Spelling ability

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Spelling ability

Postby robert 46 » 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?

Marilyn responds:

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"?

Marilyn responds:

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.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby davar55 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:02 pm

robert 46 wrote:
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?

Marilyn responds:

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"?

Marilyn responds:

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.


Spelling is very important. Why do we even have dictionaries?
You are perhaps expressing an opinion of yours, not a fact.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby robert 46 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:55 am

davar55 wrote:Spelling is very important. Why do we even have dictionaries?

I suppose that if we know how to spell a word we can look it up to find its definition. A difficulty with English (and worse with French) is that the written language is not phonetic. The problem is that there are some 64 phonemes, so the alphabet would need 64 characters, but, even worse, people would tend to spell words differently consequential to local dialect. Spllng wld nt b unfrm frm plc t plc, nd snc wrtng trnscnds plc ppl cld hv dffclty ndrstndng t. It has been shown that for relatively simple sentences vowels can be superfluous because the mind fills them in based on context.
You are perhaps expressing an opinion of yours, not a fact.
Or I could be expressing a fact, not just an opinion.
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Postby davar55 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:05 pm

It is only because I know the correct spelling that I was
easily able to read that sentence. But you have a point.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby JO 753 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:55 am

robert 46 wrote:The problem is that there are some 64 phonemes,


There are only 35. A reasonable argument could be made for a 36th, but it relies entirely on the flawed perspective of the IPA.

Your average linguist will say 'about 40' phonemes in the english language, but I have never failed to knock off everything past 36. Part of the problem is a sloppy definition for 'phoneme'.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby robert 46 » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:00 am

JO 753 wrote:
robert 46 wrote:The problem is that there are some 64 phonemes,

There are only 35. A reasonable argument could be made for a 36th, but it relies entirely on the flawed perspective of the IPA.

I based the number 64 on a sound synthesizer integrated circuit of over 20 years ago which provided 64 phonemes for vocalizations.

http://www.englishspellingsociety.org/j ... number.php

"Counting the number of phonemes is like counting the number of colors in a rainbow."
Last edited by robert 46 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby emilynghiem » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:28 am

robert 46 wrote:
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?

Marilyn responds:

Plenty of intelligent people aren't good spellers for one reason or another.

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?"


I think she thought she answered this "YES" by saying "plenty of intelligent people aren't good spellers for one reason or another"

What I interpret from her answer is that just because it does seem to indicate intelligence if someone is a good speller doesn't mean
the vice versa, that you can have intelligent people who don't spell well for other reasons.

I agree with you, Robert, she didn't specifically address "geniuses" when she talked about "intelligent people." But I assumed the same observation she made of intelligent people also applies to geniuses as well.

RE: 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"?

Marilyn's answer could have been more clear here as well.

I would think that intellect is "more specific" than "intelligence"
since she is saying that intelligence applies to different areas?

And your reply, Robert, seems to be included in the statement Marilyn made that intelligent people can be poor spellers for "other reasons."

When I am typing and multitasking at the same time, I am not always careful to edit, proofread and correct every single punctuation mark, or all the spelling, spacing, and grammar, as I normally would. Working two jobs, I have become increasingly tired, and I notice I make more and more math and editing errors than I used to.

My ideas and intelligence are still there, but it takes more mental energy to focus and edit than it did before in order to express and even argue these effectively. The ironic thing is that by scaling down, maybe I am more able to talk with people at the normal rate and level they would expect and can relate to; whereas before, when I argued at such a high level, I was missing the audience anyway, and only those people who argued at the same high level could understand what I was trying to say. So maybe slowing down the thought process is like tuning the frequency more to the regular range of the human ear and mind. Isn't that ironic?
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Postby robert 46 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:36 pm

emilynghiem wrote:...by scaling down, maybe I am more able to talk with people at the normal rate and level they would expect and can relate to; whereas before, when I argued at such a high level, I was missing the audience anyway, and only those people who argued at the same high level could understand what I was trying to say.

