Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Does spelling matter any more?

A week or so ago I saw this posted on eLearning Brothers and I had a facepalm moment. I have to say that I am one of those people, the people that are turned off from misspelled words and misused words.

Yes, I know we've all, by now, seen this:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

The fact of the matter is that it's not really about our brain's ability to decode the mess that we see above.  The brain can do it, provided that we know (or think we know) the words that are there.  If we don't know the words, and we need to look them up to figure out what the sentence says, we are SOL (sh*t-outta-luck).

When I see things such as "truely" or "twelth" I tend to discount the writer as sloppy!  If it's on a blog - I may pay less attention to it - given that a blog sometimes tends to be a stream-of-consciouness thing and language is more fluid. We may have started to say "true" but in mid thought our brain switched paths and went with "truly" thus "truely" makes sense from a stream-of-consciousness perspective.

However, if  these typos are on a proposal of some sort, or a final product, or  someone trying to make a cogent argument for or against something (be it a blog or not), then to me this signals that the author (or authors) don't care enough to really proof read their work - if they don't care about the proposal, what does this imply about the quality of the rest of their work?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not a language nazi - but from a functional perspective written, codified, language has one purpose - to communicate your idea when you are not there to articulate it yourself. It needs consistency and uniform rules to be applied.  Misspelling breaks those rules and places hurdles on the primary objective of written text: the decoding and comprehension of someone else's thought process.
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