Down with the kids

The English Spelling Society (TESS) is up to no good once again with a new scheme. The scheme is aimed at making life easier for children in tests by allowing sentences such as 'my frend has a coff'.

TESS wants to 'open minds to the possibility of an eventual update of English spelling in the interests of improved literacy'. Or, put another way, 'English language should change to a phonetic version so people don't have to bother to learn it'.

Plain English Campaign understand that literacy skills are a serious issue. However, we do not accept the idea that our language should be sabotaged in order to address such skill deficits.

The society cites the 'two years longer' it takes for children to learn English compared with other European literacy ability levels. They believe the language is 'too complex' and are well known for picketing spelling bee competitions.

Sir Chris Woodward, a former Chief Inspector of Schools, takes a different view.

"The English language is at the core of our national identity and it should be left to evolve naturally,” said Sir Chris.

"It should not be straitjacketed into some global system because people are too lazy to get to grips with the traditional conventions."

Chairman of TESS, Stephen Linstead, said the need to update English was based on 'growing evidence that our spelling system has a substantial economic and social cost'.

What of the potential cost to the world's greatest language? The scheme is obviously nonsensical and idiotic. It's yet another example of mass dumbing down and deserves ridicule.

While language will always evolve over time, it must be allowed to do so naturally, not at the behest of an organisation that promotes bad, lazy habits.

As Sir Chris Woodward suggests, "Yes, English spelling is difficult, but it is not that difficult. If children put the effort in then they can master it. There are such things as dictionaries."

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