News5. (underlined words and letters are presented as headings or in italics here.)
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.

News. July 1984, part 3.


[Laurie Fennelly: see Journals, Newsletters, Leaflets, Pamflets.]


The Revision of NEW SPELLING.

At the Annual General Meeting the following important resolution was passed by the majority of the members present.
"Proposed that the Society should carry out a review of NEW SPELLING in order to prepare a revised version, which will include, in addition, a programme for its introduction by stages."
The Committee will be setting up a sub-committee to co-ordinate this work, but of course, this is emphatically a task in which every member of the Society can help, and we hope as meny members as possibl will send in their views on the two aspects of the problem - the actual nature of the changes to be introduced, and the method by which they ar to be introduced - Letters to the Secretary.

NEW SPELLING is a book which has been rather neglected by spelling reformers in recent years. Some of it may hav dated, but nowhere else is there to be found such a systematic study of a complete system of reform, supported by the necessary statistical analysis of present spellings.

Laurie Fennelly.

Note by the Editor:

I feel that I should mention some of the outstanding workers of the past forty years, e.g. the work by Professor Axel Wijk which would be described as a 'complete system of reform', I am sure. His analysis of problems and changes required was most scholarly. Also Dr. Walter Gassner of Australia constantly worked on the details of his "Consistent Spelling". Vic Paulsen's detailed schemes for children's learning was very carefully worked out too. I do not noe whether he aded a statistical analysis of present spelling. AS WE HAV NO LIBRARY or COLLECTION of the SOCIETY'S BOOKS it is impossible for peopl to learn of the work of other reformers. THAT IS A BAD SITUATION. CAN YOU HELP AMEND IT?
M. Cross.

A Quotation from the Teachers' Manual (ref. children's books in Nue Speling) written by Maurice Harrison, M.A. M.Ed. B.Sc. Econ.

You may note that such a report could well have been about i.t.a. Initial Teaching Alphabet.
So the value of both hav been proved. But our propaganda has been too weak for such proofs to help our caus.
M. Cross.
It was proved that a later transition to normal spelling was simple, and that children first taught by the simplified method had advantages in reading the normal spelling over others who had seen no other than normal spelling. From a school where a group of children was split, one part receiving their first lessons from a simplified reader, the other from an ordinary reader, came the following report:

"The Simplified Spelling pupils, taken at random from a group of new pupils, after ten months' instruction in Simplified Spelling and four months in the conventional spelling, could read the latter as well and spell as well as the pupils who had worked at it exclusively for nineteen months. The balance of advantage was altogether on the side of the children who had been taught on the new lines. They had had a better training in the relations of sound and symbol; they had acquired a better and more natural utterance and expression, and had laid a more solid foundation for the subsequent cultivation of good, clear speech."

His Majesty's Inspector reported of one school:
"The children (i.e. those taught by Simplified Spelling) at the end of the year are much better readers than they used to be under the old system."

At another school:
"In six months, not only were twenty-two out of the twenty-five children reading fluently, but they had approached a clearness of speech and a fluency and originality of expression hitherto unapproached."

At another:
"At the end of six weeks they were two or three months ahead of what they would be under normal spelling."

The catalogue could be prolonged, but for sixpence the complete story of the experiment can be read in S.S.S. Pamphlet No. 7.

The clue to it all seems to lie in this report from one head teacher:
"The children soon discover their own power of building new words ... they delight in exercising this power, because they are never disappointed by being wrong, and they are never afraid to attempt to pronounce an unfamiliar word for the same reason.
A Sample of "Nue Spelling" from S.S.S. Pamphlet 5 called "A Breef History of Inglish Spelling.

The Committee and members present at the 1984 A.G.M. agreed to make Nue Speling the basis of their final form of Nue Speling. Nevertheless a new working party has been formed to see how Nue Speling relates to the recent "Working Party Report". This is intended as a preliminary to the re-publishing of Nue Speling.


