Here’s the deal. The English language is difficult enough without some words having multiple spellings. I’ve taught many a child how to spell and it goes a little something like this, “When you find these two letters together they’ll make this sound except for sometimes when they’ll make a completely different sound for no good reason whatsoever.”
We teach, for example, that the letters “ou” makes the “ow” sound, as in the words loud, noun, south and many others. And then, as soon as the student understands, we hit them with the words tough, dough, cough, and through.
“It usually makes the ‘ow’ sound,” we backtrack, “but, apparently it can also make the long ‘o’ sound, the short ‘u’ sound and pretty much randomly make any other darned sound it wants.”
“So,” the patient student queries, “When followed by ‘gh,’ it makes different sounds?”
And that’s when you introduce them to “bough,” and we’re right back where we started.
At which point both student and teacher curl into the fetal position and rock back and forth on top of their dictionaries.
I could go on and on about how each letter combination in our language has a rule as to what sound it makes…and then has way too many exceptions to this rule. But I fear that more examples would be very, very boring…so I’ll just do what all of the really popular, unbearable baby talk websites do and distract you with a picture of an adorable hedgehog taking a bubble bath…
But back to my point. Our language is tricky enough as is. We’ve got to get rid of words that have alternate spellings. Currently, we could write…
That nosy blonde in the gray sweater canceled her doughnut order and got some barbecue.
And it would be no different that writing…
That nosey blond in the grey sweater cancelled her donut order and got some barbeque.
That’s messed up, right? That’s six words in one sentence that we can spell two different ways. How is anyone supposed to teach that? Is it mood based spelling? Just spell it how it feels right? Well I, for one, won’t stand for it. It’s time we make up our minds, people. Let’s put every word with two spellings on the ballot this fall and have a vote. Most popular spelling wins (sorry, “grey”) and we’ll amend our reference material accordingly.
And if the only thing that brought you to my blog was the overwhelming cuteness of the above photo, then you are already accustomed to coming up with your own alternate spellings of common words in your unreadable texts and your annoying lolspeak. I want you and your friends to stop immediately. If you don’t understand, allow me to rephrase today’s topic in your language, “I can haz alternit spillings?”
No, you can’t.