[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1982 p1]
Also on this page: International Spelling Day, Anthology published;
Conference 3 paper: Philip Seymour.


United Kingdom Information Technology Year, 1982.

As this issue goes to press, the United Kingdom is well into its promotion and publicity for Information Technology Year 1982 when the British Government is spending £1.2 million to publicise modern developments in electronic communication, microprocessors, and video equipment.

All these were non-existent in their present forms only a few decades ago. Two hundred years ago, the only major piece of Information Technology was the printed word. The basis for storing information was invented several thousand years ago - the writing system.

In 1982 there will be still more marvellous developments in modern communications. Not one modern marvel will remain unchanged, unimproved.

What will be the modern developments in the writing system? How much and in what way will they be influenced by computers, electronic typewriters, and typesetters, etc.? All these are alredy here. They will be used to the fullest extent of their capabilities!

In this continuation of the Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Spelling, Research and Reform, held in Edinburgh July, 1981, sponsored by the Simplified Spelling Society, the possibilities for development are made more clear and convincing.

Valerie Yule.


See ISD in Newsletters.

International Spelling Spotting Day, Sept. 30, 1981

was proclaimed in meny cities, among them were: Detroit, Michigan, Toronto, Saskatoon, Windsor, Canada, as well as meny cities in Australia and Great Britain.

Try to get the Mayor of your city to proclaim Sept. 30, 1982 as International Spelling Spotting Day. Get people interested in noticing spelling mistakes in public signs, advertisements, street names, as well as innovations in the products you will find in your local supermarket, such as: Lite beer, Gro-Mor, Krispy Kake Xones, Kum-Kleen labels, etc. Show the public officials that there is a trend toward spelling names in simplified spelling among the advertisers. Try to get newspapers to use SR-1, SR-2.


See Anthology contents.

Just published - a new book, spiral bound.

Spelling Reform - a comprehensive survey of the many aspects of the problem. A source book for students; teachers, researchers, and the public, on the subject. 304 pages, 8½ x 11, with 141 articles by 69 different authors, among whom are: George B. Shaw, Sir Cyril Burt, Sir David Eccles, Sir James Pitman, Emmett A. Betts, Bennett Cerf, Samuel L Clemens, Godfrey Dewey, John Downing, Frederick A, Fernald, Chas, H. Grandgent, Geo. J. Hecht, Gertrude Hildreth, A. Lloyd James, Albert J. Mazurkiewicz, Wm. J. Reed, Admiral Jas, D. Watkins, and many other well-known writers and educators.

The topics discussed are:
1. A short history of spelling reform.
2. Arguments for spelling reform.
3. Viewpoints on spelling reform by famous people.
4. Spelling reform in foreign languages, other countries.
5. Countering arguments against spelling reform.
6. Which way to go in reforming our spelling.
7. Ways of implementing a reformed spelling.
8. Specific designs for reform, with their critiques.
9. Spelling in relation to reading, writing, phonetics.
10. Teaching of spelling.
11. Spelling and oracy.
12. Criteria for spelling reform.
13. Spelling and literacy problems.
14. Spelling and commerce, marketing.
15. Spelling and electronics, photo-typesetting.
16. Historical changes in spelling.
17. Psychology applied to spelling.
18. Principles of English spelling in relation to language.
19. English as The World Language.
20. Why there has been failure to adopt spelling reform.
21. Illiteracy and crime - the connection.
Thirteen humorous articles, poems.
Price $32.00 (including shipping charges)

Newell W. Tune, Publisher, Hollywood, Ca, U.S.A.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1982, pp9-10]
[Philip Seymour: see Media.]

SSS Conference 3: Cognitive Processes in Spelling continued.

"Psychological Processes in Spelling Recognition and Production."

Dr. P. H. K. Seymour.*

*Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Dundee, Scotland.


English spelling is a complex system which signals information about meaning, grammatical function, and pronunciation. In order to read, a child must acquire a visual recognition system which is sensitive to these properties, and which can make contact with the systems involved in comprehension and production of language. It is likely that the visual recognition system is capable of dealing with words as wholes (not necessarily ideographs), and also of analyzing them into smaller units, such as morphemes, syllables, or vowel and consonant spelling patterns. Skilled reading is probably achieved by a direct whole word process, but the ability to segment and use grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules is important at the early learning stage. Spelling production similarly involves a capacity to segment speech and select corresponding letters or letter groups (phoneme-grapheme correspondences) in writing. This selection cannot be based on sound alone, but must additionally take account of grammatical conventions, and idiosyncrasies in the spellings of individual words, Thus, skilled spelling seems to depend on the establishment of a vocabulary store in which spellings of individual words are fully or partially specified. Reading and spelling disability (dyslexia) often seems to involve a problem in handling the correspondence between segments of written and spoken language combined with failure to establish a spelling vocabulary. These difficulties sometimes co-occur with problems in acquiring other sequentially structured forms of knowledge, such as the systems for labelling clock or calendar time, and possible reasons for this will be discussed.

Implications for teaching and spelling reform are not straightforward since it is still unclear whether disability reflects a general difficulty in comprehending correspondences between segmented arrays or a more specific difficulty relating to lack of perfect spelling-to-sound correspondence.


The Logogen model (Morton & Patterson, 1980) distinguishes three channels for reading words: (1) direct connection between visual word recognition (input logogens) and speech production (output logogens); (2) indirect connection between input and output logogens via the cognitive (semantic) system; and (3) a non-lexical grapheme-phoneme conversion channel.

Studies with developmental dyslexics (Seymour & Porpodas, 1980) indicate that processing of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (tested by reading of regularly spelled nonsense words) is defective, especially with regard to rate of (letter-by-letter) processing. Processing time anomalies are also found in tasks involving analytic comparison of letter arrays, and internal scanning of spelling information. Older dyslexics appear to have developed a rapid and efficient word recognition system despite these anomalies.

An alternative model (Shallice & Warrington, 1980) postulates a parser (word-form system) prior to semantic or phonological analysis which categories the letter string into familiar subsets (whole word, morphemes, syllables, spelling patterns) using an abstract graphemic code. Speed of operation of this stage can be selectively influenced by format distortion (e.g. TABLE), and the stage is sensitive to variation in word length, and orthographic regularity.

For spelling production there also seems to be an initial reliance on a process of phoneme-grapheme translation. This depends on segmentation of the speech code into appropriate units (analogous to operation of the word-form on visual graphemes). A lexically indexed spelling store (functionally distinct from a visual word recognition system is essential for achievement of normal competence. However, this is also dependent on phoneme-grapheme processing as is shown by strong effects of spelling irregularity on spelling error frequency in dyslexics and normal children (c.f. Seymour & Porpodas, 1980).

The structural coding hypothesis (Seymour & Porpodas, 1980) states that representation of segments in both the phonemic and graphemic domains, and the establishment of mapping relations between them, depends on a general capacity for coding properties of arrays, including (a) approximate location of elements, (b) inherent directionality, and (c) precise locations and adjacencies. A defect in some aspect of this coding system, will disrupt the development of the segmenting functions of the word-form system, and the phoneme-grapheme channel, with adverse consequences for lexical word recognition and 'sight vocabulary' development, and for the storage of structures defining the precise spelling of words.

It is argued that certain other cognitive systems, such the numbers, the clockface, the months of the year, and the days of the week, also constitute arrays which are coded with respect to approximate location, direction and precise location. The learning of these systems is often disrupted in dyslexia, as can be shown by retrieval time measurements.

The generality of this conclusion, and the exact basis of the relation between the time systems and spelling structure is being examined in current research. In these studies defects are noted in the coding of arrays in the absence of problems of phonemic segmentation or variability of mapping.

This would not support an argument to reform spelling to achieve more obvious phoneme-grapheme consistency. Written language already contains a great deal of structure at levels of letter frequencies, grapheme-phoneme correspondences, syllabic and morphemic structure, and it is unlikely that disability of this fundamental nature would be eliminated by improving structure at one level at the expense of the other.


Morton, J., and Patterson, K. (1980). A new attempt at an interpretation, or, an attempt at a new interpretation. In Coltheart, M., Patterson, K., and Marshall, J.C. (Eds.) Deep Dyslexia. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Seymour, P.H.K. and Popodas, C.D. (1980). Lexical and non-lexical processing of spelling in dyslexia. In Frith, U. (Ed.) Cognitive Processes in Spelling. London Academic Press.

Shailice, T., and Warrington, E.K. (1980). Single and multiple component central dyslexic syndromes. In Coltheart, M., Patterson, K., and Marshall, J.C. (Eds.) Deep Dyslexia. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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