Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump's spelling problem

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, Sept. 21, 2017

Re: "Spelling's not for eveyrone, Mr. Precedent," Feb. 20, 2017
There is a deeper pathology underlying the spelling mistakes made by Trump and members of his staff. Our studies have shown that much of our spelling competence comes from reading: Not all dedicated readers are perfect spellers, but it is clear that more reading results in better spelling. 
The spelling errors documented by Allan Fallow confirm that Trump is not a reader (Reports of Trump's lack of reading habit have been reported in The New Republic, Washington Post, New York Times, and The New Yorker), and, perhaps more seriously, it seems that neither his staff nor members of the US Department of Education read much.
Studies show that reading is not only the major source of our ability to write and spell accurately, it is also a major source of our knowledge of history, science, and even practical knowledge.  This helps explain why we see more than spelling errors coming from the Trump administration.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Some sources
Krashen, S. 1989. We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the input hypothesis. Modern Language Journal 73: 440-464.
Krashen, S. and White, H. 1991. Is spelling acquired or learned? A re-analysis of Rice (1897) and Cornman (1902). ITL: Review of Applied Linguistics 91-92: 1-48.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited (second edition)

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