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The boy in the striped pyjamas or pajamas?

The boy in the striped pyjamas/pajamas is the title of a best-seller by the Irish writer John Boyne . The book, “set during World War II, tells a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences”.

What I most liked about reading this book was the fact that the drama was not really explicit, but that was even the most dramatic about it: the lack of awareness on the part of the children with respect to what was happening in and ouside the camp. It was so naive, and moving and sad at the same time!

A film based on this book will be released next weekend in Spain. I’ve just had a look at the trailer today, and although the movie might be good and interesting to see, I still recommend you the book better.

Both the book and the film based on it have the same title but the last word is written sometimes pyjamas and other times pajamas. Well, in fact both spellings are correct: pyjamas in British English (Br E) and pajamas in American English (Am E). One of the aspects of American and British English differences is spelling, about which you can test yourselves on this site: CLICK HERE

Have you had a few problems with the test? Perhaps you would like to read more in depth about spelling differences in the Wikipedia or just to read through this list, which also takes Canadian English differences into account.

But if you still feel disappointed with yourself because you find this topic a bit hard to digest, cheer up because spelling is not? so important to understand written English. You can have a bit of fun trying to read this from www.say-it-in-english.com:

IQ Test

Can you raed tihs? Olny srmat poelpe can. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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September 17, 2008 - Posted by | BOOKS, Reading, VIDEOS, Writing

2 Comments »

  1. Excellent point on the limits of spelling!

    For non-native English readers and writers, the focus on spelling often creates far more stress than needed. Keep in mind that only 1 out of 5 words in English is actually spelled the way it “ought” to be spelled phonetically. This doesn’t mean ignore spelling errors – but English teachers should keep perspective and encourage ESL students to keep reading and writing.

    Thanks for sharing the post!

    Comment by Eric | October 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. I agree with you that spelling, though it can’t be ignored, shouldn’t deter students from reading and writing in the first place.

    Comment by elenec | November 1, 2008 | Reply


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