Is spelling important in your country?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Joelline, May 23, 2007.

  1. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    When I was in school, we were always taught that spelling was one of the most important language skills. As a youngster, I had a spelling quiz almost every day and our school had monthly "spelling bees" where the best speller would get a small prize.

    However, I recently received an email (text below) suggesting that, in fact, spelling is not all that important in terms of communicating. What do you think? Is spelling thought of as important in your educational system? Do you think that spelling an over-rated skill in your country? If the paragraph below were translated and "reworked" in your language, could native speakers still read it?

    Cna yuo raed tihs?

    i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The
    phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit
    pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a
    pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by
    istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot
    slpeling was ipmorantt!
  2. LaReinita

    LaReinita Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    Well, just because our brain can process words that we already recognize when they're spelled wrong, doesn't mean that spelling isn't important. I know this will sound horrible, but I've always thought it seems uneducated to spell a whole bunch of things wrong. I know this isn't true, but these days when one can use a spell check or simply go to to verify the spelling of one word or another, it's seems lazy to spell words wrong when the alternative is that easy to achieve. However, I always won or at least was a finalist in Spelling Bees in school, so maybe I would feel differently if spelling was difficult for me.
  3. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    I can read that, but it's about as hard on the eyes as text that lOoKs lyKe tHiZz. Can non-natives read it too?

    It annoys me when people don't spell things the right way, but I'd say that for the most part, people spell pretty decently (at least where I live). It's important to differentiate between spelling errors and typos though. I think typos are more forgiveable.

    I think spelling is important, but I think spelling bees (like the national spelling bee) are stupid. I think it's more important to know how to use words than to know/memorize every word in the dictionary. I've always been negatively impressed by spelling bee contestants, to tell you the truth.
  4. Dempsey

    Dempsey Member

    English, Australia
    Heh. It barely affected the way I read it.

    Spelling isn't very important here. In school they are more concerned with how you express yourself in your writing and also the content. Poor spelling will barely mark a person down.
  5. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    True here too. Sometimes when people start running out of time, they will use "+" instead of "and" and they can still get the best grade if everything else is very good.
  6. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    It's an artificially contrived example, in which consonants still largely follow their normal ordering. If the middle letters were really rearranged randomly in a random text, you'd hardly be able to read anything.

    Here's a differently rearranged fragment from the text that you quote:

    Andcoricg to a rraecseh at Cigbradme Uvstierniy, it dnseo't mtaetr...

    Now try reading that without having previously seen the correct version (or the nearly correct one above). :D

    Vowels, however, can be rearranged or even omitted while still keeping a surprising level of readability if only the first and last letters are kept intact:

    Accrdng to a rsrch at Cmbrdg Unvrsty, it dsn't mttr...

  7. karuna

    karuna Senior Member

    The planet Earth
    Latvian, Latvia
    I cannot browse this text at all. And reading it requires quite an effort and it is very slow as sometimes I have to stop and think, sometimes for several seconds at each word to understand what it means. I am sure that a native speaker can do it much faster but do you still feel comfortable to read such texts?

    In Latvian spelling is not very important because it is relatively simple and mostly phonetic. Therefore people are mostly splitting hairs about punctuation and word usage. But if you were spelling words incorrectly people would be correcting you without hesitation.
  8. salvador_1_99

    salvador_1_99 Senior Member

    México español
    Here spelling is not important, besides spelling the vowels.

    I can without any problem. Is spellling important for no-natives? I think so

    mmmhhh I try to read a lot and also I try to memorize (and hear) every word that I find, I will sort it out to put the words in order, whether you don´t know the words how come you can use them.
  9. raspina

    raspina New Member

    iran - persian
    In our country its very important to spell correctly , and when we were in Elementry school every day we had an exam .

    I think spelling in a correct way is very important and shows if you are educated or not .
  10. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    One can read it, but it is not the best example of this phenomena that anybody who has been working with typography should know.

    However, if the 1-2 first and last letters are right a lot of grave spelling errors go unnoticed because words are read from the outside to the inside and not from beginning to end. One reads till it makes sense. Once, on my job, a box with the word


    went unnoticed for months, till somebody finally said, shouldn't that be


    LARMCLOCK or ALARMCLOC would have been noticed at once.

    Nevertheless, spelling is important everywhere - which does not mean it is taken seriously. Just look at the way people often write on internet message boards - not this one of course. With a lot of "there" in stead of "their" and several other errors of that type. Do you really read that? Of course you don't. After the second time you have to re-read a sentence in a post to have a slim chance to understand what the guy means, you jump to the next one.

    (And can you imagine a contract of that quality level? Would you sign it?)
  11. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Very readable, at least to this non-native, and not hard on the eyes. Athaulf's version wasn't more difficult either, although, of course, I had already read the first version.

    Is spelling important? Well, I imagine in some sense it will always be, everywhere. The initial example works, because we already have a clue of how the words "normally" are spelt, thus it is possible to read. If there were no rules at all, apart from "this word contains these letters and X is first, Y last", I don't think we'd learn to read all the same... :eek: I don't think it is "problematic" that there are spelling rules - they help us all to read and understand better. What I think is the problem is the overpreoccupation with spelling and typos - is it really fair to judge someone as "illiterate" because of not spelling to perfection according to rules that are, after all, arbitrary? What does it matter? Spelling is a medium, communication and expression are the goals.
  12. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Yes, it is thought to be important. However, since German spelling is at least a little bit more straight-forward than English spelling, normal children have not too much difficulty.

    No, it is not. To the contrary, only young children are trained well. In higher school education it is thought to be a prerequistite, but it is not trained anymore. Personally, I believe that vocabulary, spelling, grammar, rhetorics should be trained on high-school level much more intensively.

    It is amazing what linguistic crap well-educated scientists are able to create -- a little bit more of general education would be highly desirable!

    It is amazing, that even I (as foreigner) could read the text almost without problems. Interestingly, scrambled words like "rset" were somewhat difficult (for a few seconds), maybe because "set" in itself is a word, too? The same was true for "lsat". Also "slpeling" was in my mind unclear for seconds (sleeping/spelling), even if the context made it very clear.

    I will try do test the same thing in German!

    Great topic!

  13. Silvia B

    Silvia B Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    That absolutely doesn't happen in Italy.
    Spelling right is a basic thing that you learn when you are at the elementary school. If during high schoolo you write something wrong is like you don't know 1+1=2!!!
    And our professors don't accept these kind of mistakes at all.
    We care very much about our language.
  14. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Hehe, and it's amazing what BS people can come up with in the most refined and sophisticated linguistic form! :D
  15. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Moderator's note: This particular "phenomenon" has been disussed before here and here. As you may see the English texts are indentical :D

    I agree with LaReinita (we know how they are spelt and that's why we can recognise the jumbled up words) and Athaulf (the process of jumbling up these words is important).
    I've long suspected although I was always too lazy to check it, that the production of this text in the first place has something to do with cognitive psycology. At least it seems to fit right in the subject of how we recognise letters and words and things. I may be wrong of course.

    Spelling was and up to a point still is quite important here. It always depends on the kinds of mistakes one makes of course (since, for instance, dyslexic people make a certain kind of mistakes) but bad spelling is still considered in general as something you should be really ashamed of. Historic spelling doesn't help people with orthography although basic etymology does.

    Mind you, all these hold true only for native speakers. When it comes to people learning Greek, people may wince a bit when the endings are spelled wrong or someone has played Eeny, meeny, miny, mo with the /i/s of a word containing many different one (like ειρηνικός - irinikos for example ) but that's just about it.
  16. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    This just shows the sorry state of some schools in Australia.

    Am I making too many assumptions, or are you talking about Victorian state primary schools?
  17. Kaxsp New Member

    This a really interesting question. I 've a little brother (4 years old) and he is just learning read. In spanish, we are learning him to read syllables like "LA LE LI LO LU" or "MA ME MI MO MU" because always it sound similar, and i think that in a very short time he will learn to read very well.
  18. zazap Senior Member

