2019-03-30 18:17:29

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.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2019-03-30 18:30:12 (edited by flackers 2019-03-30 18:34:13)

My own feeling is that if you have sight, you see text everywhere all the time, and so build up a massive mental archive of correctly spelled words. If you read a lot, this archive is greater still. When you see a word that is spelled wrong, and you have lots of correct examples stored in memory, an alarm goes off. If you only have a handful of examples of a particular word in memory, and you spell it wrong, you get a little niggly feeling something isn't right, enough to cause you to look it up, but if you have no examples no alarm goes off at all. I think blind people who don't read tons of braille, are at a disadvantage when it comes to spelling. Especially with the English language being filled with homophones, words that aren't spelled phonetically, and de-emphasised vowels.

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2019-03-30 18:43:36

helo fwinds ve host beeg CP serwers wery wery beeg CP serwers bleze jojin our serwers oki? tenks.

you can't run from the darkness
we are everywhere

2019-03-30 18:54:13

Agree with Flackers. When you just listen to texs on a screen, you're not learning how to make the judgment (y'know, I never know how to spell that), of whether something is spelled wrong. While speech is good when you have that framework, I believe it is best to not jump in solely with speech, and learn Braille first.

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2019-03-30 18:54:22

@3, lol.
I generally think myself a good speller (I try to ensure that I spell my shit correctly), but that's most likely because computers (literally) make me do that, or others (literally) make me do that through programming. You do that enough times and getting things spelled right to you is pretty much automatic. I'm not immune, either though...

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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2019-03-30 19:09:54 (edited by Chris 2019-03-30 19:10:55)

I blame it on the lack of Braille to read and the fact that most people aren't learning proper spelling in school anymore. I was fortunate to have learned Braille from a young age, but now that I'm out of school, I don't read it nearly as much anymore. It's not widely available in the "real world". I have a Braille Display, but reading lengthy content on it is extremely irritating as I have to constantly refresh the single line of characters.

Hard copy Braille books are impractical. If I had Braille versions of all the books I've read and plan on reading, I'd literally fill a room or two with volumes upon volumes of Braille. We really! need a refreshable Braille page, not a single line of characters that makes reading tables, charts, and books impractical.

I also blame it on people that have no interest in reading. If you don't want to read, you don't really care as much about words, how they are spelled, and what they mean. It makes me very sad when I come across folks that don't like to read. Not only does reading give you the opportunity to go on all sorts of adventures, but you learn new things along the way such as new words and how they are spelled.

Grab my Adventure at C: stages Right here.
You may access my NVDA Remote, Three-D Velocity, Sound RTS, and Road to Rage servers by using the address christopherw.me. Road to Rage uses the default 6789 port.

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2019-03-30 19:30:08

I think the problem is multi faceted...

On the one hand. Yes you (apparently...or I did) learn spelling in school in your English classes....but.....it's not perfect. You can point to Braille spelling classes, but again, not a perfect solution, Chris touched on this. In the 'real world', you'd be amazed how many people have awful spelling. I've seen university students with horrific spelling and grammar, really. I'm not on about their/they're/there, I'm on about @3 (I know it was a joke....but I've genuinely seen that level of spelling from supposedly educated people).

Jade, it's not an issue with blind people. it's an issue across the board honestly. I do think saying oh blind people have awful spelling's missing the point however.

On the other......I'd argue that computers are not the solution. I'd argue TTS is not a solution for learning spelling.

Consider a case where a properly spelled word and an improperly spelled word sound the exact same due to the TTS engine you're using. That's happened to me. For example. A game I'm on has an an rea called Haight. Now if you heard that, you'd (like I did) assume it's spelled Hate. I sparked off a discussion about spelling with that one, really....which was the example I was referring to earlier.

Or White and wite. First one's spelled correctly. Second one....not so much. I've even run across this from people who should know better, honestly.

So what can be done? Not a not, since going through letter by letter on a screenreader is tedious and annoying. Yes screenreaders are supposed to alert you to a misspelt word, but again, not perfect, that rlies on dictionaries.

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2019-03-30 19:44:34

I think, in most cases, bad spelling probably comes from the lack of reading. Plus, I don't know, in how many countries english is actually taught in school. Or Braille for that matter.
When I was still in school, I didn't really read much. The books, that I would have wanted to read, simply didn't exist in Braille. Today, I think, I am reading more than I ever did in school. Lol.
Sometimes I wish, people would pay a bit more atension to correct spelling and punctuation. Especially, when it comes to the name of games. It would make reading of what they wrote easier...

