Re: Common Errors in English

Subject: Re: Common Errors in English
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 09:07:53 -0800

Quoting "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>:

> And that's considered a major impediment to improved reading speed. ;-)

Jokes aside, sub-vocalizing is extremely common, even among advanced readers.

>I don't
> think you can draw comparisons between reading text and creating it.

Again, why not? Please understand that I'm not being argumentive here; I simply
would like to know what people think might be different.

> So these authors aren't spelling words _without a standard_ (varying their
> spelling randomly), they're applying several _different_ standards, each in
> the appropriate context.

Yes, but the same is true of people whose spelling isn't standardized. They may
use different spellings from time to time, but even these aren't completely
random. They usually only use one or two variations. That's one of the reasons
why an educated person's attempts to write an illiterate note (such as the ones
sent to the press during the Jack the Ripper murders) usually fail. Inevitably,
the educated person tries too hard, and uses too many variations.

> But again, there _are_ rules -- they're just different. If phonetic
> shorthand is superior for both writing and reading, it's not because the
> spelling isn't standardized -- it is. It merely uses a different standard.

That's only partly true. In phonetic shorthand, you aren't spelling words -
you're reproducing sounds. In practice, there are often several possible sounds
for the same word. Much also depends on the shorthand writer's ear and the
accent of the speaker whose words are being transcribed. For example, because
my vowels are Canadian, were someone to transcribe my words in shorthand, they
would probably have to puzzle out from the context whether I was using the
word "hill" or "hell."

Furthermore, one of the problems in phonetic shorthand is with the exact
spelling of a word or a name that you haven't heard before. When transcribing
shorthand dictation, secretaries would need to check the spelling, because they
couldn't be sure of it.

> I don't doubt that we could devise better standards for how to spell than
> the ones we use today. But that's _not_ the same thing as arguing that no
> standards are necessary and we can vary the spelling of words more or less
> randomly. :-)

Please note that I never suggested complete randomness, much less better
spelling standards. Aside from habit, it's obvious that there's only so many
possible variations on a given word possible.

My point is simply that people have gotten along quite comfortably without
standardized spelling, so it's self-evidently less important than many people

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604-421.7177\

RE: Common Errors in English: From: Rose . Wilcox

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