Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 12:32:13 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" 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: >colour >centre >organize >rumour >armour >realize > >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.