    Canada, French and English
    French. :eek:French spelling:eek:. Have you ever noticed how half the letters in French words are silent? It certainly doesn't help!
    I spent my childhood copying lists of words and doing dictations. I'm lucky because I've always been quite good at spelling, but I know some people who just can't do it right. Spelling is very important in France. "La dictée de Bernard Pivot" is very famous, T.V. shows like "Des chiffres et des lettres" too.
    I am under the impression that spelling isn't quite as big an issue in Quebec, but I could be wrong. I studied at a school with teachers from France and books from France and French education philosophy so I don't know. I remember that the kids who were attending normal public schools were copying less words...
  19. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    I am tired so don't pay attention to what I say but I don't really see the link between proper spelling & the example given. I had no difficulty reading it but it takes me ages to read chatspeak because I have to read it "outloud" to understand what it means while with proper spelling it instantly means something to me because I'm so used to this spelling.
    I think spelling is important, especially in French when common faults can make that you write 2 opposite things:
    "à noter"
    "a noté"
    Pronounced exactly the same way but in a case, you have to do it, in the other, it's done (yes, it happened to me, I read something like that & it was to do, not done already :rolleyes:).
    I think that spelling in France has always been important, as Zazap noted, & recently there has been an attempt of the government to put emphasis again on they study of grammar & spelling (& reading) in primary schools. But in general I have the impression spelling is poorer & poorer :eek: (I know I sound so old :rolleyes:)
  20. ernest_

    ernest_ Senior Member

    Catalan, Spain
    In Spain, we had separate marks for writing expression, grammar and spelling, and reading comprehension. I think it was fair enough. At the end, you had to be able to write Catalan and Spanish almost perfectly (in terms of spelling and grammar), as each fault would cost you 2 points out of 10. So, with 5 being a pass, if you made only two mistakes (it didn't matter if it was only one accent that you wrote the other way round) you ended up with a miserable 6. Three mistakes, that was a fail. That test was a 200 word composition, if I recall correctly. Or maybe it was 400 words. The only problem is that without constant practice your writing skills begin to degenerate almost instantaneously, so just a few months after the exams I had already forgotten how to write properly.
  21. Dempsey

    Dempsey Member

    English, Australia
    A NSW public Highschool. No, spelling here was not important. I don't remember primary school.
  22. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Spelling is very important in Russia.
    Children are taught how to write properly (not only in terms of spelling, though) all the 10 years they spend at school. Sadly, not all school-leavers can boast faultless spelling. But those who do have far higher chances to enter a university, because writing an essay is the first exam at many faculties, and although the essay is on a given topic on Russian literature, the spelling, grammar etc will also be checked.
  23. Bilma Senior Member

    Spanish Mexico
    In Mexico spelling is important when I was in high school and even college if you missed an accent or a colon you would get some points deducted from your grade.
  24. semisa Member

    It's amazing that I can read them easily.I'm not a native.As to your question,I think it's important for people to spell word right.It will show a lot of respect to the person you are writing to as well as the language itself.
  25. modus.irrealis Senior Member

    English, Canada
    I don't think that spelling is that important for communication, in the sense that the current spelling of a language is not the only way. You don't even need (I guess contrived) examples -- just look at how people text message each other -- clearly there are lots of ways a language can be written besides the officially correct way.

    But I think spelling is important in the sense that spelling errors -- if you spell something wrong on a resume, application, report, or anything along those lines, I'm pretty sure that nine times out of ten, it will reflect badly on you. Personally, for those languages where spelling is to a large extent unpredictable, I think this is one of reasons in favour of orthographic reform, since spelling is such an artificial way of determining intelligence, etc. and if you're well-off, my guess is you're more likely to be a better speller (does any one know of any studies on that?) since you probably had more time and resources to learn (i.e. memorize) how words are spelt, so maybe spelling's important as a social justice issue too.
  26. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    No, I think it's underrated. Our public schools are going through an "anything goes" phase. All that matters is that students have good self-esteem (and a place to crash/trash while mom & dad are busy at work). Any learning that may take place is entirely coincidental.

    Personally, while I realise that spelling is just a convention, I think that people should learn it, and learn it well. For me, that's the best way to avoid the social imbalances that Modus-Irrealis alludes to.

    Sure, you think we don't have that kind of joke in other languages, too? :)
  27. argentina84

    argentina84 Senior Member

    Göteborg, Sweden
    Argentina Spanish
    It depends on the language. For example, if you make a mistake in Spanish, people will understand what you have written. But if you make a spelling mistake in English, or French, people might read another thing! I am very careful when writing in a foreign language. It's not the same case with my own language...
  28. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher Senior Member

    I can do nothing but agree with Etcetera on what she's written about spelling in Russian. I studied in Russian school only up to the 6th grade, however, and I can't say anything about later education, but whatever I've learnt was enough to make my spelling almost perfect.

