To the Editor:
The national spelling bee celebrates the existence of one of the world's most unphonetic languages ("Striving in America, and in the Spelling Bee," Week in Review, June 5).
Many of my foreign friends, as well as my Russian wife, are fully fluent in spoken English yet meet mostly with disaster in their efforts to spell because of course they try it phonetically.
Being able to spell difficult, unphonetic English words is not an intellectual exercise but a stunt.
While living in Italy 35 years ago, a country blessed with the most phonetic of languages, my daughter brought home a playmate from primary school. I recall struggling to explain an American spelling bee to her in Italian. The 8-year-old replied, "We don't have those; we can spell."