Feeds

Brits and Yanks struck with embarasment embarrassment

New millenium spelling woes

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

It's official: English is going directly to hell in a handcart because more than half of native speakers of the lingo can't spell "embarrassed" - and even more have entered the new millennium without the foggiest idea of how 1,000 years pan out in our beloved mother tongue.

To be precise, 54 per cent of us are embarrassed by "embarrassed", while 60 per cent can't handle "millennium", according to a pole poll by the Spelling Society - a pack of linguistic do-gooders who reckon the time has come to introduce "a more simplified, phonetic system", as the Times puts it.

The Spelling Society probed the prowess of 1,000 British adults and an equal number of stateside guinea pigs. The results revealed that the Yanks were less adept in the spelling department, and could outdo their Blighty-bound cousins only in the matter of “definitely”.

Women, meanwhile, generally trumped the less gentle sex on all fronts, except when it came to organising a quick “liaison”.

The Spelling Society's chairman, Jack Bovill, insisted: “What is holding the UK and the USA back is the irregular spelling system."

This assertion will come as quite a surprise to those who are labouring under the illusion that English is the world's numero uno lingua franca spoken by trillions of people and coveted by those who can't. But Bovill is backed by Edward Baranowski of California State University, who declared: “We have different spellings for the same sound, silent letters, missing letters, and basically a system which reflects how English was spoken in the 13th to 15th centuries, not how it is spoken today. So many sound changes have occurred that are not reflected in modern spelling, that we are left with a fossilised system.”

If you fancy putting yourself to the test, the Times has a "Spelling Bee" here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!
How many As? Reg hack's writing cops a shoeing
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.