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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: September 2009

7 - Why do we spell?

Summary

Teenager spells out UK word win A 13-year-old girl has beaten 100,000 hopefuls to become the best young speller in the UK.

Gayathri Kumar, from Lancashire, correctly spelt words including troglodyte and disequilibrium to win the BBC's Hard Spell competition.

The final, shown on BBC One on Sunday night, saw Gayathri go head-to-head with the other finalist, Nisha Thomas.

Gayathri, from Ormskirk, took the title when she correctly spelt Chihuahua and Nisha stumbled over dachshund.

Five finalists were whittled down from more than 100,000 spellers who took part in school competitions …

Gayathri kept a file of spellings which she carried with her at all times, for quick revision.

(BBC News (UK edition) 6 December 2004)

Message in a bottle for the god of words

I would dare to suggest before this wise audience that we simplify the grammar before the grammar finishes simplifying us … Let us pension off spelling, terror of humankind from the cradle onwards: let us bury the stone-age h's, sign a boundary agreement between g and j, and put more reason into the writing of accents.

(Gabriel García Márquez, La Jornada, Mexico, 8 April 1997)

Hard spelling

Orthography had a high profile during 2004. In Britain, two books about spelling were published for the general public, taking almost opposite positions. Understanding English Spelling by Masha Bell appeared in March.