- Wednesday, January 13, 1993
- Tips for Dealing with Spelling Errors
- Published at:English Teaching Forum. Vol.31(l),1993.pp.41-42. U.S.A
EFL teachers have witnessed a proliferation of research, covering almost every aspect of the English language except spelling. This seems to underestimate the seriousness of spelling errors in the EFL situation.
The discrepancy between the writing system and the pronunciation of English makes its orthography far from phonemic. A single phoneme may be represented by a number of spellings. For example, /f/ may ,be represented by ƒ (ƒill), ph (philosophy), ,or gh (enough); /ƒ/ may be represented by sh (wash), ti (nation), or si (tension). Vowels can present even more of a problem.
We have found that spelling errors result not only from the inconsistencies in English spelling and pronunciation indicated above, but also from the influence of the students' mother tongue. A study we did (El-Hibir and Altaha, forthcoming) shows that our students employ their own strategies in spelling; i.e., they spell as they pronounce, overlooking the difference between, English spelling and pronunciation. This leads to a lack of recognition of standard English orthography, which slows down the students' reading speed and hinders their comprehension of English text.