Spelling mistakes in note about spellings!

(79 Posts)
mrssmiling Thu 03-Oct-13 09:25:10

DS brought home a note about 'Spelling Practise' asking us to 'practice spellings with you're child.'
Do I say anything or just feel shock at the teacher's own spelling mistakes?
Has anyone else had similar mistakes in letters from school?

EBearhug Sat 05-Oct-13 00:44:22

I gave a presentation today, where I had a slide where I'd put principle, when it should have been principal. I am pretty confident that no one else noticed, and I corrected it before I made the training materials available afterwards.

But *I* knew.

BreconBeBuggered Sat 05-Oct-13 00:53:57

I really, really don't think the mistakes referred to in the OP were the carefully-considered offerings of spelling reformists.

friday16 Sat 05-Oct-13 01:36:41

I think we are stuck with the rules as they do matter to lots of the people who can already read.

In reality, the only purpose spelling reform provides is something to laugh at on a slow day. They can no more alter the language than they can make water be other than wet. They have been proposing various absurd schemes for a century (see the preposterous "English Spelling Society" website) and in the manner of all cults, they split and fall out with each other with furious abandon; there are almost as many reform schemes as there are reformers. They have achieved precisely and exactly nothing: not a single spelling has changed because of their futile work.

It is entertaining to ask them how they think their ideas would be deployed. They usually propose enforced change in schools, ignoring the problems of ITA. These included the inability of parents to write and in some cases read in the new spelling, and therefore unable to help with education (which was bad enough in the "teacher knows best" sixties, impossible now), the issue of regional accents, and most importantly the fact that employers would favour people who can read and write "properly" and therefore schools would tend to continue to use "traditional" spellings in order to help their pupils secure jobs. The new spellings would also make British writers look illiterate to everyone outside Britain ("One such danjer zone is th spelng of names, of both peple and places. Let us look at a smal sampl of english place names, and imajn we hav to telefone details of an itinry to a foren visitr"); comparisons with Webster's changes to US spelling are silly, as they are about one percent as invasive and still evoke mild amusement from British users nearly two centuries later. Changes to British English in the 21st century would be completely ignored by the USA, China and the Commonwealth, and would just make us look stupid.

But they take themselves so seriously that it is fun to stand back and laugh at all that wasted effort. They print utter nonsense, such as the claim that "23% of adults are illiterate" (true figure: around 1% of adults in the UK) and their claque of supporters think that it constitutes a grown-up argument. 100 years. Absolutely no progress whatsoever. Just think of the model railway layout the same effort could have constructed.

Mashabell Sat 05-Oct-13 06:44:45

Breatheslowly
It matters and practice/practise is quite easy to get right once you know it follows the same rule as advice/advise.

'Practice/practise' is far more difficult than 'advice/advise', because the latter are pronounced differently, but 'practice/practise' sound identical, just like
'to/a notice' and
'to/a promise'.

They are also part of the much bigger highly unpredictable unstressed endings mess of -is/ -ise/ -ice / -ace/ -ess ....:

Analysis, axis, basis, bronchitis, chrysalis, crisis, emphasis, hypothesis, iris, oasis, pelvis, proboscis, synthesis, tennis, tonsillitis, trellis.

A practice/to practise(in UK), apprentice, armistice, coppice, crevice, justice, notice, novice, office, precipice, service.
Menace, necklace, palace, surface, terrace. Lettuce.
Premise, promise.

Atlas, canvas, Christmas, pampas, pyjamas.
Purchase. Purpose, tortoise.
Carcass, compass, embarrass, trespass.
Abscess, access, congress, cypress, fortress, mattress, process, progress, recess, harness, witness.
(cf. confess, distress, success)
If used only for showing stressed short vowels, the doubling of s could be very helpful to learners. Using it willy nilly is pointless.

Mashabell Sat 05-Oct-13 06:50:32

As I mentioned before, the complete pointlessness of the 'practice/practise' distinction is confirmed by the fact that its abolition has caused no problems whatsoever in the US.

Mashabell Sat 05-Oct-13 07:15:14

Friday
not a single spelling has changed because of their futile work.

Not true. It was entirely due to the efforts of spelling reformers like John Hart and Richard Mulcaster that in the 17th C hundreds of words were shorn of surplus letters added by printers (inne, hadde, olde, worlde, shoppe...) in the 16th C.

These things take time, and seeing education as an entitlement for all is historically still a very new thing. The education act came in in 1870 but quite a few people still believe even now that exluding the bottom 20% of the ability range from it is perfectly o.k. and are happy to have a spelling system which does so.

I am sure it will happen eventually. I will certainly keep pointing out the inconsistencies of English spelling, and the learning difficulties and costs they incur, for as long as I am able to. The internet has made it much easier to educate people about them.

friday16 Sat 05-Oct-13 07:25:22

but 'practice/practise' sound identical

So what? The reduction of all homophones to a single spelling is your objective, but one you have singularly failed to convince anyone is actually a workable solution to an extant problem.