    In Hebrew making spelling mistakes is also frowned upon, but the spelling itself is somewhat easier than in European languages. The main reason is that vowels aren't written (with an exception of [o] and ), and the rest of the language is largely phonetic. The only major source of spelling mistakes is confusion between letters that sound the same in modern Hebrew (4 pairs exist in total), and, to a lesser extent, not hearing the letter 'hey' pronounced clearly.
    Anyway, any official documentation has to be written flawlessly. Without doubt, a resume written with a spelling mistake will find itself in the trash bin.
  29. Earth Dragon Member

    USA- English
    In American high schools, it depends on the class.

    Computer teachers expect perfect grammar and spelling because they consider using language tools to be part of the class. They will take 1 point of 20 off for each error they find. The average writing assignment would be 1 page long.

    English teachers will make students do several drafts of the same paper. The first one will have many misspelled words. Once you get the last draft, the spelling is supposed to be perfect also.

    Science teachers will mark an answer half wrong if a term is more than one letter off.
  30. lettore Member

    In Raissun: deefiinlty. It is more iamnoprtt for pelope tahn gaammrr. Pelope make a lot of maeiksts in pacinottuun, yet tehy uallsuy selpl eehinrtvyg rgiht. I dn'ot know why.

    In Russian: definitely. It is more important for people than grammar. People make a lot of mistakes in punctuation, yet they usually spell everything right. I don't know why.

    Uaeflnnorttuy, in Rissua tehre is a siptud peiioopprsstun taht sceiinstts (cemoptur sceiinstts icdelnud) dn'ot need laaggnue.
    I gesus taht is one raeosn why the Raissun scceine is poor caemoprd to its paeinottl.

    Unfortunately, in Russia there is a stupid presupposition that scientists (computer scientits included) don't need language.
    I guess that is one reason why the Russian science is poor compared to its potential.
  31. Peripes

    Peripes Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    Español, Perú
    As a non-native speaker, I can say I can indeed read that paragraph. I think that if a word is assembled in a different way, but conserving a certain structure, we can still recognise it. If it were, for example: "I tulcdno vlebiee hatt I ouldc llytacu duntandres..." It wouldn't make any sense at all. Certain structure must be kept for a word to be recognised.

    Here in my country I think spelling is not really taught with a lot of depth in school. Aside from ceratin reules of spellings, the topic is mostly left aside, I think not many people here feel Spanish phonology and spelling are very difficult. You are expected to spell more or less correctly after school. People usually write incorrectly when using SMS, chatrooms and such, but I think most people can point out the mistakes, unless you didn't receive basic education. Certain universities will substract a point or two for each spelling error, but it's not always very dramatic.

    For me spelling is sort of important, I always try to write the best way I can, but I don't force people to do so unless, for example, we're writing a paper or presentation. If I can understand what someone is trying to tell me, without enormous mistakes, I think it's okay for most situations.
  32. london calling Senior Member

    Things have changed. I was educated in Australia (Melbourne and Perth) and in London (I did my primary eduction in the sixties) and at the time spelling was very important: we had spelling tests all the time. As a matter of fact, I remember in London we used to have an 'official' one every year, which they used to establish your reading age. I notice that these days, in the UK at least, the younger generations often appear to have serious problems with their spelling, which makes me think that a) schools don't put much emphasis on it any more; b) kids don't read (books, newspapers, whatever) the way we used to; c) people rely heavily on spell-check software whenever they write anything.
  33. Mishe Senior Member

    In Slovenia spelling is EXTREMELY important. This has a lot to do with the way we perceive and experience our language and we perceive it as the main feature of our self-identification, therefore most people here are very hairsplitting about it. Not only about the spelling, but also about grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc.

    The tricky thing about Slovenian is that the standard language is quite different from the spoken everyday language/dialects, so mastering the standard is a sign of good education and sophistication. Nevertheless, just like in all other languages there are many people who don't live up to this prerogative, but the fact that bothers me the most is how such mistakes are mocked - there are dozens of Slovenian facebook groups where people post and make fun of everyday language errors. Not that I think that spelling, punctuation and grammar aren't important, it's just that I think this is humongous exaggerating. Besides, many Slovenians have begun to dislike the standard language, they feel uncomfortable using it and feel it is in a way "unnatural".
  34. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    I hate spelling nazis. People get upset about things like your/you're - their/there - weight/wieght . It's the dumbest thing ever in the history of language and people could find better things to waste time doing. This is why spelling reform is crucial.
  35. Mishe Senior Member

    On the other hand, spelling is a convention a certain society agrees to follow, at least in some contexts and situations...
  36. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Just go on like that if you feel like it. The point is that one has to go back and re-read several times to have an idea what somebody is trying to tell. Do we always have time for that? Do we have a reason to do so? Do we HAVE to read it at all? If the answer is "no", I assure you, my reaction will very often be not to read it at all. However, why write something when it is bound not to be read?

    OK - spelling reform would be fine, but even that will not solve the problem with those people who still don't care.
  37. IRAJ2000

    IRAJ2000 Senior Member

    Spelling is very important in my country. I live in Iran, and my native language is Persian.
    At school we have four lessons for linguistics:
    1. Persian Literature (2 hours a week)
    2. Persian Grammar (2 hours a week)
    3. Persian writing (2 hours a week)
    4. Persian Spelling (1.5 hours a week)
    Right now, I'm at the third grade of junior high school.
  38. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings all round

    It may be worth remarking here that, as a general rule, accuracy in spelling is more important in inflected languages than in prepositional. In an inflected language, the aberration of a single letter may change the sense of a word or sentence entirely, whereas in my native English, in which a greater proportion of the sense of individual words is carried by context and sentence-formation, occasional spelling errors (though irritating to pedants such as myself) only seldom distort the meaning disastrously.

  39. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    One thing nobody has said is that misspelt words may not be so disastrous for people who know the language well, but for people who are learning from a low level I'm sure they create far more difficulty. English is an international language, so we shouldn't be too anglocentric!
    This discussion may also seem strange to people whose language is practically phonetic like Spanish or Italian, with a very close correspondence between spelling and pronunciation. There are not so many mistakes Italian students can make.

    From what I know of modern Greek, if you see a word you know how to pronounce it, but if you hear it you don't necessarily know how to spell it because η, ι, υ, ει, and οι all have the same sound.
  40. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Greetings again

    Einstein (# 39) is of course right - we should not be too Anglocentric - and he is also right, that few languages have such a chaotic relationship between orthography and pronunciation as English. But how well do (say) the spoken argots of Sicily or the Italian Tyrol really conform phonetically to the Italian spoken by educated Milanese?

    The same could be asked for virtually any modern language - and was also true of Latin and ancient Greek; only there, so far as the evidence seems to permit, we can pick up at least some dialectical (or even grammatical) variants from their epigraphic orthography.

  41. frugnaglio Senior Member

    Really? This sounds like a weird statement to me. Do you have an example of what you mean? I suppose if you take a sentence in an inflected language of your choice and apply some random spelling errors, you won't get something less intelligible than if you do the same thing with English. Maybe it would be more meaningful to distinguish between more and less redundant languages: redundancy (like marking the number on both the subject and verb) allows to understand the meaning from the unadulterated term. But it can introduce ambiguity for the same reason...
  42. Sempervirens Senior Member

    Ciao! Ai miei tempi, mezzo secolo fa, fare la scomposizione in sillabe era di prassi. Non conosco i metodi didattici odierni.

    Comunque, per aiutare anche chi ha problemi di disturbo dell'apprendimento (vedi dislessia, per esempio), io preferisco una buona ortografia ad una scrittura alla come viene viene. Esorterei i docenti affinché la buona ortografia, e con essa pure un po' di senno, prevalga sulla cattiva ortografia. D'altronde tu parli di comunicazione (in generale), ed io in quel termine includo tutto. Parlanti e/o lettori con disturbi specifici dell'apprendimento (DSA), comunicazione scritta, orale, traduttore automatico.

    P.S Grazie ad un'ortografia abbastanza fedele puoi anche fare la traduzione automatica.

  43. Zaskaburcio

    Zaskaburcio Senior Member

    En el nada a que asirse
    España, español
    Finding concepts with Google Search would be very complicated. Also sorting words in dictionaries, spelling check in word processors, etc.

