Thursday, February 28, 2008

another of dad's write-up

BSA – Bad Spellers Anonymous

BSA’s La Salle Learning Centre’s Chapter, to date, has only one inveterate bad speller member, Terence Reutens, who feels he is beyond redemption.

Or is he?

While BSA’s very existence stems from the accepted norm for precise spelling, one often chances upon Gems like the following, going against the grain:

i) “English text has been estimated as being between two and four times as long as it has to be for its information content.” - Steven Pinker in ‘The language Instinct”

ii) “Thanks to the redundancy of language, yxx cxn xndxrstxnd whxt x xm wrxtxng xvxn xf x rxplxcx xll thx vxwxls wxth xn “x” (t gts lttl hrdr f y dn’t vn kn whr th vwls r). - Steven Pinker in ‘The language Instinct”

Redundancy and impurity are already embedded in life and taken for granted. So why not bad spelling?

Examples follow:
a) In the human genome one finds a fair number of chromosomes in the DNA redundant or deciphered as gibberish, being evolution’s waste accumulated over generations.

b) Women have the double Y chromosome. Males differ by their X chromosome replacing the Y. To digress, in most species the male is discarded once his functionality is lost. The male does not live as long as the female nor have innate immunity against some congenital diseases. Females have the fallback ability should one Y chromosome become defective or mutates.

c) Engineers always over specify when designing. Example, in the aerospace industry, the built in redundancy and duplication affords a fall back net should any system fail. Remember, what can fail, will.

d) In Civil Engineering, “it is the judicious excess over minimum requisite support…. A good bridge does not crumble when subjected to stress beyond what could have been foreseen.” Quine – Logician.

e) An impurity almost always enhances the original, the trace progenitor. As example, steel with its carbon, magnesium, and other elements, has superior attributes (tensile, shear and torsional strengths) over pure iron and iron’s amenable partner wrought iron.

Likewise over time spelling has acquired redundancies, words have constricted, changed beyond recognition and simplified. For me, the bulk has just remained stoic in archaical pretensions. Being fastidious in precise and meticulously correct spelling takes the fun out of the pun.

Being spot-on in spelling may be desirous, but for heaven’s sake one only needs to be pure of heart, in mind and soul. Life’s more important than a good spelling ability.

For us atrocious spellers – Ça ne fait rien (it really doesn’t matter.)

Ces’t la vie.

From your regular bad speller, Terence Reutens.

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