SS14. On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.

simpl speling March 2001 part 2.


Enuf is surely enuff?

If we press for improvement to the very worst spelling horrors. I hope we can all agree that the new spelling for enough (TO) will be enuf. We have quite enuff superfluous letters as it is, and surely enuf is enuff - and not enuff as appeared several times in Simpl Speling, November 2000 issue.

Ted Relton, England. [See Newsletters .]

Styles change. Enuff has now replaced enuf in Simpl Speling style, to match bluff, staff, rebuff, etc. - Editor

Comics at the leading edge?

Who sez Americans are resistant to updates in spelling?

Enclosed are excerpts from one day's comic strips (nationally syndicated) from The Oregonian, with spellings to match slang pronunciations: kinda, gotcha!, fella, yeah, ol' (old), Grampa, an' (and), ya (will ya, before ya), goin, o' (of), I wanna go, and possibly Ruff - a dog's name. (Onomatopoetic? Or short for ruffian? Or respelling of rough? We also use Tuffy for a dog, but toughie for a person or problem.)

That's at least ten updates in respellings in one day's comic strips, two being used in different strips (yeah, and ya for you). Interesting: Six of the ten involve schwas.

Is this happening outside the US too?

Jean Wilkinson, USA [See Newsletters .]

Start chang'n it!

I have been a member of the Society for some years now and have come to the conclusion that the only way our spell'n is go'n to reform is when we, the peple, start chang'n it. The momentum of common usage is enormous, and any reforms from on top alone, or the side, will do noth'n. I suggest therefore that we all simply start us'n some of the mor urgent reforms in our daily writing, as in this letr. I do this especially with letrs to friends.

My udda inspiration: dat we use a simplified form ob gramma an pronunciation as a base fo our reforms, again, to a partial extent ob corse, as in dis letta. P'raps a kine ob jamaican english, combin'd wit cut spel'n or spanglish'? You myt say dat well, we don't say da words dat way, but so wat is da difrense wit da spel'n we use now? Our mispronunciat'n wd at least be consistent.

Ultimately we might consider the use of Chinese ideograms to write a basic hundred concepts, thus escaping many of the problems of spelling altogether. We could use speedwords as a base for this.

Peter Gilet, Australia. [See Newsletters .]

Three-stage policy.

Some years ago I conducted a one-person campaign to persuade newspapers to adopt the spelling jail (for gaol by targeting letters at the keepers of the style books. Whether or not as a result of my efforts, this has happened.

This Society, should adopt a policy, based on three stages: 1) short-term aims; 2) medium-term aims; 3) long-term aims.

At any time members should be aware if what these aims are, so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

As a medium-term aim I suggest acceptance of the so-called 'American' spellings. The short-term aim should be to tackle the prejudice against 'American' spellings. So, a short-term objective should be to persuade dictionaries to remove the label 'American' from spellings like color, catalog, center, etc. I don't think that that would really be that difficult to achieve, since lexicografers are, on the whole, sensible liberal people.

On the medium-term aims, the group which needs to be targeted is the newspapers. All else will follow from that. Once anti-American feelings are overcome, there are benefits for newspapers in adopting color, etc. They know that, but they are worried that they might offend their readerships.

The long-term aim? Of course, the complete reform of English spelling.

Spelling reform in the UK is crucial to what happens elsewhere, since there is still a feeling around the world that British English is the 'proper' form of the language, and therefore the spellings labeled 'British' are the only correct ones.

Robert Craig, England. [See Journals, Newsletters.]

Call for correspondents.

Due to the many commitments of a very ripe old age, I have decided not to renew my subscription to the Society. However, I include a donation of £15.

Despite not being able to continue being a member, I will keep rereading the material on the SSS I've received over the years. If anyone in the SSS wants to communicate with me I would appreciate hearing from them. My particular interest is E2L.

Ms Mary Tyler, USA.

'Free spirits in the hills'.

If there was an International English Spelling Committee, rather like the Club of Rome, that was unilaterally declared and had the primary aims of 1) opening the way for an International English Spelling Commission supported by governments, and 2) promoting world-wide awareness that English spelling could be improved, then it need not even have constitutions and need not have lots of rules and need not have money. In fact, it should not have a constitution or rules of procedure or formal legal existence.

