As a strong speller and as a teacher, I think sometimes we often assume that those who can't spell well are just lazy. This is really unfair, because consistently spelling correctly requires an enormous amount of mental energy on the part of most people. For me, spelling always came extremely effortlessly, and I always thought that people who had trouble with spelling were just careless. But now, being exposed to the writings of others, particularly teenagers, I see that spelling well, especially in idiosyncratically written languages like English or French, is very difficult. Our brains are hardwired to process verbal language, but associating written marks with sounds and then with ideas is a cognitive skill, which is independent of language itself. Spelling was decided upon by literati/cognoscenti in a time when literacy was the province of the elite. A system designed by elites to be used by elites is very often elitist, even if it wasn't meant to be.

Other languages don't have spelling issues, like Italian or Spanish. Very often, there is only one possible way to spell a word, and only one possible way to pronounce an unfamiliar word encountered in a written form. Does this mean Italians and Spaniards are more intelligent and conscientious? Of course not. Their spelling system was purposefully streamlined to make it easy. Spelling should be a tool to aid us, not a sacred cow to torture children and adults with.

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