Currently, Yahoo has a story on its front page about Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington D.C. The school’s sports teams are nicknamed “Rough Riders,” and for the past several years, the basketball team has had the single word “Riders” on the front of its jerseys. Not this year, though. This year the players are sporting jerseys that say “Ryders,” as in The Ryder Cup or Ryder Trucks or perhaps Ruff Ryders, none of which is traditionally associated with Teddy Roosevelt or the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry. The best part of the story is the explanation/excuse that the jersey vendor gave the basketball coach: Ryders is the “cool” way to spell it.
Look, okay, we all know that English spelling is a bit wonky. Granted, traditional spelling gives us an idea of the history and etymology of a word, but it’s kind of a pain. So why not get rid of traditional spelling and give up on the dream of a simplified and phonetically consistent system of spelling. Instead, let’s adopt “cool spellings.” Oh sure, that means that spellings will become faddish and ephemeral. Presumably, language designers will bring out new spelling lines at least twice a year. I think it’s worth it, though. We don’t want other languages to make fun of our frumpy spellings.
ES at Skeptycle Hoomanatees