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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 75
02-10-2010, 05:56 AM
Casual misspellings? Okay, that's fine, whatever.

Misspelling frequently misspelled things, or confusing words that sound the same but spelled differently, really bother me.

People make mistakes. That's fine. A slip of the finger occasionally, we're all guilty of it.

But literacy is very important. It may not appear so important on a forum for a bunch of people who have only gathered to play a video game, but if nothing else, it's important for posterity's sake. Sure, language changes and mutates over the course of time. But there's just this huge splattering of differing spellings and differing grammar, and it must be incrediby confusing to anyone who wants to properly learn the language. The most recent 2009 census would have you believe that our literacy is at 99% because there's that many people over the age of 15 who can read and write. However...

The Census Bureau reported literacy rates of 99% based on personal interviews of a relatively small portion of the population and on written responses to Census Bureau mailings. They also considered individuals literate if they simply stated that they could read and write, and made the assumption that anyone with a fifth grade education had at least an 80% chance of being literate.
As it is, our language is one of the most difficult ones to learn, next to Russian, or learning to write thousand of Chinese-based kanji/characters. What kind of an example do we set when people who are supposedly "fluent" in the language can't do so much as to at least put forth effort to write intelligibly? Other difficult languages have better literacy, their countries, have higher wages, etc. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy tested American adults in 2003. If we're to take these more quality tests by NAAL instead of the ones taken by the Census, "then the resultant literacy rate for the United States would be at most 65-85% depending on where in the basic, minimal competence quantile one sets the cutoff." That's pretty low, right?

A follow-up study by the same group of researchers using a smaller database (19,714 interviewees) was released in 2006 that showed no statistically significant improvement in U.S. adult literacy.[6] These studies assert that 46% to 51% of U.S. adults read so poorly that they earn "significantly" below the threshold poverty level for an individual.
Now, again, I want to make myself clear that I realize that misspellings are GOING to happen. I also haven't gone and picked apart anybody's spelling around here. It's not that big a deal, certainly on forums. HOWEVER, I do think that we should get in the habit of writing properly. Because if we don't, we'll start misspelling when it really matters. And what about our kids? Will our kids be more or less literate than us? I actually hope they're MORE literate than we are.

(BTW, I am, of course, approaching this as a US citizen. Where people can't read and write worth beans.)

Part of my source: