Writing begins with spelling. As Dr. Richard Gentry so eloquently put (if not egregiously wrote) in his scientific paper, The Science of Spelling – The Explicit Specifics that Make Great Readers and Writers (and Spellers!):
“Automatic and correct mastery of appropriate words at each grade level aids spellers in developing knowledge and predictability of … blah blah blah.” Or put another way — “Atoumtiac and crreoct msaetry of aroppaipte wdros at ecah garde leevl adis sleplers in deelovping kwleogndge and ptcidrebaility of … blha, blha, blha.”
Maybe spelling isn’t so critical in terms of our ability to read and understand something (other than slowing down the process a little).
But, of course, spelling involves words. But, now, bring along Twitter and its acronym soup of shortened phrases — LOL, ROTL, LMAO, BTW, TMI, YOLO, NSFW — and the term “word” takes on a whole ‘nother meaning. We spell, but the words are now just letters. Sure, we know what they say, but they’ve become transcendent. The less you write, the more you can say in the 140 character limitation placed on each tweet. We end up with little gems like this — “Hi! My am is well on its way! Looking 4ward 2 2day. Lots 2get dun be4 wkend”. A lot is lost in translation.
Is that where we’re headed?
Maybe, to stay in the hearts and minds of our younger readers, Dickens’s “Tale of Two Cities” will have to go through a revision and come out looking something like this: “Was best f xs, wors f xs, # f smrt, # of fool, epk f belf, epk f incred, sson f lite, sson f drk, spr f hope, win f despr, we had all b4 us”
Okay, that’s 140 characters so we’ll now be on to other things. Wait! There’s more to the story? OMG! You’re so lame.
Until next time – Don’t Look Down
by William Darrah Whitaker