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2019-03-30 19:58:15 (edited by JaceK 2019-03-30 20:02:25)

@8: Semi-OT but got educated with sight here.....and you know what was never, ever taught? Grammar. I tend to put my thoughts into nice comma seperated sentences, like this and then make another point, like so, then another point and so on and so forth. The funny thing? Not one of my teachers, who are meant to know this stuff, corrected it. Not. Once. I never got pulled aside and told about run on sentences, or correct comma usage, or any of that stuff really.....from people who went through and got teaching degrees, and had the course material. Even now I've no idea when I should use a comma vs a semicolon, or colon, like this, or like this; maybe?

Also, you say reading....I'll point out that authors, at least in text form.....a lot of grammar and typos can slide through the cracks if editors aren't paying attention. I know I'm not the world's best speller, and I'll freely admit that honestl....

EDIT: The irony of me not making a typo in my posts in this topic is awesome

EDIT #2: @Jade: The 'wery' thing is a language barrier, at least in some cases when it comes to non Native English speakers learning English. India's the example that leaps to mind with those fake scam email that sneak in.

EDIT #3: Okay, this too. I just remembered this, at least on my school laptops using MS Word it was always set to US English, and (apparently) the staff believed changing the Word language would corrupt the system files, and they believed turning autocorrect off made for worse spellers. Even though autocorrect......yeah, anyone who knos me knows my history with autocorndog......

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2019-03-30 20:00:34

Oh, I know there are bad spellers everywhere, don't get me wrong. But I feel it's more common in the blind community. Most of my social media is sighted and, while I see grammar and spelling issues there, I've just seen too many misspellings and such that seem very much linked to the blind community in general. It even comes up in games sometimes...again, not going to point at anyone, as I don't want to single people out.

I feel extremely fortunate to have learned braille when I was younger, and to have consequently read a lot of hard-copy braille books throughout my formative years.

Also, on a more professional angle, people tend to assume you to be uneducated or thick-witted if you can't spell properly sometimes, so again, I feel that's a competitive advantage I feel very fortunate to possess.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2019-03-30 20:07:30

@Jade: I'm disagreeing that it's the blind community that has worse spelling than any other. I'll still point out univeristy students in some universities, are the best...okay, okay....worst at spelloing. Makes the blind community look like people who make one typo in an essay, compared to uni students...and I am speaking from experience on this one. Proof reading is a fine art, peoples.......

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2019-03-30 20:29:48

Helo fwriend u host niu crazy barty serwers me wont jojin thankyou

2019-03-30 20:43:10

My spelling isn't that bad, either, because I read a lot, also, I've been extensively schooled in braille in my childhood, as well. Yes, I am not saying that I never do spelling mistakes, but that's generally due to screen reader speaking shit the same way. If I weren't aware, "aware" and "awear", "greed" and "gread" sounds similar enough and I'd ended up making lots of typos or "taipos" lol.

Deep in our hearts is a capacity of infinite good or infinite evil. What path we choose is up to us.
In the end, we all have to meet the same fate-the oblivion of nonexistance, an event horizon from where not even thought can emerge...
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2019-03-30 20:56:43

I'm marking a difference between typos and just straight-up bad spelling here. Typos are made by everyone. And there are definitely bad spellers everywhere, like I said. I just feel it's more prevalent here, based on a ton of personal experience.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2019-03-30 21:00:25

Hi all.
Didn't read beyond post 1, but here comes someone who can't spell their native, and English isn't their native.
1) As you've touched up on it as well, Jayde, screen readers.
Had I not used a braille device between 2012 and 2016, the time when I was also learning English, my spelling would be horrifying. I'm noticing ever since I'm not using a display as heavily, my spelling, while may not be as noticeable, went down hill. My grammar is good, but my spelling isn't terribly great. Back in the days, I'd look at how things were spelt if I wanted to write them. Now, I often take a guess, with the idea of they won't see it, anyway. As long as it sounds similar enough... This has also, unfortunately, cost me with the lack of capitals. Honestly, I give encredibly high respect to those who learn a language, and learn to accurately spell it without a display. I couldn't. Having to look at every word individually how to spell...
Honestly, ever since I don't rely on a display as much, I find I can't deal with as fast speech rates either. Back in the days, when I skipped something, I'd use the display. Now, I just slightly lower TTS to accomplish the same. And guess what. I find absolutely no use for braille these days. I was never a braille display person, and note takers are losing out on productivity. The only braille I deal with these days is braille screen input on my phone. My vocabulary is limited, but not limited enough to not be able to find replacements for words I can't spell.

