However, Cook has a cautiously liberal attitude towards spelling.His new book, Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary: or why can't anybody spell?As professor of applied linguistics at Newcastle University, he has noticed how people expect his surname to be spelled with an e on the end.''I've always been puzzled in shops why people ask me whether I have an e on the end,'' he says.''One is simply by looking at the letters and sounds and connecting them together.Alongside that is another system where we remember things as wholes, the most obvious thing being the pound sign or the hash sign and so forth.During the research for his book, he unearthed original, uncorrected manuscripts of Keats, Hemingway and Woolf and found spelling mistakes in all of them. ''We have a large vocabulary in English and it appears one doesn't remember sufficient bits of information for one-off words.'' He also traced the deliberate mis-spelling of words back 100 years or so, for example exchanging a ''c'' for a ''k'' as in Krusty the Klown, and dialect spelling back to Dickens, a literary tradition upheld by artists such as Sean Paul with Dutty Rock.Yet, when seen in popular culture, these mis-spellings often provoke tuts of disapproval. The influence of communications technology has, of course, been the subject of much discussion among pedants.
It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.
The other side, which I'm trying to promote, is how fascinating it is that there are systems and rules to spelling, but people have been enormously inventive with it in the past few years.
I want people to think about spelling more than learn it.'' Cook doesn't believe our spelling has become worse.
It took 17 keystrokes and seven with normal spelling.'' How we choose to spell may have changed in recent years, but the way in which we learn to spell has not.
''According to the theory, there are two ways in which we spell in English,'' says Cook.