[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall 1980, p1]
Also on this page: Es Es Es /FONIK/, SSS finances.

Late News.

The Third International Conference on Reading and Spelling

Sponsored by the Simplified Spelling Society.

Patron: H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh

to be held July 31, Aug. 3, 1981 at Pollack Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Offers of papers to be presented and inquiries invited. Topics will, we hope, include recent research testing reform proposals, recent advances in spelling for speech-to-print electronic machines, comparative spelling in other languages and its effects on learning and fluent reading, improvements in teaching spelling, and progress in developing and implementing spelling reform.

Overseas visitors may attend the U.K.R.A. Conference immediately preceding, in Edinburgh, and the I.R.A. Conference immediately after, in Finland. Or they may have time to see a real bit of Scotland in the delightful summer.

Are you interested in coming? ( )
If planning to present a paper, send provisional abstract ( )
Can you help with assistance and/or publicity? ( )

Write to Valerie Yule (Conference Organizer), Scotland.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall, 1980 pp16,17]
[Sinclair Eustace: see Newsletter, Bulletins.]

Es Es Es /FONIK/,

by S. S. Eustace.*

*London, England.
*A paper presented at the 2nd Simplified Spelling Society Conference, Nene College, Northampton, July, 1979.

SSS /FONIK/ is a way of spelling standard British and other English phonemes with as much accuracy as is possible with a simple form of the International Phonetic Alphabet, but without using special types. (SSS /FONIK/ is not a spelling reform and is utterly unsuitable as such.) Its purpose is to permit accurate discussion of pronunciation privately and in dictionaries, etc., and so to spread phonological knowledge, a prerequisite for any spelling reform scheme. SSS /FONIK/ adapts a very ancient idea to the limitations of the ordinary, cheap typewriter.

For the inumerable symbolizations of a particular sound in English, the IPA and SSS /FONIK/ each have but one. For instance, the /Sh/ sound, written sh, etc. in conventional English spelling, si in Welsh, ch in French, sch in German, sc in Italian, sz in Polish, sk, ski in Swedish, and plain s in Hungarian, not to mention the untypable spellings of Czech, Croat or Russian, is spelt one way in the IPA, a symbol like an italic f with no crossbar. But in ordinary typescript this letter must be added by hand, which is slow, untidy and conducive to error. Now SSS /FONIK/ just has /Sh/, which has none of these drawbacks.

/Sh/ contains what you might call a postposed diacritical. The diacritical /h/ is a minuscule (or small) letter, so for this and other reasons, the letter being differenced must be majuscule (or capital). SSS /FONIK/ symbols, standing for phonemes, are placed between diagonals. Similarly the IPA letter of the voiced velar nasal, like an inverted G, as in Sing, could be written /Nh/. But since the minuscule g is not otherwise used in SSS /FONIK/, it might as well be /Ng/ not /Nh/. /h/ and /g/ are the only diacriticals used.

The consonants of SSS /FONIK/ are P, T, K, Q (the glottal stop or hamza), B, D, G, M, N, Ng, F, Th (Thin), S, Sh, H, V, Dh (This), Z, Zh (Measure), R, L, W, and Y (Yet).

There is no provision for sylabic consonants (or consonantal vowels, if you prefer). Structurally these are sequences of /3/ (explained here later) plus the consonant and are so written, as Little ('LIT3L). This incidentally corresponds with the speech of those, many now of school age, who have no sylabic consonants.

The vowels are more difficult. In English we have seven short-vowel sounds, as in Pit, Put, Pet, Patrol (shvaa), Pot, Putt and Pat, and only five letters, A, E, I, O, U.

The first three short vowels are Pit /I/, Put /U/ and Pet /E/.

As for the fourth vowel, the shvaa (Daniel Jones's English Vowel No. 12, EV12), the obvious choice is capital yer, as in SSS Simplifiyd Ingglish, which looks like a C backwards with a cross-bar. On typewriters without this letter, the best substitute is figure "3", as suggested by Mr. Leo G. Davis, California. Thus, Amid /3'MID/, Together /T3'GEDh3/.

