Friday, April 4, 2014

So you think you can spell...

I don't know about you but it feels like ants crawling all over me when I see the words: "strength," "length" & "truly" spelt as "strenght," "lenght" and "truely." Beyond those common "mispellings" (or is it "misspellings"?) I wonder about people who mix up the use of "been" with "being" or even those who now write things like "Am fine" when they mean "I'm fine" - can you feel the ants?

God is so good at keeping us in check so we don't get puffed up & put down by pride. With that backdrop, here's my spelling story...

A few years ago, I noticed people using the word "segue"* in conversations & it sounded nice - actually it sounded impressive. In fact, I used it sometimes too. Well, as my children know, whenever they ask me to help them to spell a word, I ask them to either "spell it as pronounced" or "check their dictionary." Once in response to the latter instruction, my eldest child asked - more out of frustration than disrespect: "How can I look it up if I don't know how it's spelt**?" Good comeback...nice when our children display intelligence. Needless to say, we reverted to the 'spell it as pronounced' instruction I keep dishing out. How did I know it was going to "bite" me?

I needed, more like wanted, to use the word "segue" & swallowing my own prescription, I set out to look it up in a dictionary. After several attempts, my online searches turned up no results so I 'spelt it as pronounced' and my spelling was: "segway" - you guessed right didn't you? I actually felt that online dictionaries hadn't caught up with modern words - as if that's possible.

Several months later, I saw the word "segue" in a book and after trying to pronounce it, it clicked - that's the correct spelling of "segway." Spell as pronounced indeed...

Like I like to say, you always learn at least one of 2 things from every situation:
1. What to do, or
2. What not to do.

I actually learnt  (or is it "learned"?) the second lesson. Yes, I've learnt to be more compassionate to my children (& others) when they cannot spell a word even as pronounced or anything else. Guess what I also learnt?

The word "Segway" does exist as a proper noun not a verb; it's a two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered electric vehicle. Indeed we learn everyday - so keep an open mind.

References:
* Just in case you've never heard the word or don't know what it means, the Online Dictionary says:  "smooth transition from one topic or section to the next" or "proceed without interruption" - and it's used in Music.
** or is it "spelled" as it's spelt (& pronounced) these days...

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