The internet to transform spelling
- June 3, 2013
rame id=”dcAd-1-3″ src=”http://ad-apac.doubleclick.net/adi/onl.smh.digi/digi/diginews;cat1=digitallifenews;cat=digi;ctype=article;sz=120×50;tile=3;ord=6.2089105E7?” width=’120′ height=’50’ scrolling=”no” marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ allowtransparency=”true” frameborder=The internet will make some English misspellings acceptable, according to one of London’s most senior linguists, who predicts that in 50 years many common words will be spelt without ”irritating” silent letters.
David Crystal, professor of linguistics at Bangor University, said that it would be ”inevitable” that people would drop the ”P” from receipt, and change the ”C” from necessary into an ”S”, as well as ”simplifying” other words.
Is it one ‘C’ and two ‘S’s in necessary or two ‘C’s and one ‘S’? At the moment it matters, but over time one spelling will emerge and probably a simpler spelling will emerge.
”Is it one ‘C’ and two ‘S’s in necessary or two ‘C’s and one ‘S’?” he said. ”At the moment it matters, but over time one spelling will emerge and probably a simpler spelling will emerge.” Professor Crystal said he started monitoring the word ”rhubarb” 10 years ago, by typing the correct spelling into a search engine, and then typing in the word without the ‘H’.
He said: ”I got millions of hits for rhubarb with the ‘H’, and just one or two without the ‘H’. I did the same job a few years later, and without the ‘H’ got hundreds of hits, and then a few years later hundreds of thousands of hits.
”But think ahead 50 years – and this is the timeframe over which spellings change – and rhubarb with the ‘H’ and rhubarb without ‘H’ will be equal.”
He said that the ”H” was illogical and was never included in Middle English.
”The internet will influence spelling,” he said. ”It will get rid of some letters that irritate us, the letters that instinctively we feel shouldn’t be there. But it will take time.”
He said it was neither good nor bad that spelling was changing, but it was ”inevitable”.
Professor Crystal also criticised Michael Gove and the UK Department for Education’s insistence on teaching phonics. ”To be told by the government that it has to be entirely phonics is absurd, because the English language is a mix of phonics and whole words.”