Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    26
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default What's the point of spelling competition?

    Hi all. I have been having this question in my mind for quite sometime. Not sure where to ask or if this is the right place. But since I've become a member, let me begin my first post here with this question.

    What's the point of spelling competition?

    Last year I saw a programme on BBC1 where British kids took part to find out the national best speller. The contestants had to stand up on the stage and spell out loud in the air in front of studio audience. Recently I saw similar thing happened on the Aussie soap opera Neighbours.

    I really don't get it. What's the point of spelling like that? I know spelling competition can be useful but what I am talking about here is the way they have to spell it. Not the way they have to stand up on the stage. Not the way they have to do it in front of studio audience. But the way they have to spell out loud in the air. Why? Does that ever come useful in real life? What purpose does it serve?

    I think in real life you never ever do a thing like that. In real life you read, write, listen, speak, and in this digital age, you also type.

    When you speak or listen, there is no spelling involved at all. You don't need to know how to spell the words correctly in order to speak. You don't need to know if words being said are spelled correctly when you listen.

    The only time in real life when you could ever need to spell correctly or to tell if words are spelled correctly is when you write, type or read.

    Please, anyone from English-speaking countries, enlighten me. Especially Britons or Australians as I am not sure whether the Americans do the same. Why spell like that in spelling competition? What's the point of it? How can it benefit the spellers or anyone in real life? Why not spell on paper or on computer like what people really do in real life?

    Others from non-English-speaking countries, do you spell like that in spelling competition in your country? We certainly don't from where I come from.

    My ideal spelling competition would be either:

    a) by giving the contestants a list of words to choose from (on each contestant's screen or on central screen). This way you can have all the contestants doing it at the same time. They can write the correct choice on paper on enter it into the computer. It would save time and it would be fair for everyone because they would spell the same set of words.

    b) if that's too easy then give them each a piece of paper to write down their spellings. Again this would save time and be fair for everyone.

    c) if that isn't modern enough then give them each a keyboard to spell into the computer! Fast and fair!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,016
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    I presume the idea is that it makes for better TV than watching people spell things aloud, which also puts more pressure on the contestants. We do spell things aloud sometimes- when giving personal details down the phone, say. However, most of the time, it's not a particularly useful skill.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    26
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Hi tdol. I don't think names are difficult to spell especiall English names of people from UK, US, Australia. I would think people rarely have to spell their names on the phone. Because people in these countries should be familiar with names of fellow countrymen/women, unlike, foreigners' names or names of people from different countries/cultures.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,016
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Names have so many variations that spelling them is a failry common thing- addresses even more so.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    16
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    spelling is what I do very often in US.. and I think it is a part if life here..sometimes when someone introduces himself, I may not have an idea how it is spelled and I ask for spelling. Interestingly enough, I met some americans who even could not spell their names when I asked them!! thus it might be a good idea to teach spelling to the young in that way, they will need it..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    26
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Of course, when you have a name like hayriye kayi you would have to spell or nobody would be able to write down your name or enter it into a computer.

    But what I am talking about is not about spelling names or addresses. I am talking about spelling vocabulary in spelling competition. In real life you never spell vocabulary like that, do you? Do you spell street names or people names in spelling competion?

    Here we go again. Tonight on BBC1. Test the Nation!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	test_national_iq_d0e2ee_r_1.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	8.5 KB 
ID:	55
    Last edited by YTG; 09-Oct-2005 at 12:35.

  7. #7
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Spelling out loud words in front of an audience ? You must be kidding...

    We do have an annual event based on correct spelling, it has been running for nearly twenty years, but it's a dictation.
    There are several groups, junior, senior, professional, a bit like in sports.
    The French have always put a lot of emphasis on correct spelling, and knowing when and where to use an infinitive or a past participle (same sound for "-er" and "-"), or when to put an "s" (plural, not sounded) or an "e" (mute) can prove very, very tricky even for someone with a very good level of education. This is of course a bit different in English, less problems of gender, and when you say "tables", you know you have to put an s, not in French, we have the same word (in fact you stole it from us ), but unless you use the article (une/des or la/les), you can't say if it's singular or plural.
    Of course, we have words like "cuissots" and "cuisseaux" which mean about the same, but are spelled differently depending on the context, not to mention all the names of the hundreds of mushrooms and such, but I guess there is the same proportion of oddities in the English language.
    To my mind, the main problems are based on the use of grammar : how well do you understand the way your own language functions?
    But spelling words aloud, what a laugh !

    Alain

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,016
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlainK
    in French, we have the same word (in fact you stole it from us )
    That's not fair- you invaded us and forced us to 'steal' it.

  9. #9
    AlainK Guest

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    That's not fair- you invaded us and forced us to 'steal' it.
    I was teasing you, of course
    My students usually find it very interesting to realise for example that "tonnelle", the word we use for a coverd passage, now almost exclusively for the kind you find in gardens and parks, covered with vine-like plants in the summer, became "tunnel" in English, and now we have adopted "tunnel" for train tunnels for instance, and very few know it's the same word.

    Vive l'Entente Cordiale !

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,016
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: What's the point of spelling competition?

    I didn't know that was the origin of the word- thanks. We often change the meaning of French loan words slightly to confuse French speakers when taking English exams, but then you have 'un smoking' and 'le footing'. Vive l'Entente Cordiale ! and the Semi-Entente?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. spelling
    By tseringlhamo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Jul-2005, 11:44
  2. Net users find spelling 'Restaurant' difficult
    By Red5 in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-Apr-2005, 03:52
  3. Spelling Help for an Eight-Year-Old Russian Girl
    By Steven D in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14-Oct-2004, 02:35
  4. International English spelling
    By hermes in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-Nov-2003, 20:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •