SS14. 8pp. On other pages: part 2, part 3, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Spell 4 Literacy NZ.]

Founded 1908
Working for planned change in English spelling for the benefit of learners and users everywhere.

simpl speling March 2001 part 1.

Editor: Alan Campbell.

Change for SS.

There will be a change in the publishing schedule of Simpl Speling. The July issue is being brought forward to June to allow quicker reporting of the AGM. In August the July meeting minutes will be sent to members. March and November issues are unaffected.

Seeking a strategy for success.

A brainstorming session under the guidance of new member Jack Bovill at its January meeting led the Society committee to decide to trial a strategy for implementing spelling change.

After suggesting barriers to reform, members found 'drivers' to overcome these barriers. These were gathered into themes, headings attached, and then listed according to their influence. Cost was rated highest, followed by communicating, benefits, awareness/education, international and authorities.

Groups, each of no more than five interested email members, were to be set up under each of these headings to work at their particular topic.

Jack will liaise with group leaders to help them, and he will report progress to the committee.

Jack believes if members use these findings to focus their activities, there is more likelihood of a needed 'critical mass' support being achieved.

The committee agreed to act on the proposals with a pilot project and willing email members. This will run for a year, with the committee reviewing it after six months from inception.

¶ Further details in Members Supplement.

No recommendation on spelling change.

There was little for Society members to cheer about in the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Employment's report on early years education, released in January.

The 55 recommendations delt with organization, the place of parents in education, the allocation of resources, teacher training, and the like.

The topic seized on by most national media was a warning about not starting children's formal education too soon, or the recommendation on smacking children. Generally, the report did not arouse much media interest.

Society secretary Masha Bell, initiator and compiler of the Society's submission to the committee (included in an appendix to the report), commented: 'Many of the committee's recommendation are good, but costly and not easy to implement. They would entail sustained annual higher spending. There is a cheaper, simpler, longer-lasting and certain way to raise educational achievement from infant to university level.'

The report can [no longer] be found under 'First report' at

SSS AGM Saturday, April 28, 2001. 10:45am.

A committee meeting, open to all members, follows.
All members are invited to attend.

Widening of committee membership is signaled.

A widening of representation on the Society's committee was foreshadowed at the committee's January meeting.

It was accepted that membership is open to all members of the Society, irrespective of whether they can attend meetings in London, provided they have access to email.

But officers, as specified in the constitution, or as agreed at a designated meeting, would be expected to be able to attend meetings.

Nominations for the committee (proposed and seconded) need to be received by the secretary by March 29.

Further details in Members Supplement

This 'n' that from here 'n' there.

Settled out of court.

Jean Wilkinson, USA.

In July 1999 Simpl Speling I reported a class action taken against the Boards of Education of the State of Oregon and of Portland City schools. A group of parents, mostly of dyslexic children, claimed a national Certificate of Initial Mastery test, which included spelling, was discriminatory, as their children were neurologically incapable of correct spelling.

The lawsuit has been settled out of court. The settlement terms have been kept confidential. Hmmm!

I read about the third-grade Initial Mastery Test in a local school that has 50%-60% of Spanish background pupils. The article said 35 of 64 third-graders took the standard reading portion of the state test and 52 took the standard math test. The remainder were either exempted from the tests or were given extra help during testing. The latter scores were not included in the school's report to the state. Hence the school's comparative rating went from 'low' to 'exceptional' in one year! Students with certain disabilities were also exempted.

Fans care to a 't'.

A letter writer in the Toronto Globe and Mail comments: In the bold headline to your review of Thursday's Moffatts concert, Rockin' Moffats A Sight To See, there was a spelling error. The family name is spelled Moffatt.

In paragraph three of the article, the title of their song was written as I Don't Want You To Want Me. The correct spelling on the back of their CD Submodalities is I Dont't Want You To Want Me.

In a recent interview they said they put the extra 't' in Dont't because they wanted people to remember that their last name is spelled with two 't's.' Please trv to be more accurate in future. Fans care about these small details.

