[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall 1980, p1]
Also on this page: Reading and Writing in English.
September 30, International Spelling Reform Day."Thirty days hath September - Spelling Reform to remember!"
On September 30 (or eny day)!-
Get maximum publicity to improving English spelling.
Write letters to your local newspaper editor bringing up reasons for pupils dropping out of school, illiteracy, delinquency, etc.
with Spelling Watching - look around for misspelled signs, simplified spellings, in signs, trade marks, new products, pupil's writings, etc.
with Spelling Problems - note how meny pupils hav difficulty reading and writing English spelling.
with Spelling Improvement - find out more about spelling reform - why not try SR-1 in writing frends (spell the short e sound with e as in: hed, eny, frend, gess.)
[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall 1980, p13]
The Simplified Spelling Society
Founded in 1908 with William Archer, F. J. Furnivall, Israel Gollancz, A, W, Pollard and W. W. Skeat.
Former Presidents: Professor Daniel Jones, D.Phil., LL.D. M.A.: Professor Gilbert Murrav, O.M., D.C.L., D.Litt., F.B.A.; Sir I. J. Pitman, K.B.E., M.A.;
Professor W. W. Skeat, Lit.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Ph.D.
President: Professor John Downing, Ph.D., A.B.Ps.S., B.A.
Vice-Presidents: The Rt. Hon, The Lord Maybray-King, P.C., MD,; Professor D. Abercrombie. B.A;
Sir E. Graham Savage. C.B., B.A.; H. S. Wilkinson, A.C.I.S.;
Honorary Treasurer: Miss M. Cross.
Bankers: Barclays, and Williams & Glyn's.
an international day for Spelling-Spotting
|ON SPOT-A-SPELLING DAY - or any day|
|give maximum publicity to improving
|Conservatives look hard at every spelling they use.|
|Is it any use to them or to anyone else?|
|Teachers and students at school explore English spelling.(Prepare Friday 28 Sept.)|
|Find the basic structure under the ded wood and barbed wire.|
(This will help you to spell present spelling better too.)
Compare the spelling of other languages. Why are they so easy to learn?
Why are French and Chinese the only other major scripts still not - reformed?
How did other countries manage to reform their spellings?
Write a page of a reading book with the spelling traps cleaned up
and see if your slow learners can read it. Tell them, 'No traps'.
|Everyone Try Spelling Reform 1 for the day.|
|Spell the sound e plain e as in
|"Start with short e as
Redy, stedy, go ahed!"
|Try "spelling how you would like to
Invent your own spelling too, like Tolkien's Middle-Earth script.
It's sure to be easier than present English spelling to learn
|Look around you|
|How many silly spellings do you see today?|
how meny words with too meny letters?
how meny words with too few letters?
how meny words can't be spoken just as they are written?
how meny words can't be written just as they are spoken?
how meny words are perfectly all right?
how meny could be spelt with short e (SR-1 words?)
|See how meny spelling mistakes you see today.|
|how meny are your own?|
|How meny people do you see who cannot read or write English properly?|
|who find it too hard?|
|September 30||A Day for Spelling Watching|
A Day for Spelling Improvement
A Day for Spelling Reform
"30 Days hath September
Spelling Reform to Remember - now add your own couplets ...
(and remember - Tomorrow's fashions always look crazy today.)
Help to start making English spelling easier NOW
[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Fall, 1980 p14]
Reading and Writing in English,
by S. Bakowski.**Leicester, England.
Presented at the Second International SSS Conference on Reading and Spelling held July 1979 at Nene College, Northampton.
