Is good spelling a sign of an educated person? Or merely a formality fetishized by pedants? A leading British academic believes it’s the latter and says we should stop worrying that “textmessage speak” is creeping into the language.
John Wells, president (irony of ironies) of Britain’s Spelling Society, tells London’s Daily Mail that the informal language of texts, emails and chat rooms is the “way forward.” An Emeritus Professor of Phonetics at University College London, Wells says irregular spellings place an undue burden on schoolchildren.
Let’s stop worrying if people sometimes spell “you” as “u”; “your” and “you’re” both as “ur”; and “whose” and “who’s” both as “whos”. Nowadays we often see “light” written as “lite” and “through” as “thru”. Let’s not hold up our hands in horror – people should be able to use whichever spelling they prefer….’We should no longer fetishise the ability to sort out “their”, “there” and “they’re”. There are more important things to life.’
And apostrophes? A waste of time. Sack ‘em. ”Have we really nothing better to do with our lives than fret about the apostrophe?” sez he.