The Spelling Rules of the English Language

About this essay

Anne Trubek wrote the first text we are going to have a look on and it was published in the American magazine ‘Wired’ in 2012. The text is an article about the English language and it seems like she wants us to drop the spelling rules and just write as we want to write, without for example spelling the words right. She argues that the language evolves all the time and the rules of the language are fairly recent and a mess.

Before the rules, people just spelled word, or even names, how they liked and the only people who should tell us how to spell words is ourselves. There is also no other reason to keep the rules than snobbery, according to Trubek. People with understand you no matter if you use ‘you’re’, ‘ur’ or ‘your’ in a text message so it is basically pointless to follow a bunch of rules.

However, Lee Simmons, a journalist who is also writing for the American magazine ‘Wired’, does not agree with Trubek.

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He has expressed this in his article which was published the same day as Trubek’s article. He believes that it is very odd to take something messy and make it even messier as Trubek wants to do by releasing all the rules of the language. We are already so used to the current rules that it would take too long to read a sentence with ‘alternative’ spelling if we had to decipher every word. Trubek’s article also seems to have hit Simmons in some kind of way, as he is debunking Trubek’s statement from her article as we can see from line 99-107.

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It has often been said that the English language is in need of reforms and Simmons does not disagree with that statement, but he disagrees strongly with Trubek’s idea.

Simmons has a very direct way of writing. He does not hide his opinion so the reader is very clear on what Simmons’ opinion is of Trubek’s article. As mentioned before, Simmons backs his claims up with facts, and he does it in a very effective way, for example on page two of his article; (p.2, 1.97-103) “Why is there a g in sign, but not in wine? […] the Latin root is signum, as in signature. Why is there an h in shepherd? […] sheep-herd.”

Most readers who agreed with Trubek’s first article will probably change their minds after reading Simmons’ article, as he mentions a lot of good points in a fluid and modern way of writing. Some might argue that Simmons is arrogant in his writing and maybe a bit unfair to Trubek as there is an example of on page two of his article; (p.2 l. 110-113) “The problem is that she draws the wrong conclusion,” but even if he comes off as arrogant to some people, you cannot deny that he knows what he is talking about.

Spelling norms are an important part of everyday life. Especially if you are a student, you cannot learn much unless you have a firm grasp of the spelling rules, that is the main point of the text number three, which is an article written by Masha Bell. It was published in the British newspaper ‘The Independent’ in 2010. Bell compares the British school system with the Finnish school system which is highly superior due to their simpler language and spelling. English is a complex language to master as there is many confusing pronunciations, which even confuses native speakers of English and not only those with English as a second language.

Many speak of reforms to change the language, including Masha Bell, but it might not even be as easy to do so. You cannot change a whole language as radically as reforms would do in a day. Many people are used to speak English in their own styles and dialects and they are used to one sort of way to speak and write. Reforms might be good for the new generations, but they are leaving several older generations behind. The comparison with the Finnish school system is not valid as well. The Finnish language is only spoken in Finland while English is a lingua franca. People all over the world speak their own specific version of English so even though they have several different dialects in Finland as well, it is not as bad and confusing for a Finn as it might be for an Indian moving to Liverpool, England.

Cite this page

The Spelling Rules of the English Language. (2023, Mar 27). Retrieved from

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