Saturday, June 27, 2009

"i before e, except after c" spelling rule being retired in Britain

I protest! It has been a valuable rule for me (even though I've complained about it). I learned it as: "i before e, except after c, and sometimes after y."

LONDON - It's a spelling mantra that generations of schoolchildren have learned — "i before e, except after c."

But new British government guidance tells teachers not to pass on the rule to students, because there are too many exceptions.

The "Support For Spelling" document, which is being sent to thousands of primary schools, says the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for words like 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their.'

Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society, which advocates simplified spelling, said Saturday he agreed with the decision.

But supporters say the ditty has value because it is one of the few language rules that most people remember.
The thing about "sufficient" is that you can sound it out and understand why it is a "cie" word. Same with "their". Sound it out. I'm glad America is not so backward as Britain (or, at least is not such a wild-eyed radical as Jack Bovill of the Spelling Society).

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