You can say that /3/ is never fully stressed (a characteristic it shares with /I/ and /U/ not before a consonant). If there was a means of marking secondary stress, a symbol for /3/ might not be needed, because /3/ is arguably nothing more than /U/ (explained later) with secondary stress. But what you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts, and risk making a mistake as well. For "secondary stress" is an awkward idea to entertain. It would save the necessary intelectual contortions to recognise that in East English; the third vowels in Omnibus and Minibus are quite different in vowel colour, forget about any stress difference, and write them /'OMNIB3S, 'MINIBUS/.

The fifth vowel is EV12, as in cut. On the typewriter the symbol has to be built up, "U" plus "-" superimposed. In ordinary printing it is impossible to superimpose, so for once we must break with the principle of no diacritics in the second dimension (in the plane of the paper at right angles to the writing line) and use some kind of differenced "U", such as italic, grave or umlaut.

The sixth short vowel, as in Cot, is /O/.
The seventh is as in Cat, /A/.

The four long vowels which are never diphthongs, are shown with /h/, thus Fee /Ih/, Fur /3h/, Four /Oh/, Far /Ah/. (But "never" is a risky word. What about the variants Thought /ThOhUT/ or Four /FOh3/? However, these are unnecessary for say a foreigner to learn in order to speak corect English. The needs of the foreign student are a useful criterion of corectness.)

The long vowels which are sometimes diphthongs, may be so written, thus, Too /UW/. A Yorkshireman might prefer /Uh/ to the standard diphthong /UW/. /Ih/ might be written /IY/, but I prefer /Ih/ to /IY/ because, unlike /UW/, the simple vowel ocurs more often than /IY/ in my speech. A theory might demand that /Ih/ and /Uh/ should be diphthonged symetrically, to preserve the beauty of the diagram. But this theory does not acord with the fact. So much the worse for the theory. Speech is part of human behavior and humans do not always behave symetrically. The Cockney long E, meaning /Ih/, could be /3I/. At this point I will ask those familiar with Cockney, /'S3I W3Q 3 'M3IN?/ (See and Mean both have the rising intonation.)

The long vowels which are always (but see "never" above) diphthongs are:

(1) Ending in /I/, Bay /EI/, Buy /AI/, Boy /OI/.
(2) Ending in /3/, Peer /I3/, Pair /E3/, Pure /U3/.
(3) Ending in /U=W/, Who /UW/, Hoe /3U/, How /AU/.

For Scotch and West English including American dialects, the diphthongs ending in /3/, (2) above, must be omitted.

The great and inconvenient complexity of the East English vowel system is a fact of nature and cannot be ignored. Please note: Firstly, this complexity is quite recent, say 1780 onwards. Secondly, as SSS member J. Windsor Lewis has pointed out, it is partly geographical. For nearby languages including Welsh, French, German, and Swedish also have exeptionally elaborate vowel systems, in contrast with more distant languages, seven vowel phonemes in Italian, five in Spanish, Greek and Russian, three, as you may say, in Classical Arabic. The system developed fully after the settling of North America but before that of Africa and Australasia, hence its absence in the former but its presence in the latter.

Stress can be marked in the same way as in IPA spelling, that is, with a vertical mark, the typewriter apostrophe before the stressed syllable, thus, /Dh3 'STREST 'SIL3B3L/.

SSS /FONIK/ cannot show refinements such as secondary or other degress of stress, or intonation.

Here are some propositions which can be discussed using SSS /FONIK/: Entirely is sometimes /IN'TAI3LI/ but more often /IN'TUhLI/. There are many who say People as /'PIhPU/, Technical as /'TEQNIKU/. Lightly and Likely are often sounded alike, /'LAIQLI/. If Dr. Johnson's pronunciation of Contemplate had survived, we should now be saying /K3N'TEMPLEIT/ not /'KONT3MPLEIT/. Part of the River Nene is /NIhN/, another part /NEN/. The variants of the word Controversy include /'KONTR3V3SI, 'KONTR3V3hSI, K3N'TROV3SI, and K3N'TR3UV3SI/. While those who know the London borough of Southwark call it /'SUDh3K/, others may say /'SAUThWAhK/. Historically Birmingham is /'BRUMIDZh3M/, and coruptly pronounced, in England /'B3hMINg3M/ and in the USA /'BURMINgHAM/.

