While reading comments on a post on a different blog, I came across one that sounded like this: “My students love this song in Spanish but there’s a ton of spelling errors [on the video lyrics]”
I would like to make a few comments in regards to statements like these:
1. The goal of a language is to COMMUNICATE, albeit imperfect.
2. Many bank tellers at my main bank speak English as a second language. I do not stop them during my transaction to correct them. I might ask them to repeat but I never call them out on their mistake! They handle the transaction, give me my money, and I’m on my way.
3. My husband is a HORRIBLE speller. Most people associate incorrect spelling and grammar with those that are uneducated; however, my husband has a Bachelors and a good job. His job even pays better than my own, and I won every spelling bee we had in school!
4. Texting has changed the way we communicate. Do you think our students stop and correct the text they just received? Well, a few of them might, but the rest of them read the poor grammar and respond. But, THEY COMMUNICATE BACK.
5. There are some spelling difference between the American vernacular and the British. I’ve never stopped and thought, “I better write to this author and let them know they used this wrong!” With so many Spanish-speaking countries, you cannot deny that some of these kinds of differences appear in grammar.
6. Errors happen in the real world – I make them too, both in speech and in written form. It’s human.
This might be the most opinionated post I’ve written, and I’m not saying we should help our students become better spellers… but I think it’s important to remember that our goal as World Language Educators is to help our students COMMUNICATE. THIS is the reason why I teach. I hope you do too.