Is anyone crying out for "Dhis komunikashon uzes dhe LOJIKON system of English spelling"? What about "MENY peepl wil noe dout taek it for graanted dhat eniwun huu haz maed fonetiks hiz profeshon wil, az a mater ov kors, be in faevor ov speling Inglish (and indeed aul langgwejez) fonetikaly. It iz dhaerfor wurth whiel pointing out tuu noetabl fakts, (1) dhat meny foenetishanz ar not speling reformers, and (2) dhat a good orthografy kanot be rigorusly fonetik."

Masha might think that Britain's health and happiness would be improved by writing utter nonsense like ""Aul eduekaetorz ar agreed dhat dhe soe-kauld 'disiplin' ov lurning to spel iz not oenly wurthles, but harmfool. Dhe graet objekt ov eduekaeshon (on dhe intelektueal sied) iz to teech dhe chield to uez hiz reezon; but in lurning speling he haz to hoeld hiz reezon in abaäns, for it iz flouted at evry step. Az for 'braeking hiz miend,' az U sae, ar dhaer not plenty ov uesfool and rashonal subjekts which aford ampl oportuenity for mental jimnastiks?" (loving the aa with a diaeresis mark for, I guess, abeyance: I'm sure it's more logical really hmm). But just think: a hundred years. Not a spelling changed.

friday16 Sat 05-Oct-13 07:37:02

The education act came in in 1870 but quite a few people still believe even now that exluding the bottom 20% of the ability range from it is perfectly o.k. and are happy to have a spelling system which does so.

I hope you have a good smoke alarm. All those straw men must be flammable.

Rates of adult illiteracy in the UK are around 1% and falling. Dyslexia has many causes, not all (perhaps not even most) fixable by any sort of spelling reform. For example, given the success of coloured overlays and other means to reduce visual stress, it's ludicrous to suggest that children who are helped by such visual aids would be helped by changing spelling (especially to a fiddly system involving diaeresis marks). No-one, other than those eighteen century tutors in your ludicrous chronology, is "happy" about poor language acquisition: it's just that we don't think your mess of incoherent proposals form a solution to a problem.

"Our furst step must be to drau a distinkshon which dhe eesthetisists (if I mae soe kaul dhem) habituealy oeverlook. Dhaer plee iz not singgl, but dubl; dhae argue sumtiemz for dhe puer buety, and sumtiemz for dhe ekspresivnes, ov dhe kurrent speling, widhout (apaerently) realiezing dhe diferens. But a diferens dhaer iz, kleer and esenshal. Boeth pleez, or iedher plee, mae be valid or invalid; but dhae ar not wun and dhe saem plee. Let us konsider dhem in dhe order staeted."

So much better, I think. "drau" for draw, "dhaer" for there. What's the phonetic value of "d" again? What on earth does "iedher" mean? Is "the" a difficult word for learners that needs a new spelling to improve literacy?

Mashabell Sun 06-Oct-13 06:59:15

Rates of adult illiteracy in the UK are around 1% and falling.
Not acc. to Sir Moser's report of 1999. It estimated that 22%, or 7 million adults were 'functionally illiterate'. US stats on this are due out later this month again.

There is no sign that things are getting any better. In the last SATs for Yr6 1/4 pupils failed to achieve the expected level in English, i.e. the level which is good enough to cope adequately with secondary schooling.

They will improve a little during their time in secondary, but most of those who start secondary in the 'functionally illiterate' category leave in it as well.

friday16 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:13:01

Not acc. to Sir Moser's

I define "functional illiteracy" to mean "inability to use the correct for of address for someone with a Knighthood.

miffybun73 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:18:17

I had exactly the same thing OP and just ignored. I was a bit shock though.

It's really not that difficult.

My Mum taught me a good way of remembering when I was still at primary school.

C comes before S in the alphabet. N(noun) comes before V (verb) so C for noun and S for verb. Hope that makes sense.

My point with advise/advice is that you just learn the rule that practise/practise follow the same endings as advise/advice. I know that advise/advise sound different, you need that to get the mnemonic to work.

friday16 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:04:13

My point with advise/advice is that you just learn the rule

It's fairly obvious from the sound that the verb form is s: "I would like to advise you of a problem" is clearly not said to rhyme with lice or nice, and the Americans have kept the distinction precisely because they are not homophones. And likewise, when you say "I would like to give you some advice", there are aren't many words ending -ise which are pronounced to rhyme with nice. In the case of practice and practise they might have slightly different stress in some accents, but they basically sound the same (or at least very similar); advice and advise are not remotely homophones, in any accent.

Floggingmolly Sun 06-Oct-13 11:16:16

That's fascinating, Marsha!

MiaowTheCat Sun 06-Oct-13 12:26:06

We had an English teacher who made us jump up and down while chanting "c for the noun, s for the verb"... would probably have people up in arms these days objecting to that - but it didn't half wedge it in our brains for future years! (Although not if you read some of my former school friends' facebook statuses which make me cringe as I know they can spell if they try...)

