Thursday, July 24, 2008

Those Word Games

Someone asked me a question that had something to do with the name or origin of the English alphabet. That research led to a chart that showed how often each letter is used in our language. The most frequently used letters: E T A O I N S H R.

Many students will eventually complain about the difficulty of spelling, speaking, or learning something about the English language. Just imagine if our language had only those nine letters. The word RICH goes right out the door. Now SON would be there, but where would our language be without that word that rhymes with “witch”? HITCH, right. Obviously no one could be “-arrie” without the “m” and the “d.” Our entire social structure might come entirely unglued without the letter “c.” SCHOOL would be totally out of the question unless someone could afford to buy up a few “c’s” and “L’s.”

Now how about the printed letters as opposed to the cursive? The postal service has machines that can scan and read cursive now. But someone must make a living off the many letter addresses that have to be “read” by a real person. Somewhere along the line when public schools stopped stressing any kind of penmanship, our nation became addicted to typing rather than writing. Children enter pre-K and kindergarten and start using computers. And some of those children have cell phones with text capabilities by the time they are in second grade.

Ah, but if our language were restricted to E T A O I N S H R, our children would have to give up text messaging or start using pictures. Leave out the letter “u” and see how much text can be sent. But come to think of it, they already leave out the letter “o.” ‘Hwru?’ Oh boy.

At least writing and speaking English is not quite as complicated as something from the land of the Welsh. English simply does not have enough “w’s” and “L’s” to get the job done. We can spell Waxahachie, but please save us from Llangollen!

And should anyone think that spelling doesn’t matter, just check out the blog of Carla Beard:

1 comment:

Carla said...

And for your summer reading, I recommend "Ella Minnow Pea" by Mark Dunn. Watch what happens when letters are removed from the alphabet, one at a time. :)