Ah, the joys of phonetic spelling! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 08-01-2014, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah, the joys of phonetic spelling!

My 7yo has been writing in her journal this morning and amongst all the "clever" spelling arrangements came up with this vernacular spelling of "aren't you":

"ARNCH YOU"

At least it wasn't "arnchoo", though it would totally make sense!

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#2 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 09:13 AM
 
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I love it! Some of my favourites from my kids' early forays into writing:

U R A BADE MOME ("you are a bad mom," file name given to an Age of Empires game-save by my ds, when he was asked to leave the computer to do something he didn't want to do)

SLEYPEYNBAG ("sleeping bag," by my middle dd, who had figured out that the long-E sound in 'key' came from adding a Y to the E)

TACKSAYS ("taxes," by my youngest, who wanted to write taxes, spelled the 'tack' part and asked then me from across the room how to spell "says")

and, along the same lines as your dd's "ARNCH YOU"

CHRUCK and CHREE ("truck" and "tree" how my ds insisted for a long time the words were actually pronounced, and therefore how they should be spelled)

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#3 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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Do you think that it is a good idea to let children use invented spelling?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#4 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Only if they want to. One and a half years ago, neither wanted anything to do with invented spelling, and they didn't write much of anything that wasn't transcribing. I was called upon to spell every word, and both dh and I spelled them, remembering how we wanted to tear our hair out at our own mothers' "look it up" response.

Then last year some time, dd9 decided she didn't care any more and she started writing-- in journals, taking scientific notes on her chickens and chicks. Suddenly she had this great tool for more than just transcribing from her favorite books.

I don't pretend to understand if I don't understand, and I would never push invented spelling on kids who hate it and want to get the word right. But I am all for it otherwise, especially if it gives them some independence and it becomes a tool for creativity.

English is a bear of a language, no denying it! Having kids use correct spelling can be tedious, and for me the joy of the language is lost. But believe me, we don't act like correct spelling doesn't exist. It's just a barrier for us right now, and I prefer to encourage my girls' joyous outpouring of words than proper spelling. [ETA: joyous or angry as the case may be.... EMOTIONAL, freeflowing....)

They'll get it, eventually. It was a focus when they created their 4-H presentations. They get the context. It will come.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#5 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 10:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
Do you think that it is a good idea to let children use invented spelling?
I encourage my kids to use invented spelling for first drafts. I don't want the creative process getting hung up because they don't know how to spell stuff. As long as they can tell what the word is supposed to be, it's ok.

Then we correct it for the second draft.

Like the OP is saying, it also provides interesting insight into how they're hearing things.

I did run into problems with DS's first grade teacher, who I liked overall, but who actively encouraged him to spell words phonetically but wrong. Not just invented spelling - she actually taught the incorrect spelling, which then had to be re-taught with the correct spelling. That really bothered me.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#6 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 10:22 AM
 
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I agree with you ocelotmom.

As an older woman who has worked here and there in the schools, I just wanted you to know from my experience that children need to learn the right spelling as soon as possible.

My oldest is 35 - yrs old. My oldest cannot spell. I assumed the schools knew what they were doing since all of the teachers were supposedly trained, licensed professionals, but and that is simply not true. When I tried to help my oldest spell words correctly, when my oldest was growing up, I was told that "no one cares about spelling anymore." My oldest claims that there was never a spelling test or quiz in all the years that my oldest went to school.

I homeschooled my youngest and that child can spell very well - now is 22 yrs old. I encouraged my youngest to write but corrected the spelling later. I had that child spelling orally, written and putting letters together. I made it a priority, but it was done gently.

As a classroom teacher, many of my students learned to spell well and went on to the National Spelling Bee.

I realize spelling is a skill that varies in proficiency from person to person.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#7 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 10:30 AM
 
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... our own mothers' "look it up" response.
... as in looking up pneumonia?

Yes, remembering the bad teaching from our own upbringing can help hone our own teaching skills. I am afraid looking it up now may translate to the 21st century "google it".

