Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 12:32:13 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: Commonly misspelled words?
Charlotte Thomas notes the following:
There are numerous words which I frequently find to be misspelled. I
have noticed this in official publications as well as more casual
writings too, which is surprising. Among these are:
There seems to be an interesting tendency for Americans to make these
misspellings. Maybe Americans are just generally bad spellers. It may
be genetic. Had anybody got any other possible suggestions for why
this might be?
Now ain't that funny. I thought it was British spellers that were (perhaps
even genetically) malformed. I notice they always spell these words wrong:
theater (the spell it -re)
judgment (they use a extra 'e')
tire (they use a 'y' [!])
and lots of others.
But more seriously---
I was surprised to learn recently that France also has a national spelling
contest. I thought it was only the US where this low-level skill was
confused with intelligence and even moral (perhaps family) values. It's odd
that the many excellent surveys of usage and opinions about language use in
the US (Finegan, Bolinger, Drake, Bailey, etc...) do not touch on this
incredibly entrenched popular and folk-culture reality. (Notice that it is
a perennial part of every know-nothing back-to-basics movement). 'Attitudes
to Spelling in the US.' Great thesis.