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  1. #1
    Sanja Guest

    Default English spelling

    I have noticed that many native English speakers are pretty bad at spelling their own language and make a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, people who learn English as a foreign language tend to spell better than the native speakers. Why do you think that is?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: English spelling

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanja
    I have noticed that many native English speakers are pretty bad at spelling their own language and make a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, people who learn English as a foreign language tend to spell better than the native speakers. Why do you think that is?
    It's because our school system really sucks in many ways. Kids get from one grade to another with very little effort and only the determined and very conscienitious ones have really something to show for. In other words, I believe that it takes better schooling and better motivation on the kids part to show some good results. Mind you, a lot of kids with poor writing skills end up being successful scientists, artists, musicians, trade workers, etc. Spelling things right is very important but with certain professions you don't have to be a national spelling bee champion to be successful!

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    Default Re: English spelling

    As a foreign student you receive tutoring in all aspects of a language (at least you should) and you are hardly exposed to outside influences such as local dialects, current trends and every day use. You learn the proper use of written and spoken language. Please appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English spelling

    Spelling is a problem for native speakers- Tony Blair famously mispelled the word 'tomorrow' twice in one letter. In the British system, you are unlikely to fail a test because of bad spelling, so it isn't given great importance.

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    Default Re: English spelling

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanja
    I have noticed that many native English speakers are pretty bad at spelling their own language and make a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, people who learn English as a foreign language tend to spell better than the native speakers. Why do you think that is?
    There are two major reasons.

    First, spelling errors are indicative of how language is learned. Native speakers, no matter their first language, begin with "babbeling": They learn the language through its spoken form, and that's why they have native pronunciation. Non-native speakers, no matter their first language, generally begin learning a second language with an HB pencil: They learn the language through its written form, and that's why they tend to be better at spelling than speakers who learn the language through its spoken form. Even non-native speakers of English can have poor spelling.

    Second, in order to write a language with some fluency, you have to read it regularly--if not, you'll lose it. Similarly, in order to speak a language with some fluency, you have to use it regularly--if not, you'll lose it.

    In short, if native speakers, no matter their first language, do not read or write that language regularly, they're more likely to have written errors, and if non-native speakers do not hear or speak their second language regularly, they're more likely to have spoken errors.

    Native speaker written errors are comparable to non-native speaker spoken errors. It's indicative of how language is learned.

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    Default Re: English spelling

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Spelling is a problem for native speakers- Tony Blair famously mispelled the word 'tomorrow' twice in one letter. In the British system, you are unlikely to fail a test because of bad spelling, so it isn't given great importance.
    I would rather blame that on his secretary.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English spelling

    If only- it was a handwritten note.

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    Default Re: English spelling

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    If only- it was a handwritten note.
    Has anyone seen a spelling police anywhere?

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    Default Re: English spelling

    Quote Originally Posted by Marylin
    Has anyone seen a spelling police anywhere?
    Just wait! They are lurking out there waiting for the unwary ..

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English spelling

    We do enjoy watching our leaders make mistakes- Blair can't spell and Bush can't speak.

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