correctly before Spell Checker warned me. 😛