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#8 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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applejuice, I agree that spelling is important, I just don't agree with when or how the schools push it. I disagree with "as soon as possible", unless it means "as soon as they are able to developmentally". I dislike schools methods of pushing writing AND reading AND spelling AND written math all at the same time. I don't understand, when reading is an emerging skill why they have to lean on it so much!

So, without giving the impression that no one cares about spelling, I like to give freedom and don't worry about "as soon as possible". While the pedants can have their own, dull party somewhere where it doesn't involve me, I do agree that spelling for clarity and giving a good impression are indeed important in some contexts, I just don't agree or even know when the best time is. DH is an atrocious speller. He simply doesn't care. And despite not getting the best grades in spelling (because I procrastinated and the the work was dead boring) I am a pretty good speller, except for a few stubborn words that my spellchecker whips into shape on a daily basis. I still have to lean on it to spell "occasional" and "calendar".

I'm not sure it all comes down to teaching. I think it does come down to caring about it, and having a reason to care about it that is relevant, and to some extent teachers and parents can help with that. As a self-employed gardener and sometimes-artist, dh has had no meaningful reason to improve anything about his writing, and no one has convinced him otherwise. He can read "cerial" on his grocery lists and knows what it means, so pedants be damned!

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#9 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
My 7yo has been writing in her journal this morning and amongst all the "clever" spelling arrangements came up with this vernacular spelling of "aren't you":

"ARNCH YOU"

At least it wasn't "arnchoo", though it would totally make sense!
Gesundheit.
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#10 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering whether those people who joked confuse "caring about spelling" with "caring about the current method of encouraging proper spelling".

As an Aikido teacher (my only experience really teaching children a specific skill) there were plenty of important skills that I overlooked while focusing on skills I felt were more important for their developmental level. Some of those other skills were missing through inexperience and came through repetition and I could simply wait for it to iron out for the most part. Other skills were easier to teach once other skills were laid in the foundation, and teaching them before the foundation was at a comfortable level was 10 times harder than waiting for a few skills to flow easily and make room mentally for these "new skills" that were actually important skills I had simply been ignoring for the time being.

I cared about those skills. But I also knew they would come more easily later in their development. I risked having kids create poor habits, but I think the balance favored letting the focus on them slide early on.

For me, I "care" about spelling (in moderation), I simply disagree with quizzes and an intense focus too early. It's too bad that the "baby" was thrown out with the "bathwater" in your daughter's case. But I have a hard time with accepting causation, simply because my husband was very much a product of the old school method of "caring about spelling" and he is a miserable speller (though a great reader of a lot of sci fi).

I hope I'm not coming across as disagreeing with you across the board! I believe I'm just more relaxed about the trajectory.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#11 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate your experience, applejuice.

The point of the thread is not to thumb noses at correct spelling, but to laugh and enjoy this phase the kids are in, and find joy in some of the surprises that kids' lack of tunnel vision brings us.

For example, it may not occur to us that we Americans drift towards pronouncing "aren't you" ARNCHYOO. Kids' mispellings bring our attention sharply into focus in a fun way. Spelling words phonetically, such as "git" for "get" really highlights our regionalisms. As a lover of regionalisms, I find this kind of thing delightful.

At the same time, I know that it is a passing developmental phase, and have as much confidence that my girls will one day, not too far in the future, spell it "aren't you". I can cherish this phase as much as I cherished the days when my daughter Sylvia called herself "Feevee" and dd2 said "yunion" for onion, and when "Feevee" called the bear "big doggie", or at 2-3yo, constantly called herself "you" ("You running" for "I running"). I knew they were going to eventually correct themselves with continuous exposure to the right word.

*****

I tend to have a slightly laissez faire attitude about spelling, in part because the history has been so damned arbitrary--literally some words had scholars arguing over a standard spelling when there was none ("rhythm", "aisle")-- and archaic phonetic spellings preserved ("knight") in print because the spelling was standardized before pronunciation (not "pronounciation", which would make more sense) shifted.

