Why can't people spell anymore?


Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 298
Registered: Sep-04
I know this is off topic, but have all the American school teachers been on strike since 1990 or something?


Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 121
Registered: Nov-04
its becuase of micsoroft wrod sepll chek

Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 122
Registered: Nov-04
haha....i am sorry about that. i could name a great number of things that are impacting american education but it is alittle off topic. unless other people dont mind discussing it here, though it still would be out of place.

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 302
Registered: Sep-04
Yes, it may seem a litle of topik, Kristofer, but it may help us 2 unnerstande there kweshtuns better.

The problem as I perseeve it is the damm mobile fone txting.


The child-centric self esteem based programs started to predominate in America in the 1980's, pushed by left wing teacher's unions and far left graduate education schools. The idea was that by correcting Johnny's spelling, it would hurt his "self-esteem." Part of this trend included social promotions (advancement to next grade w/o meeting standards), elimination of group tracking programs whereby students of equal apitude were put in same classroom together, cluster seating whereby Johnny could now avoid making misstakes in front of the entire class.

Whole language methodology was used to teach reading and writing, basically the idea that students learned from groups of words in context only, with no more rote memorization, and with spelling deemed unimportant in the initial learning phase.

All of the above of course proved a disaster, and probably explains why probably 70% of american high school graduates don't know for example that the words "to" and "too" have very different meanings.

Many states out of desperation have now moved to so-called "high stakes testing" which require students to pass a minimal competency test to graduate from high school. However the standards are so low and the waivers so common, there is some doubt whether even this can solve the problem.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Teaching a child to mark "to" and "too" as merely different words on a test will not teach them to think of the words differently nor to understand the implications of the two words. The anonymous writer portrays left wing and far left influences as the destructive forces in American education but offers no proof of those statements. By parroting simplistic ideas wrapped in even more simplistic words, Anonymous is indicative of what is happening to American schools as a culture of intolerance tries to drag education, and much of American life, back one hundred years. Blaming the other side is not the solution even if it makes the writer feel some level of self importance. Opening the discussion to include those doing the work on a daily basis, those left wing teacher's unions, might be more beneficial than laying blame at their feet. Taking the solution away from policy makers with political motivations will do more to solve this problem than Anonmymous would care to admit.

Possibly this article will please Anonymous since it disturbs me.


Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 123
Registered: Nov-04
Well since people feel open to talk about this i guess I will give my take on it. I think one major fault of US education is the standards set for becoming a teacher. Legislators had to lower the GPA requirement to a C average so that we can have enough teachers in the schools teaching. Sadly that puts way to many unqualified people in the public schools teaching something that they do not understand themselves. technically, president bush could have become a teacher and being a Yale graduate would have landed a pretty good salary. frankly that scares me. The other thing that bothers me is that public schools require teachers to have a teaching degree just to be a middle school teacher. this makes it impossible for Ph D or Masters degree graduates with no teaching degrees, but desires to teach and knowledge to convey material, to teach in public schools where qualified teachers are needed most. The other major problem i see is the parents of the children in schools. most of them lack the skills to pass high school equivalency exams or lack the desire to make sure their children are learning things correctly. J. Vigne, I read that article and it makes me think if it is really our job and the president's job to worry about the world's problems first, or our own problems first. I thought it would be appropriate to actually capitalize my letters this time. Varney, I would put more blame to AOL Instant Messenger and online chatting than text messaging.

Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert


Post Number: 84
Registered: Jan-05

What's the problem?

There is only one form of English, and her name is Elizabeth. You might remember her little island from history lessons, then again probably not...

Nuff said dudes, c u l8er :-)

(Oh and just who the hell IS will smith.., Friends..? Pah! Gimme strength perlease :-):-))


High-stakes testing has become a last resort in american schools and the quote which equates a lack of basic literacy with "merely different words on a test" explains to outsiders the depth of the problem we are dealing with in the United States.

All should read this quote very carefully:

"Teaching a child to mark "to" and "too" as merely different words on a test will not teach them to think of the words differently nor to understand the implications of the two words."

The proof of the failure of the public schools over the past few decades is in the results, results so bad that even people from other countries have taken notice, in this case someone from the United Kingdom.

