This is the first word on the controversial list of spellings which all children in Years 5 and 6 will have to learn under the Coalition Government’s proposals to reform the National Curriculum. It is one of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language – as witnessed by the numerous hotels and Bed and Breakfasts offering ‘accomodation’. Even NHS hospital and University websites frequently misspell this word; to contact the University of Ulster residential services by email you need to spell the word incorrectly, as the misspelling features in their address.
The root of the word is a Classical Latin verb accommodare, which is also the basis of the simplified spellings found in Spanish and Portuguese acomodar, Italian accomodare and Romanian acomoda. In standard English the Latin spelling has been preserved, although a variant spelling accomodate was in use up to the end of the eighteenth century and commonly appears today on websites, blogs, emails and Twitter posts. It is even found in the Tory party’s own printed documents, as in this quotation from The New Logo and Party Visual Identity User’s Guide: ‘The great thing about the Party’s new visual identity is that we can make it work for everyone. Templates are available on Concept that accomodate shorter constituency names as well as longer constituency names’. All this goes to show that it’s often easier to prescribe spelling standards than it is to maintain them.