Spelling Reform?
Handbook of Simplified Spelling (1920)
Spelling, Its True Function
Spelling was invented by man and, like other human inventions, is capable of development and improvement by man in the direction of simplicity, economy, and efficiency. Its true function is to represent as accurately as possible by means of simbols (letters) the sounds of the spoken (i.e. the living) language, and thus incidentally to record its history. Its province is not, as is often mistakenly supposed, to indicate the derivations of words from sources that ar inaccessible except to the learned, or to perpetuate the etimologic gesses of the partly learned.

Anomalies of English Spelling
English spelling, owing to the conditions that governd the growth of the English language, now presents many anomalies. The same letter, or combination of letters, often represents many different sounds; while the same sound is often represented by many different letters, or combinations of letters.

The combination ough, for example, represents at least 9 different sounds in the words cough, rough, though, through, plough, hough, thorough, thought, hiccough; and the sound of e in let is represented in at least 12 other ways in the words aesthetic, bury, head, friend, heifer, foreign, Leicester, leopard, many, oecumenical, said, says..

There ar at least 20 different ways of representing the sound of sh, as in ship (ship, sure, issue, mansion, schist, pshaw, conscience, conscientious, moustache, nauseous, suspicion, partial, partiality, mission, ocean, oceanic, machine, fashion, fuchsia); at least 24 ways of representing the sound of a, as in fate (a, aye, bay, arraign, straight, weigh, vane, vain, vein, obey, allegro, reign, champagne, gauge, demesne, gaol, Gael, dahlia, halfpenny, Maine, matinee, ballet, eh, yea); and so on.

Many words contain, in writing and printing, letters that ar not sounded at all in speech, as b in lamb, debt; c in scissors; e in are, have, heart, lived; g in diaphragm; h in ghost, school, rhyme; u in build, honour, mould; etc.

Our spelling has become so irrational that we ar never sure how to spel a new word when we hear it, or how to pronounce a new word when we read it.

Like Chinese
Indeed, the present tendency in the scools is to disregard the fonetic basis of English spelling, and to treat the written and printed words as ideografs—like Chinese—the pupils being taught to recognize a word by its appearance as a whole, rather than by a futil attempt to analize the supposed sounds of the letters composing it. Vast amounts of mony and incalculable years hav been spent in efforts, never wholly successful, to teach children to memorize the intricate and unreasonable combinations of letters that conventionally represent the spoken words of the English tung — a feat that, more than any other accomplishment, is unreasonably assumed to stamp them as “educated".

English Spelling Originally Fonetic
English spelling was at first practically fonetic, like the spelling of Latin, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and most other languages, and changed as pronunciation changed. In its case, however, various causes combined to interfere with this orderly process. Among them wer the variations in the early dialects, the different spelling sistems of the Norman conquerors, the later different spelling sistem of the imported Dutch printers, the bungling attempts during the Renaissance to make our spelling “etimological,” and the continual ingrafting of words from other living tungs in their foren spellings — spellings that they retaind with slight modifications after their pronunciation had greatly changed in English speech.

English writers before the invention of printing, and for some time afterward, largely followd their own notions in regard to spelling, but the general aim was to indicate the pronunciation of the spoken word; and it is possible for scolars to determin with a fair degree of accuracy how English was pronounst at different periods in those days.

Invention of Printing, Effect on Spelling
With the invention of printing, however, English spelling began to cristalize into more or les fixt forms. This took place gradually thru the action of the "chapels", or printing houses, in selecting from the current spellings of a given word the one that most ploasd the fancy of the master printer, and adopting it as the “office stile". Unfortunately, the earliest printers of English wer nativs of Holland, who, with far loo little knowledge of English or of its proper pronunciation to fit them to be arbiters of English spelling,

Will the European Community Reform English?
The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as Euro English (Euro for short).

In the first year, “s" will be used instead of the soft “c." Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard “c” will be replaced with "k.” Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced by “f.” This will make words like "fotograf" 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e”s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th” by "z" and “w” by “v.” During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou,” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

Ze drem vil finali kum tru!

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Author: Bob_Doyle

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