The reality is the so-called "critical thinking" approach while great in theory has one major flaw. If children fail to master the basics, they will lack the context to build upon when actually called upon to develop true thinking skills. The end result unfortunately is students lacking BOTH the basics AND the higher level critical thinking skills necessary for most high skilled jobs today.

"Educators" (as teachers refer to themselves) often see mere facts as unimportant, not worth the student's time, as such students they believe should be thinking about more important things.

Of course facts can be more than facts. For example, if a student doesn't know what the basic elements of the NEW DEAL (FDR's social programs in the 1930's) were and when if occured, how can they intelligently write an essay on the benefits and detriments of modern american social programs w/o having the context to present their ideas? Multiply this by 1000's of "facts" they failed to master, and its no wonder so few high school graduates can write a basic essay.

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 306
Registered: Sep-04
I agree with Anonymous here. I'm afraid it's not a simple matter of whether they know the difference between two similar sounding, but differently spelled words, but more about making sure they have a grass-roots understanding of the language they will use later on to express with and learn additional material through.

You cannot hope to make the addition of two or more numbers more convenient by changing the result because to do so would destroy the entire logic of the mathematical equation. Too many people do not see the importance of the fact that a sentence can have it's logic compromised by a misused word. 'To' means one thing and 'Too' means another. The fact that human reasoning can overcome this illogical sentence to make sense of it is irrelevant. How many rrrr's I put in irrrrelevant is actually of less importance and can still make the word correct in it's context, whether or not there's a typo in, or a temporary mental block on the spelling of a word.

Let us also not forget that those who's limited undertstanding of language structure will make what educated people write appear complicated - ("Too many big words, man!"). One result being they may prefer a tabloid to a real newspaper because it is easy to read. One of the first things you do if you want to keep your population under control is keep them misinformed. Go one better and deny them the mental tools to decipher and analyse language and you have a lovely recipe for 'powdered sheep'. Just add bullsh|t and watch 'em grow.



J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

High stakes testing has become nothing more than another political tool. I've seen the results of education reform in the No Child Left Behind fashion since 1994 in Texas. We now are at the bottom of the heap in skills and our educators are telling desparate lies to pass this agenda. As we are seeing with certain appointments being made at the highest levels of our government, the most loyal to the program are promoted and rewarded over the most competent.

I hope everyone did read my statement several times to get a clear idea of what has happened to American education systems in the past twenty five years. It is not teaching simple facts that we lack in our schools. The system is set up so that is all the students have time to learn. To pass a test the teachers teach to the test. Why would teachers sacrifice the children to this uneducated fashion of teaching? Because we now have high stakes testing. If the school fails the students will be given vouchers for another school and the failing school will have funds cut until they can raise their scores. This leaves the poorest and least motivated students to stay in a failing system that cannot raise itself up without the help of the system. High stakes testing becomes a classic Catch 22 that benefits none of the students or teachers. The companies producing the test are, however, making miilions of dollars they didn't have access to until the most recent "reforms". Somebody is getting rich, it just isn't the student.

Anonymous seems too willing to lay the blame on the educators and appears quite derisive in attitude to anyone who teaches in the school system. As with other social programs the intent would appear to be the elimination of the program instead of the revamping of the system. I assume anonymous also feels the teachers are overpaid for the job they aren't doing to his satisfaction. In Texas teachers are lumped in with police and firefighters when the legislature discusses ways to improve the system. Faced with a $9 billion deficit due to tax cuts made by our last governor, the school sytem was the first to suffer from budget cuts and teachers were denied benefits that any student coming out of college would assume would be provided by their employer. There is no denying there are teachers in the profession who should be doing another job; that is true in any profession. It becomes difficult to draw good people to a profession that doesn't treat them as professionals and the attitude anonymous has displayed towards the teaching profession is the obvious reason qualified teachers stay away.

It is obviously not a matter of teaching the students to distinguish between "to" and "too". It is a matter of the student being motivated to learn the difference between the two words. Our system has failed at the motivation and the blame lies not with the teachers but with many other factors. Parents who take no interest in their child's education, a system that doesn't reward critical thinking skills, or for that matter education itself, and a dream of making it big in sports where math and social skills are irrelevant are just a few of the culprits in this equation. The parents and the society are lazy and unwilling to invest in the future of our children; America would rather watch The Apprentice. In fact, The Apprentice is pitting college graduates against "street smarts" this season. One more example of how the disregard for education is presented to the youth of America.

