SS14. On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.

simpl speling March 2001 part 3.

[Jean Wilkinson: see Newsletters .]

Jean Wilkinson, USA, writes:

Who stole the 'r' in 'colonel'?

'Hey, dumbhead, KFC was not started by Kernel Sanders. Don't you know how to spell?'

'How do you spell it?'

'Well, c-o-l-o-n-e-1, of course, just like everybody else. Except you!'

'Why do you spell it that way?'

'I just told you, fleabrain. Everybody spells it that way, the dictionary spells it that way, it's the right way!! What are you, an idiot or something?'

'My dictionary doesn't say it's the right way.

'Oh, you have your own special dictionary? What does your dictionary say'?'

It says, on page xix of the introduction [1]

"Lexicographers do not make laws about what is right and wrong ..." and

"Dictionaries do not tell people how they ought to speak and write ..., but only about how they can do so ..." [2]

'Oh, aren't you smart! Then why is it always spelled colonel when you look it up'?'

'Well, it explains it right there. It says it used to be spelled coronel, from the French language, where it is spelled both ways. Originally it was colonna, a Roman military column. Along the way, somebody switched our spelling back to the original l, but whoever it was couldn't persuade us to say it that way too. So we ended up with one pronunciation and another spelling.'

'Okay, wise guy, then answer me this: How come nobody has ever put the r back in?'

'The dictionary will put it in when enuff people put it in. While we are waiting for the dictionary to change, the dictionary is waiting for us to change. It's already listing tho and thru, and for fun I just looked up the word humongous. It's there!'

'All right, you win. But you don't get your Brownie button till we get to Kernel Sanders. Or would you prefer Krnl?'

[1] Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, 1988.

[2] It also warns us, on the same page, to be prepared for horselaffs if we get too far afield.

[Ed Rondthaler: see Journals, Newsletters, Personal View 8, Anthology, Bulletins, Web link to ALC.]

Technology to the rescue.

A new internet software program promises to make acquaintance with improved, logical spelling easier and painless. Ed Rondthaler USA, explains.
English-speaking children have less chance of becoming literate adults than do children of other countries with good schooling. Many fail. So it is no surprise that surveys of developed countries rank English speaking nations in the lowest quartile. [1]

But today new hope to change this comes from an unexpected source. Can the emails scurrying back and forth between computers provide the magic that finally lifts us out of our wretched bottom status?


That 'yes' takes advantage of computers, the internet, and the multimillions of avant-garde email users who unruffled by innovation, regard new solutions to old problems as normal. Never has our literacy dilemma been attacked by such a powerful combination.

Software that automatically translates ordinary typing into logical spelling is now available on the internet at ALC web. [See Links.]

The form of the internet program is tutorial and limited, but could be revised and expanded promptly to serve the email millions.

It is based on 'General American' pronunciation, a merger of local US dialects brought about by TV, radio, telefone, travel, cinema, and song, that is spoken by more than half of those whose mother tongue is English. It uses a notation based on New Spelling, proposed by the British in 1910 and slightly modified in the US.

When it is fully readied for email use the sender, after typing a message in normal spelling or an approximation thereof, will have the choice of three ways to and send it out. (Spellchecking will be unnecessary since the program automatically corrects errors as they are typed.)
- and the message will be transmitted automatically in parallel lines of normal and simplified. The receiver will see, on screen, words that are currently important to him or her displayed in a format that is easily grasped, that account for every sound and syllable, and give the reader a chance to judge how preposterous is our spelling's match to sound.

- and the mesej wil be transmited automaticaly in parralel liens of normal and simplified, as seen heer. The receever wil see, on screen, werds that ar curently important to him or her displaed in a format that is eezily graspt, that acounts for evry sound and silabl, and givs the reeder a chans to juj how is our speling's mach to sound.

The basic technology for 'send dual', making simplified spelling painless and palatable, is now available. Adapting it to email use and enlarging the vocabulary can be undertaken once the concept's merit is recognized. Then the end of our frustrating struggle with English illiteracy and its socio-economic problems will be a foreseeable reality.

'Send dual' can launch us on our way to lifting the English-speaking world from the bottom quartile of literacy to the top.

Ref: OECD (Organization for Cooperation and Development, Paris) statistics 1997.

[Cornell Kimball: see Journals, Newsletters.]

US boros and boroughs.

Cornell Kimball, USA

The United States has at least 85 place names that end in -boro.

