Guyana should adopt American spelling

Stabroek News
July 21, 2001

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Dear Editor,

The examination of a tradition is the essence of a growing tradition. The English language in Guyana is such a growing entity (phenomenon). This re-examination is necessitated by the new age technology and a demand for simplicity and consistency.

The spelling in the language should be simplified to help poor spellers, the dyslexic or learning disabled. Besides there is no doubt that phonics or proper enunciation and pronunciation play a key role in helping to spell correctly. Words such as "center" could replace "centre", "program" could replace "programme." Words ending in "iour" could be "ior" such as in "behaviour," "labour." Many man hours and needed paper could be saved because of such economy and simplicity. This may align the spelling closer to that of the Americans, suggesting that a pattern exists from which to initiate and draw suggestions.

The computers now in use in homes, schools and offices are mainly American made and programmed. The spell check, which is very useful, can be of little use to the individual with the present spelling system. This only creates confusion in the minds of young learners. Textbooks and scholarly works, especially at the tertiary level, are increasingly being imported from the United States. For such economy and consistency it is only prudent to re-examine and perhaps consider the necessary change.

The suggestion is that a national dialogue be initiated by the public and the various institutions to consider if and where changes are needed. The Ministry of Education, with co-operation from such institutions as the University of Guyana, could institute a commission to examine where and when such changes should be made.

We have nothing to lose but some old and burdensome threadbare trappings.

Yours faithfully,

Parsram S. Thakur, PhD
University of Guyana
Berbice campus