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Chatrooms, social networking sites “behind generation that can’t spell”


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London (ANI): A study has suggested that Internet chatrooms and social networking sites are to be blamed for children spelling words incorrectly.

The study says as people type at speed online, there is now a “general attitude” that there is no need to correct mistakes or conform to regular spelling rules.

And this means that children who have been brought up with the Internet do not question wrongly spelt words.



“The increasing use of variant spellings on the internet has been brought about by people typing at speed in chatrooms and on social networking sites where the general attitude is that there isn’t a need to conform to spelling rules,” the study stated. “We are now witnessing the effect these linguistic variations are having on children born into the computer age with such a high level of access in and out of schools,” the Scotsman quoted report author Lucy Jones, a former student at Manchester University, as saying.

“They do not question their existence,” she stated. The paper, which surveyed a group of 18 to 24 year olds as part of the research, found that the majority believe that unconventional spellings are used on the Internet because it is faster and has become the norm. More than one in five (22 percent) said they would not be confident in writing an important e-mail without referring to a dictionary or spell checker. Despite the widespread use of so-called “variant” spelling, almost a third of those questioned said that alternative non-standard spellings are “completely unacceptable”.

Two thirds believe that dictionaries should contain variant spellings.

“From this most recent survey we can conclude that the unprecedented reach and scale of the internet has given rise to new social practices and it is now an agent in spelling change,” Jack Bovill, chair of the English Spelling Society, added.


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