Personal Views are the self-expression medium for Society members. The views expressed here are not necessarily shared by the Society, or a majority of its members.
[PV 6 stated an earlier version of SSS Aim and Objectives.]
[See Newsletter correspondence from George Lahey.]
Personal View 6
by George Lahey.
Dr. Lahey is a retired research psychologist living in
California who specialized in computer-based instruction during a career with the
Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, San Diego, California, and the
University of Dayton Research Institute at Williams Air Force Base, Phoenix,
Arizona. He became interested in spelling reform while working as an instructor
and tutor at the Laubach Literacy Action facility in Tempe, Arizona.
INGLISH, THE NOU ABC'S.
This pamphlet is one of a series of publications on ways to
simplify English spelling that are being published by the Simplified Spelling
Society (SSS). The system described herein has been developed by Dr. Lahey,
working independently over a period of seven years, yet it has much in common
with the New Spelling system (SSS publication dated 1991). Only a few key
decisions are different from those made in developing the NS system, yet those
decisions make a world of difference in the end product.
Designing a new system
The present alphabet
The Inglish spelling system
Discushun: Sample Texts
|Prouf ov consept|
INTRODUCTION.In a world in which the number of people using English as a primary language is well beyond 300,000,000, and in which the number of people for whom it is a secondary language is considerably greater, a large part of the adult population is functionally illiterate. Data from a survey conducted for the U. S. National Department of Education in 1992 tell us that the number of adults of working age in the United States who are unable to read and write is well over 26,500,000, and those unable to read and write at functional levels number another 42,000,000; a total of 68,500,000, more than two out of five of the adults in the United States. The percentages of functionally illiterate working age adults are 16% and 26%, slightly higher than the figures cited for Canada by the National Adult Literacy DataBase Inc. of Canada, who indicate that 16% of their working age adults are unable to handle any reading tasks, and another 22% are able to handle only the simplest reading tasks. Great Britain is slightly better off, but, like all English-speaking countries, ranks below countries in which the native tongue is other than English. We have to ask ourselves why this should be so. The answer has to be the way we spell.
English has undergone many changes since the invading Jutes, Angles, and Saxons brought their language from the mainland to Great Britain. We have formally recognized three forms, Old English, Middle English, and Modern English, each representing changes in spelling and pronunciation. The language has grown in stature from the dialect of a few thousand illiterate souls to become the native tongue of hundreds of millions of persons, and the second language of added hundreds of millions.
Almost from the outset of its literary phase centuries ago, scholars have been clamoring for reform of its inconsistencies, which include the use of more than one symbol for the same speech sounds, the representation of more than one speech sound by the same symbol, and the use of silent letters.
Ideally, the written form of the language would include unique characters for each of its speech sounds. However, we have established a history of literary excellence using only the present 26 characters, most of which are recognized in the rest of the western world, so that an alphabet which did not use those same 26 characters would not be well received either at home or abroad.
DESIGNING A NEW SYSTEM.The design of a new system must be based on clearly stated parameters. Those for the Inglish system are:
- The system must be alphabetic, with each symbol uniquely representing a single speech sound (phoneme).
- The symbols must consist solely of characters in current use, or digraphs derived from those characters. There must be no diacritical marks, no symbols borrowed from other symbol sets, no new designs.
- The juxtaposition of two symbols shall not affect the sound value of either, except as the two are parts of a digraph.
- The structure of the language, its syntax and grammar, must remain intact. The word structure must be similar enough to the existing word structure that the transition from the old to the new spellings is evident to users of the old system (the Traditional Orthography; TO).
- The spelling rules must be simple, straightforward, and unencumbered by exceptions.
- The system must be easy to learn, the spellings easy to
both read and write.
THE PRESENT ALPHABET.There is no shortage of symbols to represent English speech sounds in the current alphabet. The symbols in use today are, the a, aa, ae, ai, ao, au, ay, b, bh, c, ch, ck, d, dh, e, ea, ee, ei, eu, ey, f, g, gh, h, i, ie, j, k, kh, kn, l, lh, ll, m, mn, n, ng, o, oa, oe, oi, oo, ou, oy, p, ph, ps, q, r, rh, s, sc, sh, t, th, u, ua, ue, ui, uy, v, w, wh, x, y, and z. As used in current texts, the a represents at least seven different speech sounds, the ai three, the c two, the ch two, the e two, etc. We could cut the number of symbols in half without losing a single speech sound.
More than half of the symbols in current use redundantly represent the same speech sounds, and at least a fourth represent more than one speech sound, so that rather than concern ourselves with having too few characters to do the job, we should concern ourselves with having too many symbols; 26 characters, plus 40 digraphs. Our first concern ought therefore to be to eliminate the surplus symbols.
THE INGLISH SPELLING SYSTEM.We repeat here the list of the English symbols, with strikeouts indicating those symbols that we can eliminate for the reasons stated in the next paragraph: a, aa, ae, ai,
The ao was so rarely used that it will not be missed. The ay, ey, oy, and uy are only diphthongs if the y is a vowel symbol, which, because of the one sound, one symbol rule, it will no longer be. The bh, ck, dh, kh, kn, lh, ll, mn, ph, ps, rh, sc, and wh symbols are redundant,. They represent sounds more appropriately represented by the b, c, d, c (see below), n, l, l, n, f, s, r, s or c, and w. And the gh has either been silent or has represented the same sound as the f, so it can be discarded.
This first step toward simplification eliminates 18 surplus symbols.
Among the consonant symbols, the aa, au, b, d, h, l, m, n, oi, p, r, sh, t, and w are now unique representations of a single speech sound, while the c, ch, f, g, j, k, ng, q, s, th, x, y, and z, either represent more than one speech sound, redundantly represent the same speech sounds, or do both. The c, ch, k, and q represent the same /kuh/ sound, the c is sometimes an s, the f sometimes a v, the g sometimes a j, the s sometimes a z, and the y sometimes a vowel, and the ch, ng, and th all represent closely related but distinguishable speech sounds. Right off, we can stop using the y as a vowel. (A departure from NS consistent with the rule that each symbol must represent only one speech sound.] Then, we can replace those c's that have /s/ sounds with an s, f's that have /v/ sounds with a v, g's that have /j/ sounds with a j, and s's that have /z/ sounds with a z. We can also replace the x with the cs or gz, as in "focs," or "egzactly."
In choosing between the c, k, and q, consider that the uses of the c far outweigh the uses of the other two, and that the c is needed for the ch symbol. Besides, the words "katkh" and "qatqh" don't fit comfortably within the present word structure. So, let us consign the k and q to history. [A departure from the NS, which opted for the k because it was easier to see. The numbers inveigh against that decision, as does the fact that the k is more difficult to write cursively.]
The remaining conflict between the c and ch can be eliminated by confining the ch symbol to its role in "chip ... .. catch," et al. We will also rid ourselves of the incongruent ch in "chic," "machine," et al, which should be spelled "sheec" and "masheen."
The ng and th each currently represent two very close speech sounds, as in "singer," and "finger," and "this" and "thin" with no clear alternative symbols to fall back on in order to make a distinction. The problem with "finger" is akin to problems with many words in which a particular consonant sound is lengthened, as in "fourteen," wherein the t is doubled when spoken but not doubled when written, and "openness," wherein it is doubled, etc. To avoid the complication of wondering whether to double or not double, we do away with doubled consonants, thus "finger." As to the th, the most practical solution would seem to be to let it continue to serve a dual role; the only symbol in the Inglish system permitted to do so. The use of the "dh" in place of either th goes very much against the grain.
There is one more consonant sound to define; the sound of the s in "leisure," "pleasure," et al. It is not the same sound as iz represented by the s, the sh, or the z. However, it is the sound of the zh, once used and then discarded, which we can now restore; thus "leizhure," "pleazhure," "vizhun," etc.
Let us now start uzing the consonant simbolz apropriatelee. Ceep in mind that until the vowels have been defined, some wordz will have neither English nor Inglish spellingz; for ecsample, "wordz" and "spellingz" in this sentense, and "leizhure" and "pleazhure" in the previous paragraf.
In the prosess uv defining the vowel simbolz, we will begin to eliminate silent letters wich do not affect the English pronunsiation, and wil replase the -sion and -tion endingz with the foneticly corect -shun ending. Then, az soon az we have established the vowel simbolz, we'l stop uzing doubled consonants.
Sins no other simbolz represent the short vowel speech soundz, the a, e, i, o, and u will be uzed. We then can use diacritics, punctuation marks, or diphthongs to identify the long vowel sounds. Diacritics make life miserable, since they are not part of the normal keyboard. Punctuation marks introduce a new kind of ambiguity: When is it punctuation, aand when is it not? So we will use diphthongs.
English used the ae, ai, ea, ee, ei, ie, oa, oe, ou, ue, and ui to reprezent the long vowel soundz. The ae, ee, ie, oe, and ue have an atractiv comunalitee that maecs them the best candidaets for representing the long vowel soundz frum both a lerning and recognishun standpoint, soe thae wil bee uezd. [We do not have the objection to "flieing" that led the NS to uez the y rather than the ie. Nor do we object to "goeing," "fleeing," et al, particuelerlee sins, amung utherz, the "fleeing" speling iz alredee in comun ues.] The ee or ie, wichever fits the sound, wil bee substituted for the y in English werd endingz. [Anuther deeparchur frum NS.]
Sins wee intend NOT to chaenj the soundz uv enee English werdz, az wel az to avoid reedundent simbols, the ferst and secund persun proenownz ought to bee the ie and ue. However, eeven if we capitalized the I and the U, the chaenj would be distracting to thoez uv us alredee familyer with the I and you. A better wae would seem to be to maec an ecsepshun and reetaen the I and you. New lernerz wil probablee not care, and the rest uv us wil apreesheeaet the continouitee.
Goeing on with the vowel selecshun, let us consider the several soundz that the a reprezents in English, as in "abut," "age," "all," "and," "are," "care," and "father:" The sound uv the a in "abut" aand the sound uv the a in "age" are the short and long vowel soundz, soe thae are not a problem. The sound uv the a in "all" iz the sound of the au in "haul," a diphthong that haz alwaez had that particular sound, so the speling beecumz "aul." Then, the a in "are" haz the vowel sound uv the aa in "aardvark," soe the aa wd bee uezd for that sound, and the "are" beecumz "aar," and the "aardvark" beecumz "aardvaarc."
The sound the a represents in the English "as," "and," "at," "bass" (the fish), "has," et al, iz aulsoe the /aa/ sound, thus "aaz," "aand," "aat," "baas," "haaz," etc. in Inglish. [Anuther deepaarchur frum NS, wich alowd the a to represent mor thaan wun speech sound, soe thaat it wuud continue to bee aambigueus.]
The a in "care" haaz the sound uv the ai in "air," soe the ai wil bee uezd for that sound. Thus, "care" beecumz "cair," taecing its plaes with "fair," "lair," et al. In aadishun, thoez spelingz thaat riem with "cair," such aaz the werdz "bear," "dare," et al, wil now bee speld "bair," "dair," etc. The polisee uv wun sound, wun simbol leedz directlee tou congrueent spelingz, a definit plus for the Inglish spelingz.
The reemaening a sound izn't aan a sound aat aul. The a in "father" haaz the short vowel o sownd, aaz in "bother," soe the proper speling iz "fother." Then, wee noet thaat "uther," and "mother," wer rnispeld, aand must beecum "uther" and "muther," maecing the riten werd agree with the spoecen werd.
Thoez hou aar hezitent about acsepting the chaenj to "muther" and "fother," need oenlee thingc wut the goel iz - to spel werdz the wae thae sound, soe thaat the riten werd wil represent the spoecen werd. Doen't thingc for a moement thaat theez werdz wer ever corectlee speld ("spelt" if you'r English). Tou dou soe wuud bee a form uv aansestor wership. Wee cenot aford such self-induljens in owr efert to maec seareeus inroeds on funcshunuul iliterasee.
The ea diphthong haaz bin uezd tou represent the vowel sownd in "apear," "dear," "ear," "hear," etc., aand wil continue tou be uezd in thaat capaasitee. It wil noe longer reprezent the long vowel sound.
The oi haaz aulwaez reprezented a single sound, aaz in "oil," "coil," " join," etc., soe it wil continue to reprezent thaat sownd.
In English, the oo simbol reprezented three diferent soundz, aaz in "cool" aand "fool," "cook" and "look" "good" aand "wood." The vowel sound in "cool" aand "fool" iz the saem sownd aaz the ou in "you," houz speling we haav choezen tou retaen, soe the Inglish spelingz beecum "coul" aand "foul." The vowel sowndz in "cook" aand "look" aand in "good" and "wood" difer. Iether wun miet bee uezd for the oo simbol. However, wee noet thaat the vowel sownd in "good," miet bee aproepreeetlee reprezented by the uu, aaz the NS haad considerd douing. This wuud vairee much simplifie thingz, soe the uu wil bee uezd for "guud," "wuud," et al aand the oo wil bee uezd for the vowel sownd in "cooc," "looc," et al.
Ues uv the uu aulsoe solvz the problem with the speling uv "pull," in wich the ul iz obveeuslee diferent frum the ul in ultimet. The nou speling wil be "puul." Moroever, "full" beecumz "fuul," aand the "-ful" sufics wil beecum "-fuul," wiel the speling uv "dull" beecumz "dul."
In staeing with the ou uv "you" aand uezing it in "coul" et al, we haav deeveeaeted frum the NS, wich choez tou uez the ou for the /ow/ sownd, a deesizhun with wich wee toetalee disagree. The proenunseeaeshun dril, "How now brown cow," shuud haav impresd upon aul uv us the faact thaat the proper speling for the /ow/ sownd; wich iz a morfeem raather then a foeneern, iz ow.
Wee now need tou deefien the 'obscuer vowel,' a vowel sownd thaat laacs the cwaalitee uv a short vowel. Dicshunaireez reprezent this sownd with the schwa, a simbuul wich iz not now aand shood not beecum a paart uv the aalfabet.
The NS estaablishd a number uv roulz for deeling with the obscuer vowel. Wee prefer tou avoid roulz wenever posibuul, paarticuelerlee if thae aar aaz complecs aaz thoez suggested. Memoriezing rouls wich haav severuul condishuns is dificult for sum individueulz, imposibuul for utherz, aand shuud bee avoided wair it iz unesesairee, aaz it seemz tou bee in this caes.
Inglish wil uez the short vowel simbuul thaat iz cloesest tou the sownd herd wenever posibuul. Mor ofen then not, thaat wil meen uezing the e, wich haaz the leest distingct sownd. However, if eeven the e seemz not to fit, Inglish wd uez the uu, wich reprezents a mor subdoud or mufuuld sownd. You'l noet wee'v bin uezing e's wairever we felt the sownd cauld for thern, aand haav uesd the uu for the mor obscuer vowel sownd ever sins it wuz deefiend.
In discusing the obscuer vowel, the NS propoesd tou uez -er endingz tou reeplaes -ar, -ir, -or, -ur endingz, en spelings tou reeplaes an, on, aand ain, aand a varieetee uv chaenjez tou reeplaes -al, -le, -il, and -ol endings. Inglish wil insted reelie on the wun sownd, wun simbuul roul, wich aat tiemz mae not, but mor ofen then not wil meen uezing -er endingz, en spelingz, aand -uul endingz. Wee agree with the NS, however, thaat the distingcshun beetween the mael singueler -man aand pluuruul -men endingz shuud bee reetaend, eeven if the tou seem tou sownd the saem, ecsept thaat Inglish wil spel the singueler-maan, On the uther haand, wee see no problem with the -abuul aand -ibuul endings. Inglish wil ignor the werd'z aansestree aand uez the -abuul ending unles the /ib/ sownd staands owt clearlee eenuf tou caul for its ues.
Thaat cumpleets the aalfabet. Taebuul 1, aat the end uv the tecst, lists eech uv the simbuulz uezd, along with saampuul werdz tou ilustraet the proenunseeaeshun.
With the reprezentativ vaaluez uv the aalfabetic simbuulz estaablishd, the necst step iz tou deesied houz speech the nou spelings wil reprezent. Or, aar wee reecwieerd tou caaree diferent spelingz in owr dicshunaireez tou reprezent the diferent acsents in the US, in the UK, aand elswair? The aanser mae bee fownd in a reelaeted cweschun, "Tou wut ecstent aar owr diferensez atribuetabuul tou owr fizicuul separaeshun, aand tou wut ecstent aar thae dou tou the aambigueiteez uv the English spelingz?*quot; Cen the aambigueiteez raather then the separaeshunz ecsplaen wie the i in "simultaneous" reprezents a long vowel on wun sied uv the pond, aand a short vowel on the other? I thingc soe. Wuud thaat diferens egzist if the i haad bin unaambigueus? Posiblee not.
Linguists ecspect laangwidjez tou chaenj oever tiem aand aaz a consecwens uv the separaeshun uv the speecers. But fizicuul separaeshun iz noe longer the linchpin uv chaenj thaat it wuns wuz. Wee aar noe longer separaeted in the saem waez thaat owr aansestors wer. Wee aar oenlee minuts awae frum eech uther on the foen, bie faacs, or ee-mael, oenlee owerz awae bie plaen. Wee mics aand minguul tougether toedae in waes thaat owr aansestors wuud haav thaut imposibuul, in waez thaat for senchureez wer indeed ecstreemlee dificult. Aaz a conseecwens, the werld iz ecspeareeensing the fenominon wee in the Nou Werld ecspeareeensd throuowt the laast tou senchureez, a leveling proses braut abowt bie intermingling with boeth English-speecing aand non-English-speecing persunz on boeth a perminent (emigrents) aand temporairee (tourists aand biznes travelerz) baesis. Wun uv theez daez owr diferensez wil disapear aaz a reezult uv the leveling proses. Wee cuud bring thaat dae a lot cloeser bie developing a simplified aalfabet thaat uezez comun spelingz.
Wun uv the efects uv the Inglish Spelingz wil bee tou chaenj the number uv inflecshunz. Inglish wil eliminaet sum inflecshunz aand aad utherz. Wair English speld a werd diferentlee, but proenownsd it the same, as in "roe" aand "row," Inglish wil haav oenlee wun speling, "roe.". Wair English speld a werd the saem but proenownsd it diferentlee, as in "row," a rieut, and "row," a lien uv objects, Inglish wil haav tou werdz, thus "roe" and "row," the meaning uv "roe" beeing obtaend frum contecst.
English inflected the e in "the," maecing the e a long vowel wen the "the" preeseeded a werd beegining with a vowel sownd, els uezing the short e. That inflecshun wil bee caareed oever into Inglish to avoid a conflict with the "thee" proenown, wich is stil uezd in menee plaesez.
The Inglish spelingz aar cumpaatibuul with the lerning prinsipuul thaat nou ecspeareeensez bild upon prieer ecspeareeensez. If the ecspeareeensez aar congrouent, the nou ecspeareeens reeinforsez the erleeer ecspeareeens. If the nou ecspeareeens conflicts with the old, the nou ecspeareeens creeaets a staet uv disonens thaat the lerner must reezolv bie, 1) reeviezing hiz/her erleeer understaanding, 2) disreegaarding wun or the uther insident, or 3) estaablishing a roul tou cuver the ecsepshun, In English, the uezer haad tou ceep menee routs with menee ecsepshunz in miend. In Inglish, the uezer duz not. Nou ecspeareeensez dou not conflict with prieer ecspeareenensez. Foeneemz reemaen the same in everee morfeern, aand morfeems bild upon wun anuther like brics in a bilding. Thair aar oenlee three ecsepshunz tou reemember; 1) the ues uv the I aand you for the persunuul proenownz, 2) the inflecshun uv the e in the "the," aand 3) the douuul ues uv the th. In everee uther instens, the speling uv a werd iz soe reelieablee a reeflecshun uv the sownd uv the werd thaat eech ecspeareeens reeinforsez eech prieer ecspeareeens.
Aan egzaampuul uv the diferens beetween the ecspeareeens uv aan Inglish stoudent aand aan English wun cen be fownd in derivativz uv the morfeem "or." In English it proevieds a fowndaeshun for "for," wich sets the staej for "fort," but then the proenunseeaeshun chaenjez in "fortune," and the spelling chaenjez in "foretell." Thaat duzn't haapen in Inglish, "Forchun" uezez a diferent foeneem tou reeflect the diferent sownd, aand "fortel" uezez the saem speling.
Consistensee beetween morfeemz wercs boeth up the laader aand down. If in Inglish "beeluved" iz a corect speling, then "luv" and "uv" aar aulsoe corect spelingz. Fonetic consistensee boeth up aan down the lien iz sentruul tou the Inglish orthografee, aand maecs speling eezee.
Tradishunuulists mae fiend it haard tou abaandon the mith thaat werdz with diferent meeningz must be speld diferentlee, as in "cent," "sent,"and "scent". Thae forget thaat meening iz not a funcshun uv speling. Wee gaather meening frum the contecst in wich the werd iz uesd. Wee dou it in speech. Wee cen dou it in tecsts. Menee English werdz haaving oenlee wun speling haad mor then wun meening. The aadishun uv a fue mor werdz thaat haav mor then wun meening in the Inglish spelingz wil bee ofset bie the faact thaat Inglish wil seperaet werdz thaat in English haad mor then wun proenunseeaeshun for the saem speling.
DISCUSHUN.Aat this point, let us diegres for a moement: The Soesieetee haaz estaablishd a number uv paasejez for traanscripshun intou the nou sceem aaz a mezhur uv its soutabilitee. Theez aar prezented hear in Inglish:
1. The Staar (H.G. Welz).
It wuz on the ferst dae uv the nou year thaat the anownsment wuz maed, aulmoest siemultaeneeuslee frum three observatoreez, thaat the moeshun uv the planet Neptoun, the owtermoest uv aul the planets thaat weel abowt the Sun, haad beecum vairee earaatic. A reetaardaeshun in its velositee haad bin suspected in Deesember. Then, a faent, reemoet spec uv liet wuz discuverd in the reejun uv the perturbd planet. At ferst this did not cauz enee vairee graet ecsietment. Sientific peepuul, however, fownd the intelijens reemaarcabuul eenuf, eeven beefor it beecaem noen thaat the nou bodee wuz raapidlee groeing laarjer aand brieter, aand thaat its moeshun wuz cwiet diferent frum the orderlee progres uv the planets.
2. Briten wen yung (Fraanc Cermoed)
Wee mae nowadaez bee chaaree abowt uezing the werd 'jeenyus,' but wee stil haav a guud iedeea wut iz ment bie it. For ecsaampuul, thair aar graet numberz uv vairee gifted muezishunz hou aar aadmieerd but not cauld jeenyusez. But thair aar utherz, maanifestlee proedijus, performing aat ecstrordinairilee erlee aejez a varieetee uv feets soe complecs thaat the muesicuul laemaan cuud haardlee imaajin, eeven with the moest desperet laebor, acomplishing enee uv them, wiel eeven muezishunz aar astonishd, aand wee then reech for the guud, haandee, vaeg Enlietenment werd aand caul them jeenyusez. The list incloudz Moezaat aand Mendelson, aand dispiet aul the limiting judjments, it inclouds Benjamin Briten.
3. Oed tou a Nietingael (Jon Ceets)
Mie haart aecs, aand a drowzee numbnes paens
Mie sens, aaz thoe uv hemloch I haad drunc,
Or emteed sum dul oepeeet tou the draens
Wun minit paast, aand Leth-wuurdz haad sunc;
'Tiz not throu envee uv thie haapee lot,
But beeing tou haapee in thair haapeenes,
Thaat thow, liet-winged Drieaad uv the treez,
In sum meloedeeus plot
Uv beechen green, aand shaadoes numberless,
Singest uv sumer in fuul throated eez.
4. Fuzee-oepaec Orthograaficuul Vizhunz (C. Upwerd)
Thair wuz a por boi hou cuudn't spel
Haaf the werdz in owr laangwidj tou wel.
Hiz teecherz thaut: 'Braen-sic!'
Mum aand Daad hoepd: 'Dislecsic!'
Yet the chield raashlee jeard;
'Wut the hel!' [Wut the hel indeed, Cris.]
The Soesieetee aulsoe publishd in 1991 a propoesuul for a nou sistem of speling called the New Speling (NS), which has proevieded a staanderd uv cumpaarisen for eevaalueaeting nou propoesuulz. Let us ecsamin the diferensez beetween the NS and Inglish:
The moest important diferens beetween NS aand Inglish iz thaat the preepairerz uv NS choez not tou establish a fonetic aalfabet, preefuring tou uez the Internaashunuul Fonetic Aalfabet (IFA) tou estaablish pronunseeaeshunz. The problem with deefuring tou the IFA simbuul set for pronunseeaeshun iz thaat the IFA uezez a diferent set uv simbuulz thaan aar uezd in tecsts; simbuulz thaat the NS conseedz aar unsoutabuul for ordinairee ues. The dificultee iz thaat thaat desizhun reecwieerz thaat reederz beecum familyer with tou sets uv simbuulz, wun for speling, anuther for proenunseeaeshun. Thaat's toetalee unesesairee. Wee cen spair the lerner the nesesitee tou lern tou aalfabets bie uezing fonetic reprezentaeshun in the aalfabet wee intend tou uez, aaz Inglish duz.
In anuther mouv aelyen tou the staeted perpus in Inglish, the NS alowd a number uv simbuulz tou reprezent mor then wun speech sownd, perpechueaeting wun uv the faults upon wich the English spelingz fownderd in the ferst plaes. Eech simbuul needs tou staand on its oen feet. Ecsept for the th, aul Inglish simbuulz dou.
In anuther diferens, Inglish chouzez the c oever the k. The NS choez the k oever the c, aulthoe aadmiting it wuz posibuul tou reevers thaat deesizhun. The deesizhun shuud bee reeversd, sins owr uesej uv the c faar owtwaez owr uesej uv the k, and the c iz needed for the ch. The NS foecus on compaatibilitee with uther aalfabets thaat prompted their desizhun duz nuthing for the naetiv lerner, aand iz uv noe interest tou moest ueserz.
Uther respects in wich Inglish diferz frum the NS incloud confiening the y tou its consonant vaalue, the ues uv cs aand gz tou reeplaes the x, plus the ues uv the z in pluuruuls. The laater diferens avoids such problemz aaz distinguishing beetween prinsez and prinses, aand beetween wuns aand wunz.
In the selecshun uv the vowel simbuulz, NS choez the a, e, i, o, u for the short vowel, aaz Inglish duz, then selected the ae, ee, y, oe, aand ue for the long vowel simbuulz. This iz boeth inconsistent with the wun sownd, wun simbuul roul, aand iz entieerlee unesesairee. Ues of the ie iz mor lojicuul, sirnpler, aand maecs this simbuul'z apearens compaatibuul with thaat uv the uther long vowel simbuulz. The menee instinsez wairin English prezentlee substitouts the ie for the y in pluuruuls aand paartisipuuls estaablish a uesfuul presedent.
The NS corectlee reeplaesd "off" with of, but choez tou spel "of" ov, eeven thoe the vowel sownd is, for moest uv us, not the o sownd aat aul. The werd shuud bee speld uv.
The NS sugjeschun tou uez the ae to reeplaes the ai in pair is a gratouitus chaenj thaat maecs lituul sens, sins the ai iz avaelabuul, fits the aaplicaeshun, aand haaz a histeree uv beeing uezd in air, fair, hair, et al. The sownd uv "air" is sertinlee not /ae/-/er/, nor shuud it bee.
With respect tou the uesej uv the oo aand ou, NS agen maecs deesizhuns thaat alow the simbuulz tou reprezent mor then wun speech sownd. The uu iz needed for guud, wuud, aand shuud, wiel the ou is needed for you, throu, aand tou. Noet agen thaat this meens thaat the ou is not aproepoe tou the /ow/ sound, wich in Inglish iz tou bee speld ow, aaz in owt aand abowt.
In discusing the ues uv the au, the NS sed thaat thair wuud not bee a problem with the paaralel ues uv the aw for the /au/ sownd. Not soe. This iz anuther vieoelaeshun uv the wun sownd, wun speling premis. The simplificaeshun thaat reezults frum avoiding simbuul reedundensee haaz severuul benefits, not the leest uv wich iz tou claarifie for nou lernerz the speech sowndz in werds like awae, awair, awaec, etc.
The NS erz agen bie staeting thaat the polisee thaat apliez tou the ues uv the aw aulsoe apliez tou the ues uv the ow. The ow iz a morfeem with noe fonemic aulternativ, aand shuud not bee nor shuud ever haav bin treeted aaz thoe it were a foeneem. The polisee iz cwiet diferent.
Raather then select a simbuul tou represent the obscuer vowel, aaz Inglish duz, the NS estaablishez a complecs set uv rouls tou guvern vaireeus sichouaeshunz. Such a soeloushun tou the problem iz not oenlee unesesairee, but iz inconsistent with the dezieer tou simplifie the spelingz aaz much aaz posibuul. Lerning tou spel iz dificult enuf withowt adding tou the mics routs thaat cen bee avoided bie the simpuul ecspeedeeent uv proevieding aan aproepreeet simbuul.
Ecstending the obscuer vowel definishun tou the oenlee vowel in the werd "cat" iz a caategoricuul mistaec. The a in cat haaz a distinct sownd wich Inglish recogniezez with the speling caat. Aulsoe, the spelingz uv caarut and naeshun dou not caul for the obscuer vowel, wairaaz, aaz the NS paamflet sez, the speling uv toetuul duz; toetuul beeing oenlee wun uv the menee instensez in wich the uu iz needed.
In anuther diferens with the posishun uv the NS, it iz owr premis thaat thair aar werdz for wich the ar, ir, or, and ur are preferabuul tou the er aand shuud bee uezd, aand thair aar werdz in wich the an aand on aar preferabuul tou the en aand shuud bee uezd. Speech sowndz raather than maandaets shuud guvern speling.
The -le, -al, -el, -il, -ol, aand the -ul endings, plus the -ile, the -able, and -ible endings aar indeed ofen proenownsd vairee much aliec. Wen they haav the obscuer vowel sownd, the Inglish ending wil thairfor bee iether the -uul,: or, aaz aaplicabuul, the -abuul. But wen the vowel sownd iz distingwishabuul, aaz in "taanjibuul," the proper vowel simbuul shuud bee uezd.
The funcshun uv the riten werd iz tou reprezent the spoecen werd. Thaat maecs the praactis uv oemiting the vowel wair thair iz a vowel sownd, aaz NS propoesd for "cuplv et al, unaacseptabuul. Spelingz must distingwish beetween the short vowel aand the obscuer vowel simbuulz in order tou tel the reeder how a werd iz proenownsed.
The public iz not unawair thaat thair iz a speling problem, but it's haard for peepuul hou aar literet tou beeleev thaat thair aar peepuul hou aacchuoalee cennot lern tou reed aand riet. It's eezeeer tou beeleev the untrouthz, thaat thae'r ignorant, laezee, or doen't cair. The public haaz tou bee maed awair thaat funchunuul iliterasee iz a reeaalitee, thaat it iz not a funcshun uv secs, aej, claas, or raes, aand thaat it afects milyuns. It iz not just sumthing thaat haapens tou uther peepuul. It cen afect eneewun, aand eneewun'z children.
The uther thing peepuul haav tou bee toeld iz thaat funcshunuul iliterasee iz haaving a devestaeting efect on the economee. It iz costing bilyuns aanuealee in lost revenuez, iz creeaeting laeber shortejez in industree, aand iz ceeping menee utherwies caepabuul peepuul in a staet uv constent povertee. Until the public aacnoledjez the importens uv a literet soesieetee, wee mae bee waesting owr tiem trieing tou jeneraet public simpathee for speling reeform.
It's important tou reemember thaat the switch frum English tou Inglish speligz iz abowt chaenjing the laangwidj for fuechur jeneraeshuns aand the iliteret, raather then chaenjing it for owr conveenyens. The obveeus aadvaantej uv fonetic speling tou fuechur jeneraeshunz aand tou persunz strugling tou escaep iliterasee shuud bee eenuf tou convins us tou goe ahed with the chaenj tou Inglish spelingz.
PROUF UV CONSEPT.Along with informing the public uv the need aand the opertuenitee, wee need tou prouv thaat Inglish reelee wercs. Tou this point it iz a consept oenlee, aand haaz not bin eevaalueaeted in a lerning seting. Wee need tou demunstraet thaat it reelee wercs bie teeching a reprezentativ group tou ues Inglish; tou reed it, aand tou riet it. Wee cen goe severuul waes tou proevied this indicaeshun uv Inglish supeareeoritee. Wun wae wuud bee tou prezent it tou cindergaarten-aejd children aat a ueniversitee ecspairimentuul scoul. In this moed, Inglish wuud bee uezd for a fuul semester aaz a for-runer tou laeter English lesunz.
A secund wae tou demunstraet the laangwidj wuud bee tou prezent it tou aadults hou aar haaving trubuul lerning tou reed English, agen aaz aan intermeedeeet step tou lerning the English spelingz. Wee wuud uez basiclee the saem aproech aaz for the ecspairimentuul scoul, but with a mor ecstended voecaabuelairee.
A therd aproech wuud bee tou prezent Inglish aaz aan electiv cors tou stoudents aat aan aproepreeet level uv hieer eduecaeshun for aat leest a fuul semester. The aem wuud bee tou colect performens daeta, then haav the stoudents criteec the sistem aat the end uv the semester. A reeserch dezien cumpairing the ecspairementuul group tou a group uezing English tou studee the same cors mateareeulz wuud bee needed.
A forth aproech wuud bee tou prezent the laangwidj tou graadueet stoudents studeeing langwidj aarts, aand haav them uez it, ecsplor its depth, aand criteec it with respect tou its poetenshuul.
The owtcum uv the prouf of consept peareeud wuud not oenlee demunstraet the feezibilitee uv uezing the Inglish spelingz, it wuud proevied a test bed tou confirm the spelingz uv indivijueuul werdz.
IMPLEMENTAESHUN.It iz feesibuul tou introedues the criticuul caaraacteristics uv Inglish on a step-bie-step baesis, aaz Harry Lindgren sugjested severuul decaeds agoe, withowt waeting on the prouf uv consept.. The steps owtliend beeloe cen bee inisheeaeted reegaardles uv the owtcumz uv the prouf uv consept, beecuz the ferst tou steps aand tou a maejer ecstent the therd step dou not deepend on the speling sistem adopted for the fienuul step.
The cee tou the step-bie-step proegraam iz tou present the speling chaenjez in a seecwens thaat boeth nouspaeper editors aand elementaree scoul teechers cen acsept, aand frum wich wee wuud not haav tou baac-traac. A posibl aproech is suggested:
In the step-bie-step proses, it wuud bee wel tou goe aat thingz a lituul mor agresivlee thaan Lindgren recumended, tou select a claas uv objects for chaenj, raather then individual objects. Not oenlee wuud ataacing individueuul objects taec tou long, it miet introedous mor confueshun then it eeliminaeted.
The leest introusiv speling chaenj wuud bee to reeplaes the reedundent consonants with thair proper aulternativz; reeplaesing the k with the c, the q(u) with the c or cw, aand the x with the cs or gz. [This wuud uv cors reecwieer setuuling the c versus k aarguement ferst. If the aarguement iz setuuld on the baesis uv wich simbuul the public wuud bee moest lieclee tou acsept, the aanser haaz tou bee the c.] In thoez instinsez wair this reezults in two c's tougether, aaz in "back" beecuming "baacc," it wil not bee aat aul dificult tou drop the ecstra c.
The necst teest introusiv chaenj wuud bee tou eeliminaet the sielent leterz, ecsepting the silent e in the vowel-consonent-e seecwens, aand ecsepting consonants thaat aar dubld tou indicaet the preeseeding short vowel. The laater chaenjez wuud haav tou waet on the laast step, replaesing the vowel simbuulz, aaz wuud the reespeling uv werdz wairin the vowel-consonent-e seecwens duz not in faact indicaet the long vowel sownd.
Amung the chaenjez maed duering this secund step wuud bee deefeeting the h's frum werdz thaat inclouded the bh, dh, gh, lh and rh, the secund l uv ll, the second b in "abbreviation," the second a in "abreast," the c's in "abscess," "abscise," and "abscissa," etc., aand chaenjing the ch tou c wen it haaz the /c/ sownd. The chaenjez wuud bee substaanshuul, but wuud not impair eneewun'z abilitee tou reed or riet the emended tecsts or egzisting TO tecsts.
The therd step wuud bee tou reeplacs the aambigueus consonents with thair proper sirnbuulz; the c with s, the ch with c, the f with v, the g with j, and the y with iether ic or ee. Reeplaesing the y with the ie aand ee in this step wuud bee cinsistent with the wun sownd, wun simbuul premis, aand wuud proevied a naachuruul traansishun tou the vowel reeplaesment step, the laast step in the proses.
The fienl step wuud bee replaesment uv the long vowel simblz, updaeting the uther vowel simblz aaz wel.
Aan aadvaantej uv the suggested order iz thaat, shuud wee chaenj owr miends aaz tou the end goel during Steps I aand 2, nuthing wuud haav tou be dun oever. Aulsoe, shuud wee bee in dowt about the reeplaesment uv the y during Step 3, that chaenj cuud bee put of until Step 4, wiel the uther chaenjez cuud bee maed withowt impaacting the fienuul owtcum.
Steps 1, 2, and 3 deepend oenlee on setuuling the c versus k aand ee, ie versus y dispuets. In everee uther reespect, Steps 1 throu 3 aar comun tou aul sistems under consideraeshun, soe thaat proeseeding with them iz feesibuul. It iz aulsoe propoesd thaat the Prouf uv Concept aand Steps 1 and 2 of the Implementaeshun faez proeseed tougether.
SUMAREE.The Inglish speling sistem needs oenlee wun speling roul: Spel it liec it sowndz. Beecuz wut the reeder seez in print represents wut hee or shee hearz in speech, Inglish iz reedabuul aat everee staej uv literairee acheevment, wether the reederz aar nou lernerz, or oelder wunz. Thair aar noe aambigueiteez tou stumbuul oever, aand noe reedundent sirnbuulz tou introedous confuzhun aand creeaet disonens amung lernerz.
The spel-it-liec-it-sowndz roul haaz oenlee three ecsepshunz, the ues uv the I and you, the douuul uesej uv the th, aand the inflecshun uv the "the." Aul uther werdz aar speld egzaactlee the wae thae aar proenownsd.
In Inglish, the riten werd iz weded tou the spoecen werd, giving the riten form uv the moest powerfl laangwidj in the werld the opertounitee tou beecum the lingua franca uv the 21st senchuree.
Inglish spelingz lend themselvz tou everee form uv riten cumuenicaeshun, inclouding haand rieting, tieping, aand vaireeus forms uv compoesing. Inglosh iz espeshalee souted tou compueter ues, haaving no gimics or speshuul simbuulz tou creeaet. The straetforwerd corespondens beetween speech simbuulz aand speech sowndz maecs it paarticuelerlee souted for ues in vois recognishun sistems.
The Inglish Symbol Set.
a, abut, apear, coema
aand, baad, haapen, haav, traap
abaet, aet, daeliet, naeshun, selebraet
air, bair, cair, chair, fair, thair
audeeens, audeeoe, auger, aul
bair, beegin, big, boischurus, buetee
aecom, caar, luc, scoul, topic
caatch, chaar, chear, chaastiez, chow
adorn aed, ductuul, dul, dunjun
bed, bet, end, maaden, maeden
clear, ear, endear, fear, spear
asee, Eester, eezee, pleez, shorlee
aaft, fizics, foe, frum, if, of, stuf
aagreget, agen, gaardner, glaad
ahaa, haapen, hael, heloe, hoe, huree
bin, bit, chit, drip, in, it, iz, Isreeel
bie, flieing, multiplie, suplie, trie
aej, join, joi, jurnee, just, soeljer
aliev, aloft, alow, aelyen, alien, loe
aampear, amownt, mum, mideeeevil
aand, in, noe, noeing, menee
finger, ring, raang, runing, singer
cot, cow, oposit, opshunz, owt
aulthoe, boet, cloez, oepen, roep
boi, cod, cloister, emploi, oister, toi
cooc, booclet, foot, poot
blou, coup, clou, flouent, throu
aep, apaart, aapuul, pair, plaaster
aar, ariev, chaart, ear, rid, riden, ried
aes, baes, beest, best, beeset, wercs
aash, aacshun, ashor, shooger, shuud
aet, baet, beet, it, laet, touth, tint
baether, boeth, seeth, thaat, thin, this
but, chum, cup, fur, muther, utherz
amuez, cue, fue, fuez, uesfuul, uezd
aapuul, fuul, guud, pluuruul, shuud
aavenue, avaelabuul, vaalue, vaalyent
awaec, awair, wen, werd, wuud
bieyou, yaac, yearling, yes, yonder, you
breez, bridjez, eezee, zou, zouolojee
aazhur, leezhur, trezhur, vizhun
Published by the Simplified Spelling Society. (July 1998)
Back to the top.