Has "spell checking" made us dumber?

  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    May 28, 2009 4:20 AM GMT
    Sometimes I feel like I can't write a sentance sentence without using spell check. I think it has made me very lazy when I write an email. I just auto correct everything without bothering to understand how to spell words I misspelled.

    I am addicted to spell check!

    Is spell check a good thing in your opinion or has it made us dum dums?


    icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 4:27 AM GMT
    No, it hasn't made us dumber. Just as industrial agriculture hasn't made us "dumber" because most of us don't know how to kill a bison with a single spear thrust or when to plant yellow squash to maximize crop yields.

    There's a difference between intelligence and skill. Spear-throwing and literacy are skills, and while spear-throwing was an essential skill for tens of thousands of years, widespread literacy has only been around for a couple hundred. Both take a certain kind of intellectual processing to do, but the lack of either skill, by itself, is no indication that you are overall less intelligent than someone who does possess those skills. You've heard it said that the victors write history to suit themselves? Well, writers get to write cultural history in such a way that "intelligence" has become equivalent to "able to quickly and accurately manipulate symbol systems". But as that speed and accuracy has been outsourced to computers, and as local and global economies become increasingly interdependent, for many people, mere symbol manipulation isn't nearly as important a skill as it used to be. Hence the emergence of ideas like Gardner's multiple categories of intelligences.

    Eventually, continuous advances in computers and perceptual technology will probably reduce literacy to a quaint skill/hobby like calligraphy, or spinning flax into thread, or COBOL.
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    May 28, 2009 4:36 AM GMT
    Eye no watt ewe Ming.
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    May 28, 2009 4:40 AM GMT
    The problem isn't spell-checking, it's basic literacy. The following words are spelled perfectly; their use usually atrocious.

    Where
    Were
    We're
    There
    Their
    They're
    Not
    Knot
    No
    Now
    Know
    Known
    Noun
    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
    Pneumonoultramicroscopicsiliconvolcanoconiosis


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 5:10 AM GMT
    I prefer "spell check as you type". If I see the typo in real time, it helps me remember the correct spelling for future reference. Of course the drawback to that is it sometimes breaks my train of thought.

    But yeah, sometimes I get lazy when I'm Googling something. Because I know I'll be presented with..

    "Did you mean [correctly spelled word] ?"

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    May 28, 2009 6:45 AM GMT
    Hmmm...being a word nerd I'll crassly admit that I attribute spelling and grammar errors to stupidity (and usually avoid people that make such errors continuously), but that's surely overstating things, eh? icon_razz.gif To answer your specific question, I think it's a matter of how you approach tools like spell check. If you utilize auto-correct mindlessly, yeah, by definition you are learning nothing. If, on the other hand, you use auto-correct mindfully (by being attentive to your mistakes and working to correct them) you very well may be learning. Whatever the case, I think tools such as spell check stand to positively serve those that employ them. Mostly I'm baffled as to why more people don't take advantage of this and similar corrective tools?

  • May 28, 2009 6:48 AM GMT
    I am usually great at spelling... maybe not punct.... ... ... cause I like dots... but? I need gramar check... icon_sad.gif
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    May 28, 2009 7:01 AM GMT
    Spell check doesn't make us dumber. It's a useful tool to check for errors that the human mind can't see immediately, seeing as most of us type and never read it again. Leave something you've written for a long time, and all the errors will pop out at you!

    Besides, I think we'd have a much worse time with out. As and English major, I should care more, but meaning is what is important and as long as there is no unclear meaning then you're fine. People who obsess aren't doing anyone a favor. But then again, maybe they are? Grammar and spelling aren't set in stone! icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 28, 2009 7:21 AM GMT
    HAHAHAHA.... I WAS JUST THINKING THIS!!! and then I start reading exactly what I'm thinking in my head. icon_biggrin.gif

    Spell Check is straight from GOD himself!! I actually think it makes me smarter because it's like a dictionary that teaches me how to spell things correctly and also stops me from posting poorly typed words. Yet, I can also see how it can create laziness as people would stop caring how to spell when they can just red-line to right click to left click on correct spelling. HEY SOME.....don't even bother with that and well we all know what the result is......some ROUGH thread reads! hahahaha...jsut ruogh!
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    May 28, 2009 7:55 AM GMT
    Why learn to spell something when spell checker corrects it for you. It isn't that we become dumber or lazier, it just that spell checker makes too easy to resist having to correct and learn from our mistakes.