As I see it, Watson had no intention of understanding you, or anyone, because being right was a matter of pride to him.
So maybe slowing down the thought process is like tuning the frequency more to the regular range of the human ear and mind. Isn't that ironic?

Pathetic irony. If the audience can't, and don't want to, understand what I am trying to say that is their problem, not mine: I am under no burden to convince anyone of anything- least of all by lowering myself to their level.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby JO 753 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:16 pm

robert 46 wrote:I based the number 64 on a sound synthesizer integrated circuit of over 20 years ago which provided 64 phonemes for vocalizations.


Thats very interesting!

I know that mimicing speech requires variations on most sounds, since we naturally adjust them based on what came before and what's next, and the transitions between. I suspected it would take over a hundred, but how good did it sound with 64?

http://www.englishspellingsociety.org/journals/j30/number.php

"Counting the number of phonemes is like counting the number of colors in a rainbow."


Deciding what needs to be represented by a letter is much clearer. Only sounds that differentiate actual words are needed.
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Re: Spelling ability

Postby robert 46 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:39 am

JO 753 wrote:
robert 46 wrote:I based the number 64 on a sound synthesizer integrated circuit of over 20 years ago which provided 64 phonemes for vocalizations.

Thats very interesting!

I know that mimicing speech requires variations on most sounds, since we naturally adjust them based on what came before and what's next, and the transitions between. I suspected it would take over a hundred, but how good did it sound with 64?

Stilted and artificial. It is difficult choosing phonemes to make a word sound right, a lot easier to just speak.
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Postby JO 753 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:07 pm

Makes sense.

You can record or synthesize the basic phonemes and the program can play them based on a letter for each one, but it wont match the physical motions that we have to perform to transition from one sound to the next.

Back in the 80's, my brother had an Amiga computer. It had built-in speech capability. The funny thing is that you could type in any string of letters and it would speak them and a lack of vowels didn't stop it! Ktmbjbl pgtlwtzmchdp, for example.
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Spelling Ability

Postby mountainelm » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:42 pm

I'm dyslexic (sp?). I often write p instead of b, t instead of d, k instead of g, especially when i'm distracted. I sometimes write things "phonetically" - "to" intstead of "too" or "two." I don't think this reflects on my intelligence but it affects my test scores. I tend to agree w/ Marilyn that good spellers are by and large quite smart but the opposite is not true. I think there are some exceptions. I think a person may be a spelling savant but not so smart in other areas.

I want to point out that spelling is quite arbitrary. There are differences between american (center, curb), british (centre, kerb), and canadian (centre, curb) spelling. In addition, english is quite unique. There would be no reason to have a spelling bee contest in the other 3 languages i speak as they are almost 100% phonetic.

By the by, i think it's 80s not 80's. This is not a possesive :wink:
Last edited by mountainelm on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Spelling Ability

Postby robert 46 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:37 am

mountainelm wrote:By the by, i think it's 80s not 80's. This is not a possesive :wink:

Probably should be '80s for nineteeneighties/nineteen-eighties/nineteen eighties???
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Postby JO 753 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:18 pm

Ye, you're right. '80s. I'll probably get banned now!

Interesting thing about dyslexics who's languages are mostly phonetic - they usually don't know they have dyslexia!
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Spelling and intelligence

Postby Johnny Oh » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:26 pm

I score very high on IQ tests and am a very good speller. I have known lots of very high IQ people, however, who are lousy spellers. I attribute my good spelling, not to high IQ, but to the fact that I am a slow reader. I see each word individually, unlike fast readers who see entire phrases. When I read a word or type a word in wrong, I can tell immediately that it is wrong and the correct spelling is immediately available to my memory. I'm not sure why I am a slow reader, but the fact that I only use one eye probably has something to do with it. (I'd better check this paragraph carefully because a misspelled word might undercut my credibility!)

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