TRADITIONAL spellings could be killed off by the internet within a few decades, a language expert has claimed.
The advent of blogs and chatrooms meant that for the first time in centuries printed words were widely distributed without having been edited or proofread, said David Crystal, of the University of Wales in Bangor.
As a result, writers could spell words differently and their versions could enter common usage and become accepted by children.
Within a few decades, the spellings favoured by many internet users could replace the current, more complex versions, Professor Crystal said. Current spellings were standardised in the 18th century with the advent of dictionaries.
Internet slang – such as ”2moro” instead of ”tomorrow” or ”thx” for ”thanks” – could enter mainstream publications, Professor Crystal said, adding that many spellings bore no relation to meaning or pronunciation. ”The vast majority of spelling rules in English are irrelevant,” he said. ”They don’t stop you understanding the word in question.
”There’s been a huge movement over hundreds of years to simplify English spelling because it is complex for historical reasons,” he said.
”What you consider to be atrocious now may be standard in 50 years.
”There are people around who would treat what I said to be the voice of the devil, but one has to remember that spelling was only standardised in the 18th century. In Shakespeare’s time you could spell more or less as you liked.”
Professor Crystal told the conference of the International English Language Testing System the internet would not lead to a complete breakdown in spelling rules.
”All that will happen is that one set of conventions will replace another set of conventions,” he said.
Professor Crystal said schools should not abandon the teaching of traditional spelling. ”Kids have got to realise that in this day and age, standard English spelling is an absolute criterion of an educated background,” he said.
As one of the most “flexible” languages that could be considered the earliest example of a mash-up, I rather enjoy watching all the new words evolve and they adaptation into common language and meanings!
See ya! 😉