Grasping proper spelling is critical in the modern world especially for those willing to work online.

There are so many online jobs that the Kenyan youth can do and earn a decent living.

However, for one to enrol for the jobs there are some basic skills that are required which among them is mastery of spellings.

The online jobseekers willing to engage in common jobs such as writing, editing, translation, transcription among others have to undergo spelling tests in the language they wish work with.

Teachers of language are very keen on the spelling aspect since it is a major component in written communication.

David Mwenda, a teacher of English at Kathigiri Boarding Primary School in Imenti South Sub-County of Meru County whose subject has been leading in the Eastern region for many years intimates that getting right every aspect of language is critical in ensuring good performance.

Mwenda is of the opinion that slight errors in English language will cost learners in performance. He adds that proper pronunciation of words builds confidence in communication and articulation of issues.

Correct pronunciation according to language experts helps users get the correct spelling of words.

One critical component of education is to enable learners communicate effectively and accurately.

Commonly misspelt words have been documented among them accommodation, headquarters, bureau, privilege, address, embarrassment, entrepreneur, forty, definite, belief, receive, grammar and misspelling among others.

The English Language syllabus has a database of the commonly misspelt words integrated in the primary and secondary school curriculum, However, the problem still persists across people in various cadres.

A misspelled or a faded signpost would raise questions about the operations of an organization and would lead to a negative evaluation of the institution’s efficiency.

Is it sheer negligence or lack of proper supervision, especially in publications done within learning institutions where the right thing should be the order of the day?

A misspelt word glaring at the entrance of a school not only dents the name of the teachers but also the reputation of the school.

Artists absolve themselves from the blame since they claim they are just reproducing what they have been presented with to.

“Our work depends on how accurate we can print what we have been given in a draft which determines our payment terms. Removing or adding a single letter to a word corruptly spelt may mean a lot,” says an artist within Meru Town.

Some artists deem themselves unlucky for not having advanced in their education to detect spelling mistakes which only come to light after painting.

Common causes of misspelling include mother tongue interference, exposure to poorly written materials,  mispronunciation of words and poor language mastery among others.

With the introduction of Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) launched by the Jubilee Government, the current learner is likely to acquire the skill of perfect spelling.

Meru County Director of Education, Mr. Willy Machocho, says the programme has made learning more entertaining and more practical.

“Common errors of spelling which sometimes arise due to mother-tongue interference are likely to disappear with time since the content fitted in the laptops will supplement what the work of the teachers,” states Machocho, underscoring the value of spelling in education.

He adds that with Tusome Project, funded by various partners, pupils’ reading skills and also learners spelling are set to improve among other aspects.

The programme entails supplying reading books to all public primary schools together with training of teachers on new methods of education.

Under the new training nicknamed “I Do, We Do, and You Do” he states, the teacher first reads words or sentences, repeats with learners and then the pupils are let to do it on their own.

“It is a concept in lower classes where learners are taught on how to pronounce words correctly which translates to correct spelling. The teaching of sounds among pupils unlike before, will also help in eliminating the impacts of mother tongue interference hence improve standards of language performance,” explains the Education Director.

Machocho says the Ministry has been conducting seminars to empower teachers to perfect their language skills.

Misspelling, however, small it may look, according to the Education Director, it may lead to low marks in composition writing and overall performance.

Learners’ educational achievement is measured via writing which intensifies the need to grasp correct spelling.

However, with the upcoming of information technology tools such as computers with inbuilt dictionaries, the issue of outright misspelling may be solved although there are some words that the spellchecker fails to detect, for instance the word graduand which is commonly in use.

Caution should be paid with such words with the automatic spellchecker function which will give a strange alternative. There are also words with the American English spelling version and that of British English.

Computers are run on default American English with words like “favour” and “favor”, “honour” and “honor”, “symbolise” and “symbolize”.

Machocho urges teachers to be keen and embrace excellence in the subject since examiners from the across the country and may not be familiar with the pronunciation problems among various communities.

There are words if misspelt would cause public embarrassment and distort the intended meaning.

However, misspelling is common in the business world where some words are intentionally misspelt for advertisement purposes.  It is one of the aspects of the advertising industry according to language practitioners.

“Our hands are somehow tied because the Ministry of Education has little control over tactics the business community uses to reach their customers,” says the Education Director.

He urged those in business who never had a chance to access basic education to enrol for adult classes where pronunciation among other language skills are taught.

The Director added that there is no policy for the Education Ministry to dictate the nature of writing for the business community although he attests that it has an impact on learners who derive some language skills from what they see published.

There is need to come up with a policy on the quality of material in terms of language for posters, billboards among other publications to inculcate correct spelling culture.

Ends

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