SS5. On other pages, part 1, part 2.

simpl speling March 1998 part 3.

From the committee meetings. October.

Meetings secretary resigns.

Nick Atkinson resigned as meetings secretary and from the committee for personal reasons. No successor could be found immediately, and Chris Upward agreed to take minutes for the meeting. A longer-term solution was deferred.

Chris Gledhill has moved to St Andrews and also withdrew from the committee. He would continue to help as far as possible in producing the Journal. John Bryant is to fill one of the vacancies.

¶ It was agreed there was no immediate need for the subcommittee for investment and charitable status to meet. Charitable status was seen as still being a desirable goal, but the committee was not in a position at present to pursue it.

¶ Tribute was paid by chairman Chris Jolly to the Society's former vice-president, the late Govind Deodhekar. Chris also announced Dr Edward Rondthaler, president of the American Literacy Council, had agreed to be a vice-president of the Society.

¶ A draft strategy paper suggesting the Society try to persuade Prime Minister Tony Blair, Microsoft's Bill Gates, and media proprietor Rupert Murdoch to support spelling reform was discussed.

¶ Chris Upward reported he had delivered a paper on Cut Spelling to an international conference of typographers, who were enthusiastic about the economic and ergonomic benefits of CS.

¶ Quotations were received for placing advertisements in The Times and the Daily Telegraph newspapers seeking new members. It was decided to place one in The Times (see below).

Tony Burns reported Personal View No. 5, from Australian member Ken Goodwin, was ready for publication.

Society advertises in The Times.

The Simplified Spelling Society
The society is dedicated to the modernisation of English spelling and welcomes new members. Details from the Secretary at ....
This advertisement was placed by the Society in The Times education section on November 28 1997. One inquiry was received.

Paid help to be appointed. January.

The committee decided to appoint a part-time, paid secretary-bookkeeper, amended from secretary-public relations officer in the proposal. This is in response to the vacuum in the Society's administration left by the meetings secretary's resignation and a failure to find a replacement from within the membership.

¶ Five Personal Views have now been published, five are in the pipeline, and three in development. Spelling schemes are to be on the agenda in future.

¶ It was agreed Coollist should be wound up as a Society email forum, and Nicholas Kerr was to investigate the possibility of a replacement.

Chairman Chris Jolly said he had attended a meeting of the Queen's English Society, organized by Dr Bernard Lamb, who told it that in his experience incorrect usage jarred with people more than incorrect spelling, grammar, or punctuation. [Dr Lamb is to be guest speaker at the Society's AGM. - Ed.]

Editor-in-chief Chris Upward reported on a number of matters: The website at Aston University was being reorganized; he suggested the Society needs to offer a public proposal, with three strands - adopt American spellings, drop gh, and select regularized forms of the 200 most common words; he had had an article on spelling reform published in the English Association's newsletter, and had been asked for a follow-up written in Cut Spelling; he also intended to present SSS views about the future of English to the British Council. He circulated a draft revision of Introducing Cut Spelling for comment.

¶ A Society member, Dr Colin Davies, was interested in Finnish and had spent some time in Scandinavia. He told the meeting that, apart from the word alcohol, every Finnish word was spelled as it was sounded and pronounced as it was written. "U learn the sound each letter represents," he said, "and that's the end of it. U go and learn something else." As far as he could discover, there is no Finnish for dyslexia.

A chance for influence?

As Simpl Speling went to press news came that a two-year Langscape project, devised by Cambridge University Press under the leadership of Pam Peters (Macquarie University, Australia) is being inaugurated to 'survey the world of English usage' over the next two years, focusing on points of uncertainty.

Langscape will be producing questionnaires. The first (relating to spelling) is in the January 1998 issue of English Today. The project is seen as an opportunity for the Society to intervene with a strong message.

[Steve Bett: see Journals, Newsletters, Personal View, Web links.]

Spelling on the net with Steve Bett.

Best orthographic innovations for 1997.

At the end of the year it is traditional to recognize significant contributions in various fields. From the discussions on the SSS internet mailing list, I have selected the following as most significant. These are technologies, concepts, orthographic options, and notational strategies.

1. BetterSpell (BTRSPL) conversion program (developers: Alan Mole, Bernard Sypniewski, John M Bryant, Chris Upward, Tom Zurinskas, the ALC). With this innovative software, any notational system can be converted into any other.

2. Broad vs narrow transcription: John Gledhill observed that in developing a phonemic system one does not have to mark the sounds created when people try to enunciate certain combinations.

3. Marking the schwa (unstressed central vowel) with a symbol or letter permits a significant simplification of the writing system.

4. Shwapostr'fi: Mark the schwa with an apostrophe - 'go, un'form, fiest' (ago, uniform, fiesta).

5. ShwA: Marking initial and terminal schwas with an a': a'go, un'form, fiesta'.

6. Syllabic consonants: Marking the schwa by any two contiguous consonants. This would be an extension of the practise of using syllabic r, l, m, n and d in terminal syllables [corroded/ca'ro'dd].

7. Allophonic mergers: Broad transcriptions can sometimes be simplified by combining similar sounds and representing them with a single grapheme.

8. Systematic positional spelling: A writing system can be systematic and predictable without conforming to the phonemic idea of only one spelling per sound.

9 Base pronunciation: The dictionary pronunciation guides may be the model for a phonemic writing system but a single standard is needed. Ron Footer proposed Longman's Pronunciation Dictionary by J C Wells.

Coollist a victim of own popularity.

While the idea of a no-cost automated mailing list sounded great, we seem to have gotten what we paid for. Coollist has attracted more users than they can handle and now is experiencing frequent non-operational periods. The service is currently so unreliable that most of the active participants on the list have returned to maintaining their own mailing lists.

Commercial services are available for $60 per year which appear to have more of a commitment to reliability and good support. One example is ... The $60 allows the list manager to distribute mail to up to 300 people and also includes 5MB of web space. Free email accounts are available from Hot Mail and Juno.

[Web addresses have been omitted as they are unlikely to be valid now. Search engines may find the people or topics. See SSS Links page.]

URLs for spelling related websites.

SSS page - Cut Spelling.

Craig Schooonmaker's Fanetiks - Welkam tu a nu wae uv rieting Ingglish - a raashanal wae.

Spell Well - A variation on Truespel and New Spelling (mentioned before).

George Lahey's Inglish - A well thought-out web page illustrating TO problems and offering a solution.

Steve's Simple Spelling Page - A link page with Valerie Yule's Spelling Reform Bibliography.

The Trouble with Spelling - The html version of an article on English orthography.

The Origins of the Alphabet - A short history of writing systems and letter shapes.

Michael Everson - Different character sets including Klingon, Celtic, Ogham, Coptic, hieroglyphics, etc.

BTRSPL - All released versions are available.


List of 12 adopted.

In 1898, the National Education Association (USA) adopted a list of 12 reformed spellings: program, tho, altho, thoro, thorofare, thru, thruout, catalog, prolog, Decalog, demagog, pedagog.


Choice - or cop-out?

"For words like colour/color, which seem to generate more apoplexy than any others (particularly in British readers), we have adopted the happy compromise of colo(u)r. Americans should Tipp-Ex out the u thruout, and British readers should delete the brackets instead."

- Ben and Jonathan Finn

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