newsletter July 1997 part 2.
Open-minded, enthusiastic, rebellious - and influential.The Society needs members. Students are ideal, open-minded, enthusiastic, rebellious, and likely to be influential in a few years.
I propose an electronic membership, open to students or anyone else at a cost of £1 a year. With this membership one would receive a few printed pamphlets and a big, bright badge with a sassy slogan - possibly 'Rite Ryt'! Students love unique badges and one like this would draw a lot of attention.
Teachers would be shocked and question the badge at first, but when the cause was explained to them they would (or ought to) welcome the participation of a student in so intellectual a pursuit. Other students would think the badge was cool, and at £1 for membership they'd join to get one.
The present $20 fee covers mainly the cost of printing and mailing the Journal. But if we just posted the Journal on the web page, electronic members could read it there or download it and print out the articles they liked, all at no cost. The £1 a year would cover the expense of badges and pamphlets, so the new members would cost nothing.
Students are often poor, but the one thing they do have, at least in America, is nearly universal access to the Internet.
I think this plan could greatly increase our membership at practically no cost. I'd welcome comments, and proposals for even cooler badge designs.
Alan Mole, US. [See Newsletters, Web links.]
Carnegie's birthplace.Andrew Carnegie's birthplace is in this town, Dunfermline. Apart from a few snippets that have appeared in previous Newsletters very few people, including the locally based Carnegie Trust, seem to know about his involvement with spelling reform.
Even a letter to my local paper produced no response, and no mention is made in the two biographies I've read. If any member can help, I'd appreciate it.
George Anderson Scotland. [See Journals, Newsletters.]
[Carnegie was a founding member in 1906 of the Simplified Spelling Board in the US. He gave $283,000 to the board over 14 years, but left no money in his will for spelling reform. -
'Notional' pronunciation.My first step forward would be (with the 'American' spellings, too) single consonants after schwa, eg, aprove, apear, asess, asist, atack, efect, abreviate, etc.
If that's not enuf then break, great, steak, woud, coud, shoud, or wuod, cuod, shuod, guod, buok; or single final consonant: spel, wil, shal, dol, hul (unless rounding then: fall, roll, pull.
In Lango (Language ov English Origin), Tony Alexander and I are exploring other features of English as a world language, such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. We have examined the idea of 'notional' pronunciation, ie, as a model for spellings which are neutral between speech communities.
Robert Craig, England. [See Journals, Newsletters.]
'The future common language of humanity'.I teach English in a university in central Java and have only become interested in spelling reform during the past two years.
It is true that spelling reform will help those who are lower achievers in school, and hence to an extent in society, to do better, but this is not the major reason for reform. I have slowly been coming to understand just how vast a population in Asia are potential English users. Two and a half billion people here use, or could use, English as a lingua franca of this whole region. In Indonesia, English is extremely common, as in the Philippines, Malaysia, India, and the Pacific. Almost everyone knows at least a few words and most of the educated know a lot more and are more or less articulate in it.
Written English is valuable in getting access to world news. It is a powerful weapon against oppression here. The situation is probably comparable to that prevailing in England in the Middle Ages with respect to Norman French, or medieval Europe general with respect to Latin. The potential is enormous, to the extent that if it is realized, then the populations of England and North America will become minorities in the English-speaking world. The only other language with this scope is Spanish but it comes second as far as I can tell in this contest, especially when one considers the widespread use of English in Europe and Africa.
I remember once sitting in a youth hostel in Norway in the early '80s with about five other travelers. We were all speaking English and I wondered why, seeing that none of them spoke it as a first language, or even in some cases very fluently. All of the others knew several languages but only English was common to all of them. That is the world situation in microcosm.
Spelling reform is about the future common language of humanity. The one thing that could scuttle this and leave us all groping for a century or more is the extraordinary irrationality of English spelling. Perhaps it is because the English-speaking world has always been able to export its dissidents and has never had to undergo the sort of political reform that other countries have experienced, nor cognate spelling reform.
My students here have to learn two languages when they study English: spoken English (difficult enuf when one's base language uses continental vowels, for instance) and written English, and then they have somehow to correlate the two. Not a happy situation. I hope to start a course next semester using simplified spelling as a bridge between these systems. If it takes, it should be a boon.
