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Michelle Hadden wrote:
>
> > I really hate the idea/practice of uniform spelling.
> > It is an artficial imposition originating with typesetters
> > who were trying to simplify and speed up their jobs. Those
> > circumstances no longer apply, so I think standardised
> > spelling should be dumped.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Peter
>
> really?  how would you propose setting up computerised
> search engines (I'm not trying to be a smart ass-I find
> the idea intriguing and am just wondering how it could
> be put into practice).
> Michelle
>

There is, _ultimately_ a historical explanation in terms of class for
the regularization of spelling and the establishment of a "grammar"
(scare quotes because I am thinking of such nonsense as the prohibition
of the double negative) in the 18th century, but Michelle puts her finer
on the substantive reason for the regularization of spelling. Remember
that the first dictionaries and encyclopedias were produced in the 18th
century -- and both genres are really impossible without uniform
spelling. Computerized search engines are just this same process carried
further.

HOWEVER, the use of spelling as a form of judging and classifying human
beings is and always has been outrageous. There is simply no
relationship between spelling ability and command of language. Of
course, judging intelligence on the basis of writing skill in general is
similarly outrageous, but that is a different topic of great complexity.
(N.B.: By "writing skill" I do not mean mere mechanics -- I mean the
whole of writing -- coherence, use of detail, sentence rhythm,
syntactical intelligibility, sense of proportion, relevance of detail,
etc. etc. etc. Writing, unlike speech, should be seen in the same
category as perfect pitch, ability to wiggle one's ears, and other
aberrations, desirable and undesirable.)

Carrol