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Teachers' spelling

Discussion in 'English' started by andybeale, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Thank you for clearing that up. To be honest I only brought it up again after you suggested I should use a semi-colon, it annoyed me at the time. But maybe that was silly of me, and as you've taken the time to nicely explain your experiences I'll look back on the comment in good spirit!
  2. PinkRuby - what surprised me was that you have TAs marking children's books at all. A TA speaking in a dialect or using incorrect grammar or pronunciation will probably not have a significant impact in the grand scheme of things. When it comes to writing in children's books, it is a different matter. After all, what do you do next? Mark the TA's work?
  3. TAs don't mark books but they do write in them, usually helping SEN children to plan extended writing or making corrections when redrafting. Sometimes I ask a TA to go over a paragraph with children encouraging them to make corrections so that the child can make similar corrections independently. I do this myself but there's only one of me and if it's a low ability set, it seems like good use of TA time to me.

    If I see errors in green pen in a book, I stamp it 'TA Assisted' but don't correct it.
  4. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    This just reminds me of a funny thing. Well, I thought it was at the time.
    Marking Single Level Tests for English (Writing) I came to a school where several of the children had had scribes. There wasn't a separate spelling test but there was a separate mark for spelling. So, I had to ask my supervisor what to do. He didn't know and had to go and ask his supervisor. I fully expected him to come back saying that they'd all have to have an average mark (that was what happened in KS3 NCTs) but no. "She says you mark the scribes' spelling."
    "So, they'll all get full marks, then?"
    "No, because they'll all have spelling mistakes in them."
    And they did.
  5. manc

    manc New commenter

    It's still pretty weird though, isn't it? A child gets a mark for the spelling of his/her scribe?

    You couldn't make it up, as the saying goes.
  6. manc

    manc New commenter

    That was a party political broadcast by the thread -ending party
  7. As a Family Learning Tutor (and ex-Primary School teacher), I am saddened at the poverty of understanding basic grammar/spelling rules amongst adults and teachers let alone children. Where were the teachers who taught grammar? Where are they now? Why do we tolerate such casual/careless attitudes to spelling and grammar rules? If we don't correct our children's spellings etc, then I believe we 'short-change' them and we will reap what we sow. With so many mnemonic strategies available and attention to individual 'learning styles' there has to be a solution somewhere.
    Most spelling rules stem principally from CVC words. However, many children and adults will write how they hear words (often down to
    local dialect) rather than how they are actually spelt. However, there's
    nothing like the good old weekly spelling tests. For some
    children/adults, 'the bus has to come around several times' but that's
    all par for the course if we want our students to succeed.
    Grammar is not everyone's strength or passion I know but the apostrophe rule, for example, is SO simple. I love teaching it and hearing my adult learners say, 'I've got it!' after years of not understanding it and using avoidance techniques when writing.
  8. It happens a lot in education nowadays,
    e.g. senior staff giving up lunch breaks to give extra help to pupils on the GCSE C/D boundary; pushing pupils towards easier GCSEs and away from tough ones like physics and modern languages; coaching pupils for the KS tests.
    All those things get pupils marks for what teachers do nearly as much as for what they themselves do.
    The league tables have put English education in a weird place (nearly as weird as English spelling).
    PS Does anyone happen to know who first introduced ea into English spelling?
    I could not find it in Chaucer or the early mystery plays (mene, lene, seson; erly, erthe, heven), but in More's 'Utopia' (1516) those words are already spelt as now.
    So it must have happened sometime between 1400 and about 1500, but I would like to know exactly who was responsible for this dastardly abomination on English spelling.
    Please email me if u know - mashabell@aol.com. The weather keeps disrupting our landline and I can't spend much time online.

  9. I teach punctuation, grammar and spelling to all ages. As a linguist, I am not a great advocate of prescriptive grammar but, obviously, I have to wear my 'grammar hat' when teaching because language variation is driven and dependant within its own specific context. A good point for discussion is how far do we push these academic conventions when using thse standard forms?
  10. I had an email re ea,
    suggesting that this might have been part of the Great Vowel Shift between 1450 and 1750.
    It is very difficult to establish exactly how English spelling changes relate to changes in pronunciation, because the English orthography disintegrated so drastically during the 16th century bible wars, and because the majority of typsetters of the first printed English books were foreigners who spoke no English.
    And most early English texts which we have today have survived as printed copies rather than manuscripts, with printers' spellings rather than those of their authors. The 1666 fire of London burned many manuscripts. With thatched roofs house fires used to be very common all the time too, and John Aubrey (1625-97) tells us in Brief Lives that after the invention of printing many people turned old manuscripts into bottle stops, especially beer bottles, as they gave them a particularly nice flavour.
    To me the insertion of a into words which were earlier spelt with just e, seems part of the general tendency by early printers to make words longer: erth - earth; erly - early; lern - learn.
    For the ee sound this was not uniform: mene - meane; lene - leane, reson - reason; sene - seene, bene - beene, beleve - believe, se - see.
    Most -e endings were later dropped, but the chaos inside words was left unchanged.
    I would just like to know who started the stupid trend of inserting needles extra as.
  11. I'm not sure, but I think the -ea spelling may have to do with Chancery English. I remember writing about it many years ago. Also, Utopia was first published in Latin, and wasn't translated into English until 1551. Were you looking at that translation, or a later one?
  12. The edition I have is an Everyman's Library one and I can't find its year of publication anywhere. But it lists 1904 and 1906 editions, so must be later than that.
    I have heard of the Chancery scribes too, but that does not tell me when exactly ea came in, other than that it must have been after 1430. I suspect it became more widespread after the arrival of printing in 1476.
  13. I have just come across a peculiar online commentary
    on the poems of Sir Thomas Wiat (Wyatt) 1503-42
    with some lines from his poems.
    He still uses the regular spellings e-e for long e and e for short.
    which suggests that it was definitely 16th C printers who brought in ea
    and also inserted an extra e into the likes of 'seke, slepe, seme':