Dhe chaenjez which dhe pronunsyaeshon had undergon wer remarkabl, az wil be kleer to eniwun huu haz hurd a pasej from Shakespeare red widh dhe Elizabeethan pronunsyaeshon, a taask ov which eny Inglish skolar shood be kaepabl. [1] Dhe speling had soe long seest to represent dhe soundz dhat its orijinal funkshon woz kwiet obskuerd. Indeed, Dr. Johnson had niedher dhe nolej ov dhe history ov dhe langgwej nor dhe fonetik traening rekwizit in a reformer ov dhe speling. He woz kontent to taek dhe speling az it woz, meerly maeking a chois (and not aulwaez a wiez wun) whaer a wurd woz spelt in diferent waez.

Sins hiz dae dhaer haz been litl chaenj in due printed form ov wurdz. We noe longger spel musick, cloathes, or tyger, az he did; but in dhe maen we spel az Dr. Johnson spelt. Dhe pronunsyaeshon, houever, haz continued to chaenj, bikuming mor remoet from dhe speling in sum kaesez; in udherz, tending to be influenst bie it. We noe longger pronouns oblige widh dhe i ov machine; we hav lurnt to pronouns dhe l ov fault, and sum eeven giv to dhe furst vouel ov English dhe sound ov e in end.
We spel our wurdz midh leterz and diegraafs dhat survd to represent raadher rufly, dhe pronunsyaeshon dhae had in Elizabeethan tiemz; leterz and diegraafs maenly due to Angloe-French rieterz huu stroev to rekord dhe soundz aafter dhe French maner. Dhe speling iz renderd wurs bie dhe misgieded eforts ov dhe siksteenth sentuery pedants huu wisht to displae dhaer nolej ov Latin. Dhe printerz braut about a surten ueniformity, on which Dr. Johnson baest hiz dikshonary. Dhis, to aul intents and purposez, iz stil our standard ov korekt speling.

Other Ideas.


Extract from a letter by: S.S. Eustace of London. He was a former officer of the society.


The Working Party, which is made up of three Committee Members, used New Spelling not System 2 as a basis upon which it built. The faults of Nue Speling are being rectified, thereby giving a blessing to both chosen systems.

"I hav ə cəlechən əv scorz əv speling rəformz from 1540 including meny SSS pamflits ən paepərz. Sistəm 2 iz iuneek in having wun ekstrə letər ən wun oenly, ən beeing thərfor tiypabəl widh ə standərd sheen miniməly ədaptid. It iz iuneek in 20 or 30 udhər wayz əz wel. It wəz ivolvd tə cərect thə faults əv Niu Speling, haz meny əv its feetjərz ən canot be sed too o en thing elsə əksept coeinsidentəly too eny əv the udhər sistəmz.

25th May, 1984.
The Editor,
Language Monthly,
Dear Sir,

In the past, spelling reformers have justified their curious new orthographies by stating that because English was so inconsistent alphabetically, drastic alterations were essential. The George Bernard Shaw reform even proposed an entirely new, more efficient alphabet. These types of reforms offered such wholesale change from traditional orthography that they were unpalatable to people already literate in English.

Today we understand more about the psychology of reading and writing and the part which phonographic correspondence plays in the coding and decoding processes. In English, alphabetic (single letters or digraphs), syllabic (groupings of letters) and morphographic (whole words or sections of words as units of meaning) elements are all important in reading, and we are in the habit of processing whole words and even sections of sentences at a time.

If we were forced to break words down into individual graphemes, translate these where necessary into revised alternatives and then build the words back up into meaningful units, reading would be reduced from about 300 words per minute to around 60, at which speed the text would become incomprehensible.

However, wholesale interruption of traditional orthography is not necessary to make reading and writing easier to learn. Phonics merely provides one clue to the understanding of text, and there is no need to stick rigidly to it and to accurately represent all the phonic elements in speech. For example, there is no need to graphically differentiate the two th sounds (thin, then) or the two a sounds (spa, cat). Pairs of sounds like these are close enough for English not to have allowed pairs of words to be distinguished purely by them, thus avoiding semantic confusion.

