Phonetic Spelling Plan: Education for Idiots, by Idiots!

According to Associated Press writer Darlene Superville, the American Literacy Council wants to change English so that all words are spelled phonetically (click here for complete article).

Notwithstanding the errors of fact by ALC spokesman Alan Mole, who argues in favor of phonetic spelling (did you know German is a phonetically spelled language? Try Kreuz or Sie), if this is the best answer the education elite can come up with to improve our kids’ reading and writing skills, we’re in a heap o’ trouble.

Generation after generation, the native-born and the immigrant – when sufficiently motivated – have managed to master basic English. What we really need is a reaffirmation of high standards and personal discipline, maintained by parents and teachers who value real achievement over unearned “self-esteem.”

This is no small thing the Council is talking about. Words get much of their meaning from their prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Superville quotes Professor Donald Bear, director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno, who objects to the plan. He says:

Students come to understand how meaning is preserved in the way words are spelled.

Simply put, the entire purpose of language is the communication of meaning. The ALC plan obliterates key components of the way meaning is communicated.

Education by idiots, and for idiots, will create legions of idiots. People can learn how to spell and read our common language – if they can be protected from crackpot theorists like the American Literacy Council.

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Published in: on July 6, 2006 at 11:02 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh my gosh! I just finally got to where I can spell without using a dictionary. Really now! English may not be the easiest language to learn but is certainly isn’t the most difficult.
    Why don’t we just focus on teaching the language, not changing it? What are we talking about here? A lot of new books. Training teachers to teach the new phonetic spelling. Teaching parents so they can help their children. It sounds like another expensive proposition that will turn out to be a waste of time. Chances are, it won’t work and we’ll end up going back to the way it is now. I’m not sure I can afford another property tax increase to pay for this little venture.

  2. Hey sykomother, good points.
    I also thought of a few more problems, like what if somebody has an accent, or speaks in a regional dialect? Whose idea of how a word should be pronounced determines what is “phonetic?” Can someone from Boston read what is written by a person from Texas? Under this system, I’m not so sure! Would a person have to state their country of origin or home state before we could read what they wrote? It just gets sillier and sillier.


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