Spoken spelling

October 16, 1998

The Queen's English Society blamed a failure in the teaching of grammar in schools and a lack of correction on the poor spelling performance of undergraduates (THES, October 2).

Established spelling was based on a phonetic interpretation of a spoken word. Misspelling of many words relates more closely to contemporary mispronunciation than to failures in explicit grammatical construction. Simple correction of spelling errors, in particular of infrequently used words, is unlikely to yield improvement for many, in particular those who habitually read for information rather than for its presentation.

K. A. Yeomans Rickmansworth, Herts

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