We can't even agree on standard-IZED spelling within the English speaking world. Or even in the same area-- is the color ("colour"?) "gray" or "grey"? Why did Americans drop the extra "l" in "traveled"? It confused me to no end to be told I was incorrect when throughout The Hobbit and LOTR it is spelled "travelled". And why does "recommend" have 2 "m's" anyhow, when recomend should suffice quite nicely?

I'm not about to stop caring. Even in the States, we have enough regionalisms to make perfect phonetic spelling impossible. I'm not about to "retern" the "bawl" I "bot". Ouch. But at the same time, I can't quite *completely* care about it. I do joke about it. My girls and I get a good laugh (not "laff") about why English is so freakin' difficult. I like to use that lightness and humor to ease the pressure of what is a monumental and contrary task of matching the correct spelling to the word, when it often doesn't even look like what we say.

["I like too yuze that liteness and hyoomer to eez thu presher uv wut iz a monnyoomentl and contrayree task of maching thu correct spelling too thu werd, win it offin duzznt eevin look like wut we say."-- Would that be how others might spell that phonetically?]

So we laugh, we joke. We don't think it's *not* important. But we dismiss the worry. Unfortunately for school kids, when something doesn't work, it can take years to correct methods, or if it works for *most* kids, other kids are left in the dust.

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."

Last edited by SweetSilver; 08-02-2014 at 07:11 PM. Reason: clarity
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#12 of 14 Old 08-02-2014, 11:20 PM
 
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to laugh and enjoy this phase the kids are in, and find joy in some of the surprises that kids' lack of tunnel vision brings us.
Exactly! I think that kids' spontaneous phonetic spelling mistakes are delightful. They give parents a wonderful window into how their kids are cracking the code of written language. I think that witnessing these sorts of "smart mistakes" in writing that home-learning kids are doing as part of meaningful, self-motivated writing should reassure parents. Their kids are making errors in spelling that are driven by their growing understanding of how written language is both encoded and decoded. The errors are a window into the child's learning strategies. They're lovely, and informative. They help you see what your child has learned.

That's very different from what I think of as "invented spelling" which seems to be a term most often applied to adult-directed assigned writing where children are expected to write according to phonetic rules, as a strategy to encourage literacy development. In other words, invented spelling is [supposedly] a teaching strategy. It's supposed to produce learning. Like any top-down teaching strategy, it's likely to be appropriate for some kids, not particularly helpful for others, and downright confusing and counter-productive for some others.

My four kids all went through a stage early in their literacy development of writing words and phrases using phonetic guesses. I found it very endearing and informative. As they got older their spelling improved naturally. None of my kids got any direct spelling instruction whatsoever, and all have turned out to be fabulous spellers. They didn't do much writing until they were well on their way into adolescence, but when they did start writing the stuff they produced was sophisticated and well-polished, and spelling errors were very unusual. I suppose they're good visual learners; they just picked up proper spelling in the course of reading. They would have found it completely silly and unhelpful to be asked to spell words aloud.

I think that when you set out to teach spelling in a top-down fashion and use a single approach for all children regardless of their needs, their motivation and their learning style, you will hit the mark beautifully with some kids, do a lot of unnecessary teaching to others who were getting it just fine without all your teaching, and you will miss the mark entirely with some kids. If there'sa kid for whom the single strategy of invented spelling misses the mark that doesn't mean the strategy is ridiculous and should never be used. It just means it doesn't work for some kids, and shouldn't be relied upon across the board.

Miranda

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Last edited by moominmamma; 08-03-2014 at 10:27 PM.
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#13 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A new alternative to "Top Secret" found yesterday:

DETHAWATS YOU!

I'm a good mom and won't open it!

"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#14 of 14 Old 08-09-2014, 01:30 PM
 
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DETHAWATS US OL

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