Long live the dictionary
Next time you update your Facebook status or send off an email without checking for spelling errors, think of the children and pick up a hard cover dictionary.
A recent study by the University of Manchester has found that thanks to our predilection for communicating online, we’re raising an entire generation of bad spellers:
“The increasing use of variant spellings on the internet has been brought about by people typing at speed in chatrooms and on social networking sites where the general attitude is that there isn’t a need to correct typos or conform to spelling rules, “ said Lucy Jones, the author of the study.
“We are now witnessing the effect these linguistic variations are having on children born into the computer age with such a high level of access in and out of schools. They do not question their existence.”
Approximately 66 per cent of the control group (aged between 18-24) said they expected dictionaries to contain variant spellings while only 22 per cent said they would not be confident in writing an important email without referring to a dictionary or spell checker.
And there lies the problem.
A quick Google search or spell check (for those who bother) might be a fast and accessible way of checking your work but it does have it downfalls. For instance, how many times have you been blindsided by three or four versions of the same word on a Google search and ended up using the wrong one anyway?
Living online is also making us lazy.
There was an interesting piece in American website Associated Content earlier this year predicting the end of the importance of spelling and “learning by rote” .
The author, Todd McCall, argues that abbreviations, predictive text and browser prompts that help us tease out the word we are looking for without taking the Collins off the shelf is a positive development:
“Rather than spending hours or days researching at a library, producing a draft and carefully editing it with a fine tooth comb, we now have a growing portion of the sum of human knowledge at our fingertips and the software available to quickly process the information and spend the majority of our energy on creative thought.”
But there is huge satisfaction in physically searching for a word.
One of my lecturers at university told us she spent the weekends of her student years hunched over the kitchen table with the weekend papers highlighting every single word she didn’t understand, looking it up in the dictionary and writing the definition on a notepad beside her.
Not only was she convinced that this had made her an incredibly confident speller it also increased her appreciation and knowledge of language as each dictionary search inevitably leads to casting your eye over a whole host of synonyms, anonyms and other words on your way down the page.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…