It has little to do with understanding FDR's New Deal or the skills needed for the technical jobs of tomorrow when the average student working at Taco Bell can't figure out change from a five dollar bill. Until education becomes a priority that is met with more than just bureaucratic dollars and intitiatives that make the lawmakers feel good, there will never be the real reform needed to make a student want to learn.


Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 308
Registered: Sep-04
Of course, what you say there is probably right, imo, J. I know by now you are always ready to cite the bigger picture which underlies the cause, rather than stay put, bemoaning the effect, which is commendable. However, I'm unable to see so clearly past the causes and effects in this country than I am to see the state of education in America. We always had this notion that history teaching was more important in the States than it was here - something to do with Americans not having very much (nothing before the Pilgrom Fathers in fact). As if they were holding Shakespeare so dear when here in the UK, there was a complacency. I actually live about 1, maybe 2 hours from Shakespeare's birthplace. I feel no need to even take my camera these days because I know I can go back there anytime, then spend time enjoying the beer and the food!

Anyway, I digress.
The point is that people with idiotic ideas to lift discipline in the basics have been allowed to roam all over the policies. I think when you talk about the initiative of the student to learn, this skips the importance of the first grade, where shapes of letters are traced with fingers and sounds pronounced, forging firm links with shapes and sounds - AND meanings - from the very begining. I was horrified when I sat down with my (earlier) partner's daughter to help with the homework. She was insisting that her spelling was right and mine was wrong, because the teacher had told her. Yes - you guessed it - the method is known as phoenetic spelling! It is so wrong an aproach, I cannot even begin to do justice to this idiotic waste of a child's time and efforts in these important first steps to literacy, here in this post.

Now it's all been exacerbated with the whole 'msging'; 'txting' culture which has been forced upon them by market forces in communications technology and IT! You pay for the word - okay, so be succint. Abreviate with the full knowledge why you're doing it - but just how is an employer to view a school leaver who's application letter reads:

"deer Sr i wnt ths jb pls i am litrate & hrd wrking.... (insert stock smiley for attempt at social grace) "


And before you laugh - it has been known to happen.

And I agree with you there, this whole 'sport performance' thing is; always was - enforced servitude to the establishment in my opinion.


New member
Username: Gimpyyy316

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-05
i know my spelling is bad i typed it very quick

if u could tell me what i need to hack direct it would be a big help

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 309
Registered: Sep-04
Do what?

Ian Maiden
Unregistered guest
I agree that 'to' and 'too' should be carefully differentiated, ( and 'two' as well). Spelling was important when I was a lad over 40 years ago. I had marks deducted from essays for 'incorrect' spelling (and also for poor handwriting (something we did before computing and txtng)).
The emphasis put on 'correct' spelling, I believe, originated in Victorian times when, superficially at least, society had a right and wrong way for almost everything. Go back to English writings before then and people spelled as they thought it should be.
The purpose of language is to communicate and therefore spelling should not matter unless it obscures the message. That is not to say that incorrect spelling does not grate.
Even correct spelling can annoy - I still do not like to see theater and meter (unit of length) when these should be theatre and metre (French rather than Germanic influence). Both versions are correct depending upon where one lives.

At one time I could not spell 'engineer' but now I are one. Grammar is also not taught these days.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Being a Theatre Major I was taught thirty years ago that "theatre" is the art and "theater" is the building. Possibly a silly Yank custom to make our poor spelling suit our egos. I have no opinion on metre since the American culture has insisted everyone else in the world is wrong on this and other subjects. The attempt to introduce metrics in America failed twenty years ago when most all Americans simply took the attitude it didn't matter to us, we had a system that we knew and if you wanted to do business with us you should learn our system.

There you have an issue of phonetic spelling as it applies to math. We were presented with a simple problem that would allow us to fall in line with the rest of the world, make our lives infinitely more convenient than using twelve inches to a foot and simplify teaching our children. We rejected the idea because it was too inconvenient for us. In other words, we were lazy and saw no benefit. Any decent salesperson knows the way to sell a product is by using feature, benefit and advantage to make it plain to the client what they will be getting in return for their cash. When that isn't explained the sale is lost.

That is what has happened to much of our education in America, we have failed to explain the benefit and advantage because we have to teach the feature itself. I cannot defend phonetic spelling in any reasonable manner. I would, however, point out that in American society we are faced with an ever growing immigrant culture that doesn't use English as a primary language. When teaching this child a language they will likely experience only in the class room (since their parents may not speak English at home) phonetics are the most easily understood link between the two cultures. Certainly when an adult is taught a second language the objective is to sound out words phonetically until you begin to grasp their meaning. I would assume this is part of the reason for your experience with the girl, Varney.

It is when we fail to make clear the benefit and advantage of going beyond the simple explanation that we fail as educators and, in my opinion, as a society. If we are too busy teaching to the test once again, we will not have time to develop the desire to go beyond what is convenient.

Finally, I would point out the example of Shakespeare's language against what we consider proper English. "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." Not many of us use the word yonder today. And the spelling in the original folios will make your eyes cross. Words and spelling do change over time. It has been emphasized in the past few decades as the effort has been made to compress the time it takes for a child to learn. But, we should realize the way we spell a word today is not fixed in stone. One hundred years from now our words may have not much more sense surrounding them than the text messaging of today does to our eyes.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
February 2, 2005

School Days, Rule Days: What Went Wrong?

n "Wasted: The History/Mystery of Public Education in the United States and How It Got That Way," the liberal polemicists of the Irondale Ensemble Project try to answer a very difficult question: How do you make a play about the history of the public school system in America without being terribly boring?

They came up with a number of solutions, but none were satisfactory. (The correct answer will be revealed in the last paragraph of this review. No cheating!)

Irondale's first move was to play with a beloved genre, film noir, the idea being that even the most egghead ideas would sound sexy spoken by private d/icks and femmes fatales.

In Michael Goodfriend's script, a Humphrey Bogart-like detective is hired by a mysterious colonel to locate a lost child named Johnny (as in "Why Can't Johnny Read?"). The detective falls for the colonel's daughter, a blond temptress who seems less than trustworthy.

The more difficult challenge for the company is spicing up the other narrative, a series of historical vignettes outlining key moments in the history of public schools, a kind of greatest hits of progressive outrages (cold war paranoia, segregation). Mr. Goodfriend again uses style to liven up these scenes, which he keeps very short. At one point, black and white sock puppets illustrate the evils of racism.

As presented here, history is reduced to good guys and bad guys, and both groups talk in slogans. Should school teach kids to think for themselves or prepare them for the work force? The decline of the school system is told simply as a story of dark conspiracies motivated by corporate greed.

You get the sense that this show is made by people who have spent little time reflecting on the ideas of their ideological opponents, evidenced by the multitude of straw men. There are the money men in suits who propose schemes like privatizing schools (to the sound of sinister music and in dim light), and the hysterical fire-breathers who shout things like "The Commies are coming!"

The problem with this history drama is not that it's too dry and academic. In fact, it's not academic enough. The actors appear to be so desperately worried about being boring that they resort to shallow and glib caricatures.

The truth, of course, is that it's impossible to make a play about the history of the public education system without being a little boring. (It was a trick question.) Instead of gussying up a sober topic with puppet shows and femmes fatales, why not embrace the sexless seriousness of it all? It may not make you popular, but at least someone might learn something.


Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 315
Registered: Sep-04
No, J, the little girl's first and only language was English and she was English. She did actually go to a school which was populated by many ethnic children, because of the area we lived in at the time. It's possible this was the reason. Personally, I do not support educational measures made for economic migrancy (if this is the reason for phoentic spelling) and don't particularly relish the diluting effect it may have on our culture. My doctor is Indian and I don't see her struggling to spell.


Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 318
Registered: Sep-04
" I would point out the example of Shakespeare's language against what we consider proper English. "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?"

" we should realize the way we spell a word today is not fixed in stone. One hundred years from now our words may have not much more sense surrounding them than the text messaging of today does to our eyes."

It's worth remembering that Shakespeare's use of iambic pentameter was his 'tool' of preference used creatively, forming what we today recognise to be the backbone of his style and not merely a branch of everyday language.

Coming to Iron Maiden's remark that:
"Go back to English writings before then and people spelled as they thought it should be."

