obsticlesIs that like a popsicle that the obstetrician gives you? (I thought of a more chilling example of obstetrician + popsicle, but the collective shudder that would have erupted from my female readers might have triggered a seismic event.)
I'm not asking this question as an attack or with any kind of hidden agenda, and I apologize for singling out this one person, as his is merely the most recent example of this, the one that prompted this post.
Rather, I'm asking because I'm genuinely curious. Is English education in Asia attracting not just people with a love of education — which presumably would also include a devotion to spelling — but others with little more than a tertiary concern for the pedagogical arts? Are English teachers in Korea no different from other college-educated Anglophones these days and have simply not had good spelling drilled into their impressionable minds when they were young? Am I simply being too pedantic?
I addressed this before with the infamous Shelton Bumgartner, a traveling minstrel camped out in an English classroom who fancied himself a journalist (which to me is another field where good spelling should reign supreme). I myself became infamous for chiding him on it:
Perhaps I am a journalistic snob, but a writer who dismisses pathologically bad spelling regularly foisted on the public by simply saying he or she “never made any claim to being a spelling expert,” is undeserving of the title of “writer.”So what are the reasons? Is it important? Is Kushibo simply a smug superyuh sombitch who should see a proctologist about having the stick up his arse removed?
Spelling is not a specialty of writing, like cardiology is to medicine. It is part and parcel of the writing package, more like being able to park is to driving. How much would we tolerate it if drivers just left their cars in the middle of traffic, telling people who complain that, “I never made any claim to being a parking expert.”
Well, outside of Seoul it would not be tolerated!
In response to Matt's legitimate complaint that I appeared to be smearing all English teachers, I have changed the title from the deliberately hyperbolic "Why can't English teachers spell?" to "Why can't some English teachers spell?" As I said in the comments section, I know lots of current and former English teachers in Korea (and Japan) who are good spellers and excellent wordsmiths; I'm only referring in this post to those who aren't, and the title should reflect that distinction. But considering the occupation they have chosen, that number should be few to none, but it does seem that the bad spellers are rather conspicuous, perhaps because of their stated occupation.
* And I should note that I'm making a distinction between typos and bad spelling. A typo is where you misspell a word you know how to spell, but I'm defining bad spelling as not knowing how to spell a word one uses online, on paper, or in conversation.
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