Also on this page see Nue Speling version. and Alfabetikal List ov dhe Nue Speling.
On other pages see Advantages 1, 2, 4.
ADVANTAGES OF A RATIONAL SPELLING.
3. THE GAIN TO THE TEACHING OF OUR LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.
TO a child the spoken and the written languages are necessarily almost entirely separate things. Much of its schooling is devoted to reducing the gap between them, and the degree of success attained in this is taken to a large extent as the measure of the adult's education. At present, the gap is widened, and the difficulty of bridging it increased, by the irrational nature of our conventional spelling.
A rational spelling would be quickly learnt, and as it would be related throughout to pronunciation, speech would receive the attention it deserves; and much of the time now wastefully spent by both pupil and teacher on correcting spelling mistakes might be given to more constructive activities. A few difficulties due to exceptions would always remain, owing to the existence of dialectal varieties of pronunciation; for it is very desirable that spelling should be in all essentials uniform everywhere, and this means that a certain number of local sounds would not be accurately represented in writing. But the exceptions would nowhere be numerous, and, what is particularly important, a good reason for their occurrence could always be given: we want to make it as easy as possible for any speaker of English to understand what anyone else writes in it.
Incidentally, an adequately reformed spelling would provide a reasonably satisfactory means of writing dialect speech. We should thus be spared those distortions of conventional spelling commonly found in attempts to represent it, distortions which are, for the most part, meaningless to those who do not already know the dialect in question.
The difficulties caused by our irrational spelling do not end with the preliminary period of "learning to read." Long afterwards, children meet with unfamiliar words on almost every page they read in school; and the process of extending the vocabulary should continue at least throughout school and university life. Since in many cases the present spelling has only an indefinite relation to sound, eye and ear cannot work together; the difficulty of learning a new word is thus increased when it might be lessened. Moreover, the painfully acquired knowledge that a word met with in silent reading may prove to have a very different pronunciation when spoken by an educated man from what the spelling led the reader to expect tends to breed distrust of all new words; and if these words are remembered at all, they are either reserved for writing or remain simply passive in the mind. When, on the other hand, someone less self-conscious makes a bold attempt to use the word in speech, the result may easily be yet another of those spelling pronunciations that form such effective social barriers.
All this has a direct bearing on the study of English literature. It has been said with much truth that classical English writing needs almost as much translation for an ordinary secondary school pupil as a foreign literature. Apart from the aid it would give in building up an adequate vocabulary, a spelling that showed the relation of what is written to living speech would help to break down at least one barrier.
Professor C. H. Page has well said: "The strongest argument for a spelling that shall more nearly represent the real sounds of the words must, it seems to me, rest on our sentiment for style and for poetry, and on a desire to bring back the feeling for poetry from its false dependence on the visible aspect of language, which is always artificial, to a dependence on the real substance of language, that is, the sound. A poem certainly loses nothing in being well read or spoken. Only so can it attain to its real existence as poetry. Yet when it is read or spoken, what becomes of the spelling and of the sentiment which is alleged to be more or less dependent on the spelling? For the sake of truer sentiment, for the sake of a truer feeling for English literature, and especially for poetry, our spelling should be simplified."
ADVANTAGES OF A RATIONAL SPELLING
3. DHE GAEN TO DHE TEECHING OV OUR LANGGWEJ AND LITERATUERTO a chield dhe spoeken and dhe riten langgwejez ar nesesarily aulmoest entierly separet thingz. Much ov its skuuling iz devoeted to reduesing dhe gap between dhem, and dhe degree ov sukses ataend in dhis iz taeken to a larj ekstent az dhe mezher ov dhe adult's eduekaeshon. At prezent, dhe gap iz wiedend, and dhe difikulty ov brijing it inkreest, bie dhe irashonal naetuer ov our konvenshonal speling.