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2019-03-30 21:07:56

Hey and good evening.

Well, I do think I know where my awful spelling and grammar come from.
As you might know, English is not my native language, it's my second one to be exact.
Our English lessons in school mostly focused on new words and vocabulary, with no real focus on how these words are spelled or how for example tenses work in the grammar department.

Almost all the english I know is self tought by watching movies and TV-Shows, reading books and news articles, so basically self education was a big part of my learning process.
From when I began elementary school I was tought braille, including braille grade 2, the German one though. I never learned the english grade 2 braille though, atempts were made in that direction, but the courses at our school never took place and were canceled some weeks after they started.
The problem I see in spelling is mostly due to screen readers having the lions share when it comes to computer work and the question if the student does his tasks by utilizing Braille and or screen reading technology. Most people stick to Screen Readers, mostly, at leased that's what i am thinking, due to the fact that it is faster and doesn't require that much of a hastle to read if you just can listen to the text you need to read, just like with reading books and listening to audio books.
Also, and those who are in groups of blind people on Facebook might have noticed that, but the use of periot and comma is often disregarded by those who use the dictation function on there phone or computers, to me at leased it seams that the text is dictated and send away without getting proove read or anything.
I personally tend to ignore messages directed at me if they don't contain any form of punctuation or if the message is so garbeled due to words dictated in the wrong way or if they are just not recognized by the dictation software used.

Greetings Moritz.

Hömma, willze watt von mir oder wie, weil wenn nich, dann lass dir mal sagen, laber mir kein Kottlett anne Wange und hömma, wo wir gerade dabei sind, dann iss hier hängen im Schacht, sonns klapp ich dir hier die Fingernägel auf links, datt kannze mir mal glaubn.

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2019-03-30 21:31:14

I tend to agree with Jace K here. Bad spelling is a pervasive problem, no thanks to the rise of 140 character limits, emojis to express every imaginable emotion, and autocorrection/built-in spellcheckers on every modern OS, browser, and yes, even screen readers. I definitely think that society is spoiled in general by these technological advancements. In fact, one of the reasons I stubbornly refused to buy a smartphone for the longest time was that, to me, texting, or rather, the way most people do it, made me want to punch things. While I've softened my stance on that somewhat, I will still text in complete sentences, and rarely use emoji. It may take me longer to compose a message, which I'm sure frustrates people and probably makes me look stupid to some, but I don't need 20,000 acronyms to make a point, thank you very much.

As for the point about lack of Braille displays making us complacent, I am in full agreement with all the points raised. I used to read a lot. Now that I don't anymore, I notice that my grammar has suffered somewhat as a result, and that writing in general doesn't come as easily to me as it once did. When I was younger, you couldn't tear me away from a hardcopy Braille book if I had it, or the Braille Lite 40 I had, and later the Braille Note. No, not even during class, lol. I definitely used reading as an escape for a lot of the unpleasant things which occurred in my life. Although I still have a Braille display, I rarely use it these days. One of the things I seem to have lost motivation to do over the past few years is reading, even though, as was pointed out above, I think it definitely keeps your grasp of the nuances of language sharp.

Well, those are my thoughts. The reason I didn't really touch on the argument of whether or not blind people are worse spellers in general is that I tend to go back and forth on that point. I definitely think that, if someone is primarily using auditory methods of learning, they're not going to receive the same sort of feedback that learning Braille would give them. Keep in mind, too, that many blind people do have usable vision, and a lot of times, schools/parents are eager for them to read large print so as not to appear as "abnormal", no matter how frustrating/painful doing so might be for the child. If reading is a chore for you which takes ten times longer than it does for your peers, why the hell would you want to indulge in it as a hobby? I do think it's sad that Braille isn't as widely taught or available as it once was, but then, I'm also sad that sighted children are using Ipads when they're 3 years old, too. It's a systemic problem, and there truly is no easy answer, not unless anybody has a time machine which can boot today's kids back to the 90's or earlier for one week, just to experience education as it should be, at least in my opinion.

The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.