(Dr) Peter Gilet, Indonesia. [See Newsletters.]
Homographs and homophones could be a problem.Why the fuss in SSS publications about donut? This spelling implies that dough will be spelled do, a homograph of the present verb do.
I think we should avoid homographs between present and reformed spellings. Reason: Not everybody will be able to, or care to, adopt the new spelling. I have noticed this in Portugal and France when they reformed spellings.
The old and the new systems must run side by side. In reformed spelling do could become doo, but I have known an American who suggested this spelling for due. British do and American due are homophones.
English has a larger number of homophones than European languages that have reformed. This will create problems if we base reform on pronunciation. This is why I have suggested reform, to begin with, shall be based on the idea of making reading more consistent. The usual reform idea is to make writing more consistent. The reform for reading will thus keep more than one way of spelling the same sounds as we now have, but will alter as in the case of are/ care or give/ hive, etc, where the spelling is misleading.
Harry Cookson, Portugal. [See Journals, Newsletters.]
We welcome letters.Letters are welcome. Please keep them as short as possible: we prefer you, rather than we, decide what is important. If possible, submit by e-mail, but normal post is acceptable.
Letters will be edited to conform to Newsletter spelling style except where other spelling is pertinent.
Allan Campbell, New Zealand.
[Cornell Kimball: see Journals, Newsletters.]
One person's search for spelling reform organizations.
Cornell Kimball, US.In the March Newsletter, Steve Bett noted how much easier it has been to find spelling-related information via the World Wide Web since 1995. This article recounts a search for reform groups using a series of other means.
I began looking for organizations promoting spelling reform about three years ago. Had I started today, I would've used a search engine. As it was I didn't have a computer then (and as noted, the Web was not as easily searchable), and the steps I took began in library aisles.
I had known for a number of years about the foundings of the Simplified Spelling Board and the Simplified Spelling Society, and about the bredth of their campaigns in the early decades of this century. However, I knew nothing of current spelling reform activities.
In mid-1994, I began researching this subject further, navigating the shelves of libraries. Again, the items that I found only mentioned the SSS in the early 20th century.
In one book, Death By Spelling by David Grambs (Harper & Row, 1989, New York), the author named a couple of groups promoting spelling reform in the United States. One was the Typographic Council for Spelling Reform. There was no mention of what city they were in; I tried telephone directories for every boro in New York City and every district in Washington, D.C., but found nothing.
The other organization that Grambs mentioned was Better Education thru Simplified Spelling. And for this group, he noted what city they were in: Detroit.
I got the Detroit phone book on microfiche, and found an address and phone number for Better Education thru Simplified Spelling (BEtSS). I sent a letter to that address, but it was returned and rubber-stamped
The phone directory listed only street addresses, as is common, but not suite numbers, etc. And as it turned out, the building that BEtSS was in had more than 25 floors.
I called the telephone number, but all I got was a series of high-pitched electronic noises. I figured perhaps I had reached a fax machine, so I faxed a note to that phone number. That did the trick, and I was then in touch with BEtSS.
Around the middle of 1995, 1 was perusing the Oxford Companion to the English Language, and learned about present-day activities of the SSS. (Up to that point, I had known only of the early-century work.)
I located a book which listed British organizations and societies and it noted a Simplified Spelling Society, giving an address of ... in London. I sent a letter to that address in August, but never heard anything.
Later that year, I bought David Crystal's Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, which has a information. One section in the back has addresses of several language, related groups, among them the SSS. The address listed there is .... I sent a letter to that number, and that being a good address - Bob Brown's at the time - I had now found the Simplified Spelling Society.
Because of my association with the SSS, I am now in touch with another group supporting reform, the American Literacy Council (sister organization of the SSS, and progeny of the reform Simplified Spelling Board and the affiliated Spelling Reform Association). [See Links page.]
In turn, I have also learned about the Typographic Council for Spelling Reform, which I had earlier been unable to find. That organization operated during the 1970s and 1980s, and one of its founders and directors was Edward Rondthaler, who is now president of the American Literacy Council.
"Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle. "
- Ken Hakuta
- Ken Hakuta
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media.]
Slick slogans sought to promote the cause.
