English Bureaucrats Ruining English Language. Again.

It's only fitting, the creators of the English language should also be the ones to ruin the English language. And they're doing it at an earlier age.

The British government has released some new guidance that tells teachers not to teach the "i before e, except after c" rule, because "there are too many exceptions.

According to a story on the BBC, the new "Support For Spelling" document was sent to over 13,000 primary schools. The government employees responsible for whacking the English language with a +5 vorpal blade of stupidity said the rule "is not worth teaching" because it doesn't account for words like 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their.'"

This from the same country where a city council quit using the apostrophe on city signs because they had too many problems with it.

Blah blah blah.

I think the British government is deceiving us. I personally can't conceive of any way British students will receive a quality language education without some basic rules. Teachers can always discuss the exceptions to help dispel any preconceived notions the students may have.

The bureaucrats are only deceiving themselves by thinking this tried-but-true rule has no place in education. I understand their desire to make learning easier, but I perceive a lot of problems will arise in the future.

Photo: Anselm23
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  1. I don't know that it's unreasonable. There are a LOT of words that break the rule, here's a small list:

    beige, cleidoic, codeine, conscience, deify, deity, deign,dreidel, eider, eight, either, feign, feint, feisty,foreign, forfeit, freight, gleization, gneiss, greige,greisen, heifer, heigh-ho, height, heinous, heir, heist,
    leitmotiv, neigh, neighbor, neither, peignoir, prescient,rein, science, seiche, seidel, seine, seismic, seize, sheik,society, sovereign, surfeit, teiid, veil, vein, weight,weir, weird

  2. Oh sure, if we're citing the QUANTITY of words, Mr. I Have a Dictionary. ;-)

    I do agree that there are almost too many exceptions to the rule that it makes it almost a laughable rule. However, it's also one of those rules that, when taught to little kids, makes it easier to remember how to spell friend and receive. I remember when I was in the 2nd grade, that's how we learned the difference.

    Not being a linguist, I wonder if there is a commonality among the origins of the words that the rule is appropriate for, say, Latin words, but not for Germanic words.

    Now you've given me something to think about. Thanks for the input.

  3. I think that's part of it, but from what I saw there are a lot specific sounds and word types that are exempt from the rule including those from certain language roots (like you suggest).

    It's really helpful at the age you talk about, that's for sure. I still can't spell 'weird' correctly without rewriting it a couple of times to see which one looks correct though. Crazy language!

  4. Thanks for the link to my image, as I am also Anselm23 on Flickr. You might be interested in knowing that I took it at a conference on training new teachers to deal with the vagueries of their first year of teaching.

  5. Hey Andrew, thanks for the photo usage. I appreciate it. I really liked how the "complexity" of the blackboard, and felt like it added to the post.


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