I assume the writer is refering to anytime from the medieaval period up until the Victorian. Unsure as I am as to when a global standard of English was actually introduced along with a standard of public schooling, I am aware that what we use today is an amalgam of many different sources. Of course, variations are largely dependant in some cases on regional dialect, where there are changes made to tenses and words themselves in any given sentence spoken; you might find an educated Northerner's job application to use the word 'myself' as opposed to his normal habit of using the spoken word 'mesen'.

In making his assessment, IM has failed to take into account the fact that before public schooling, the young heirs would be educated privately and within the confines of their estate, and to the standards prescribed by the parents and advisors, rather than by way of a 'national standard' of any kind. This does not mean we should expect huge differences in the way people spelled, but in any case, is forgivable, given the circumstances of those times.

Finally, J, I have to take up your argument and say yes - we are adding to the language all the time: The word 'mouse' has two meanings now and memory now is something one buys off the shelf. We also have words which never even existed before - 'Internet' is one of those words which has only existed in our vocabulary since the emergence of the www, it is true - but I am sure if you wrote down many of the new 'IT specific' words on a piece of paper and mailed them through a postal time machine to Leonardo Da Vinci, his education in the Greek and Latin would certainly have told him what to expect in centuries to come.

I can't remember specific instances - but I've come across a few words, such as 'font' for instance and many other, seemingly 'made up' terms, only to find that their semantics are actually derived from archaic sources. I was surprised by some - but for a fuller investigation, I suggest you just pop in a few modern words into's engine and see what happens. It's interesting, if nothing else. I wish I could cite more, but it was a long time ago on a rainy day....

Ahhh and has anyone read any William Gibson novels? The man's use of invented language is the most intuitive I've come across. He manages to give his fictional populace a rich and believable modern-speak, which accounts for all the cultural changes he as an SF writer predicts about future everyday culture through the impact of technology in their lives. Most of this, you'll find is derived from our 'today-speak', to arrive at his hallmark, 'tomorrow-speak'.

P.S. I know 'font' is a bad example, because it's use is quite widespread in other applications. Perhaps 'Hex-dump' might have been a more interestingly cryptic example.

Silver Member
Username: Ojophile


Post Number: 245
Registered: Jun-04

Similarly, why can't some so-called "native English speakers" use correct grammar?

In the thread, "Let us make some noise over this silence," you wrote:

Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:34 am

3rd paragraph, 3rd sentence

This would equate to noise and when it's use is accompanied...

It's is a contraction of the words, it is.
Ex., It's a beautiful day.

Its is the possessive case of the pronoun, it.
Ex., The threat of the ABC virus is its ability to replicate itself across corporate networks.

Therefore, you should have written:

This would equate to noise and when its use is accompanied... Its refers to the object, noise.

On Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 08:27 am:, you wrote:

Sorry to state the obvious to people who's intelligence I rate highly in here....

Did you mean, whose intelligence? Just like it's, who's is a contraction of the words, who is. Therefore, your sentence is grammatically wrong. You should have written:

Sorry to state the obvious to people whose intelligence I rate highly in here...

On Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 06:19 pm: above, you wrote:

Let us also not forget that those who's limited undertstanding of language structure will make what educated people write appear...

...who's (who is) limited understanding...?

That should have been written as:

Let us also not forget that those whose limited undertstanding of language structure will make what educated people write appear..

The popularity of e-mail, newsgroups and news forums has forced all of us, who are willing to participate, to write our thoughts and ideas with the hope that we will be understood by our readers. When such communication happens, we all benefit from the exchange of ideas. There is no reason to bemoan the fact that some people can't spell; or in your case, can't write English properly. What matters is that we can understand each other.


Kent Spell
Unregistered guest
Stick to A/V topicz, Mr. Varney. That's what this forum is all about, ain't it?

If I need spelling lessonz, this ain't the place to get 'em.

Lighten up.

Kent Spell

Kent Wright
Unregistered guest

I Ken Spell but I Kent Wright good, get it?

I was looking for some info on Denon AVR-2805/speaker combo and found this thread. I thought I came to the wrong place. I was wondering if their is a spot to post my speaker question. Good thing I saw the Speakers thread.

So what's your point, Varney? That you can spell better than the rest of us? I saw your other posts. Man, your boring!

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