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8FillTheHeart

For all those with horrible spellers.....

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Dd and I are doing a linguistics course.  The book we are reading discusses the difficulty of English spelling.  Anyway it includes this little ditty that used to be taught to foreign students learning English:

 

 

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

And dead: It's said like bed, not bead--

For goodness' sake, don't call it deed!

 

I'm definitely going to have my 4th grader memorize this one!!

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Cute poem

 

The most common "school" complaint of my ds.  Why, why can't the English language be phonetic?   :crying:

 

It's a struggle...one I never truly realized until I had a dyslexic little one.

 

(And, why can't English be phonetic?   :confused1: )

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Cute poem

 

The most common "school" complaint of my ds. Why, why can't the English language be phonetic? :crying:

 

It's a struggle...one I never truly realized until I had a dyslexic little one.

 

(And, why can't English be phonetic? :confused1: )

Because it's been cobbled and cognate-ed from so many other things! Perhaps we would make spelling easier by presenting new phonetic alphabet for the spelling of English words, but I think we would lose something beautiful, interesting, and etymologically historic in doing so.

 

~Horrible Speller who likes English anyway

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What finally helped my DD engage with the spelling struggle (before this her take was, "Mom, this is stupid and you can't make me care about it.") was when I realized and pointed out that she spelled perfectly in German, a language that she didn't speak but was studying.  This was because for one thing she was paying attention to it, and for another, it was fully phonetic.  It was news to her that she even COULD spell correctly. 

 

Weirdness for sure.

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Because it's been cobbled and cognate-ed from so many other things! Perhaps we would make spelling easier by presenting new phonetic alphabet for the spelling of English words, but I think we would lose something beautiful, interesting, and etymologically historic in doing so.

 

~Horrible Speller who likes English anyway

 

I actually love the English language myself....It is very beautiful, I think.  I like how you put that.  "beautiful, interesting and etymologically historic".   :thumbup1:  I'll have to remember that.  

 

Sometimes though in the middle of explaining (yet again) to my son how many different languages influenced our own, I forget how much I love it.

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Because it's been cobbled and cognate-ed from so many other things! Perhaps we would make spelling easier by presenting new phonetic alphabet for the spelling of English words, but I think we would lose something beautiful, interesting, and etymologically historic in doing so.

 

~Horrible Speller who likes English anyway

My dd who is doing the linguistics study is the one who loves French and Russian.  She actually made the comment to me this afternoon that this study has really made her appreciate English more fully.  She said she never really gave English its appropriate place in her mind before and that it is beautiful in its own right.  :)

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Dd and I are doing a linguistics course. The book we are reading discusses the difficulty of English spelling. Anyway it includes this little ditty that used to be taught to foreign students learning English:

 

 

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

And dead: It's said like bed, not bead--

For goodness' sake, don't call it deed!

 

I'm definitely going to have my 4th grader memorize this one!!

I used to torture my best friend with that poem in eighth grade; she was a native French and German speaker.

 

There's more to it than what you posted, if you want to look it up. It starts out:

 

I take it you already know

Of tough, and bough, and cough, and dough

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It's in the middle on this page, along with some others:

 

http://www.wordhord.com/humor/english-pronunciation-poems/

That is so awesome! Thank you! This is going to be my 4th grader's spelling for the end of the year.

 

The book we have only includes the little bit I posted, but the entire thing is 100x better. :)

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My dd who is doing the linguistics study is the one who loves French and Russian. She actually made the comment to me this afternoon that this study has really made her appreciate English more fully. She said she never really gave English its appropriate place in her mind before and that it is beautiful in its own right. :)

This is quite fun The History of English in 10 Minutes. http://youtu.be/njJBw2KlIEo

(preview before you share - we had no problem but there were a couple of small things that some might not like to share with young kids).

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Because it's been cobbled and cognate-ed from so many other things! Perhaps we would make spelling easier by presenting new phonetic alphabet for the spelling of English words, but I think we would lose something beautiful, interesting, and etymologically historic in doing so.

 

~Horrible Speller who likes English anyway

 

Maybe with your linguistic insights you can shed some light on this:

why is it that English spelling does not pose any problem for some people? What is different in perfect spellers?

I  am aware of dyslexia, so I am talking about neurotypical people. Why do some people find this very difficult and others simply mildly interesting how the some sound is spelled in seven different ways?

 

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That is so awesome! Thank you! This is going to be my 4th grader's spelling for the end of the year.

 

The book we have only includes the little bit I posted, but the entire thing is 100x better. :)

You're welcome :)

 

I found this slight variation, which actually matches the one I memorized from an anthology when I was a kid:

 

http://mimosa.pntic.mec.es/~adiaz18/pages/Cork-work.html

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Maybe with your linguistic insights you can shed some light on this:

why is it that English spelling does not pose any problem for some people? What is different in perfect spellers?

I am aware of dyslexia, so I am talking about neurotypical people. Why do some people find this very difficult and others simply mildly interesting how the some sound is spelled in seven different ways?

 

I personally think that people who find spelling easy are those who have a good visual memory for words.

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I personally think that people who find spelling easy are those who have a good visual memory for words.

 

That would probably play a role - it simply looks wrong when a word is spelled incorrectly.

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What intrigues me is the way I frequently substitute homophones for one another when typing. I am not at all confused about, say, where to use to vs. too or two, or their vs. they're or there--but apparently my brain processes words phonogically when typing and easily substitutes one for another without first processing the word for meaning.

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Maybe with your linguistic insights you can shed some light on this:

why is it that English spelling does not pose any problem for some people? What is different in perfect spellers?

I am aware of dyslexia, so I am talking about neurotypical people. Why do some people find this very difficult and others simply mildly interesting how the some sound is spelled in seven different ways?

 

I'm not certain, but I can say that I have often mispronounced words intentionally (or given accented syllables that were not there before) in order to spell correctly (eg I might say "com-BUH to remember the spelling of comb). I'm very auditory in that regard. I also was not taught phonics, or any spelling rules (a product of the "whole language" movement).

 

But I can't really speak to anyone else's reasons. I didn't struggle with homophones, but I misspelled maybe (I spelled mabey) until I was a sophomore in high school. (BTW, there's another example where I mispronounce to myself - "soph-UH-more" - to remember the spelling).

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I know for me as a kid, it was the way some things just looked wrong.  I was taught phonics, but somehow, it was just in my mind that something didn't look right.  I didn't stop and think about phonics rules. I feel my good spelling dd is like this.

 

And I totally do the same thing as Maize when typing!  It drives me nuts because on message boards I chat and don't check my spelling.  Then later I see how I typed and am so embarrassed.

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What intrigues me is the way I frequently substitute homonyms for one another when typing. I am not at all confused about, say, where to use to vs. too or two, or their vs. they're or there--but apparently my brain processes words phonogically when typing and easily substitutes one for another without first processing the word for meaning.

 

I'm not at all intrigued when my phone substitutes the wrong homophone when I've entered the correct one. Why why why would it change all my "to"s to "too"s.  It's also a fan of changing "you" to "thou".  :confused1:  I think Apple hates me and just wants me to look like an idiot.

 

Autocorrect is my worst enema.

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I'm not certain, but I can say that I have often mispronounced words intentionally (or given accented syllables that were not there before) in order to spell correctly (eg I might say "com-BUH to remember the spelling of comb). I'm very auditory in that regard. I also was not taught phonics, or any spelling rules (a product of the "whole language" movement).

 

But I can't really speak to anyone else's reasons. I didn't struggle with homophones, but I misspelled maybe (I spelled mabey) until I was a sophomore in high school. (BTW, there's another example where I mispronounce to myself - "soph-UH-more" - to remember the spelling).

 

I do this too!!! I've been trying to teach my daughter how to do it because she is very auditory too. Wed-NES-day is a good one for that.

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(And, why can't English be phonetic? :confused1: )

English was written phonetically through the Middle Ages; one challenge of reading ME is the wide variation in spelling according to geographic variations in speech. But spelling became gradually standardized according to London pronunciation--and then set in stone by the advent of the printing press--by the mid-17th century. Unfortunately this was exactly the time when a massive change in English pronunciation was underway, in particular what's called "the Great Vowel Shift," but also changes, especially silencing, of various consonant sounds (e.g. -gh-, kn-, gn-, -mb).

 

So really I think the solution is to go back to pronouncing English as Chaucer and Gower did.

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My dd who is doing the linguistics study is the one who loves French and Russian. She actually made the comment to me this afternoon that this study has really made her appreciate English more fully. She said she never really gave English its appropriate place in her mind before and that it is beautiful in its own right. :)

Can I just derail for a minute and ask what you use for Russian? Mine are doing Russian but it's cobbled together from Rosetta stone and my homemade workbook based on a beginner adult book (I forget the title and I'm way behind making the lessons...)

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Can I just derail for a minute and ask what you use for Russian? Mine are doing Russian but it's cobbled together from Rosetta stone and my homemade workbook based on a beginner adult book (I forget the title and I'm way behind making the lessons...)

She has been working with Julia Denne for the past 3 yrs. https://bytheonionsea.com

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Dd and I are doing a linguistics course.  The book we are reading discusses the difficulty of English spelling.  Anyway it includes this little ditty that used to be taught to foreign students learning English:

 

 

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

And dead: It's said like bed, not bead--

For goodness' sake, don't call it deed!

 

I'm definitely going to have my 4th grader memorize this one!!

 

May I ask, what book are you reading?  My dd is a really bad speller.  I am planning to spend the summer reading books on the English language in hopes of helping her. 

 

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May I ask, what book are you reading? My dd is a really bad speller. I am planning to spend the summer reading books on the English language in hopes of helping her.

 

I can share the title, The Story of English, but it is not a book that I would recommend to help with spelling. It is really just a history of the English language.

 

I do understand what it is like to have a child who is a horrible speller. Unfortunately, my current 4th grader is my 3rd child whose spelling is beyond bad. She follows in her 2 older brothers' footsteps. If I hadn't dealt with it before, it would be unnerving bc she spells like a 1st grader. (Her little sister will soon be a better speller-- I am sure.) It doesn't make it easier, but at least Imhave btdt 2 times and know that it isn't the end of the world and that they can grow up and be successful even if they can't spell.

 

I would recommend looking into programs designed for dyslexic children. Apples and Pears is the only one that was at helpful with our worst speller. The approach is aimed at forming multiple neural pathways for imprinting spelling (bc ultimately that is what has to happen in order for them to spell correctly.) Purely phonetic based spelling programs can be a disaster for kids who cannot imprint spelling into their long term memory. Knowing phonetic rules for decoding can help with reading, but you cannot reverse the knowledge into correct spelling. Too many phonemes exist for the exact same sound. For example, just for the ew sound in few, off the the top of my head there is ui in fruit, oo in noon, ue in glue, ough in through, o in do, and eau in beautiful. The key is to find a method that helps them visually imprint which phoneme is correct for spelling.

 

When I read posts about people wanting to know which program teaches all of the English spelling rules bc their child is struggling with spelling, I always hope they don't have a dyslexic child or have a child who struggles with imprinting correct spelling bc while a few of the rule are helpful, you cannot rule your way into correct spelling.

 

Just to encourage you, my older 2 are successful adults (who also happen to be horrible spellers.) One is a chemical engineer. The other is a physics and math major (with a 4.0). They both developed coping mechanisms. Thankfully in the world of computers and spell check, that can go a long way. And anything really important, they have learned to ask for a proofreader before submitting.

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8FilltheHeart, thank you so much for your response!  I read the Apples and Pears samples, and this is exactly what my dd needs.  The rules in other curriculum we are using just aren't sticking.  I just ordered the curriculum and I can't wait to get her started.  And, thank you for the encouragement and peace of mind in knowing that weak spellers can make it in this world.  :)  She's a fine musician, and spelling isn't really holding her back from playing a fine Mozart concerto.  :)  Now, we just need to prepare her to write about Mozart...it will come in time.

 

Thanks again for your response.  You really are a blessing to us all on this forum.

 

 

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