SS13. On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Spell 4 Literacy NZ.]
simpl speling November 2000 part 4. members' supplement.
Editor: Allan Campbell.
RITErs report on progress.Fourteen members were taking part in or following the email discussions on RITE (Reducing Irregularity in Traditional English) spelling reform strategy, Masha Bell, Ze do Rock. Guy Otten, and Elizabeth Kuizenga told the July committee meeting.
After the 1999 membership vote for staged improvements to English spelling, the committee set up a subcommittee (Chris Upward, Gerald Palmer, Masha Bell) to frame suggestions for such improvements. The subcommittee faltered and Masha opened the discussions to the email discussion group.
The strategy advocated extending the use of currently dominant or unambiguous spelling patterns where possible, thereby reducing the need to memorize lists of exceptions, which children are taught in their fonics lessons. This would frequently involve just the cutting of surplus letters, and quite often using substitutions as well.
Over the year, the RITE group had tried to establish to what extent such simplifications were possible for all 43 English fonemes. Masha presented a list of 25 possible changes selected so far and voted on by 10 RITE-spellers. The group would like members to grade them 0 - 10, to see membership support.
The group understood the committee would first await the outcome of the current ballot. This also applied to ballots requested by other members of emailing groups, and a proposal on American spelling by Gerald Palmer. Personal Views editor Paul Fletcher hoped the electronic version of his summary of the foneme representation in PVs would soon be completed. Paul, Tony, and Gwen had discussed P Mitrevski's PV but felt it was not yet ready for publication. M Carey had inquired about presenting a PV. It was suggested that Paul should send a copy of his handwritten foneme summary to prospective PV authors, as they are required to demonstrate that they have new ideas to offer.
Committee: Jean Hutchins (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), Tony Burns, Paul Fletcher, John Gledhill, Nicholas Kerr, Gerald Palmer, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward.
Members: Ze do Rock (Germany), Elizabeth Kuizenga (USA), Constantine Dimitriou, Edward Marchant, Vilma Scott.
Apology: Chris Jolly
Committee: Chris Jolly (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), John Gledhill, Jean Hutchins, Nicholas Kerr, Chris Upward.
Members: Edward Marchant, Jack Bovill.
Apologies: Tony Burns, Paul Fletcher, Guy Otten, Gerald Palmer, Gwenllian Thorstad. Absent without apology: Leo Chapman.
July committee meeting.
No charitable status for Society.Masha Bell, as treasurer, had written to the Charity Commissioners expressing disappointment at being refused charitable status and asking what evidence was needed for an appeal against their decision. They replied that previous court decisions against the Society made it impossible for it to be registered as a charity while it kept its present name, aims, and constitution. Guy Otten outlined possibilities for separating the two aspects of the Society or registering it abroad. There was no certainty that such changes, expensive and time-consuming, would be of benefit. It was agreed not to pursue the idea.
The committee told editor-in-chief Chris Upward that further historical documents like the essay by William Archer in JSSS J27 would be welcome. Chris said the arrangement with John Reilly as American sub-editor was developing well, and John might take on more page-setting in future.
The July English Today included SSS's full Langscape 6 submission a year after it was submitted. It also included an article by Adam Brown, SSS member in Singapore.
An article on American spellings had been submitted to a NZ teachers' journal as input to their debate on the subject, and should appear toward the end of the year. New member Jonathan Free wanted the medical profession to adopt American spellings for their journal. The committee agreed that he should be encouraged to suggest this.
Chris has written an article for member Nicoletta Tonizzo's professor of English in Italy for publication in an Italian journal. The professor may be able to use CS experimentally with Italian students in the autumn.
Professor Sig Prais, a member, has researched literacy acquisition in Switzerland. It should be completed this year.
Secretary Masha Bell said discussion of the wording for the ballot had been time-consuming. With help from the RITE group she had almost finished her classification of divergent spellings for common English words for all 43 fonemes and would try to organize her findings in a way that could be effectively displayed on the internet or published as a resource for teachers, parents, students and all would-be reformers of English spelling.
