X is the new O

Recently I came across two items from the New York City department of education in which a word is spelled such that the letter X stands in for another vowel.

Example 1:

“Celebrate Latinx Heritage: During Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) we celebrate the heritage, culture, and contributions of Latinx Americans to the United States.” Note that the DOE wrote Latinx instead of Latino or Latina.

Interestingly, consider the URL for the page — https://www.weteachnyc.org/resources/collection/national-hispanic-heritage-month/ .

I have heard some argue that “Latinx” is best, because it is gender-neutral (as opposed to “Latino” or “Latina).” But then, isn’t “Hispanic” also gender-neutral?

 

Example 2:

“Womxn’s Call to Action: Join us Saturday, March 14 for fun, NEW hands-on workshops and soul-sustaining talk for educators from Computer Science pioneers. Celebrate womxn in CS with our keynote speaker Dr. Ayanna HowardParticipants will get great resources for their school and hear from speakers focused on building  community, introducing “Modern Figures” in CS and increasing the representation of womxn in CS.” 

And once again, a mixed message: look at the banner at the top of the web page with English-standard spelling:

In both cases the DOE seems to be putting political correctness over spelling correctness.

Word Coding

In this activity, students use N(orth), S(outh), E(ast) and W(est) arrows to spell words off a letter grid.

For example, “JUMP” is E, E, E, S.

 

In this example, “ABOVE” is S, S, E, S, E

 

After doing several examples, give students a code (e.g., S, S, E, S, E) and let them figure out what word it spells!

Remember to specify the starting box (which is typically the upper left-most cell — like in a spreadsheet)

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031