Opinion: Why spelling reform should be at the top of the literacy agenda…

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By Vikki Rimmer

Vikki Rimmer puts spelling reform on the agenda…


The United States, home to the Spelling Bee competition, performed badly in a spelling test set by the UK-based Spelling Society early this year. The same test was used here in the UK last year – and both sets of results were perturbing.

More than half the adult US population had a problem with one or more spellings of ten everyday words. One in three relied on a spell-checker for tasks such as completing job application forms or writing letters. Education level had little impact, with post-graduate and college students also falling short of expectations.

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  1. diane frank
    on 28 December 2009

    English spelling is illogical

    Prior to publishing the world's only true phonetic dictionary we conducted a feasibility study as well as surveys. One survey performed was with a class of professionals who were completing their masters degrees in public administration.

    The survey produced conflicting results. 83% of the respondents believed that being able to spell correctly was highly important in our society to succeed.

    The same 83% didn't think they would be interested in a phonetic dictionary which allowed the user to locate their words by the way it sounds.

    67% admitted to using spell checkers to spell words and 70% of them misspelled the word "colloquial" used in a 5th grade state spelling bee.