A second language for all.

Education minister Jack Lang announced recently that in two years all French children from 5 upwards will begin learning a foreign language.

He is anxious to encourage diversity in the languages they will learn. At present English is taught in nine out of every 10 language classes.


Spelling change myths.

In the Society's email group members listed the following 'myths' and misconceptions that opponents of change sometimes put forward.

1. Fonetic spelling is the aim.

2. Changing spelling is changing the language. Regularized spelling will not look like English.

3. English has too many accents to consider change as other languages do.

4. Traditional spelling is widely standardized, and so it is too late to let spelling evolve like speech.

5. Regularized spelling makes important documents obsolete or ambiguous, requiring huge reprinting and legal costs, law reform and extra learning burdens for those who need to read old spellings and write new spellings.

Romanizing Thai.

Society member Ian Martin spoke to the 21st annual Thailand TESOL Conference on The work of Daniel Jones: Fonetics, spelling reform, and the classroom. He delt with Nue Speling, and Jones's involvement in the Society.

In the ensuing discussion Thai teachers spoke of Thai romanization. There is no standard way of writing Thai script in roman letters; eg, the Thai word Rachadamri can also be written Rajdamri or Rachadumri.

What one member has been doing.

Into the lion's den.

How do children respond to a logical notation? Ian Ascott, New Zealand, a past member of the Society, reports on what happened when he was invited to teach his SoundSpel to a group of children at a local school.

There was no going back: the head teacher led me to a large room containing three children.

In an earlier discussion, when I went over my material with him, I had asked for nine-year-olds of average intelligence, but I was given what were certainly the three brightest 12-year-olds in the school. Oh well, cut one's cloth ...

I gave them each a SoundSpel chart illustrating the 30 elementary, or basic sounds from RP English, and took them thru, first, the consonants, which were very simple and easy to understand, and lastly, the vowels and difthongs far and away the most difficult part of the Language.

My greatest problem was that my pupils absorbed and understood every point I gave them ... as quickly as I could explain! They were right up alongside me in the speed of their understanding, and I learned very fast to regard them as intellectual equals ... because early on,. I saw the glint of impatience in their eyes if they thought I was patronizing them. I returned twice at their request.

I told them to ask any questions at anytime, and they responded with a series of penetrating queries that filled my old heart with joy and challenged me as a fonetician has rarely been challenged before ... and sensibly!

I began with the preconception that my IanSpel (SoundSpel) is as clear, stark and logical as is humanly possible and I found no reason to change that opinion. I have shown IanSpel to academic native English-speakers, and generally they are dubious, but if I explain it to Dutch or German linguists, they understand immediately and are apt to query where the problems are. My pupils were the same as these latter, ie, they have had no time to acquire prejudiced minds.

Thank u, Kate, Tom and Helen for the lessons u taught me.

Talking with journalists from publishing houses.

An interesting evening, even if unlikely to produce new members!

This was how Society chair Chris Jolly summed up his presentation to a meeting of the book publishing section of the UK National Union of Journalists.

"The bulk of the meeting was quite mind-numbing, as the, father of the chapel tried to find members to elect to various subcommittees and union charities,' Chris said. 'There were just 10 people there.

'I had about half an hour, perched at a corner of the long table, before everyone got thrown out by the caretaker at 8pm. The members present listened politely.

'There was just one question, on dialects, before the will of the caretaker prevailed.

'I gave copies of the correspondence in The Press (New Zealand), along with a copy each of our Principles and Practicalities.

'After the meeting most of us retired to the pub around the corner and managed to keep up a conversation in competition with the big-screen live football match.

'In general, they were quite intrigued by the concept of spelling reform, and I had comments about the material I had left them.

'One lady said that when everyone else had reformed their spelling, she would want to be using the old spellings as a mark of personal idiosyncrasy.

'It led to an interesting conversation about how each of us might use reformed spellings and traditional spellings at different times with the reformed spellings used in more informal writing,' Chris said.

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On other pages: part 2, part 3, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.