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Spelling It Out

I’m reading another American book at the moment. Now, if I read an American book I shouldn’t grumble if it is filled with words spelled the American way. But sometimes I still do. But the real irritant is that I have to keep reminding myself that that is not how I have to spell words in question when I’m writing for a mainly British audience. Of course, one day everyone will spell things the American way. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, unless a careful eye is kept on word processing software (most of it of United States origin), it will change spellings to the American version without asking. Yes,  I know about setting the dictionary to UK English and making that the default but that doesn’t always work. And secondly, the past two or three generations of teachers in the United Kingdom have verged on the illiterate. It’s not their fault. It all dates back to the 1960s when educationalists believed that being constrained by grammar and spelling was killing kids’ creative juices. So, good spelling and grammar were not taught early enough in a child’s schooling. A rot set in that just got worse and worse. How can today’s teachers teach something they were not properly taught themselves? They don’t have much of a chance when the people who taught them hadn’t been taught because teachers who taught them had not been given a good grounding because the people they learned from were victims of trendy 1960s educational theorists.

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