2019-03-30 21:53:02 (edited by Jeffb 2019-03-30 21:55:42)

Spelling is over rated and my view towards it is fuck it. I'm a great writer but an offal speller those skills do not require each other. I have neuropathy in my finger-tips from cancer treatment so I couldn't read braille for too long. The plastic paper was better for me and displays are much better for me than braille paper but still I prefer audio. That's part of the reason I suck at spelling I'm sure but the other reason is because the English language is just shit if you think about it. Silent q's g's and all that weird stuff it makes my head hurt and don't even get me on a rant about homophones... My spelling has gotten better over the years but with spell check why bother when you can use that space for better things? At least that's my views on spelling. Spelling won't hold me back from my career and it may take me more time to check papers and other things for work but it doesn't bother me. I feel that those that have great spelling and grammar are often times the quickest to judge others for poor spelling or grammar and it's like dude chill it's not the end of the world. Now I know that I am on the extreme anti-spelling side so if you can spell great! That is a skill you can be proud of just like singing though just because you can doesn't mean everyone else can. This video explains how weird English is best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXa8cO9mXFk

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

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2019-03-30 22:03:20

@17: Acronyms r gr8 man yo XD /sarcasm

Seriously I get why people use it. I get why acronyms and text speak exists but I don't like it honestly. Just like I don't like predictive text/autocorrect. It....is absolutely awful. Predictive text is hardly right most of the time. Nor is autocorrect. DYAC is....accurate to say the least. For example, I could tell somebody oh you're very far away and it'd change far to fat. It's happened to me without my input. Cue frantic explaining....

I don't think kicking kids back to the 90s would fix anything, and ye fackin gods, 3 year olds on ipads....I have a whole rant thanks to that, too......though I'd argue education is an answer.

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2019-03-30 22:22:26

All I can say to JaceK is, gr8 m8 ur l8 OK I'll stop now.

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2019-03-30 22:28:41

@20: My brain......ack....nooooo!

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2019-03-30 22:32:08

I notice spelling and grammatical errors with my blind friends more than my sighted ones. If you only hear text read to you, you don't get the finer points of where to break for paragraphs, how to construct clear sentences, etc. You may speak eloquently, but if you haven't seen the format of good writing, it is difficult to duplicate it.
But...sighted...people...really...like...to...do...this, which can drive you insane if you're on a screenreader.
I believe spelling and grammar errors come first and foremost from a dislike of reading. That's for sighted and blind alike.
But I do think for blind readers, learning Braille makes the biggest difference. I read so much Braille, I just knew when a word looked wrong. Now that I use screenreaders much more, I know I make a lot more errors, which bugs me.
From first through twelfth grade, I had spelling, grammar, and reading comprehension every year. I even diagrammed sentences for a couple of years. It bored the crap out of me at the time, but it benefitted me more than I can say. It made writing easy for me, and it gave me super high standardized test scores, which helped for other things.
I don't correct people, because that's rude and low class in my opinion.
But the thing that makes me feel bad for those who aren't good with grammar and spelling is that it really does make a difference in the way others perceive you. Whether you are in the business world, applying for a job, trying to persuade someone, or simply telling a story, it makes a difference. You may have the best ideas, but if you can't bring them across effectively, you may be ignored, or worse, ridiculed.
I am a huge proponent of Braille, even now, with all the awesome TTS devices we have, and all the "instantly available" books. To my mind, there is no replacement for seeing the written word and using it well.

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2019-03-30 23:14:54

17 nailed it. The way people, particularly sighted text, drives me crazy. Crappy text writing, crappy spelling, horrible auto correct... That's also the very reason I want nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with dictation.

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2019-03-30 23:15:53

The problem is that no one seems to care, and you try to bang it into their heads but they're so oblivious to how this affects them that they just will not budge from this not caring attitude. OK, then, get your résumé chucked because its chock full of errors. Getting a job is hard enough as a disabled person, why would you make your own road blocks. Let people think you have the IQ of a three-toed sloth when they already think we're half dumb and can't do anything for ourselves, why?

I acknowledge that it's hard work to fix, especially once you've learned so many bad spellings. But how will you make it through college this way, much less have a CV or résumé actually read. How will you write papers that actually get published, or if you're not even into that, just, how will you make it in the corporate world if you need to write reports.

P.S. That sounded a lot more Ethonic than I intended, I think someone needs to smack me around a little bit.

I don't care if you pay the bills, if you can produce your deed or your lease,
If you have a cat, the cat owns your crib.
Sorry about that, I don't make the rules, the cats do.
For multi-cat residences, one cat owns the other cats, *and* your crib, dang, eh?

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2019-03-30 23:27:51

One thing I've noticed over the years concerns unusual words, and goes back to the thing of never having seen it written. Years ago I heard people, probably on this forum and elsewhere, talk about solving captures. I knew they were talking about CAPTCHAs, but couldn't figure out for the life of me why they thought the word was capture. Then it hit me. They were obviously using a British voice, where they knew the R sound was modified so it sounded like it was saying Capture, so they figured that's what the word was.

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