Banbury Guardian September 25 2003

Why Anthony is spellbound by language

by Euan McCall

AN ENTHUSIASTIC Banbury man has been so spellbound by the alphabet that he decided to create his own and has been using it for 43 years.

Retired teacher Anthony Burns, 62, of Sussex Drive, Banbury, created the alphabet in 1960 after becoming frustrated with our own, by using elements from the Greek. Russian and Icelandic languages.

He said: "The Roman alphabet was never designed for use with the English language, indeed it pre-dates our language by more than 1,000 years.

"English has between 33 to 40 distinct different sounds, but only 26 letters.

"Until we are able to provide the missing letters we will never have a sensible orthography for our language. It is little more than half an alphabet." His version has 39 letters to account for the amount of phonemes or sounds in the English language, which are not included in our current alphabet. Anthony, who ended his career by teaching physics at North Oxfordshire College, is also a member of the Simplified Spelling Society, which seeks to modernise British spelling.

"It is elegant, accurate, easier to learn and helps with the flow of ideas. I first though about it when I was learning the alphabet at school.

"I wondered why there was no letter for the ch in church, so I decided to do something about it.

"I have long used it for my personal notes and it works brilliantly. If people see it there's always a chance they might start using it." he added.

He has previously appeared on Radio Four to discuss his ideas and suggested publishing this week's Banbury Guardian in his alphabet, though as of yet the offer has not been accepted.

'Alphabet for the Millenium' by Anthony Burns

EASIER TO LEARN: Retired teacher Anthony Burns with the alphabet he created himself. His version has 39 letters to account for the number of sounds in the English language.

Anthony Burns with his alfabet

SPELL AS YOU SPEAK: This is how Anthony would write the first line of the Fine Lady nursery rhyme.

Sample of text using the new alfabet

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