In this video -a sort of vlog style video- I try to present the idea that difficult spelling systems are indeed a handicap in the Zahavian sense. I also suggest the same for conjugation paradigmata.

The main thesis is that whatever the historical reasons for the existance of poor spelling systems may be (vowel shifts, the printing press, iconicity, etc.) the English (and French) spelling systems serve the social-evolutionary purpose of signalling mate quality and social group membership.

If your are interested in the topic, I would recommend that you give the orginal paper a read. It’s fairly interesting.

Zahavi, A. (1975). Mate selection—a selection for a handicap. Journal of theoretical Biology, 53(1), 205-214.

Link to paper. It worked at the time that this post was written.