Speak and Spell home > backlash

Shall we play a game?

I admit it. I mis-typed the word thought and ended up with though, I lost the final s from the word crass, I have even found an apostrophe error in my own writings. However, I am generally able to spell and punctuate.

A recent supermarket visit reminded me of the best place to find poor spelling and punctuation - the cards you find in supermarkets and in Newsagents' windows. If you ever fancy feeling intellectually superior, go and read some of these cards - they have me in stitches. I still have a vision of what would happen if I allowed myself to ring up the (usually mobile phone) number on such a card:

Me: Hello?
Carder: Hello. Have you called about the card?
Me: Yes. It says you need someone to help you at home. What with?
Carder: Just a few odd jobs about the place.
Me: WRONG! You need someone to come and help you learn to ****ing read and write you illiterate ****er.
Carder: Oh... does that mean you're not interested then?

I suppose you shouldn't get annoyed about these things, and I am not actually irritated, though I am tempted to go round with a red pen, correcting the damned things. I think that there are two main causes for these foolish attempts at writing, which go on display for all to see. Firstly, the standard of education in this country is, on the whole, quite low (of course it would help if kids actually attended school). Secondly, people try to write as they speak. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling, all become confused when people are merely transliterating the spoken form of the language. Yet again, this comes down to education. People need to realise that writing is a different way of communicating.

Here is a wee rogues' gallery for amusement. Since these came from Newcastle, adopting a Novacastrian accent may help:

They're all genuine. Perhaps if people read books occasionally, they would have more luck with their writing.

I have one final thought. My new mobile phone allows me to send text messages by pressing the key that each letter is on. Since each key has several letters, the only way the phone can work out which word I'm writing is by using a dictionary. This saves hitting each key multiple times to scroll through its letters. Using the phone, I can write text messages more quickly and have much less of a need to resort to shorthand, which is useful when it's a pain to write anything long. These phones need you to know how to spell! I hope a few kids have them already...

30 August 2001
Ashley Frieze