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Monday, June 22, 2009

The End of a Spelling Rule

Native and non-native English speakers will agree, English is a ridiculously difficult language when it comes to spelling.  Just teaching someone how to properly pronounce words is hard enough.

English learners now have one less rule to help them in their struggle to master this language.  According to the Associated Press, the British government has advised teachers to no longer pass on the “i before e, except after c” rule to students because there are too many exceptions (the article gives “sufficient,” “veil,” and “their” as examples). 

I for one, will be sad to see this rule die.  Whenever I need to spell the words “receive” and “deceive” I stop and mentally recite the rule to make sure I’m correct.  Nostalgia alone doesn’t justify the existence of a rule meant to make learning how to spell correctly easier, though.

I wonder what other rules will fade out of usage in the coming years.  With language changing constantly, should we even bother creating rules that will only lose reliability as time passes? 


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