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I have a spelling chequer,
It came with my PC,
It plainly Marx four my revue
Miss takes eye can knot sea.
I've run this poem threw it,
I'm shore yore pleased too no;
It's letter perfect in it's weigh,
My chequer tolled me sew.

When MoonShadow went to school in Russia?, his Russian? curriculum tended to devote a large proportion of time and resources to teaching the rules of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Most classes involved a short "dictation session" - the teacher would read out an essay or study text, which the pupils would write down verbatim; spelling and punctuation of the results would be assessed, and some lessons would subsequently be based around analyzing sentences in the text (parts of speech, etc). Activities such as essay and story-writing were primarily seen as a means of practising correct writing techniques. The marking skew shifted towards content in later classes, but by that time MoonShadow had moved to Britain.
Re minor edit altering spelling above: is "practising" really more correct than "practicing"? I've only ever seen the "s" spelling used to mean "performing a job", e.g. "practising law"; "learning to do a task by repetition" has always been spelt with a "c" in my experience. Have I been mistaken all this time? - MoonShadow
Um.  Pretty sure that it's an Americanism to use practicing, but it's certainly the common usage.  Enough that practising looks wrong.  I can believe your explanation that it is used to denote professional duties.  --Vitenka
Hmm. I was always taught that practice is the noun or adjective, and practise is the verb, in whatever context. The literacy materials I come into contact with as part of my job agree. So does the small Heinemann dictionary I have in my room. However, MerriamWebster? seems to think the two are pretty much interchangeable, with practise being more common in Britain. Aha - a British online dictionary: [CUP] agrees that practise is the verb form even if it means to train or rehearse, but that the Americans spell it with a c. --Rachael
Fair enough ^_^ - MoonShadow
ChrisHowlett always remembers the difference by using advise/advice, which actually sound different and everyone knows which is which. The s/c rule applies to at least most such words.
You have to be a bit careful with that, though: Webster's alludes to it but says it only applies to words where the noun and verb are pronounced differently, so they reckon practice keeps the c because it's like apprentice and notice, where the noun and verb are pronounced the same. So you also need to remember that making an exception for practise is a British idiosyncrasy. --Rachael
MoonShadow was continually struck by how little importance seemed to be given to correct English spelling and grammar in the schools he attended in Britain. Even as late as A-Level, many of his classmates seemed unable to write a single sentence without a spelling or grammar mistake somewhere in it; and no-one seemed to be particularly ashamed of this inability, or to care much at all for that matter; the same went for the teachers. What are people's experiences of this - is this generally the case, or did MoonShadow just happen to attend a dodgy bunch of schools?

If EnglishLiterature is already dedicated to analysis of English text, and English is not a subject where one learns to write correct English, what is the primary purpose of English as a subject and how do people learn to write?

I agree in a way... personally at my school, we are taught punctuation and spelling pretty well, and get marked on it.. but we don't have lessons dedicated to analysing one sentence or anything... and I think in other countries (though I dont know what it's like) learning english or another foreign language, we learn it the proper way, and take great care into writing things properly, but don't take care in our own. --Denji
To be fair, foreign language teaching pretty much has to start with the grammar, and usually does here too - MoonShadow's French and German lessons here were much more like the Russian-as-a-native-language lessons he used to have when he was seven years old..

Also, I think in later life no-one uses their EnglishSkills? properly ^^;;..except if you're writing a story, I don't really know anyone who writes properly *_*!
Well, the rest of the ToothyWikizens here do our best to write properly on the ToothyWiki (and we like it that way)... --M-A
Too true! I know I like to write properly, but my spelling might be very bad... so... sorry *_*;; --Denji
Don't worry: just keep trying your best, and don't take it personally if someone edits your words to correct any mistakes that creep in... :) --M-A

But eh.. that's just me ^_^;; I don't know anything. Say, MoonShadow, which area did you go to school in? --Denji
MoonShadow went to [Llanishen High School] in Cardiff?, and before that to Albany Road Primary School, and before that to school number 388 in Moscow.

PeterTaylor remembers one English teacher who when marking homework would note down particularly good turns of phrase, spelling mistakes, and dodgy grammar. He would then return the homework with a sheet which listed them. That's an elegant way of encouraging excellence in prose.
I like that.  If I ever teach english, I'll use it.  --Vitenka

I must say that I can't bring myself to worry about this issue much.  Automated assistance tools are largely removing the need for petty clarity - so why be surprised that the skills atrophy?  Now - if an inability to orate springs from an inability to spell then yes, there is a problem.  But I don't see this as particularly likely.  And there are more important things to learn, after all.  Such as how not to be a neanderthal.  --Vitenka

Well, for one thing, insisting on correct spelling and grammar (at school) encourages an attitude of precision, which I guess would carry over into other parts of life. Maths may do that better, though. Another thing is that bad spelling and grammar look unprofessional, and computers will only get you so far, as the poem at the top jokes. --Bobacus

I tend to try and use "good" English if at all possible.  It was a point of pride that my thesis contained only 1 typo that the examiners found, and this is a moderate achievement when half of the 106,000 words are not in Word's dictionary.  But then again, I was not taught English grammar, and have as a result only an intuitive grasp of when I should use what; this has led to huge problems for me in learning foreign languages where the grammar is different.

I must say, it is also quite funny in a strange way to be editing "spelling"...




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Last edited May 17, 2006 10:09 pm (viewing revision 34, which is the newest) (diff)