  44. Radioh

    Radioh Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    For a language purist like me, yes, spelling is extremely important. Sadly, many young people nowadays in my country are abusing the language every day. They use abbrevirations every where, even in essays. They even invented some ridiculous ways of writing words, which they call "cool and teen", which I find IMPOSSIBLE to read and understand. Misspelling is inevitable in every language. But it helps improve your vocabulary. When you spell a word incorrectly, you learn how to spell it correctly ~sign~ I'm not judging anyone, just feel sad...
  45. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    I spell, therefore I am.
  46. germanbz Senior Member

    Benicàssim - Castelló - Spain
    Spanish-Spain/Catalan (Val)
    In Spanish spelling has importance only when you have to learn to write graphic accentuated words or words which contain either j/g or c/z (when they have the same sound) or words containing an "h" which is mute in Spanish.

    Besides that, once you have learnt the sound of the basic syllables, you shouldn't have difficulties to write any word, even though you'd never listened to it before. Because the sound of a word, sounds as the addition of the sounds of its basic syllables.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  47. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    You communicate ideas and your personal image. If it is OK to you that your personal image is one of an under-educated-spelling-and-grammar-challenged individual, than ignore spelling and grammar.

    I had a salesman that worked for me who sounded like he was educated, however when emails became a major method of communicating it became apparent that he was not. I insisted that he submit his emails to me for review before sending them to the customers.

    Unfortunately I cannot make that demand of the new VP of our company (the owner's son) who likes to "summerize" using numbered points. He also likes to offer a "summery view" in chart form.

    And this to our largest customer: Accoring to my calculations these prices should leav you with about a 20% margin to meet listed prices.

    So, sure ignore spelling and grammar and appear to the world like an ill-educated lout if that is what you are willing to present.
  48. Nino83 Senior Member

    I don't speak about people of South Tyrol because they are German native speakers.

    There is very little difference.
    In Italy, what change most is intonation, the value of /e/ and /o/ (in Northern Italy and in Abruzzo, Molise and Apulia they say "sècco" and "béne" instead of "sécco" and "bène", in Sicily, Calabria and Salento we say "sècco" and "bène"), the value of some letter (in Northern Italy "lj" becomes "gli", so they say "miglioni" instead of "milioni", intervocalic "gni, gli, sci" are not geminated, and in Veneto they often degeminate also other consonants, while from Rome to Sicily intervocalic "b, d, g" can be geminated also when they souldn't be, like "aggenda" instead of "agenda" in informal speech).

    Anyway, all these differences (except for the degeminated consonants in Veneto and the geminated "b, d, g" in Central and Southern Italy) are not reflected in orthography (there's no difference between "é" and "è", "ó" and "ò" and "gni, gli, sci" are written always as single consonants), so there are very few spelling mistakes and those few are not tolerated at school.

    A little example.
    I'm Sicilian and some month ago I went to Rome.
    The most known feature of Sicilian accent is the opening of /e/ and /o/ (when speaking Italian we always say "è" and "ò") but in Sicilian language the difference is mantained ("sécco" becomes "siccu", "sètte" > "sètti", "córto" > "curtu" and "fòrte" > "fòrti"), so in a few days I started pronouncing almost correctly both open and closed /e/ and /o/.
    A student from Salento and another from Naples thought I was Roman, and some Romans didn't guess my Region (but they didn't think I was Roman).
    So, with a little effort you can have a more or less neutral accent.
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  49. Mikeo38 Senior Member

    English (British)
    In my opinion spelling is important because if, say, a job application letter contains spelling mistakes people will think that you couldn't be bothered to use a dictionary or a spellchecker. I reckon there are words like "book" that everyone knows how to spell; on the other hand, there are doubtful words - "receive" or "recieve"? If you are doubtful, then words must be checked. Also, someone may be intelligent but if h/she makes spelling mistakes, people will think the opposite.
  50. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    The spelling causes much less trouble to Hungarian pupils than English or French pupils.
    In our language the roots of the words are spelled phonetically.
    The ly sound has disappeared from the spoken standard Hungarian but it has been reserved in the written language Ly is pronounced now same as the j sound. This forces the young children to learn by heart the spelling.
    The x/ksz question is less important. X is preserved in most words of Greek and Latin origin. Mainly ksz is used in words coming from German, English, Yiddis and Russian.
    The spelling of declined nouns and conjugated verbs is more complicate because colliding final consonants of the roots and front consonants of the suffixes melt in a third sound. The analytic spelling and the phonetic spelling are contradicting. The analytic spelling helps to recognize the root and the suffix. The phonetic spelling is easier to learn.

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