Paper on spelling – 2. Delprøve A | Eksamenssæt STX 27. maj 2013

Write a paper in which you answer the following questions. Answer the questions separately.

1. Give an outline of the views on English spelling presented in texts 1 and 2.
2. Characterise the tone and style used in text 2. Illustrate your answer with examples for the text.
3. Taking your starting point in text 3, discuss the relevance of spelling norms.

Text 1: Anne Trubek, Proper Spelling? It's tyme to let luce
Text 2: Lee Simmons "Spelling: A Rebuttal From Wired's Copydesk"
Text 3: Masha Bell "A long-standing but curable problem with our education"

Anne Trubek sharply expresses her opinions about the spelling and grammar rules of the English language in her article “Proper Spelling? Its Tyme to Let Luce!”, the 31st of January 2012 (text 1), published on WIRED website. She begins by making a point – “Consistent spelling was a great way to ensure clarity in the print era. But with new technologies, the way we write and read is changing, and so must spelling.” She goes on to explain what a “terrible mess” English spelling is, and how the rules of spelling and grammar are outnumbered by irregularities. To verify her argument, she uses rhetorical questions, and gets in touch with the reader’s logical, or in this case illogical, thinking. On the surface, her view is simple – by all means should the spelling and grammar “tools” be changed to recognise the loosened form of communication that is currently evolving, instead of being restricted by “outdated dogma”. She suggests that this should be accomplished by making our own rules – spell however you wish.

Lee Simmons’ tone in his rebuttal against Anne Trubek is very confident, slightly arrogant but also persuasive. The confidence and arrogance is already visible in the very first paragraph of his article – “As a copy editor at Wired, one small but very visible aspect of my job is to ensure that each of the tens of thousands of words in a typical issue of the magazine is spelled correctly.” As a part of his profession, he corrects all the typical mistakes that his colleagues make. This underlines that he knows the problems within the English spelling and grammar rules and irregularities. From this, the reader instantly gathers background information, which, in this case, leads to the reader trusting the author.

Simmons’ use of ethos was necessary, as his cockiness later on in the article wouldn’t have had the same affect on the reader, if not they trusted him – “Ah! If that’s all we’re talking about – brief, informal bulletins to your friends – fine. No one cares how you spell your text messages, any more than they care how you spell your grocery lists or party invitations.” Lee Simmons’ shows that he is on another level, when he puts forward his arguments, by making Anne Trubek’s arguments look petty.

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