Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spelling Made Difficult

I'm not trying to brag here but, way back when I was a kid, I was a really good student in school. I was either at the top of my class or very close to that with every report card I brought home through the Sixth grade and in Seventh and Eighth grades, I was still one of the higher students in my class.

My downfall -grade wise -came about when I entered high school and discovered there were other things I was interested in besides homework. Not necessarily boys -although yes, I was interested in them but they held no interest in me. But I was interested in whatever was fun -television, certainly. Other types of entertainment like just clowning around with other kids was high on my list too. Books -fiction mostly -were still one of my favorite things as well.

But one thing that remained with me all throughout my school days was my ability to spell. Okay, I never won the top honors in the Spelling Bee tryouts that could have led to a big success in the National Championships in Washington, D.C. but I usually made a respectable showing till I let my cockiness overpower me and I would lose on words I should have known -like Hygiene in which I reversed the "ie" to the "ei" by forgetting a major rule in spelling. "I before E, except after C."

My kids have never picked up that aptitude I once had though -and I thought I still had it too until recently - as spelling was never a strong point for any of them.

A tendency to use the incorrect spelling of a word that has two (sometimes more) meanings but is pronounced the same -like "their" and "there" is on that comes to mind immediately as my son frequently would write home when he was stationed in Germany and mention something like "There rules here really suck!" (Ok, that's maybe a lame example but seriously, he doesn't stop and think and differentiate between words and their meaning and how the spelling can change all kinds of stuff if it is incorrect.

The kids always came to me when they were in school to ask how to spell various big words and my standard answer was to tell them to try to sound it out and use that to at least see if they could figure out the correct spelling and depending on how hard I could see that they tried to figure the spelling out became my guide, so to speak, on whether I would end up spelling the word for them.

But recently, my son tripped me up when he called home on day and asked me to look some prices up for me on the internet. "Sure, no problem. I can do that," I told him.

So he told me the name and I had never heard of the item but figured okay, it must be some brand new product he's heard of and I keyed in "Wee accessories" into Google and nothing resembling any kind of gaming stuff appeared before me on the screen.

"I got nothing here, Kid," I said and he said that couldn't possibly be since this game system is supposed to be the hottest thing ever invented.

We argued a bit about this and he said I must be spelling it incorrectly.

Moi? Spell something wrong? How could that possibly be?

Then he said it's a foreign gaming system so the genius here puts on her thinking cap and decided that maybe it is French, so I tried entering a search for Oui accessories and still no gaming product information.

He kept insisting there had to be something somewhere online because he said this is about the biggest deal in game systems on the market, telling me I need to come out of the dark ages and into the 21st century and all kinds of stuff like that.

About that time I was getting more than a bit peeved -and so was my son -when Mandy happened to stroll by and overheard a bit of the conversation from my side and saw what I had typed in.

She cracked up of course and took the phone from me so she could tell her brother than Mom was trying to search for the Wii accessories by typing the wrong incorrect name of the system!

Well heck, I haven't seen a gaming system since back in the early 80's when I won an Atari so how was I supposed to know that when all my blogger buddies were talking about playing with their Wii that it was pronouced "WE" and not W.I.I. like I was calling it in my mind as I read their posts about this stuff!


Darned good thing I didn't go shopping for one of these game systems as I would really have embarrassed myself if I'd asked a clerk to show me the game system, by calling it the "W two i'" stuff, huh?

I'll be very cautious in the future when I read things about new products to make sure I know how to pronounce it first from here on out though!


lattégirl said...

This is HILARIOUS. Truly, a story of the generation gap in 2009.

Maggie May said...

That was funny.
When I was a child I was better at spelling that arithmetic (as it was called then!) Also art.
Good to have a few good spellers in the family. My 6 yr old granddaughter seems to be following suit!