Allan Campbell.Among the suggestions I made to the AGM was that we needed to get out among the people and get ourselves and the cause known.
Part of my 'presentation' was my wearing a t-shirt, of amateurish design limited by the expertise and technology I had available. Inscribed on a balloon background (to give a bit of color and shape) was the slogan: "'Enuf' is enuf, but 'enough' is too much!" Underneath was the SSS logo.
I also showed a template of the badge designed by Alan Mole (see letter).
One t-shirt, one badge, or one bumper sticker is not going to change the perception the public may have of us, but many could. And maybe those students Alan mentions in his letter would be interested in wearing such creations if they were available.
Spelling must be capable of spawning many clever slogans that could grace t-shirt, badge, or bumper. If you can think of any, let's have them. We will publish them in the-Newsletter so members can use them if they like them.
Slogans should be short and pithy. The front of a t-shirt or sweater should have a shorter one than the back - following pedestrians have more time to read than those approaching you. (My slogan above may be a trifle long.)
They can exemplify improvements ("'Through' is thru!") or discuss the problem in a sentence, best put in some form of improved spelling; eg, "Th problm is spelng, not spelrs"; "Wy stik with stuk spelng?"
So, put on your thinking cap and let's have your creative ideas.
Sorry, no prizes other than the satisfaction of knowing you're helping to promote a truly noble cause.
[Steve Bett: see Journals, Newsletters, Personal View, Web links.]
[Web addresses have been omitted as they are unlikely to be valid now. Search engines may find the people or topics.]
Older services are still very useful.
Steve Bett, US.Let's take a quick look at some of the older Internet services: FTP, newsgroups (Usenet) and automated mailing lists (listservers).
FTP (file transfer protocol) is an old and still very useful method for sending files over 65Kb in size. E-mail servers have trouble handling files over 65Kb, the equivalent to about 12 pages of text or one large graphic. E-mail attachments often have to be compressed and encrypted. There is no guarantee that the person receiving the attachment will be able to read or view it.
FTP avoids this problem. Computers that make files available by FTP are called FTP sites or FTP servers. FTP sites are used for uploading and downloading files.
A few years ago, FTP required users to type commands like 'get' to download files and 'put' to send or upload files. Most new FTP programs have 'point and click' graphical interfaces. The latest browsers have the same capabilities.
Any browser can be used to access FTP sites.
With Netscape Gold you can also upload or send files to the FTP server. A file server is a PC with a huge hard disk to store data files and application programs. All the PCs connected or networked to the file server are called clients.
Public discussion groups (Use-net newsgroups and automated mailing lists): Usenet is all about sharing opinions, sharing expertise, and engaging in debate. These discussions are called Usenet news. Usenet news comprises thousands of discussion groups, called newsgroups. Each newsgroup has a specific topic which is usually reflected in the title.
There are no newsgroups that are specifically spelling focused but the subject does crop up from time to time in these two groups, giving members who are on-line a chance to exercise their powers of persuasion. Usenet news is also a searchable source, which means that you can tap into a discussion that began three years ago.
Automated mailing lists provide a slightly different type of discussion group. You subscribe to a list by sending a structured e-mail message to a particular list server. A program on the server will automatically answer your mail. All the members on the list will receive copies of any mail message that is sent to the listserver.
If the mailing list is small (under 50), as in the case of the SSS mailing list, there is no need to automate.
Anyone wishing to participate in the simplified spelling discussion group can send a note to me or anyone else on the e-mail directory.
In any discussion group you can keep quiet (called lurking), send mail to an individual, or send mail to the group. Discussion groups are a great place to ask questions because someone on the list will have time to give you a well reasoned response.
Before you ask a question however, it is always a good idea to visit the group's FAQ. The FAQ provides answers to the frequently asked questions which would otherwise clutter up the discussion and annoy the veterans.
If you have any questions about how to connect to the Internet, obtain an e-mail account, or join a particular discussion group, please contact me.
Its awl write!Eye have a spelling chequer
Witch came with my PC
And plainly marques fore my revue
Mistakes I mite knot sea.
I've run this poem threw it;
I'm shore your pleased too no
Its letter perfect in it's weigh:
My chequer tolled me sew.
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On another page: part 1.