To begin with, I should explain why, being Polish, with limited knowledge of English, I got involved with a problem which might seem mainly the business of English-speaking people. I was always interested in the question of a so-called international language, that could be understood by the whole world. I would choose English as the most suitable. It has very simple grammar, no declensions and logical conjugation. The weak side of English is its extremely complicated orthography, or so-called spelling. Most other languages are 'phonetic' or nearly so. Letter a is pronounced as in 'art', e as in 'let', etc. But not so in English. The letter a is pronounced in 8 different ways, the letter e in 6 ways, the letter i in 5 ways, letter o in 9 ways, letter u in 8 ways, as in quite, bury, busy, but, full, rule, turn, use. This leads to many difficulties in reading and writing. The results of the difference between spelling and pronunciation can be illustrated by examination papers of students in a further education college, as described in the Daily Telegraph of 7.8.77, with spelling 'errors' such as burch, crum, duct, enormus, slac, saiv, werst, awfull, rinckles, experteese. The situation is explained as due to overcrowded classrooms, laziness of pupils and students, and lack of discipline. All this may be true, but I think the most important factor is complexity of English spelling. As you know, English was formed from a few completely different languages several centuries ago. At the beginning, it was probably more or less phonetic. Gradually with time both pronunciation and spelling were changing. There was a time when the word such was read and spelt differently in various parts of the country.
Eventually the spelling became stabilised but the speaking continued to change; so now we have two languages, one living and spoken, the other the old obsolete spelling.
How can we get out of this situation? Since we cannot change the spoken language itself, we can only reform the spelling.
My proposals are for a phonetic spelling, with a dictionary that should be checked by linguists and accepted by the Parliament. The following are my ideas, as someone who has had to learn English the hard way, not as his native tongue.
English contains 27 sounds which can be represented by the same number of letters. Most of them, like b, d, f, k, m, n, p, s, t, v and z retain their usual straightforward pronunciations. From the other sounds, ch is pronounced as in church, g as in giv, e as in get, h - with a slight blow, i as in it, ng and nk as at present; r is pronounced less distinctly or even totally omitted in the middle and particularly at the end of some words. Double consonants are written as single ones as they are not needed to show the short vowels, and so are double vowels unless the difference is distinctly audible. The effect of so-called 'long vowels' is not taken into account.
The so-called 'silent letters' are omitted. If the proper pronunciation of the word is unknown, it can be found in one of the specialised dictionaries: Daniel Jones' 'Everyman's English Dictionary' (1975), or J. Windsor Lewis' 'A Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of British and American English' (1972).
Words can be compiled in the form of a special dictionary (see appendix). Each page is divided into 3 columns. On the left is the usual spelling, in the middle as they are pronounced or written using one possible spelling system (B), on the right using another system (Z), closer to usual spelling and which might be used as a transition to (B).
The disadvantage of system B is that it differs considerably from the present system to which people are accustomed. To make things easier, further symbols can be added: c=k as in cat, c=s as in cent, ch=k as in chemist, g=j as general.
y in place of i as in sticky or boyHere are some examples using this spelling system Z with its compromises with the present system:
x is sounded as ks in six, or gz as in exam. For ph use f.
Numbers: wan, twu, thrii, foor, six, thertiin, foortiin, forty.For comparision, here are some sentences written in System B and System Z.
Drinks: woter, tii, coffi, shery, gin
Animals: cat, caw, shiip, giraf, eip
System B. Aur family konsists of for pipl, maiself, mai waif and tu children, Jorj and Airin. Jorj is sikstiin. Hi attends e ferder ediukeishn kolej. In de fiucher Jorj laiks to bikam e kemist. Airin pleis with adher gerls and bois in e plei-grup.
System Z. Aur family consists of foor pipl, mayself, may waif and twu children, George and Airin. George is sixtiin. Hi attends e ferdher ediuceishen college. In dhe fiucher hi laiks to bicam e chemist. Airin pleys with adher gerls and boys in e pley-gruup.
Note: In parentheses= sometimes not pronounced.
Editorial comment:The lesson to be derived from this paper is that a foreigner with an imperfect command of English is so appalled by our inconsistent spelling that he wants to help us change it. And no wonder that he found it difficult!
We should be ashamed of our system of spelling and appreciate the fact that some foreigners want to do something about it to make it easier for them to learn English.
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