I'm going to preface this with a word of caution. If you read what comes after this, and you think I'm targeting you, I'm really and truly not. There is no personal judgment involved here. I am not looking down my nose at anyone.
And now that I've front-loaded this topic, here we go.
As evidenced by the title, I want to talk about spelling. More specifically, I want to talk about bad spelling. I feel that throughout the blind community, it's really quite prevalent, much more than I would have expected it to be. And I'm at a loss as to why.
And I don't mean stuff like "then" and "than", or the occasional typo. Lord knows we all do that sometimes. I'm not picking on typos. I'm talking about straight-up incorrect spelling. Things like "sense" becoming "sinse", "very" becoming "wery" (although this one may be a language thing), and half a hundred other things I'm not going to enumerate specifically because I really don't want someone feeling like I'm picking on them. I'm not. I see this a lot, from literally dozens of sources.
My aim in posting this at all was not to throw mud on those of you who have spelling issues. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad. Rather, I'm wondering what creates the problem and, if we can figure that out, I'm wondering if we can fix it. I have two main theories, or perhaps they compliment each other:
1. Screenreaders and dialect
I think a lot of blind people aren't being taught to actually read braille regularly anymore. They're raised on screenreaders, which means most of their content is filtered aurally. So someone from the southern United States might hear people saying "sets" instead of "sits", might not actually read much, and may just write what they hear. Those of you who are perhaps a little younger, is your spelling being evaluated in school? Honest question, because I had spelling drilled into me as a child. I was also raised on braille till my late teens, so I got very used to seeing things and finding out how to spell them. Fun fact, though: you know the Beatles, one of the most influential British bands of all time? I went most of my life till the age of twenty or so calling them "The Beetles". Two e's, instead of b-e-a-t-l-e-s. Ditto Def Leppard. Ditto many other things. I am not immune.
2. Spelling comes more easily if you can see, by default
Perhaps one of the ideal prerequisites for good spelling is the ability to read with one's eyes. I know many blind individuals who spell very well, but perhaps they are the exception to the rule and fought against a natural barrier to get where they are (self included, as I consider myself a good speller). Perhaps it's in how the brain is wired, or in how information is gathered when a person looks at a thing vs. touching it or hearing it. Perhaps many of us struggle here because we're facing a slightly uphill battle from day one. I'm just not sure.
I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Again - and yes, I keep saying this, but it bears repeating - I am absolutely not picking on anyone here. If you are a bad speller, I am not about to call you out, demonize your challenges or attempt to make you feel any worse. Hell, if it's a source of trouble for you and you want help, I'd be happy to try.
So yeah. Have on.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1