Instability of orthographic standards

Other Names:
Spelling variations

In many languages the spelling of words and rules for spelling are subject to change. For some languages there are controlling bodies which can cause sudden changes in the official spelling; where there is no such central body, spelling can vary in different regions. In either case, considerable difficulty and confusion is created in the education system; in the many sectors of society which produce typewritten or printed texts; and in information retrieval, such as dictionaries, lists and automated systems. Older generations adapt slowly and with difficulty to such changes.


The English language, influenced by developments in the USA, has several variations in spelling, some of which are not accepted in other English-speaking countries. In German, efforts are being made to approve a switch to uncapitalized nouns because the capitalizing rules are so complex. The spelling of Dutch and Flemish has been subject to a number of official modifications in recent years, and efforts are underway for a reform of French spelling.

Reforming orthography
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
13.10.2020 – 20:35 CEST