Coincidentally, there was a subject in France related to spelling today. It has been found that in French at least, peoples' spelling improves gradually over the years, and people the age of 70 are the best spellers in the country. I doubt if it is the same in a lot of other languages because here the biggest pitfalls are in conjugations, past participles and agreement of adjectives to the subject.
Even I am still learning, so I have a few years to go.
I don't know which state that is (Arizona?), but they can't spell 'banana'?
re 70 year-olds being the best spellers in French, I think that has more to do with the fact that they went to school when dictations and grammar were still a big part of the school programme and they had to repeat and repeat until they learned it. Once you can spell, unless you have a physical problem with your brain, you don't forget how to do it.
Actually the study was made covering all sorts of people -- those who had formal school and those who didn't. It appears that spelling sinks in whether you learned it or not by reading, even if it is just the words promoting a product on the television screen.
And then there are the things you just come across one day.
The most recent spelling quirk that I learned in French is that the names of colours which are also nouns are invariable when used as an adjective.
robes rouges, yeux noirs, chemise verte
but no change for colours like marron, rose, orange, taupe, cerise...
It is the sort of thing that I knew without knowing formally, because all of those words look wrong if you change them: les chats oranges. No!
In the English education system in the seventies it was compulsory to study a language to exam level. I decided that Spanish was easier than French and managed to scrape a pass at O' level. Dropped like a stone in the sixth year and never used since.
My SiL is French and consequently all her children and grandsons are bilingual...the two year olds slip easily between French and English and it never ceases to amaze me.
Kerouac, anyone who is 70 in France today had some schooling since it was obligatory. And early in the post-war era, primary school consisted of a lot of rote learning and ended with the "certificat", which was allegedly quite difficult compared to what is required today of kids the same age.
Yes, Cheery -- small kids are like little sponges when it comes to languages. They just soak them up automatically.