Stopping The Rot
August 12, 2008
7:55 AM CDT
Finally, someone has taken a stand:
A judge flew into a rage in court yesterday after being presented with a charge sheet littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
In an extraordinary outburst at the Old Bailey, Judge David Paget bemoaned declining standards of written English and branded a bureaucrat from the Crown Prosecution Service an ‘illiterate idiot’.
In the papers, the official had consistently misspelt the word ‘grievous’, four times accusing the defendant of ‘greivous bodily harm’.
The judge also slammed the bureaucrat for stating that the defendant had used an offensive weapon, ‘namely axe,’ instead of ‘namely an axe’.
After reading the charge sheet the judge threw the papers down on to the bench in disgust and fumed: ‘It’s quite disgraceful. This is supposed to be a centre of excellence. To have an indictment drawn up by some illiterate idiot is not good enough.’
That noise you hear in the background is thunderous applause from the Literate Nation.
I am so sick of seeing misspellings in public documents (to say nothing of in newspaper articles). And for those who would substitute the stupidity of “alternative spelling”, allow me to castigate them as fucking morons.
I don’t mind the occasional misstep, especially in a live format like blogs or comments thereto. What I detest is repetitive misspelling—because to me, that indicates a drift towards illiteracy. And I don’t excuse “their” for “there” (and vice-versa), “your” for “you’re” (ditto), or any of the onomatopoeic blunders which bedevil the English language.
I am especially harsh when people refuse to use basic spellchecking software when they have it available.
Words are important. Spelling is important: it’s a basic tenet of communication that the people doing the communicating have a common method of discourse—did I say “basic tenet”? I meant axiomatic.
Spelling is the first building block—some would say the foundation—of shared language. To litter the place with “alternatives” at best slows the communication process down (like trying to decipher “cn i haz yr tlno?”), and at worst it undermines the language itself.
And don’t give me that shit about how English is a “fluid” language or any of that jive. I have no problem with introducing a new word to the English language, especially when an equivalent is non-existent; but if a perfectly decent descriptive word already exists, why clutter the language with a bunch of “near-spellings” which serve only to confuse, and render the lazy the equivalent of the diligent?