    There really never was any need for English spelling to become as chaotic as it is now.
  14. Thee was never any need for non native speakers to want to change someone else's language.
  15. Oh, those wicked old 16th century printers...[​IMG]
  16. Indeed.
    I have found an early poem by Sir Thomas More (1478 - 1535) too
    which he wrote on the death of Queen Elizabeth, the mother of Henry VIII.
    It still has many of the more regular spellings but some new perversions by printers as well.
    "O ye that put your trust and confidenceIn worldly joy and frayle prosperite,That so lyve here as ye should never hence,Remember death, and loke here upon me.Ensaumple, I thinke, there may no better be.Yourself wotte well that in this realme was IYour <u>quene</u> but late, and lo, now here I lye. If worship might have kept me, I had not gone;If wyt might have me saved, I <u>neded</u> not <u>fere</u>;If money might have helpe, I lacked none.But, O good God, what vayleth all this <u>gere</u>,When <u>deth</u> is come, they mighty messenger,Obey we must &ndash; there is no remedy.Me hath he summoned, and now here I <u>ly.</u> Yet was I late promised otherwise,This <u>yere</u> to live in <u>welth</u> and delice.Lo, whereto cometh thy blandishing promise,O false astrology and devynatrice,Of Goddes secrets making thyselfe so wyse.How true is for this <u>yere</u> thy prophecy-The <u>yere</u> yet lasteth, and lo, nowe here I ly.&rdquo; In his Utopia which he he wrote in Latin and was
  17. Oh dear! The copying and pasting messed up the lines.
    I'll try again.
    "O ye that put your trust and confidence
    In worldly joy and frayle prosperite,
    That so lyve here as ye should never hence,
    Remember <u>death</u>, and loke here upon me.
    Ensaumple, I thinke, there may no better be.
    Yourself wotte well that in this realme was I
    Your <u>quene</u> but late, and lo, now here I lye.

    If worship might have kept me, I had not gone;
    If wyt might have me saved, I <u>neded</u> not <u>fere</u>;
    If money might have helpe, I lacked none.
    But, O good God, what vayleth all this <u>gere</u>,
    When <u>deth</u> is come, thy mighty messenger,
    Obey we must &ndash; there is no remedy.
    Me hath he summoned, and now here I <u>ly.</u>

    Yet was I late promised otherwise,
    This <u>yere</u> to live in <u>welth</u> and delice.
    Lo, whereto cometh thy blandishing promise,
    O false astrology and devynatrice,
    Of Goddes secrets making thyselfe so wyse.
    How true is for this <u>yere</u> thy prophecy-
    The <u>yere</u> yet lasteth, and lo, nowe here I ly.&rdquo;

    In his Utopia which he wrote in Latin and which was first transalted into English in 1551,
    words with an ee sound are nearly all already spelt as we do now. So the messing up of spellings for the ee sound and short e must have occurred in the first half of the 16th century.

    The spelling inconsistencies in the poem also show just how variable English spelling became after the invention of printing.
  18. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    That used to be the case, maizie - the missing genitive (it's not always possesssion, by any means) "-e" but that only applies to words from Anglo Saxon.
    It's really a great anomaly that the "genitive" apostrophe appears in so many words where there never was a genitive "e".
    "The audience's sake" looks bizarre to me. There never was a genitive "e" there.
    And as for "possession" - "the dog's owner" - does that mean that the dog owns its owner?
    "In three weeks' time" - a (previous) genitive with no sense of possession at all.
    I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing the apostrophe go.
  19. I rather suspect that most of them actually do...[​IMG]

    Aw,markuss, you'll be campaigning for simplified spelling next...

  20. I would applaud its demise with loud cheers.
    (Must do a blog on its stupidity one of these days.)
    I had almost forgotten how hard I found making sense of its use when I first learned English.

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