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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Spelling mistakes.

Don’t you just hate them? I am guilty of many myself, I can be a little dyslexic at times, when I type something completely different to what I actually see in me (see? That should have been my!) head. And I forget to use spell check – it usually drives me mad when it is set to the US spell version and keeps trying to change all of my “se” words to “ze” – like analyse. I’m sure that if I re-read some of these entries there will be plenty of mistakes.

However, if I am reading something and there is a spelling mistake, I go crazy and rant about kids these days and how computers have ruined the ability of people to spell correctly ever again. The old do what I say and not what I do. Last week I sent an email to a senior manager with the word “lastest” in it. I meant “latest” of course, but it just didn’t come out right. I am now deciding whether to send him an email to apologise (the spell check will try and change that one to apologize), or hope he auto-corrected in his head as he read it, so didn’t even notice.

But a few weeks ago, when channel surfing on a cold Sunday arvo, my confidence in the future spellers of society was restored when I happened across the Australian National Spelling Championships on TV.

It was your basic knockout competition, and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The participants were young (Primary School or early High School) and each had a personal coach (usually Mum or Dad) pepping them up between rounds. As the rounds progressed, the words got harder (I tell you that I would have been knocked out after 5 minutes) and more and more were eliminated. It had all the ingredients that make great television – tension, drama, bad haircuts and gushing tears when words were missed. I was barracking for the 11yr old girl, up against the 14yr old boy who had only learnt English two years ago. Incidentally, his coach was his grandfather (I think) who didn’t speak any English, so I’m not sure what he was saying to help him out between rounds, maybe reminding him in Chinese of the bizarre spelling rules (Ha! Rules!) around English words.

The rounds went on and on and in the end, the girl missed a word and the boy was victorious. It was great, I was jumping around the lounge room cheering for the future of Australian literacy and spelling. Must make sure to keep an eye out for next years’ event – and concentrate on getting it right myself…



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