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NEWS SHEET 4 Part 4.[Underlining in the original has been replaced by italics.]
ORTHOGRAPHIC REFORM by Leo G. Davis.TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:-
What would math be if numerals were as fickle as our letters? Conversely, what would initial literacy be if our letters were as stable as numerals? Lands having basically fonetik alfabets do not hav reading problems not even reading teachers, per se, - - - just ALFABET teachers! Obviously a fonetik alfabet is imperative to most-fluent literacy, in any language: - therefore the erratic irregularity of our spelling is the major factor contributing to our reading failures, - as well as the only contributing factor over which educators have direct control. They have absolute control over the orthografy they teach, - otherwise they couldnt have perpetuated so much confusion in that field. Thus orthografik reform offers the only solution to our reading problem, - anything else is but a temporary improvision for living with the malady), - rather than a permanent innovation for PREVENTING it!
A common world tongue is imperative to the international understanding necessary to world-wide cooperation, prosperity, and related peace. English is already the de facto international language and only its erratic orthografy is impeding its acquisition as such. As the world's secondary language, English will eventually be used mostly between non-anglos, - therefore it should be tailored to the foreign majority. The anglo minority is fortunate that its mother tongue has become the dominant world tongue, - therefore they should gladly bow to the foreign majority with regard to its orthografy. It's even their moral duty to do so!
Tests have shown that children, who first learn to read via basically fonetik orthografy, have very little trouble learning to read the traditional. Thus, it follows that a literate adult would have even less difficulty learning to read the simplified, - therefore there is no logic in teaching anybody to SPELL traditionally, - especially in inter-language studies.
Our dictionaries do not tell us how we SHOULD spell. They merely record how most of us WERE spelling, when that edition went to press. When John Public changes his spelling habits, the dictionaries, eventually, follow his lead. Thus "common usage" is final authority in this field, - therefore educators have just as much authority to implement simplified spelling as they have to implement the "new math" some years back.
Altho most people are in favor of basic reform they are averse to radical change, - therefore the new orthografy must be a compromise between the erratic and the ideal. The best we can logically hope for is basically fonetik spellings for major phonemes, only. Inasmuch as any-and-all rational systems would delete useless silent letters, and keep the letters from "pinch-hitting" for each other without dependable rule, one rational proposal would be just about as good as any other. It is not a matter of perfection, but a question of which system would be most acceptable to the most people, - public support being more important than technicalities. But, in order to make a prudent choice, we should make comparativ study of the various proposals. Thus it is suggested that all academic journals feature "readers write" columns for pro and con discussion of all aspects of reform. Then, when the discussions subside, call for a readers referendum via clip-out mail-in ballots: - and subsequently declare the most popular to be academically acceptable for general use, - at the option of the writer, - whether pupil, teacher, layman, journalist, or author. Thus, we would have an indefinite period of optional spellings, during which the proqressive author would offer as much, or as little of the new orthografy as he thinks school administrators might consider. In turn progressive text-book boards would have a variety of revolutionary texts from which to choose, -.where they now have no choice of orthografy. Under such a permissive policy, the irregularities would gradually become obsolete, while the prefered forms become standard thru common usage. POINT:- The average educator is more apt to endorse (vote for) a system for some unidentified "other fellow" to use voluntarily, than he is to get involved in a programed change-over.
To: Mr. George O'Halloran, Sec, Simplified Spelling Society. London.
Re the NEWS LETTER, just received:- AS I SEE IT, - Two jurnals sounds great:- the NEWS LETTER for SSS business, only, - and an OPEN FORUM for free distribution. But ther is no "sale" for such a jurnal: - we ar lucky if Jon Public even reads what we GIV him!
I se no point in further reserch to prove the value of spelling reform. We alredy no that lands having basically fonetik alfabets hav few reading failures: - that all such tests as "i-t-a" hav proved that basically fonetik primary orthografy is a short-cut to t-o: - that it takes 4 times as long to learn "rite, write, right, wright" as it does to lern only "rite": - and that eliminating useless silent letters would sav about 10% in printing expenses. If Douting Tomas cant se those obvius facts, he's hopless!
We cannot giv Old English, - or any other dialect, any consideration, - becaus distinctiv spellings for each dialect wud be a step tord MORE languages, contrary to world need for linguistic unity. Neither Q nor X has been confusing enough to justify distorting familiar pattern contrary to most-fluent transition.
The IPA wudnt be practical, - becaus too many of the symbols hav NON-English symbols. Further, I dout ther being ANY bona fide literature in IPA orthografy, - no general subject matter. A new alfabet, such as Shaw's, is too radical, - worse than the IPA! The fact that Orientals ar swiching to fonetik alfabetical orthografy, as fast as progressivs can over-ride conservativs, proves the folly of ideograms. The new orthografy must be a compromise between the erratic and the ideal. Thus we must stay within the various patterns (fonts) of the Anglo-roman symbols, - and ther established values.
As for "Nue Spel". - Spelling the U-difthong backwards to the way it is pronounced is ridiculous: It shud be "neu" or "nyu". The UE sequence shud be used as a digraf, as in "blue", - to offer such as "trueth, tueth" in perfect harmony with "faeth, teeth, teeth, boeth". Thus OO is an imposter in any role.
As for WHO chooses the new system: - After due pro and con forum discussion, ther shud be a "readers referendum" via clip-out mail-in ballots, - and subsequent acceptance of the most popular for general use, - at the option of the individual riter, - whether pupil, teacher, layman, jurnalist, or textbook author. Then sit back and "let Nature take her corse". Inasmuch as
Thus it is hi time we "endorse" a given system to gide voluntary reform. Lindgren's "SR-1" and/or subsequent one-letter program is but an idle gesture, - becaus reform is for the children of tomoro, - rather than for todays adults who hav mastered t-o. He is shooting at the rong target!
I cannot feature any crusader for spelling reform wanting to work incognito. I'd hav every member listed, - with MAILING address, because ther ar too many "angls" that must be analyzed to confine discussions to periodicals.
Ther wud be littl point in proving how quickly current literats can lern to read the SIMPLIFIED spelling - becaus it cudn't possibly com into general use fast enough to frustrate anyone who has mastered t-o. POINT: - The new spellings shud be introduced at the primary level only, - and leve it to the rational spellers to extend it to other grades, as they become educators and/or text-book authors. Thus we wud hav an indefinit period of "optional" spellings during which the prefered forms wud gradually becom standard thru "common usage", which is final authority in this field. Reform COULD be just that simpl! Why not try it? What hav we to lose?
Inasmuch as primary lesson material lends itself redily to foto-offset printing, revised texts shudn't cost any more than any "next edition". And there is no reason the change-over shud not be made on a "replacement" basis as the old texts ar consumed. The old books cud be shuffld around so that every one in the class wud be using the same texts.
In respons to yur call for proposals for study, I am sending, under separat cover, six of my publications, - all using small lower-case capitals wher NUE SPELLING uses digrafs. I wud appreciate yur general reaction to the over-all system, - which is a bit different in places, - for publication in my quarterly.
(signed) Leo G. Davis.
FINANCIAL STRUCTURE OF THE SOCIETYIt is my intention to propose to a poll of the Members (after discussion at the A.G.M.) the financial structure suggested in NEWS SHEET 2 as the financial structure of the Society. This suggested structure begins with the item 'The Society's Finances' on page 4 of NEWS SHEET 2 and goes on throughout pages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of NEWS SHEET 2.
Members who wish to comment or to suggest changes are asked to do so as soon as possible and not later than June 30th. Envelopes should be marked 'Financial Structure' on their top left hand corner and should contain nothing else.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.Will Members who wish to raise motions at the A.G.M. please let us know as soon as possible? We should like to know early so that we may be able to construct a rational programme. Motions should be set out in the exact wording to be proposed and should be properly seconded. Envelopes should be marked "A.G.M. Motion" in the top left hand corner and should contain nothing other than the motion. Such motions should reach us not later than May 31st.
POLL: TRUSTEES FOR THE SOCIETY.In accordance with Section 13 of the Constitution the Committee has approved the following to be custodial trustees of the Society's investments, namely: Mr. R. Cropper, Mr. A.C. Dalgleish, Mr. S. Gibbs and Mr. M. Harrison, and now puts their names forward to the Members for ratification.
Four trustees are needed. If you wish to vote for all or any of these gentlemen, please put the word "YES" in the box after their names. If you wish to vote against all or any of these gentlemen, please put the word "NO" in the box after his name. A simple majority of those voting is sufficient for election.
POLL 2/1975. VOTING PAPER.
TRUSTEES: ELECTION OF
|Mr. R. Cropper|
|Mr. A.C. Dalgleish|
|Mr. S. Gibbs|
|Mr. M. Harrison|
Please detach your voting paper at the dots and return this portion so as to reach me not later than 20th May 1975.
N.B. A custodial trustee does not have authority to change or dispose of any of the Society's investments without the consent of a majority of the members of the Society.
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