Useful And Fantastic: Spelling Revolution
Val Yule calls for revolutionary changes in English spelling.
If you like playing Scrabble or crosswords, put your spelling interest and brains to this!
A terribl amount of waste is causd by unnecessary difficultys in English spelling, which could be cleard up. A bit of innovativ thinking, and all the rules needed for sensibl English spelling could fit on one page, with litl difference to the appearance of print, as u see in this “spelling for reading without traps”. The spelling rules for most other alphabetic languages fit on one page.
The unnecessary difficultys in spelling handicap English as the international lingua franca; as an international education medium in multilingual developing nations; lerners of English language; lerners of English literacy; and most peple if they hav to rite without a Spellchecker.
The costs of unnecessary difficulties include longer time to lern literacy; millions who fail; mor remedial teaching; and a hundred years of mostly wasted reserch into spelling and teaching methods – which still omit R&D into how English spelling could be improved.
Spelling reformers have failed by attempting radical “fonetic” reforms that has make print look too unfamiliar, or by making unsistematic lists that could add to the caos. Our spelling is 80% sensibl – we could clear up the oherr 20% by being systematic.
Pairents still wish their children to lern difficult silly spellings as long as these ar needed in order to be acseptabl. In the same way, pairents in other places bound girls’ feet or mutilated them to ensure they would be acsceptabl.
Today SMS texting, advertising spellings and internet chatting show that most peple would welcom simpler spellings that caus themselvs no problems and cost taxpayers nothing.
Some clues to cleaning up English spelling
Every major language except English has had a major or minor writing system reform in the past 150 years. The Académie Française has just sponsord a major French reform, allowing 6000 easier spellings as vairiants in its premier dictionary, with the explicit aim to make literacy easier. What publicity has this had in English? Hardly eny.
Enyone can start spelling more simply by just dropping surplus letters in werds such as gardian, gage, garantee and accommodate. It’s alredy happend with spellings like program, gram, develop, adrenalin, control, lanolin, paraffin and so on. Surplus letters waste up to 6% of print and typing-time and even mor in lerning time.
Secondly, let’s insist that the rules of English spelling be set out on one page only. Let 35 very common irregularly spelld words stay, becaus they make up so much of everything u read. Then hav sistematic spelling patterns with singl direct sound-spelling relationships exept for a few spelling patterns which allow vairiants, like the French idea. And see some Internet pages for how to solv the biggest spelling problem - the long vowels A E I O U.(http://home.vicnet.net.au/ozideas/sprules1p.htm and more pages at http://home.vicnet.net.au/ozideas/spelling.htm))
How much easier it could be for lerners to start with a Dictionary Pronunciation Gide that looks like real spelling. Then they use the rest of the rules on One Page Spelling. which include Spelling without Traps for Readers, which also make it possibl to read present spelling too.
Here is an exampl from a reading book for beginners with a very short summary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Line 1. Simpl spel-ing for be-gin-r-s, with sound-letter relationships based on the BBC Pronunciation Guide, and 35 very common 'sight wurds'.
Line 2. Spelling without traps for readers
Line 3. Present spelling.
1. All pèp-l ar born frè and