Random Thoughts Indexed

Spelling counts?

It certainly does. Do you really think it is possible to communicate clearly while ignoring the basic conventions? There are so many ways to express your uniqueness with correctly spelled words, assembled into coherent, clear sentences. Let's all try to do that first, then worry whether or not we are such geniuses that we need to invent new idioms, new sentence structures, and new spellings for posterity.

A very weak argument could be made for some sort of creative phonetic spelling, I suppose, but two issues arise in English that render the point moot. One, due to the English language's success over the last few centuries, is that the vocabulary is loaded with homonyms. The other, more of a current issue related to its present almost universal usage, is that accents destroy phonetics.

Well, who needs universal usage for that problem to crop up? My friend who lives 70 miles from me was busily explaining to me that the HTML tag "<BR>" stood for "brick" had to repeat the word about seven times before I realized he was saying "break". Too late, I think it means brick now. Of course he has also poked more than a few needles into my pronunciation from time to time.

Now there have certainly been times when the most sublime authors in the history of literature have generated many, many new "rules" by breaking the old ones. The inventors of convention certainly didn't let convention get in their way, did they? But are you so sure of your clumsy spelling and creaky grammar that you want to claim the mantle of Shakespeare, Joyce, or Kerouac, before we even get a chance to figure out what you are rambling on about?

Remember, you might just be illiterate...

11/28/99

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© Huw Powell
humanthoughts.org

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