Likewise, in traditional orthography, long and short vowels tend only to be positively distinguished in short words, by using vowels to lengthen preceding vowels or double consonants to shorten them. Thus "item" has a long first vowel where "sitting" has a short one, but it doesn't matter if the first vowel in the word "itinerant" is long or short, as there are enough other visual clues (in text) or verbal clues (in speech) to gain access to the meaning of the word. The conclusion therefore is that accurate representation of all the phonemes in English is unnecessary, and would probably involve new graphemes or grapheme digraphs to be invented to cope with the large number of phonemes in English.

The simplification of phonemes as represented in text would be of benefit to foreigners learning English (some languages have as few as 15 phonemes and Esperanto has only 5 vowels), not to mention dialect speakers of English with less phonemes in their speech than Received Pronunciation. This "looseness" in the relationship between graphemes and phonemes would also help to alleviate the fears of those who would not be happy to accept Received Pronunciation as standard. You can still say "tomato" (long a) and I can still say "tomato" (short a) without the need to alter the spelling.

What this approach is suggesting is regularising the rules and patterns in the present orthography rather than achieving one to one phoneme/grapheme correspondence. The present requirement to learn the spelling of thousands of words individually would be replaced by spelling rules which would be acquired during the period of language learning when one is grappling with word usage and semantics.

However, even a regularised orthography would result in a fairly high level of disturbance to traditional orthography, and a system of stage reforms would be necessary. This has been successful in other languages. When the Simplified Spelling Society in Britain was asked to submit evidence to the Bullock Commission, the intransigence to any form of partial reform was a major factor in only passing mention being made of proposals for revised orthographies (apart from the initial teaching alphabet) in the Bullock Report.

Omitting "unnecessary" letters would appear to be a good first stage, which would help to highlight present spelling patterns and irregularities, offer economics in text and start the process of making reading and writing easier. However, while these aims may be admirable, they still require general support. But perhaps this is at hand. Every time a teacher fails to correct a pupil's spelling mistake, preferring to concentrate on the content of his composition rather than orthographic convention, the spelling straightjacket is loosened another notch.

Yours faithfully,

David Stark [See Journals, Newsletters.]

Captain Imran Khan made an inspired
return to the helm with an innings of
83 that took Pakistan to a formidable
first innings total of 470.

Australia were on the rack, losing
openers Kepler Wessels and Wayne
Phillips for 88 before close on the
second day of the fourth Test in

Imran missed the first three Tests
because of a stress fracture in his
left shin. He shared a vital eighth
wicket partnership with spinner Abdul
Gadhir whose 45 was his highest Test

The Society's Stage 1 wood (N.Sp.)
alter in the above the words
before - befor, score - scor
Captin Imran Khan made an inspired
return to th helm with an innings of 83
that took Pakistan to a formidable
first innings total of 470.

Australia wer on th rak, losing openers
Kepler Wessels and Wayne Phillips for
88 before close on th second day of th
fourth Test in Melbourne.

Imran missed th first three Tests becos
of a stres fracture in his left shin.
He shared a vital eighth wicket
partnership with spinner Abdul Gadhir
Gadhir whose 45 was his hiest Test score.

Example of D. Stark's reform

[Valerie Yule: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Personal View, Anthology, Bulletins, Web links.]



1. It can be the first stage for eny other spelling reform using the roman alphabet. All of them will involve dropping surplus letters.

2. Omissions cause fewer problems with readers than changing letters.

3. It can fit in well as alternative spellings with present spelling.

4. It can help meny readers to read faster and mor acurately.

5. It prevents waste.

6. It can help poor spellers - "When in dout, leave it out."

The slogan is easier to remember than lists of words - although changes in particular dredful spellings can stil be promoted at the same time, if it is SSS policy.

Types of surplus spellings add up to 5% of what you read.

e is the most common extra letter, as in the remembered / showed / seemed / examined / covered.

final e when misleading as in private / nerve / delicate / minute / appropriate / give / have / were / are / more
following unnecessary dubl letters as in apple/ bubble/ pebble/ little.

