Friday, September 21, 2007


I'll be the first to say when it comes to spelling, English language is a bastard of a language (a fine example of my grasp of the language). This is party due to both its motley origins and a lack of standisations (or is it standizations?). And I suppose varying accents don't help much either. For instance, although it pains me greatly when I see it, I can somewhat understand why Australians misspell the word "definite" as "definate". Apparently, the etymological connection between "definite" and its less misspelt cousins "infinite" and "finite" has not been spotted.

Regardless of all the spelling traps found in English, you would think that teachers are able to spell some relatively common words correctly. But apparently, they cannot:

A spelling test of about 40 Victorian teachers, conducted in April this year, provides no grounds for confidence. Not one of the teachers could correctly spell all 11 words, ranging in difficulty from substitute to adolescence.

The test was set at the level expected of 14-year-olds but the average score among the 39 teachers was just seven correctly spelled words.

Five teachers correctly spelled 10 words, putting their level at 13 years and nine months. One teacher was unable to spell any of the words while two teachers got only two of the words correct. Overall, 22 teachers misspelled subterranean, 17 couldn't manage embarrassing or miscellaneous and 16 had trouble with adolescence.

Perhaps this is ignorant and/or arrogant of me, but I fail to see how a university-educated person can misspell "substitute". Surely, this is not an obscure word, particularly for substitute teachers. How else would one spell it? And I'm positive that teachers must have read and used the word "adolescence" a number of times in their education and career.

Seemingly, my spelling is better than average, which, I suppose, is something that stems from my many readings (I recently purchased a mathematical writing handbook). But I still make some terrible blunders - since I don't spellcheck this blog, I'm sure there are plenty of examples to be found right here. However, there's no excuse for teachers getting such words wrong.

Then again, as some will try to convince you, maybe spelling isn't that important and it's things like, um, a creative spirit that really count in life.