Government under a spell: time to let go

Can the government change the way we spell?

May 22, 2008

Tim Harford on his blog writes about the Portuguese government's attempt to legislate so that Portuguese words would now be written with Brazilian spelling. He is not convinced that such moves would be very effective.

My Comments:

The issue ought not to be whether such government moves would be effectives, but whether language is the business of government. I am not convinced that it is. Language reflects personal and social experience and should develop with the evolution of society. Moreover, governments do not owe the language people speak so there is not "national interest" for the government to concerned about.

Of course, governments can choose what language the administration speak and how they write it. I am not convinced that they have a right to interfere with the national curriculum.

In any event governments ought to concern themselves with more relevant things such as health services, law and order, political stability and so on.

Language, government, spell,

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