India and English spellings

Madhukar N. Gogate mngogate at VSNL.COM
Sat Oct 8 04:34:38 UTC 2005

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India and English spellings. 

For quick reference purpose, I took above short title
for this message.

It  is based on a front page banner news given by 
Times of India, Pune edition 
( dated Thursday Oct 6, 
2005. I presume it must have appeared in other 
nationwise editions. I give only a few points in
the news. Refer website for details.

Title given by Times of India is long. 
I state the keywords in the title.--
 'teror' of  'speling erors'
Reporter -- Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, Kolkata

Is horor an error ? No more, if you are a Central
Board of Secondary Education student. Starting this 
year, the CBSE board has decided to get lenient about 
spelling mistakes and will soon issue a set of 
guidelines to examiners on areas where they should 
ignore bad spellings.

So, while an examinee will be penalised for spelling
errors in essays, letters or specific English language
tests, if he writes horror as 'horor' in a literature exam
or his comprehension passage has a couple of crooked
spellings, marks will not be slashed. The same applies
to science subjects and other social sciences.
Pavnesh Kumar, CBSE controller of Examinations
told ... " In history, we'll try to find out if a child is aware
of a certain event, if he understands an issue. A
history exam shouldn't be treated on par with a 
spelling test. "

Kumar says today's children are "extremely weak" in
spellings and blames the "change in mode of teaching
at schools" for this. Spelling and dictation classes are 
passe, and the focus is on developing communication skills. 
"It is therefore wrong to penalise kids for spelling
goof-ups if they have the right answers", he says.
"Too much usage of computers is also causing this".

(News ends, now my comments)

Here I recall that ESL (English Second Language)
people already outnumber EFL (English First Language)
people, and the difference is widening day by day.

I also recall that India is world's largest user of
English language, next to USA and UK.

I further recall that  Prof David Crystal (noted 
Linguist) visited Pune in October 2004. At a talk, 
arranged by British Library, he observed that the 
future of English language depends, to a large extent, 
on how it develops in India.

Game of cricket originated in England and only
players in that country were architects of various
rules of the game. In last over 50 years, the game
bacame International, and only an International
committee now has authority to revise the rules. 
Same thing now applies to English language.

Article "Sister languages"  in my website suggests
changing English spellings within Indian languages.
For example use (v) as (w-win). But that need not
apply to the world wide English spelling reforms.
After all, German takes (v) equal to (f) in English.
Let all languages follow their own course. A
uniform world script is ideal but not practical.

You may circulate.

-- Madhukar N Gogate (Pune India)
Email     mngogate at (updated Oct 1, 2005)
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