I'd just have a word with the teacher in a "just don't want someone who will make absolute hell-on about this to be the one to point it out" kind of way. I'd be fine with someone pulling me up on an error I'd made if it was me.

cazzybabs Sun 06-Oct-13 12:29:18

advice and advise is how I remember ... still helps to be able to work out when you need the verb and when you need the noun

AnneEyhtMeyer Sun 06-Oct-13 12:44:10

I remember that "ice" is a noun, so practice is the noun.

friday16 Sun 06-Oct-13 16:05:25

The problem with rules about "ice" (or "fence") being nouns is that that neither is exactly uncommon as a verb.

Mashabell Sun 06-Oct-13 17:53:53

We had an English teacher who made us jump up and down while chanting "c for the noun, s for the verb"...

Does it not cross your mind even now, MiaowTheCat, that having to resort to such ridiculous mnemonics is incredibly sad? - That the people who invented the distinction were perhaps slightly mad?

Does not apply to 'notice' and 'service'.

Friday, 'the rule' that I am referring to is not for how to remember advice/advise, as you say they don't sound the same, you don't need a rule to remember them. It is an aide to remembering practice/practise. It does rely on you knowing that there are two spellings (practice/practise) and then thinking 'practice/practise follow the same pattern as advice/advise'. I.e. ice is the noun and ise is the verb.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 06-Oct-13 20:52:58

I am an excellent speller. Vety good. But I didn't realise I had been confusing practice/practise until this year. I am 44 blush

I'd appreciate you gently pointing it out, rather than seeing it as a failing representative of the demise of modern education as we know it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 06-Oct-13 20:53:16

Vety vety good grin

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 06-Oct-13 20:54:49

The apostrophe mistake is inexcusable though! wink

Mashabell Mon 07-Oct-13 09:49:40

'Advice - advise', 'devise - device' are pronounced differently and therefore their different spelling make perfect sense.

Hundreds of verb/noun pairs get by with just one spelling (work, play, act, jump, trick...), as do notice, promise, service.

The practice/practise distinction is completely pointless. British English should follow the American example and abolish it. I am going to start practicing what I preach on this one.

It is completely idiotic to have different spellings for identical words, while making 110 pairs of different words get by with just one spelling:

Lead, read, tear; bow, row, sow; abuse, excuse, use, close, house; mass bass;
buffet, live, minute, mouth, pasty, Polish/ polish, pussy, second, slough, wind, wound;

content, frequent, invalid, perfect, attribute, commune, compact, compound, concert, concrete, conduct, conflict, conscript, console, consort, construct, contest, contract, contrast, converse, convert, convict, defect, desert, digest, discharge, entrance, escort, export, extract, fragment, impact, implant, incense, insult, insert, invalid, object, pasty, permit, present, produce, progress, project, prospect, protest, rebel, rebound, recall, record, refund, refuse, reject, relay, slaver, subject, survey, suspect, torment, transfer, transport;

advocate, alternate, appropriate, approximate, articulate, associate, co-ordinate, degenerate, delegate, deliberate, designate, desolate, dictate, duplicate, elaborate, estimate, graduate, intimate, laminate, moderate, separate, subordinate, syndicate, triplicate.

friday16 Mon 07-Oct-13 10:11:11

British English should follow the American example and abolish it.

For practice purposes it has.

But you really do need to put your childhood in Stalinist Lithuania aside. How, roughly, do you believe that "British English" can "abolish" something? On whose say-so? Enforced by whom? To reify, indeed personify, a language into something that can either abolish things itself, or can be acted upon directly to change by administrative fiat is, to use the delicate language you would use, mad and idiotic.

Do you think government can pass acts of parliament? Issues orders in council? Even in the days of "the man in Whitehall knows best" your ideas have been rebuffed whenever put forward: today, parents would refuse to have their children taught incorrect "reformed" spelling, and no school would dare try it. The Spelling Society could put its money where its mouth is and open a school that doesn't teach reading of English, rather teaches some made up crap (^MENY peepl wil noe dout taek it for graanted dhat eniwun huu haz maed fonetiks hiz profeshon wil, az a mater ov kors, be in faevor ov speling Inglish (and indeed aul langgwejez) fonetikaly. It iz dhaerfor wurth whiel pointing out tuu noetabl fakts, (1) dhat meny foenetishanz ar not speling reformers, and (2) dhat a good orthografy kanot be rigorusly fonetik.^) and see how many parents want to disadvantage their children by making sure they can only read a tiny number of pamphlets written by nutters (who also, of course, don't agree with each other about spelling anyway).

Practice vs practise is a distinction that is falling from use because it services no practical purpose other than pissing off spelling reformers . That's how language changes in the modern world: over time, standard usage changes. Howling at the moon doesn't speed that process. Your organisation was laughed at in 1933. Eighty years later, the answer is the same.

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