Thursday, June 3, 2004

Our spelling 'shuud be lojical,' protesters cry



By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

A FEW WERDS
Some examples of how the American Literacy Society would change the way we spell:
• Complex would become kompleks.
• Increase, inkrees.
• Neck, nek.
• Peace, pees.
• Small, smawl.
• Wrong, rawng.
Source: "Spelling for the 21st Century: The Case for Spelling Reform" by Sanford Silverman
WASHINGTON - Protesters delivered a message Wednesday to the national spelling bee: Enuf is enuf!

Seven members of the American Literacy Society picketed the 77th bee, sponsored every year by Cincinnati-based Scripps Howard.

The protesters' complaint: English spelling is illogical. And the national spelling bee only reinforces the crazy spellings that lead to dyslexia, high illiteracy and harder lives for immigrants.

"We advocate the modernization of English spelling," Pete Boardman, 58, of Groton, N.Y., said. The Cornell University bus driver admitted to being a terrible speller.

Protester Elizabeth Kuizenga, 56, is such a good speller that she teaches English as a second language in San Francisco. She said she got involved in the protest after seeing how much time was wasted teaching spelling in her class.

Bee spokesman Mark Kroeger said good spelling comes from knowing the story behind a word - what language it comes from, what it means: "For these kids who understand the root words, who understand the etymology, it's totally logical."

The protesters say the illogical spelling of English words makes dyslexia more difficult to overcome and helps explain why one in five Americans is functionally illiterate.

Carrying signs reading "I'm thru with through," "Spelling shuud be lojical," and "Spell different difrent," the protesters drew chuckles from bee contestants.

"I can't believe people are picketing against something this ridiculous," said Steven Maheshwary, 14, of Houston, who successfully spelled "Zoroastrian" in the bee.

Or as 13-year-old contestant (tautologous) Rachel Karas of Flint, Mich., put it: "It's just spelling. You gotta learn it."




TOP STORIES
Catholics try to reconcile faith and political choices
Catholics speak out on politics and religion
Pilarczyk deflects sacrament issue
Take 3: 'Cops' invited back to city
'Cops' cameras roll in Covington
Our spelling 'shuud be lojical,' protesters cry
Students inspired by war, service

IN THE TRISTATE
Drake Center request gets divided reaction
Students learn de-stress method
News briefs
Reserves head back to Iraq
Neighbors briefs
State court widens liability for abuse
Close 2 centers for disabled, panel urges
Video gambling effort likely to fail
Pleasant Ridge mobilizes
Pot bust nets 164 pounds, two arrests
Public safety briefs
Morning music comes to Lebanon
Businesses pledge help if art school will move
Fernald cleanup fails powder test
Fees would pay for growth
Recreation center still perplexes West Chester
Brother gets four-year term in fatal shooting of sister

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Good Things Happening
Bronson: Storm alert: Run for it! Enstupidation
Crowley: NKU tuition hike needs a perspective

LIVES REMEMBERED
Robert Dehan led company despite illness

KENTUCKY STORIES
Homes plan clears hurdle
Kentucky news briefs
Fletcher wants suit suspended
Nine abused kids needed her, nine times she took them in
Neighbors help to buy funeral for slain man
Plea averts trial
Talks proceed on diploma equivalent for dropouts