Its members could discuss and differ among themselves but only have a rule that a majority (or a certain number) agrees about press releases and publicity, or else whatever is put out under its name can bear a proviso that many magazines have, taking no responsibility for the views expressed by its members - simply facilitating their expression. And it could have honorary officials, including a membership secretary to keep track of who was on it. And it could put pressure on UNESCO and the British Council and any organization that opened its mouth about literacy. It would not mention simplified spelling in its name but would be linked to SSS and other spelling reform organizations in different countries. They will be like the formal armies: the IESC will be like the ... free spirits in the hills.

The committee could aim in the first instance to have a representative from as many, countries and states as possible, non-English as well as English-speaking, since all countries today have an interest in improved written English for communication.

Valerie Yule, Australia. [See Journals, Newsletters, Media, Personal View, Anthology, Bulletins, Web links.]

How much reform?

How much reform - spelling and otherwise - can society cope with?

My grandparents, who grew up a century ago, were in the 1960s still listening to the wireless, going to the lavatory, doing their laundry 'in the 'washhouse' (even if indoor), and having their little car filled with benzine. Their children and grandchildren learned new words for those things.

The 1960s also had the reforming zeal which saw decimal currency and metrication proposed or introduced to some English-speaking countries. Residents of Australia and New Zealand rapidly found 'pounds' twice redundant.

New Zealand had a further reform of finding new names for fruits known as 'tree tomato' and 'Chinese gooseberry'. After much discussion the authorities settled on 'tamarillo' and 'kiwifruit'. All these reforms were well accepted.

However, by 1975 when gallons were going to liters and miles kilometers, the reform drive seemed to have evaporated.

I think the public's capacity for reform in vocabulary is far from filled; especially now a quarter of a century has passed.

Chris Kiwi, New Zealand [See Newsletters .]


Professor J. Churton Collins wrote to The Times (March 29, 1906): ... may I venture in your columns to enter a protest against the latest hideous importation from American journalism'? The monstrous word 'electrocute' for kill by electricity, is now of regular occurrence, and bids fair to become part of our language. When we have the legitimately formed 'electrocide' at our service why should it not be adopted and so detestable a solecism as the word referred to be repudiated'?


They'll demand an 'i' in 'frendly' when it's gone,
Yes, they'll want 'p-h 'in 'sulfur' to stay on.
Well, they'll stick an 'h' in 'corus'
And an 'o-u-s' in porus'
And they'll fume that simpler spelling is a 'con'.

They'll warn that spell-updating puts us back,
Weep for spelling by the book that 'out of wak'.
They will ridicule beginners,
Claiming grinners can't be winners,
Tho testing round the world shows we're on track.

When our logic meets with homely common sense
Some illiteracy shrinkage will commence.
Scoffers' affectation mirthless
And their erudition worthless
Will seem much less enlightened - rather dense.

Doug Everingham, Australia (with help from other members)
(Can be sung to the tune She'll be comin' round the mountain.)

ISD 2000 on the net.

Valerie Yule, Australia.

International Spelling Day 2000, like its predecessors, has not brought a great response so far. But I did get some interesting responses when I sent 'Happy International Spelling Day' as a message round the world on email (this may be a way to go). They included:

1. I dident even no it was internashunel spalling day.

2. Begone, you literary wowser - who would reform our language!
Deny the richness of our subtle terms? Have us bereft of innuendo?
What if we march to double-beat, and proliferate our vowels?
And stiffen prose with consonants: why should this cause you anguish?
But what seems clumsy overuse of letters and of verbiage
Serves a purpose of a sort, unsubtle and unintended:
The Sandgropers over to our west distinguish in an instant.

The foreigner newly from the east when speaking of their landscapes.
It's AL-bany, not ALL-bany as every local knows.
How better to sort out the herd, than such subtle little ways?
If spelling were to be reformed, they'd never know the difference.

But my spelling day was on weekend.
This often is my practice. I dreamt of spelling
On the beach, watching gentle breakers
Rolling on the sandy shaw while I perambulated.
And thus I worked, footsteps in beet to
Thumping, dumping wave fronts.
Thoughts of werk were overwhelmed
By ocean smel and seenery; the water's grean;
Its pewrity, and kleen; and passing berds
Above me. For more than this I could not wish.
But Spelling's International Day came on like clouds
My thorts to badly dampen. Its worldly spread
brought on the dread of how to treat 'Gut morgen'.
Or should we divest 'Bonjourno'? It's all too much.

And so to you I say fare well; and also fond a dew.

3. Spare me!

4. Thank you. We had a lovely international spelling day.

That's more like it!

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On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.