October committee meeting.
Procedural issues dominate.In a meeting largely devoted to procedural matters, the committee last month decided:
1. Committee business should not be discussed with the wider membership unless agreed beforehand.
2. There should be no personal criticism by committee members of other committee members to the membership.
3. If a committee member, despite prior written warning from the chair, continues with inappropriate behaviour to the membership, the chair has the right to suspend that person's committee membership subject to ratification at the next committee meeting.
4. Committee members should not attempt to influence ballots.
5. Formal submissions by the SSS and supporting evidence must be approved by the committee beforehand. Masha should not take a lead in drafting SSS communications to authorities, which should be left to editor-in-chief Chris Upward. Masha's draft letter to Education Secretary David Blunkett about his 600 difficult words for 11-year-olds to learn was therefore to be deferred.
6. Communications to the press by Masha, Allan Campbell and others were warmly welcomed, and all members were encouraged to undertake such correspondence, noting that it should be made clear whether speaking personally or for the Society.
- RITE spelling could be presented in the format of a PV (with a
members' response sheet), a ballot form, or an article in Simpl Speling.
- If the RITE or any group wanted to ballot all SSS members on proposals for
change, these would have to be put to the committee first. The results of such a
ballot would not be binding or definitive in any way.
- Masha found the Society is not liable for corporation tax on dividends from
investments, as led to believe. Tax is deducted at source. She has therefore
submitted an amended corporation tax return. After receiving the final tax, demand
for 1999 she will check if previous overpaid tax can be reclaimed.
[Financial details omitted.]
- An email SSS committee would not be easy to operate, as it is far more difficult
to word motions by email, without face-to-face contact. It would need to be a
chat-type system operating in real time.
- English Today, October issue, has a short article by Chris Upward on
- Members were welcome to make suggestions for lobbying
about the need for reform, provided they were prepared to implement those ideas.
- Membership secretary John Gledhill reported 134 paid members, three life
members, three members with subscriptions waived for 2000; eight individuals or
groups receive complimentary copies of Simpl Speling, 29 receive
complimentary copies of the Journal (libraries, editorial teams, etc). Since
the July meeting there had been the following changes: 13 new members, one lapsed
member rejoined, eight members were removed from the list for non-payment of
subscriptions, three members had left, one the result of the final reminder, and one
- Jean Hutchins, list moderator, said the SSSlist automated email discussion group
had started on February 26 this year, and in that time 4314 messages had been sent,
154 in September. The RITEspel group separated from it on May 22. It had logged 1560
messages, 213 in September. There are 21 members on the SSSlist and 19 on RITEspel,
mostly but not entirely the same people on both. SSSnews, for sending SSS news
announcements to any member on email, was started on May 12. Eight messages have
been sent, one in September. There were currently 50 on this list. Some new members
have not replied to the invitation to join. There were frequent changes to all
- The question of copyright of SSS publications had arisen at least twice
recently. To clarify matters, Chris Upward proposed adding the following statement
to the JSSS guidelines for authors: 'Unless other arrangements are explicitly
made, copyright for all publications of the Simplified Spelling Society resides with
the Society, which may use such materials as it thinks fit in pursuit of its goal of
English spelling reform'. Chris intends to seek advice from Guy Otten on legal
implications in th UK, and from JSSS's American editor John J Reilly (also a
lawyer) on the suitability of this statement for America.
- Next committee meeting: January 27, 2001.
Guidelines for presenting members' schemes as Personal Views available: Paul Fletcher, England.
Meanwhile, back at the office ...
Masha Bell's column will resume in the next issue. - Ed
Stop press: As this issue was being published, a proposal was before the general and committee emailing groups suggesting email membership of the committee be encouraged, with postal election. More in March issue.
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On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.