Take a look at the photo and caption above. If you hadn’t been alerted to the misspelling of the word “responsibility” by the caption, do you think you would have noticed it on Australia’s new $50 bill?
Do you think this error reflects poorly on the Australian government, or the citizens of Australia, in any way? Or do you sympathize with the people responsible for printing the money — after all, mistakes happen?
Are you a good speller? Do you tend to notice misspellings? In your opinion, how much does correct spelling matter?
In “Getting the Spelling Right on 46 Million Bank Notes? It’s a Big Responsibilty,” Niraj Chokshi writes:
It is our duty, our responsibility, to bring you this news: Australia put 46 million new dollar bills into circulation in October and months passed before anyone seemed to have noticed that the currency contained an unfortunate spelling error.
The admittedly tiny mistake, on the new $50 note, came to light this week, according to local reports, after someone spotted the typo and anonymously alerted a radio station to the problem: The last “i” in the word “responsibility” was missing.
The Reserve Bank of Australia told local publications that it would fix the mistake, but leave the millions of notes bearing the misspelled word in circulation.
The article also states:
The error appears in what the bank describes as “microprint,” a miniature section of text, which in this case also doubles as the ground beneath a women’s and maternity hospital depicted on the note.
The hospital was established a century ago with help from several prominent Australian women, including Edith Cowan, the first female member of any Australian parliament. The passage is an excerpt from Ms. Cowan’s first speech to the Western Australian Parliament.
“It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasize the necessity which exists for other women being here,” she said in the speech, delivered in July 1921.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
— Did you notice that The New York Times opted to feature the misspelling of “responsibility” in the headline for the article? Why do you think that decision was made? Was it a good one, in your opinion?
— What are your thoughts on the decision to leave the bills that bear the misspelling in circulation? Do you think the size of the type or its location played a role? What about the cost of replacing them?
— Do you generally notice misspellings in things like signs, advertisements, articles, text messages and social media posts? Do you care when you see a misspelled word?
— How important do adults in your life, such as teachers, parents, grandparents and bosses, think correct spelling is? Is this sentiment in line with how important you think it is? Does correct spelling matter? Explain.