Today I got an opportunity to open up the issue of Wired that has been sitting on my desk for a week or so now. I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off so reading hasn’t exactly made it to the top of my priority list. However, I finally managed to crack the pages open and consume some of the content.
I’m sure the anal retentive among you are now wondering why I used such a ridiculous title for this blog post. Well, today I was greeted with an interesting editorial by Anne Trubek in Wired that made the argument that our infatuation with correct spelling is antiquated and should be left behind. (In my mind I picture some of my readers visibly cringing at that thought. I did.) As one might expect, I do not agree with Ms. Trubek on this issue.
She argues, “Standardized spelling enables readers to understand writing, to aid in communication and ensure clarity. Period. There is no additional reason, other than snobbery, for spelling rules.”
She goes on to claim that text messaging, and presumably other digital forms of communication as well, are closer to speaking than writing and that enforcing spelling rules in these mediums is a practice should be abandoned. I can’t speak for Trubek, but when I press the little buttons with letters on them corresponding letters appear on the screen. Seems an awful lot like writing (or typing) to me. Which, if I’m not mistaken, would make that a written form of communication?
If we can all agree that I’m writing, then what is the real point here? Certainly, Trubek, you’ve come up with some ingenious logic to support why it makes sense to sacrifice this clarity in the English language. Surely there’s some research or some formidable argument that would give a skeptic such as myself pause for thought on this issue, right?
Trubek writes, “We need a new set of tools that recognize more variations instead of rigidly enforcing outdated dogma. Let’s make our own rules. It’s not like the English language has many good ones anyway.”
Oh, so you just don’t like English spelling rules. Consider me underwhelmed at your argument.
Correct spelling and punctuation may be cumbersome on a mobile device, and honestly I generally don’t care if someone uses abbreviations in a mobile setting. However, spelling is anything but “outdated dogma” that we should throw to the wayside, and writing, real writing, isn’t going anywhere at any point in the foreseeable future. Finally, I personally intend to continue spelling out words in my text messages. Does saying that make me a bit of a snob? Well, even if it does, at least I’m a snob who will be understood.
Finally finally, because this is entirely relevant: