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Joon 1917/2 part 2.


AMUNG thœz hoo kritisyz our skeem ov Simplifyd Speling thair ar not a feu hoo fynd fault with it bekauz it iz baist on the egzisting valeuz ov the leterz in the English alfabet, and not on the "kontinental" valeuz ov theez leterz. Thai maintain, for instans, that it iz unsound tu ryt the vouelz in "round" az ou, the vouel (or vouelz) in "sweet" az ee, the vouelz in "aim" az ai. Such notaishonz, thai sai, konvai rong ydeaz tu the English chyld, maik it harder for it tu lern the pronunsiaishon ov kontinental langwijez, and ar aulso an obstakel tu the foriner lerning English. Aul this, thai imply, wood be kwyt diferent if we adopted "kontinental" valeuz.

Ferst, whot ar the "kontinental" valeuz?

In the kais ov the konsonants, we mai sai that thair ar a good meni leterz which (seuperfishali at leest) ar ydentikal in kontinental and in English euzij ; no wun kan kworel with our eus ov "p, b, m, t, d, n, k, g, w, f, v, s, z, l, r, h." We euz sh, aultho it iz by no meenz a kompound ov the s and h soundz; it iz intrinsikali no les rong tu ryt sh than tu ryt ou in "about." Hou doo kontinental langwijez represent the sound? French haz ch, German sch, Italian sc. We euz th, which, again, iz not a kompound ov the t and h soundz; whot help doo kontinental spelingz giv us for this sound? We euz j for a sound (or soundz) freekwentli herd in English; whot iz the"kontinental" speling ov this sound? And again, whot iz the "kontinental" valeu ov this leter? In French it haz wun valeu, in German anuther; in Italian it haz the saim az in English.

Houever, our kritiks euzheuali pai litel atenshon tu the konsonants; it iz our notaishon ov the vouelz that cheefli upsets them. Let us aknolej that theez ar indeed trubelsom. Siks vouel leterz (if we inklood y) hav tu reprezent far mor than siks vouel soundz. The rezults ar unforteunait: veri much so in English, but by no meenz in English œnli. If we look at the speling ov kontinental langwijez we fynd vairius devysez for geting œver this difikulti. Dyakritiks ar, on the hœl, rair - which iz signifikant: thai ar a neusans. Such dyakritiks ar found in the German ä, ö, ü and the French é, è. Sumtymz we fynd dygraafs, az in French eu, which reprezents no difthong, but wun or uther ov too singel vouelz (e.g. in peu and peur). Sumtymz sylent leterz ar aded tu indikait length, az in German sie, ihn.

The indikaishon ov length iz wun ov the grait difikultiz which no langwij haz solvd. In meni langwijez no atemt iz maid tu shœ it; the pozishon ov the vouel in the werd sufysez tu shœ that it iz long, or it iz simpli a kwestion ov memoryzing. Artifishal meenz ov indikaiting it ar sertin dyakritiks. In Latin a short lyn abuv the vouel (the "makron") iz euzd, e.g. in books for beginerz. In the alfabet ov the Internashonal Fonetik Asœsiaishon a mark lyk a kœlon iz euzd; it iz aukwerd tu ryt, in print it sumtymz looks veri much lyk i; and it iz not konveenient for indikaiting the length ov a difthong. Thair iz no "kontinental" wai ov indikaiting length.

Sum ov the vouel leterz in English ar euzd with valeuz agreing rufli with thœz ov sum kontinental langwijez. The e in "bed" iz much the saim az that in German Bett, but it diferz from eni ov the valeuz ov French e; the saim iz troo ov i in "bid." Whot iz the "koutinental" speling ov tbe a in "bad" or the u in "bud"? Theez soundz ar pekeuliar tu English, and if we ar tu be bound by "kontinental" euzij we ar not at liberti tu ryt yther a or u for them, bekauz a and u hav diferent valeuz on the kontinent. Diferent, but not euniform, valeuz; the eus ov a in French for the too diferent vouelz in pas and patte givz ryz tu much trubel, az everi modern langwij teecher noez; and u in French haz not the saim valeu az in German or Italian.

Laastli, we kum in the difthongz. Iz thair eni euniformiti in "kontinental" euzij? German eu iz our oi; French eu standz for soundz we doo not pozes at aul. French ou iz a simpel vouel. French ei (az in peine), German ei (az in rein) hav kwyt diferent valeuz: a singel vouel in wun kais, in the uther a difthong konsisting not ov the soundz ov e and i, but ov a and i. We ar tœld by our kritiks that we shood spel "greit" insted ov "grait," "rait" insted ov "ryt." Which familiar kontinental langwij euzez ei and ai in this wai?

We doo not kworel with the fonetishan, hoo haz desyded tu giv sertin standerd valeuz tu the simbolz a, e, i, o, u; hoo fyndz it konveenient tu indikait length by ryting a:, e:, i:, o:, u:, and hoo indikaits difthongz (a number ov soundz in kwik sukseshon) by the simbolz that reprezent thair ferst and laast soundz. Aul this iz eusfool and nesesari. But the fonetishan duz not pretend that he iz euzing "kontinental" valeuz, bekauz he nœz that this iz reali a meeningles ekspreshon. Apart from the fakt that thair iz a kwyt apreeshiabel part ov the kontinent that duz not euz the Roman alfabet at aul, we hav sed enuf tu shœ that thair iz no euniformiti amung the langwijez which doo, aultho we hav draun egzaampelz œnli from thœz best nœn; utherwyz the kais kood hav been maid eeven stronger.

Whot iz important in the speling ov a langwij iz not a pretens at agreement with uther langwijez, but konsistensi within itself. When the lerner wuns nœz that sh aulwaiz haz the valeu it bairz in "ship," its eus wil giv him no ferther trubel; in a veri short tym he regardz it az a kompound simbol, distinkt from s and h taiken singli. Whot duz trubel him iz that, in the ordinari speling, s iz nou s, nou z, nou sh, and nou sylent (e.g. in "this, is, sure, island"); or that h mai or mai not be pronounst. Similarli, if the chyld nœz that ee invairiabli haz the sound it bairz in "sweet," it wil regard ee az a kompound simbol. The teecher mai point out that ee duz not represent the long sound ov e, if he lyks; but eeven without this the chyld wil not reed it az the e ov "bed" lengthend, simpli bekauz it haz not been given eni rool that length iz tu be indikaited by dubling a leter. (Such dubling, tho found in sum fonetik alfabets, iz intrinsikali rong, if it iz ment tu reprezent a lengthening, and not a repetishon, ov the sound.)

We hav, we repeet it, no reezon tu objekt tu the fonetishan when, euzing hiz standerd simbolz, he ryts the vouel soundz in S.S. "dai" az ei, thœz in S.S. "nou" az au, thœz in S.S. "gœz" az ou. Hiz simbolz reprezent the (Suthern English) vouel soundz ov theez werdz fairli wel. But if we ar tu folœ hiz egzaampel, and euz them for kurent English ryting, we shal depart raather ekstensivli from egzisting euzij; thus, O.S. "rise" bekumz "raiz," "dice" - "dais," "fine" - " fain," "line" - "lain"; "howl" - "haul," "town" - "taun," "rout" - "raut"; "known" - "noun," "tone" - "toun," "whole - "houl." We myt konsent tu this if thair wer a kompensaiting gain; but iz thair?

The argeument that lerning the pronunsiaishon ov forin langwijez wil be fasilitaited by the adopshon ov "kontinental" valeuz iz devoid ov aul foundaishon. In the ferst plais, let us remark that the vaast majoriti ov thœz hoo lern English never lern a forin langwij at aul. In the sekond plais - tu taik œnli French, the mœst wydli lernt forin langwij in this kuntri - everi fonetishan wil tel eu that it iz a saif rool tu start with that no French sound korespondz tu eni English sound. The diferens in the mœd ov produkshon haz tu be lernt. It wil not help eu in the leest tu hav spelt "dai" az "dei" or "gœz" az "gouz," for the simpel but sufishent reezon that French kontainz nyther the sound ov ei nor that ov ou. If eu wont tu lern French pronunsiaishon eu had best start by leeving out ov akount the konvenshonal speling ov English az wel az that ov French, and by taiking insted the standerd simbolz ov the internashonal alfabet, and geting a teecher tu maik eu prodeus the soundz for which theez simbolz stand in French. Then eu hav tu lern whair tu euz them: and that iz kwyt a diferent mater. If, having lernt the forin soundz, eu kan rely on the speling tu shœ eu whair thai kum, aul iz wel. It iz heer that eu wont konsistensi; and it iz just heer that the konvenshonal speling ov French and ov English failz so lamentabli.

Whot our kritiks, then, hav konfeuzd ar the produkshon ov individeual soundz and the eus ov theez soundz in speech. Thai hav been led astrai, perhaps, by the simplisiti ov the "braud notaishon" ov the Internashonal Fonetik Alfabet intu beleeving that a modifikaishon ov our speling in that direkshon wood teech us forin soundz. But in the "braud notaishon" - tu taik œnli wun egzaampel - English "finny" and French fini ar riten in the saim wai ("fini"); and the teecher nœz hou long it taiks the English peupil tu lern the sound ov short French i. It iz understood that when we ryt French in the fonetik skript the leter i haz a sertin valeu, which must be lernt. The speling duz not teech the sound; but az the fonetik speling iz konsistent we nœ that whenever i okerz in a French pasij it haz this partikeular valeu; and that iz sumthing tu be thankfool for.
Let us bair in mynd:

