Instability of orthographic standards
Other Names: Spelling variations
Nature: 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.
Incidence: 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.
Counter Claim: Spoken languages are bound to change, and consequent changes to established orthographic standards are, therefore, unavoidable. Changes in language are a source of difficulties (for young and old) whether orthographic standards remain stable or not.
Problem Type: F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Subject(s): InstabilityStandardsEducational content
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET