spelling mistake

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Spelling errors on an advertising monitor ("grant" instead of "foundation")

A spelling error (also known as misspelling ) describes a spelling of a word or punctuation mark that is incorrect according to common orthography . There are also punctuation errors , grammatical errors , stylistic errors and typing errors in the written language .


In general, spelling mistakes are mistakes in which a word, punctuation mark or number is misspelled contrary to the spelling rules , whereby the number error was not caused by a calculation error . The two main causes of misspellings are lack of attention (in the case of typed texts, this is called a typo) and ignorance of the correct spelling, for example in dyslexia .

Since the orthography of a language can change (example: German spelling ), the date of the text must be taken into account in individual cases when assessing whether or not there is a spelling error. In quotations , it is common to leave uncorrected spelling that looks like a typing or sentence error, but is actually in the original, and is marked with sic or sic! (Latin so ) to be identified.

Spelling mistakes in the German language

In the course of the reform of German orthography in 1996 , the German orthography was to be simplified and the rules standardized. However, due to a lack of knowledge of the new rules, especially overinterpretation, some new spelling errors occurred. Probably the most common is the incorrect replacement of ß by ss after a long vowel or a diphthong (for example "* Strasse", "* Gruss" and "* Besides" - correctly it is still called "Strasse", "Gruß" and "Besides" ", Except in Switzerland and in capitals , where ss instead of ß was provided until 2017 and is still possible).

Spellings that are wrong according to both the unreformed and the Reformed orthography can be divided into the following groups according to probable causes:

Phonetic errors
Adjustment of unusual graphs to the notation common for the phonetic phenomenon
Examples: * Acquisition for acquisition ([ kv ] mostly as qu ), * Ecstasy for
ecstasy ([ ks ] mostly as x ), * gröhlen for grölen ([ øː ] before l, m, n, r often as öh ), * knowledge for knowledge ([ ɪs ] also as iss )
Transmission phonetic processes such as assimilation into Scripture
Examples: * are holding on hold ( elision of [ t ]) * Allen for Allen (assimilation to two bilabial sounds) * Psychiatry for Psychiatry ( syncope of unsilbischen [ i ])
Morphological errors
false segmentation of words, sometimes due to folk etymologies
Examples: * impromptu for impromptu ( * standing Griffin instead of web-Reif ) * advance for advance ( * advance instead advance ) * backbone / -Rat for backbone (part Ridge not recognized)
false derivations , often nouns
Examples: * projecting for projecting (deriving from projector ) * reflection for reflection (deriving from reflect ), * seriousness for seriousness (deriving from serious )
Interferential errors
Alignment with the (supposed) spelling in other languages, mostly Anglicisms or Gallicisms
Examples: * Bisquit for biscuit (apparently French , but biscuit there ), * Gallery for gallery (to Italian galleria or English gallery ), * Pepperoni for hot peppers ( like in Italian)

In some cases several aspects unite, so in * the wrong derivation and the writing of the centralization of the unstressed [ i ] project into [ ə ].

Other common spelling mistakes are incorrectly placed apostrophes and missing hyphens or couplings .

Spell checking in computer programs

In most cases, a misspelling results in a word that does not exist in this spelling. Such misspellings fall into computers with relatively simple means be found automatically by a spell check program every word of a text with a built-in dictionary compares. However, some misspellings cannot be found with this method, namely when the misspelling is a valid word in the dictionary. For example, wehre should mostly mean would , but the word wahre is a valid inflection of the word wahre . A mix-up of the relative pronoun das and the conjunction that cannot be determined simply by comparing words .

Such programs mark other words as incorrect, although they are correct because they are not contained in the limited scope of the built-in dictionary (e.g. proper names or technical terms ). It can be annoying if a spell checker automatically incorrectly corrects words. For example, the city of Mülheim an der Ruhr is often written as Mühlheim through such programs with two h .


  • Gerhard Augst: written vocabulary. Studies and word lists on the orthographic lexicon for schoolchildren and adults . Lang Verlag, Frankfurt / M. including 1989.
  • Wolfgang Eichler: Creative mistakes in writing. In: Discussion German , Vol. 14, Issue 74, pp. 629–640.
  • Wolfgang Menzel: Spelling mistakes - spelling exercises. In: Praxis Deutsch , Vol. 12, Issue 69 (special issue).
  • Gerd Schulte-Körne, Günther Thomé (Ed.): LRS - dyslexia: interdisciplinary. With contributions by I. Corvacho del Toro, D. Gerlach, K.-L. Herné, K. Landerl, C. Löffler, K. Moll, CL Naumann, G. Schulte-Körne, K. Siekmann, G. Thomé, J. Wilch. Institute for Language Education Verlag, Oldenburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-942122-11-5 .
  • Katja Siekmann, Günther Thomé: The orthographic error: Basics of orthographic error research and current developments. 2nd, updated edition [300 pages, 40 color tables]. Institute for Language Education Verlag, Oldenburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-942122-07-8 .
  • Rebecca Treiman: Beginning to spell . Oxford University Press, New York a. Oxford 1993.
  • Hermann Weimer: Psychology of Errors. Second, improved edition. Klinkhardt, Leipzig 1929.

Web links

Wiktionary: misspellings  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: misspellings  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Spelling mistakes  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Johanna Meixner, Constructivism and the Transfer of Productive Knowledge , 2009, p. 175