A rashonal speling wood be kwikly lurnt, and, az it wood be relaeted thruout to pronunsyaeshon, speech wood reseev dhe atenshon it dezurvz; and much ov dhe tiem nou waestfooly spent bie boeth puepl and teecher on korekting speling mistaeks miet be given to mor konstruktiv aktivitiz. A fue difikultiz due to eksepshonz wood aulwaez remaen, oïng to dhe egzistens ov dialectal variëtiz ov pronunsyaeshon; for it iz very dezierabl dhat speling shood be in aul esenshalz ueniform evriwhaer, and dhis meenz dhat a surten number ov loekal soundz wood not be akueretly reprezented in rieting. But dhe eksepshonz wood noewhaer be nuemerus, and, whot iz partikuelarly important, a good reezon for dhaer okurrens kood aulwaez be given - we wont to maek it az eezy az posibl for eny speeker ov Inglish to understand whot eniwun els riets in it.
Insidentaly, an adekwetly reformd speling wood provied a reezonably satisfaktory meenz ov rieting dialekt speech. We shood dhus be spaerd dhoez distorshonz ov konvenshonal speling komonly found in atempts to represent it, distorshonz which ar, for dhe moest part, meeningles to dhoez huu duu not aulredy noe dhe dialekt in kwestyon.
Dhe difikultiz kauzd bie our irashonal speling duu not end widh dhe preliminary peeryod ov "lurning to reed." Long aafterwardz, children meet widh unfamilyar wurdz on aulmoest evry paej dhae reed in skuul; and dhe proeses ov ekstending dhe vokabuelary shood kontinue at leest thruout skuul and uenivursity lief. Sins in meny kaesez dhe prezent speling haz oenly an indefinit relaeshon to sound, ie and eer kanot wurk togedher; dhe difikulty ov lurning a nue wurd iz dhus inkreest when it miet be lesend. Moroever, dhe paenfooly akwierd nolej dhat a wurd met widh in sielent reeding mae pruuv to hav a very diferent pronunsyaeshon when spoeken bie an eduekaeted man from whot dhe speling led dhe reeder to ekspekt tendz to breed distrust ov aul nue wurdz; and if dheez wurdz ar rememberd at aul, dhae ar iedher rezurvd for rieting or remaen simply pasiv in dhe miend. When, on dhe udher hand, sumwun les self-konshus maeks a boeld atempt to uez dhe wurd in speech, dhe rezult mae eezily be yet anudher ov dhoez speling pronunsyaeshonz dhat form such efektiv soeshal barryerz.
Aul dhis haz a direkt baering on dhe study ov Inglish literatuer. It haz been sed widh much truuth dhat klasikal Inglish rieting needz aulmoest az much translaeshon for an ordinary rekondary skuul puepl az a forren literatuer. Apart from dhe aed it wood giv in bilding up an adekwet vokabuelary, a speling dhat shoed dhe relaeshon ov whot iz riten to living speech wood help to braek doun at leest wun barryer.
Profesor C. H. Page haz wel sed: "Dhe stronggest arguement for a speling dhat shal mor neerly represent dhe real soundz ov dhe wurdz must, it seemz to me, rest on our sentiment for stiel and for poëtry, and on a dezier to bring bak dhe feeling for poëtry from its fauls dependens on dhe vizibl aspekt ov langgwej, which iz aulwaez artifishal, to a dependens on dhe real substans ov langgwej, dhat iz, dhe sound. A poëm surtenly luuzez nuthing in being wel red or spoeken. Oenly soe kan it ataen to its real egzistens az poëtry. Yet when it iz red or spoeken, whot bekumz ov dhe speling and ov dhe sentiment which iz alejd to be mor or les dependent on dhe speling? For dhe saek ov truër sentiment, for dhe saek ov a truër feeling for Inglish literatuer, and espeshaly for poëtry, our speling shood be simplified."
MAED IN GRAET BRITAN AT DHE PITMAN PRES, BAATH.
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On other pages see Advantages 1, 2, 4.