That in reforming the speling ov English we must think, ferst and formœst, ov our œn children, and maik it eezier for them by rendering it az konsistent az we kan; that az thai wil wont tu be aibel tu reed books in the bad œld speling (and az thœz with hoom lyz the desizhon whether thair shal be reform ar klœsli familiar with that speling), we must not depart from it farther than a reezonabel degree ov konsistensi demaandz;

That if an internashonal alfabet iz syentifikali akeurait it iz far too komplikaited for praktikal perposez, and that in so far az for praktikal perpozez it iz wyzli modifyd tu seut a partikeular langwij (the so-kauld "braud notaishon"), it seesez tu be striktli internashonal;
That in eni kais the lerning ov a neu sound iz a prœses kwyt independent ov the speling, and that fonetik theori duz not rekwyr that wun sound shood be represented by wun syn (if by "syn" iz ment a singel self-kontaind simbol).
Whot maiks our speling so trying for our children and for the foriner alyk iz not this or that partikeular konvenshonal simbol, or groop ov simbolz. Hou long duz it taik us in lern in French that ch standz for sumthing lyk our sh, or ou for sumthing lyk our oo? Whot duz it mater tu us that in ch we hav too leterz for wun sound, in eau three leterz for wun sound? Similarli, duz our simbol ai wuri the Frenchman, bekauz ai gœz against kontinental valeuz? Not a bit. Whot wuriz him iz that he must pronouns the saim difthong ai when it iz riten in a duzen uther waiz, and that he haz tu remember thœz uther spelingz ov the difthong when he iz ryting; not in menshon the leterz he haz tu ryt that stand for no sound at aul.

We trust that whot we hav sed wil be konsiderd with sum kair, and wil tend tu kleer the iseuz. So meni ov the skeemz for reforming our speling that ar submited tu us sujest insufishent reflekshon on the problemz involvd. Thair ar mor aspekts ov the kwestion than ar komonli taiken intu akount; and sum ov the faivorit kachwerdz ar sadli misleading.


IN the Desember iseu ov THE PYONEER a short preliminari report woz given on an eksperiment that iz being maid with the Ferst Reeder.

The report shœd that, at the end ov three munths, the children (56 in number) had maasterd aul the S.S. formz ov spelingz and kood naim aul werdz that okur in thair nateural vokabeulariz and ar riten in S.S.

Our korespondent iz keeping in klœs tuch with the eksperiment, which kontineuz tu be wun ov grait interest and promis.

The hed mistres reports that aulredi, at the end ov siks munths, children hoo bav been in regeular atendans ar aibel tu reed in S.S. az difikult mater az iz euzheuali red by peupilz at the end ov the infant-skool kors.

She reports aulso that children hoo retern tu skool aafter fyv or siks weeks' absens - thair haz been an outbraik ov meezelz - kan taik thair part in klaas werk aulmœst az if thai had not been absent at aul.

Thai hav forgoten nyther the simbolz nor thair valeuz.

It wood apeer, thairfor, from prezent rezults, that the adopshon ov Simplifyd Speling wood leed, in reeding and speech training, tu a grait saiving ov tym in the ferst too yeerz ov skool atendans.


A KONFERENS on edeukaishonal reekonstrukshon, arainjd by the lœkal braanch ov the Werkerz' Edeukaishonal Asœsiaishon, and held at Birmingham Euniversiti on Aipril 28, woz atended by œver 300 delegaits from traid eunionz, traidz kounsilz, braanchez ov the I.L.P., kooperaitiv sosyetiz and gildz, teecherz' organizaishonz, and uther werking-klaas bodiz in the kountiz ov Warwick, Worcester, and Stafford.

A komprehensiv rezolenshou for the reform ov prymari edeukaishon woz braut forwerd.

Mr. G. A. Ashton (Dudley N.U.T.) moovd tu ad tu this rezoleushon: "the adopshon ov a rashonal sistem ov speling and the desimal sistem ov muni, waits, and mezherz, in order that tym mai be gaind for the fooler development ov the grait nateural pouerz ov the children." He kontended the too grait difikultiz in the wai ov sementing the bond between us and our Alyz wer deu tu our deefekts in speling and our komplikaited sistem ov waits and mezherz. A rashonal sistem ov speling wood ad a yeer tu the chyld'z skool lyf.

Prof. Sonnenschein, sekonding, sed az a member ov the Simplifyd Speling Sosyeti he woz in harti simpathi with the rezoleushon. It did not komit them tu eni partikeular reform: that woz a mater for ferther konsideraishon. But the jeneral propozishou that a veri larj amount ov tym and thaut - and, if he myt sai so, reezon - woz waisted by our speling woz indispeutabel.

The amendment woz karid.

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