Unnecessary double letters that do not show short vowel sounds or stress in a word, as in really / immediate / awfully / usually / specially.

These often cause spelling problems! Solve them, as in recommend / commitment / well / spill / shall.

Misleading vowel pairs as in friend / pearl / heart / touch / glorious.

Misleading consonants as in taught / chasm / fascinate / snow / straight / should / daughter / through/ though.

Surplus spelling that cannot be cut yet - when the rest of the word is too badly spelt to stand alone - eg. laughter / once / psychology / beautiful / fatigue.

A SECOND-STAGE REFORM rather than a pure 'spelling as you speak'

1. It will be faster to read (I think experiments will prove this).

2. It will be closer to present spelling, as much of it will be just a 'cleaning up'.

3. It will be more suited to children's linguistic abilities - as shown for example, in how they learn to speak, and their 'natural spelling' when they first write. Pure phonemic spelling can be difficult for young children.

4. It will be more valuable to learners, children and foreigners, because it can help them to extend their vocabulary through reading, since it is easier to see the meaning and grammar of words, and word relationships.

5. It will not be as clumsy as a pure phonemic spelling, since it is more streamlined.

6. Problems of homografs, dialects, etc. are more easily avoided.

7. Closer to international spelling - a linguistic advantage for 'us' and 'them' too. What is the biggest hang-up for 'traditional' 'spell-as-you- speak' reformers?

I think probably the concept that silent e can be used to show a preceding long vowel and its absence shows a short vowel - because they have not thought about the teaching of vowel digrafs v. the J.H. Martin aproach for children, nor about how a spelling should take account of the special features of a language and try to match them - e.g. in English it is quite common for the same word-stem to appear with both 'long' and 'short' vowel pronunciation,

e.g. fli / flies / flite or other vowel-sound variation, speke / speche / spoke, prosede / prosession, repete / repetision (or repetission, to sho acsent) divide / dividend, apele / apellant, resume / resumpsion, reduse / reducsion.

Valerie Yule

Present spelling


Ted Long looked at the video dials and tried to get a picture. It was lousy. He turned the dials clock-wise and then counter-clock-wise.

Cut spelling
A Stage 1?


Ted Long lookd at th video dials and tried to get a picture. It was lousy. He turnd th dials clok-wise and then counter-clok-wise.

Morfo-fonemic Rule-based spelling. A stage 2?


Ted Long lookd at th vidio dials and tried to get a picture. It was lousy. He turnd th dials clok-wise and then countir-clok-wise.

Mario Rio knew it would stay bad. They were too far from Earth and were facing the Sun. But Long did not know that - it was his first trip on the space ship. Long said, "I think I'l see if I can get Hilder of Earth on the screen." "It's a power waste," said Rio. "We can't afford it."

Mario Rio knew it woud stay bad. They wer too far from Erth and wer facing th Sun. But Long did not know that - it was his first trip on th space ship. Long said, "I think I'l see if I can get Hilder of Erth on th screen." "It's a power waste," said Rio. "We can't aford it."

Mario Rio nue it woud stay bad. Thay wer too far from Erth and wer fasing th Sun. But Long did not noe that - it was his first trip on th spase ship. Long sed, "I think I'l see if I can get Hilder of Erth on th screen." "It's a powir waste," sed Rio. "We can't aford it."

Their eyes met. Rio had the long body and gaunt, cheek-sunken face of a real Martian Scavenger; he was one of those Spacers who haunted the Space routes between Earth and Mars.Pale blue eyes

Their eyes met. Rio had th long body and gaunt, cheek-sunken fase of a real Martian Scavenger; he was one of those Spacers who haunted th Space rutes between Erth and Mars. Pale blu eyes

Thair iyes met. Rio had th long body and gaunt, cheek-sunkin fase of a real Marsian Scavinjor; he was 1 of those Spasers who hauntid th Spase rutes between Erth and Mars. Pale blu eyes

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On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.