Truley [sic] confusing

There is an interesting debate going on in the world of words.  On one side of the table there are those who believe that standardised spelling and a few basic rules of grammar are essential to effective communication.  On the other side of the table is a group that believes that ‘variants’ of spelling and grammar are perfectly acceptable.

This second group maintains that whether it’s truly, truely or truley, the reader knows what the writer means.  Or, at the very least, the reader can work out what the writer means.

This second group also believes that, by insisting on truly, the first group is discriminating against those who have perhaps not benefitted from their encounter with the school system.  By insisting on truly (says the second group), the first group is making life even more difficult for those for whom life is already difficult enough.

There is even a sub-group of this second group that believes that the use of truley (or perhaps even trooli) is evidence of creativity.  Spelling truly as truley is not wrong; it’s clever and imaginative.

I can see that this might be a valid argument if the writer of truley is aware of what he or she is doing – if they are aware that the standard spelling is truly, and if their use of the variant is intentional and for a purpose.  But, when it’s just because they know no better, I can’t see that it’s either clever or imaginative.

James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov were able to do some very clever and imaginative things with the English language – in part because they had a very good understanding of standardised spelling and the basic rules of grammar.  To defend Shandrelle’s and Troyetta’s use of truley on the grounds that they were away from school on the day that the teacher covered the spelling of truly makes no sense at all.  And to dress it up as clever and imaginative is just encouraging the proliferation of gobbledygook.

Roll on Tower of Babel two-point-zero.

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