Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:22 am
Prade website wrote:Spelling Ability
ask marilyn Marilyn vos Savant December 18, 2010
K.C. of Atlanta, Georgia, writes:
Marilyn: Do you ever misspell words? Can a genius be a poor speller?
I hardly ever misspell a word that is in my speaking, writing, or reading vocabulary. If I'm unsure of the spelling of an unusual word--say, a scientific term--I always know that, so I look up the word before I write it down. I don't misspell esoteric words.
But that's just me. Plenty of intelligent people aren't good spellers for one reason or another. However, if a person is an extremely good speller (not counting people who study spelling, such as spelling bee contestants), that person is likely to be quite intelligent.
It is exasperating when Marilyn goes off on a tangent and doesn't actually get around to answering a question which was asked:
"Can a genius be a poor speller?"
Intelligence vs. Intellect
ask marilyn Marilyn vos Savant December 15, 2010
Fernando Albalo of Columbus, Ohio, writes:
Marilyn: Can you explain the difference between the terms "intelligence" and "intellect"?
The term "intelligence" is more specific and refers to abilities. By contrast, the term "intellect" refers to a capacity for thought. A highly intelligent person may be quite focused and not have a great intellect. On the other hand, a person who is considered an intellectual may not be especially intelligent.
Yet some people do have it all.
From this it appears that a genius has a high intellect because what characterizes humans over other animals is the capacity for thought. Other animals certainly have superior abilities in many ways: ultrasonic location and ranging in porpoises and bats; infrared sensitivity in pit vipers; UV sensitivity in insects; visual acuity in raptors; navigation skills in migrating birds, insects, sea turtles; etc.
Considering that spelling ability is a matter of memory, not capacity for thought, it appears irrelevant. The ability to express oneself well in words is important, but this requires a superior vocabularly, not necessarily superior spelling ability. People construct ideas through an internal monologue which is pseudo-aural, not written/spelled. Whereas the written language is derivative from the spoken language, spelling ability is clearly subordinate for conveying thoughts.
Should a person with high intellect suffer a stroke which impairs spelling ability, but not speech and the ability to think, or which impairs the ability to speak but not the ability to write, spell and think then clearly that loss of ability is insignificant. Consider Stephen Hawking who has a superior intellect despite disabilities.