The following examples are selected with a view to providing both enlightenment and moral uplift. /'WUN 'VAIS IZ 'MOhR 3k'SPENSIV Dh3N 'TEN 'V3hTShUWZ. DhEZ 'N3U 'RIhZ3NINg WIDh 3 'F3U, 'OhR 3 'MADM3N. F3 'WOTShUW K3N 'DUW YOhSELF 'D3UNQ DI'PEND ON 3'NUDh3. 'HIh HAZ 3 'GUD 'DZhUDZhM3NQ Dh3Q 'DUZ3NQ R3'LAI ON IZ '3UN./


/A/ Pat, /Ah/ Far, /AI/ Buy, /AU/ Bough, /Dh/ That, /EI/ Bay, /E3/ Pair, /I/ Pit, /Ih/ Feet, /I3/ Peer, /O/ Cot, /Oh/ Caught, /OI/ Boy, /Q/ glottal stop, /Sh/ She, /Th/ Thin, /U/ Put, /U3/ Poor, /U/ Cut, /X/ Loch, /Y/ Yet, /Zh/ Measure, /3/ About, /3h/ Fur, /3U/ So, /'/ placed before stressed syllable, /.../ enclose SSS /FONIK/.


Gleichen, Major-General Lord Edward. Alphabets of Foreign Languages, R.G.S. Technical Series: No. 2. 2nd. Ed. 1944, London: The Royal Geographical Society.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall 1980, p1]


If you are not a subscriber to S.P.B., do not think that this and other copies of S.P.B. were sent to you as an advertisement. It is being paid for by the Simplified Spelling Society of Britain as a service to enlighten its members about last summer's 2nd International Conference and the coming 3rd International Conference in Edinburgh in July 1981. We are grateful to Mr. Tune for publishing all of the lectures of that Conference and hope that our members now know about it.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall, 1980 pp16-17]



Altho most "open forums" (letter to editors) are financed by advertizing in the parent periodical, that is not tru of crusading forums. Commercial advertizers ar "turned off" by the limited circulation of such a quarterly. Even at 4$ pr yr, subscriptions dont even begin to pay publication costs of an effectiv number of such sheets. Such crusading forums must go to countless NON-subscribers (non-belevers) in order to acheve practical rezults. Thus, crusading forums must be financed ether by "grants" or by contributions from crusaders themselvs. However, not meny filanthropists ar aware of eny bona fide drive for spelling reform. Thus, until sum "Santa Claus" cums along, it seems up to wud-be reformers to finance ther own forum.. . How about notifying scribes that they are expected to subsidize publication of ther opinions (perhaps 25)¢ per tiped line of 7-1/2 inches)???. Such a charge mite prompt scribes to condens their work to wher they wud be saying as much in one tiped line as they hav been saying in 2 lines of your fine print. POINT:- If a professed crusader duznt think enuf of his own opinions to subsidize publication, thay ar probably not worth printing at eny prise, - or even worth reeding. . . And if eny grup wishes to anounce an up-coming convention, thay shud expect to pay for that anouncement:- likewize with eny subsequent report on that meeting. . . With this thot in mind, I am inclozing my check for $9.25 to subsidise publication of this 37-line commentary. If uther scribes hav the sincerity to follo this leed, it mite forstall "bankrupsy" in the imediate fyuchure.

Az I see it, - "scribe subsidys" wud hav a "chain reaction" for the better. It wud prompt scribes to cut out redundant commentary, - - and use more "4-letter" words, - - insted of jepordizing comprehension by violating the averaje reeders vocabulary with "big words" and/or technical terms. This wud attract more subscribers, - - sum of whom wud gladly subsidize publication of ther opinions.

"CAMERA-REDY" materials, - whether for 7-1/2 inch one-colum use, - or for reducing to your 2-colum fine print format, wud spare yu the task of re-tiping, - az well az responsibility for "tipos". - - - leving vu more time and enerjy for evaluating the material submitted, re; its baring on letter sequences. . . After all, my dictionary indicates that editors ar expected to "edit" articles, - rather than retipe them verbatim.

Yours for "riter subsidys",

Leo G. Davis, Palm Springs; Ca.

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