I found this rather interesting article today on the Times newspaper website. It's all about spelling.
Now, you would assume, wouldn't you, that in this day and age the article is all about the poor spelling skills that students have these days and how even graduates don't seem able to spell the simplest words.
Well, you'd be wrong, this article discusses Ken Smith (lecturer at Bucks New University) and this idea that we should accept certain basic spelling mistakes as variants on the word and not correct them.
I have to say that any university that can't be more imaginative than calling itself New University deserves to have lecturers that thinks like this! Now, I can appreciate that there are people with dyslexia who will always have trouble spelling particular words, but allowances should be made in this case just as allowances are made for the fact that I don't use the telephone and can only use the television with subtitles.
However, to suggest that we accept variant spellings such as opertunity for opportunity, speach for speech, thier for their and so on, just doesn't make sense to me. I know that in times past there were umpteen variants of the same word, heck, Shakespeare couldn't decide how to spell his own name! Today however, there is no excuse for poor spelling; I mean, if the people of my generation and my parents generation could be taught how to spell correctly why on earth aren't today's graduates being taught how to spell properly, or at least how to use a dictionary?
I would assume that very very few essays these days are being handed in handwritten, so there is even less excuse for not having correct spelling if you are using a computer, unless of course you have the spellchecker set to the American language instead of British!