International English Spelling Congress

IESC – first session

The first session of the International English Spelling Congress took place on 30 May 2018. There were two physical meetings, in Central London and Berkeley, California. Others participated via the internet. The event comprised talks on various aspects of spelling reform, plus an Open Session. The whole event has been recorded and can be accessed from the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZhDlEie0vU

What happens now?

The Committee of the Society will finalise the Guidelines for authors of new schemes, taking into account comments received. An Expert Commission will be appointed. Authors will be invited (within a six months’ timescale) to submit their schemes for appraisal, using a template provided and the  Commission will choose a shortlist of about 6. After a period for comment and reflection, there will then be second session of the Congress and participants will make a final choice on an alternative to current spelling.

Why are we holding the Congress?

English as a language is relatively simple to learn in its basic form. But its spelling system is possibly the most irregular of those based on the alphabetic principle. Not merely is it hard to predict the spelling from the pronunciation, but it is not always possible to predict the pronunciation from the spelling. This peculiarity has economic and social costs. It takes English speaking primary school children longer to master basic spelling than speakers of other languages, resulting in undue stress on students and teachers from the beginning; many children carry over to secondary education spelling problems acquired earlier; and English speaking dyslexics suffer disproportionately. Functional illiteracy remains a matter of major concern in English speaking countries. No teaching method has been found which addresses satisfactorily the problems arising from the high irregularity of our spelling.

Obstacles to reform have included:

  • no official English body equivalent to the French Academie Francaise;
  • lack of co-operation on spelling matters among the governments of English speaking countries;
  • failure of those in favour of reform to agree on a feasible alternative to traditional spelling.

Many proposals have been put forward. But these have been written and promoted by reform enthusiasts; there has been little attempt to involve the public in the wider English Speaking World. The Congress seeks to remedy this failure.

  • See the Detailed Plans for more detail on how the Congress will proceed.
  • Complete the Application Form to take part in the remaining activities of the Congress. Applications to participate in the Congress may be received up until the Second Session, probably in 2019.  Applications from the whole world are welcome.
  • Read the Guidance Notes if you are thinking of proposing a spelling scheme for Congress to consider.
  • See all Society Press Releases. (The latest one is linked below.)
  • If you would like to discuss any aspect of the IESC, feel free to post it on the Society Blog.

Our plans – in detail

  • See the Detailed Plans for more detail on how the Congress will proceed.
  • Complete the Application Form to take part in the Congress. Applicants from the whole world are welcome.
  • Read these Guidance Notes if you are thinking of proposing a spelling scheme for Congress to consider.
  • See all Society Press Releases. (The latest one is linked below.)
  • If you would like to discuss any aspect of the IESC, feel free to post on the Society Blog.

 

Page editor: S Linstead. Contact by email or form.

 

IESC Press Release 2018-01-30

English spelling is broken: plans to find a new spelling system announced today.



IESC Detailed Plans

How the Congress will proceed.



IESC Guidance Notes

Read these notes if you are thinking of proposing a spelling scheme for Congress to consider.



IESC Application Form

Applicants from the whole world are welcome.