Vs. Alternate Spellings

Posted: June 21, 2012 in Language
Tags: , , , , , ,

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…

adorable, bath, bubbles, cute, hedgehog

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.

  1. claudiagrant says:

    I have read, and enjoyed, many of your posts. But I kept drifting back to the picture away from the text to go ‘awwww’. It really was distracting, mission accomplished. And I don’t normally go for the cutesy pictures and most animals give me the creeps. I can’t remember anything this post said, I just keep going ‘awwww a hedgehog getting a bubble bath’. Really boring pictures next time to keep my focus on the text. Maybe a frowny face that says ‘hey! get back to reading!’

  2. speaker7 says:

    LOLZ or LOL or LMAOROF or LLOF (Lightly Laughing On Fire). See text-speak also has many alternateeves.

  3. heathersnyder1 says:

    I agree with Claudia about the cute hedgehog picture…awww!!! I gave a few bubble baths to hedgehogs at the veterinary hospital. Freakin’ adorable.
    And, I love speaker7’s LLOF- Lightly Laughing on Fire text-speak.
    I love the old way of spelling- theatre instead of theater. But, I slip up sometimes and use both spellings…in the same paragraph…which is wrong…so wrong.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Claudia – Good advice. Perhaps I should just pick a really cute font in the future.

      Speaker – Not you too. Wut iz the werld comin two?

      Heather – Who hasn’t given a hedgehog a bubble bath…other than almost all of us…now Brit vs. American spelling, that’s another issue entirely…

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