Many are in North Carolina, which has the largest city named this way, Greensboro. There are more from there up into Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a few in Vermont and New Hampshire.

There are some in Georgia and Illinois. and also in Kentucky, where we find the second largest -boro city; Owensboro.

There are just a few west of these states, and I've found one each in Arkansas, Missouri. and Oregon.

I've come across 13 names with -borough on the end, eight of them in New Hampshire.

The largest -boro, Greensboro, has about 185,000 people (1990 census). The two largest -boroughs. Groton Borough, Connecticut, and Hillsborough, California, each have about 10,000.

The most common -boro is Hillsboro (at least seven). The largest is in Oregon (about 38,000). There are four or more Greensboros, and three Jonesboros.

Names range from Tarboro, Vanceboro, and Roxboro in North Carolina to Hatboro and Danboro in Pennsylvania.

Virginia gives us Villboro and Figsboro, and New Jersey Willingboro, Evesboro, and Marksboro.

Hillsboro, NH, is in Hillsborough County. There are three towns near it, each of which has Hillsborough as part of its name.

In this same county, we find a town named Lyndeborough, and near it is South Lyndeboro.

[Steve Bett: see Journals, Newsletters, Personal View, Web links.]
[Web addresses have not been linked as they are unlikely to be valid now. Search engines may find the people or topics.]

Spelling on the net with Steve Bett, USA.

Activity on spelling boards.

What started out as one discussion group several years ago has now expanded to three. One of the splinter groups, saundspel, had over 800 messages exchanged in January compared to an average of 80 messages during the previous four months.

The egroup software, now owned by Yahoo, archives and threads all discussions and provides a simple automatic wav to subscribe and unsubscribe. U can subscribe without overloading your mailbox by changing your profile to read No mail. This means that u have to go the website to follow the discussions. Other services include automated polling of members and file storage.

January 2001 data:

Augmented alfabets and special fonts.

The unifon server ( makes a few freeware extended fonts available for download. These include Unifon, Symbol (Greek), Shavian, Cyrillic, and Croatian.

The Unicode IPA font is available on the Microsoft website. We have been unable to locate a digital font for Goody's SSA and Pitman's ita or Augmented Roman. So far the effort to convert these true type files (.ttf) for Windows to a Mac-compatible format has not been very successful.

John Wells' SAMPA site and
tests a new font which displays IPA characters. [See IPA in Links.]

The SAMPA notation was developed years ago to transcribe IPA characters into ASCII or keyboard-compatible characters. Now the technology has caught up with the need. It is still difficult to use IPA characters in email but they can be viewed without downloading fonts by those with browsers 4.0 and above.

Dictionary resources improve.

On-line dictionaries have improved considerably in the past six months. Many of the old dictionary sites have been reworked to be even better.

The top five sites are listed below along with their key feature. The URLs can be found at
or by using a search engine.

Your Dictionary clean, uncluttered, and quick. Uses the Merriam-Webster (m-w) search engine

Cambridge Dictionary - pronunciation guide uses IPA symbols

Merriam-Webster Dictionary - locates misspelled words, accepts fonetic spelling

Encarta Talking Dictionary - over 70,000 words in the database with audiofiles

One Look Dictionary and All Dictionaries - do simultaneous searches. and

Have a question about linguistics?

Several places on the net enable u to talk to or argue with a linguist. Saundspel is one. Another is Ask a Linguist, operated by Eastern Michigan and Wayne State U.

The best spelling sites on the net.

Altho not called the top ten spelling reform sites, the SSS website has listed most of the best places to go for information on spelling and spelling reform:

One of the links listed is to the spelling reform ring [See Links.]

RITE rules.

The RITEspel egroup has completed a set of 45 rules for the stage 1 reform recommendations. Stage 1 changes an estimated 38% of TS. A strictly fonemic reform would respell over 60% of the words. Truespel, for instance, respells over 90%.

Systems such as ALC fonetic and Anglic have fewer respellings because they accept quite a few irregular high frequency words. RITE also includes a small set of sight words.

The RITE reform will greatly improve the chances that a person can correctly spell words as they are pronounced. Z´ do Rock says, 'The user will get it rite in 93% of cases.' [See RITE web on Links.]


George W Bush is at lunch with Al Gore. He asks for a 'quickie'. This frightens the waitress, and prompts Gore to lean across the table and whisper: 'Q-u-i-c-h-e is pronounced k-eesh'.

Back to the top.
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, (Supplement) part 5.