    Give a man a spell checker, he'll write a good e-mail once. Teach a man to spell, he'll write well forever. icon_smile.gif
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    May 28, 2009 9:26 AM GMT
    Spell check has made it easier, but many forget that spell check DOES NOT check grammar. Nor does spell check correct everything. I have even seen spell check incorrectly spell words and use the wrong verb. It is a useful tool, but for me, it will never replace my handy dictionary or online reference tool. icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 28, 2009 9:31 AM GMT
    SportingChance saidNo, it hasn't made us dumber. Just as industrial agriculture hasn't made us "dumber" because most of us don't know how to kill a bison with a single spear thrust or when to plant yellow squash to maximize crop yields.

    There's a difference between intelligence and skill. Spear-throwing and literacy are skills, and while spear-throwing was an essential skill for tens of thousands of years, widespread literacy has only been around for a couple hundred. Both take a certain kind of intellectual processing to do, but the lack of either skill, by itself, is no indication that you are overall less intelligent than someone who does possess those skills. You've heard it said that the victors write history to suit themselves? Well, writers get to write cultural history in such a way that "intelligence" has become equivalent to "able to quickly and accurately manipulate symbol systems". But as that speed and accuracy has been outsourced to computers, and as local and global economies become increasingly interdependent, for many people, mere symbol manipulation isn't nearly as important a skill as it used to be. Hence the emergence of ideas like Gardner's multiple categories of intelligences.

    Eventually, continuous advances in computers and perceptual technology will probably reduce literacy to a quaint skill/hobby like calligraphy, or spinning flax into thread, or COBOL.


    I basically agree, spelling is by large a skill that can be aquired through training. If technology can take over, I suppose you'll be able free some cognitive resources to use for something else. . But you can then argue that the spelling "skill" will slowly dwindle. Some will weep for that, some don't care.
    However, spell check can only help you to a certain extent, but it's good for catching typos or helping with long difficult words. Like some have pointed out, you can write a perfectly spelled sequence of words, that makes little or no sense. Spell check cannot completely camouflage someones lack of command of the language. For that you'd need a flawless spell and grammar check, and that will only happen in utopia.
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    May 28, 2009 9:50 AM GMT
    Typically, if I don't know how to spell a word off the top of my head I just don't use it in a sentence. If I want to use a word then I'll dictionary.com a new one. It just expands my lexicon. I love it.
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    May 28, 2009 10:18 AM GMT
    bigmusclepaul didn't sayGenitoultramacroscopicvolcanosis

    but that's all I could think of when I saw his pictures. Whew! I wish he'd say it.
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    May 28, 2009 11:56 AM GMT
    It's the same as the calculator.

    It's a tool that saves time and increases accuracy at the expense of old fogies sitting around going "Well in MY day..."
  • H2Oskier

    Posts: 41

    May 28, 2009 12:20 PM GMT
    Spell check still doesn't help those who spell 'lose' as 'loose'. Makes me lose respect for the writer every time.
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    May 28, 2009 1:55 PM GMT
    It does make me a better typist.
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    May 28, 2009 2:01 PM GMT
    ohhh i've been dying to type this for ages: my lexis is ineffable and is mirrored by the sophistry of my argument, combining to make me a perennial high-achiever without vicissitude.



    BANG BANG!
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    May 28, 2009 2:40 PM GMT
    Spell check isn't ruining the population's ability to spell; it's being on a computer, texting on your phone, and doing whatever you're doing for vast periods of time that requires that replaces things like reading that makes you unable to spell.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    May 28, 2009 2:43 PM GMT
    I think it makes people smarter because it shows mistakes which people can then learn from, that's been my experience at least!
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    May 28, 2009 2:47 PM GMT



    well, *all excited* when he's done reciting and waving his wand, it is a good idea to have a check ready to pay for hi..ohwaitaminit...


    I'll have to turn on 'comprehension check' program...icon_lol.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2009 2:53 PM GMT
    No. I've always spelled correctly. The ones spell checkers catch are only the ones I've misspelled by haste and not the ones I misspelled because of actual ignorance of what the correct spelling was.

    ...if that made sense.
  • kaccioto

    Posts: 284

    May 28, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
    spelling isn't indicative of intelligence..

    that's what secretaries are for
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    May 28, 2009 3:32 PM GMT
    My spelling also went to pieces when I stopped reading English regularly (at least I canĀ“t count most English on here as it has too many errors). I decided that correct spelling in English is largely to do with seeing it written correctly enough.
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    May 28, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    When I see that evil red line appear under a word I pop open dictionary.com, or I retype it until I figure out the proper spelling.

    Then I make a mental note not to misspell the world again icon_smile.gif