Word Proccessors Killing the Written Word

“Hello, it looks like you are writing a letter… would you like some help?” – Clippit (Office 97 – 2002)
“Press F7 for an automatic spellcheck” – Word Processing Instructors everywhere
How many times per day do you try to write something and then notice that something is misspelled, then you right-click that little wavy line under a word? Do you consider what is over time happening to our culture as a result? What about to your personal intellect? If every time you have a spelling error, you use the checker to check yourself, how long will it take for you to learn how to spell the word yourself? Will you ever? I personally have many words I can’t spell without the aide of a spell checker, such as necessary.
I have been doing a lot of writing in NotePad, and WordPad recently and I noticed that I feel so much freer to write when I am not bound by the constraints of the analytical “intelligent” word processing tools. Another thing that has tripped this is how absolutely horrible the form-field spell checker in Mozilla FireFox presently is. I am told that it is based on a dictionary that is part of the OpenOffice.org project. I feel so distracted when I am having to continually deal with those little red lines everywhere, especially when I am typing something proper and the spell checker is deciding that it should alert anyway.
For effective communication, we must operate our language within a certain set of rules, but when it comes to some of these rules for the English language, it is just purely an anal fixation that demands their existence. An example would be the comma rules, while it is good to separate portions of thought, its presence or not before every and or or is simply annoying. Language is part of culture, much like art, music and food. The acceptance of music, art or food does not depend on some great authority mandating its “rules”. Music and art must be pleasing to the aesthetic taste and food must be pleasing to the palette. Shouldn’t language be pleasing to the ear and easy to read, not a complex collection of protocol requiring a syntax road map for proper functionality?
About that whole cultural thing…. as some of you may recall, my mother published a cookbook several years ago. When the initial draft review came back from the printer, it was covered in red markings, highlighting things like “cooky” as being spelled incorrectly. The cookbook is a collection of recipes that have been saved for hundred of years in my family, several of those recipes having some things spelled in an older version of the English language, when both “cooky” and “cookie” were technically correct. My mother decided to leave the “misspellings” intact because of the nature of the book, a collection of recipes from the family, and a tribute to thousands of family events involving food that have occurred over the years. Many of the final adoptions of words in this language that were then up for debate are unknown as to their reasoning. The best information that we have for “cooky” and “cookie” is that the plural has always been “cookies”, and since we hardly ever speak of one cookie, the language was simplified to have a uniform “cookie” that follows the standard pluralization transformation of “add s”.
If we are electronically held to the current version of English, then the language has very little chance of progressing to something more useful, or being melded with a more versatile language, such as French.
Erin – good luck with your English degree, this wasn’t meant to be an offensive post to you.
Guy – you are a linguist, it doesn’t apply to you, but you knew that already.