Buzz off

English is a complicated and often counterintuitive language. “I” before “e” except after “c” and when it sounds like “a,” as in neighbor and weigh? A group of phonetics die-hards agree. They turned out this week to protest the National Spelling Bee to say that “Enuf is enuf” when it comes to convoluted spelling and “Enough is too much.” Of course, spelling bees' very purpose is to celebrate the intricacies of English. Nevertheless, these revisionists believe that fruit should be froot, slow should be slo, and heifer should be hefer. “Our alphabet has 425-plus ways of putting words together in illogical ways,” explained one dissident, a former Fairfax County, VA elementary school principal. The cause for her radicalism? Current English spelling prohibits 40 percent of the population from learning how to read, write, and spell, she claims. She doesn’t elaborate, but one spelling researcher explains that it’s the heightened level of memorization needed to master spelling exceptions and tricky rules that’s at fault. Don’t fall for this twaddle! What happened to applying ourselves to the pursuit of language mastery, rather than taking the easy way out?

In DC, even the Spelling Bee draws protesters,” by Lauren Sausser, Associated Press, June 4, 2010