[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/2 p.30 later designated J11 ]
Also on this page: Towards an International Orthografy and Notices.
[Valerie Yule: see Book, Journals, Newsletters, Media, Personal View, Anthology, Bulletins, Web links.]

Experimentl Version of Cut Spelling - CS1 & CS2.

Valerie Yule

Valerie Yule writes from the Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.

In view of queries such as J Clausen's (JSSS J10 1989/1), it shoud be made clear that the principls of 'Cut Spelling' ar currently being investigated in two versions, wich might be called CS1 and CS2. CS2 is Chris Upward's mor radicl design, and is the subject of the Cut Spelling Working Group of the SSS. It has been described in articls in these pages, and Chris is working on a linguistic analysis, including criteria of compatibility and phonographicity.

Valerie Yule is investigating a mor conservativ version from the aspect of 'human engineering' - how reading and riting can be made mor 'user-frendly' to fit the needs and abilities of lernrs and skild users. This means investigating what those needs and abilities ar, by colating past reserch and experimenting in education and cognitiv psycology, to find out what realy is 'surplus'. Her concept of 'CS1' was first publishd in 1971, as part of a posibl 3-point reform - 'Cut unnecessary letrs, change misleading consonants, systematise misleading vowels' - and can be stated as "removal of letrs surplus to representation of meaning or pronunciation". This means mainly silent letrs, surplus dubld consonants, and misleading letrs in vowel digraphs.

An intended principl was that ordinary peple coud easily aply the rule "when in dout, cut it out". That is, when poor spelrs don't kno where extra letrs ar needed - leve them out. This difrs from the CS2 rule, "when in dout, don't leve out", wich is for good spelrs who kno the conventionl spelling, but want to change it. Anothr deference is that CS1 avoids changes that coud afect pronunciation or cause confusion with current spellings of othr words.

Valerie Yule is also investigating claims made for the value of othr features in riting systems, such as visual distinctivness, retaining spellings for units of meaning across related words, gramaticl markrs, distinguishing homophones in spelling, and wethr reading is easier if word-segments ar 'unitised' by retaining weakly stressd vowels. The parametrs and areas for reserch wer discussd in 'The design of spelling to meet needs and abilities' in Harvard Educational Review, 1986, 56.3, 278-297.

'Readers' adjustment to spelling change' by Yule and Greentree, publishd in Human Learning, 1986, 5. 229-247, described an experiment showing that adults and secondary scool students adjustd without any significant loss of reading speed or comprehension to reading continuum text in Cut Spelling 1, and with hardly mor dificulty to Cut Spelling 2 - wheras reading a 'spel as you speak' phonemic spelling is at first quite disruptive and a 'morphophonemic' spelling change, on the lines that the linguist Chomsky has suggestd ar 'optimum' was also significantly hardr.

Howevr, the version of Cut Spelling 2 that was testd excluded words that coud be confused with othr words or hav a changed pronunciation. For exampl, in a recent articl in CS2 in JSSS J10 1989/1 p5-9, th nativ readr woud hav to use context to avoid slips with hom, wud, cud, hose, ho, cald, thot, esir and might read sepratly as spratly, litrat as lit-rat, orgnise as org-nise, dificltis as dific-litis and exlnt as exel-not. Poor spelrs might find dificulty in spelling some sylabls that look like consonant strings. This can be testd.

The report of an experiment on efects of CS1 has also been submitd for publication - no improvement over norml spelling in the limitd practice that was posibl, but som encuraging othr findings - and furthr experiments ar continuing. Howevr, these involv CS1 only, since useful reserch testing the mor radicl extensions of CS2 must involv practice, as imediat responses can be slo and even puzld. And subjects willing to giv time and efort to practice must be keen or paid, and pay means money to pay with.

What I woud most like to investigate now is television subtitling, wethr by simulation, or, idealy, by testing the public on public chanls, since subtitles coud be the most useful introduction for a cut spelling. They require fairly fast reading, and many peple complain they cannot read the words in time - and here also space is at a premium.

A feature wich distinguishes both CS1 and CS2 from previus reform-atempts, apart from Harry Lindgren's 'SR1' and John Beech's experimentl 'Regular Spelling', is that they modify traditions spelling by a systematic principle so remaining 'bakwards compatibl' with our heritage of print. Most othr reforms hav tried to bild a new orthography from scratch, usualy by 'spelling as you speak', or gon at it rathr piecemeal with lists, or in Axel Wijk's 'Regularized Inglish' by numerus smal changes whose basic principl (the most comon spelling) not everyone can aply. The principl of deleting rathr than changing letrs also means far less disruption to the visibl apearance of words, and hence fastr adjustment to the changes - wich ar oftn not even noticed.

The diference between CS1 and CS2 can be seen in a transliteration of the folowing paragraph ritn in Chris Upward's CS2 (from JSSS J10 1989/1. p2l). [1]

CS2. Speling reform aims primarily to make sound-symbl corespondnce mor predictbl. Redundnt letrs (wich by definition conflict with regulr sound-symbl corespondnce) ar particulrly trublsm featurs of th traditionl orthografy.

CS1. Spelling reform aims primarily to make sound-symbl corespondence mor predictable Redundnt letrs (wich by definition conflict with regulr sound-symbl corespondence) ar particulrly trublsom features of the traditionl orthography.

So the linguistic scolrship and psycologicl experiments continue, and we may hope our combined findings wil eventually come togethr to make a design for spelling improvement that is a 'best fit' to the demands and abilities that ar involvd in all comunications tecnology.

[1] But note CS1 changes tend to swithr, as experiment goes on, and the author demonstrates inconsistencies as most new spelrs woud at first. Subjects hav oftn found <th> to be the only cut spelling that hits them, probably since the is the most comon word. In everyday riting I swithr between th, the and include some letr changes such as <f> for <ph> and not using the <y>-> <ie> modification in plurals.



[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989-2 p.31 later designated J11]
[Robert Craig: see Journals, Newsletters.]

Towards a Scientifik and International Orthografy.
or
the Planning of the World Language.

Robert Craig.

Robert Craig writes from Weston-super-Mare, England.

To be akcepted English spelling reform has to offer more than an easier life for children and teachers. It has to break down language barriers. Our allies in this enterprise will be newspaper magnates such as Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell, inkluding some, Axel Springer Vlg. for instance, who do not kurrently publish in English. What spelling reform kan offer men like these is 1) shorter words leading to more ekonomikal use of paper, 2) more rational spellings which make for akkurate kompositing, and 3) most important of all, it holds out the possibility of inkreased sales as more people bekome literate in a more easily learned form of English.

In the European context English has to be adapted to akt as a link language between speakers of Germanik, Romance and Slavonik languages. It has to take on the kharakteristiks of these large language bloks. The idiosynkratik nature of English spelling has to be reformed to give it a typikal orthography. In the worldwide kontext, it has to be able to develop with reference to Chinese (partikularly in its Pinyin Romanized form), Bahasa Indonesia/Malaya and Arabik which do not share the European vokabulary and those great languages of India which do.

Respelling, therefore, has to produce an English which is scientifik and international. I have looked at English from these perspektives. I have tried to take akkount of the frekuencies of sounds and symbols in English. For example, the /ʃ/ sound okkurs more frekuently than the /ʤ/ sound (as in jet), so it would appear that it would be sensible to have a single symbol for /ʃ/ and if necessary a digraf for /ʤ/ (i.e. the opposite of the usual situation now). My solution is <x> for <sh> and <gx> for <j>. An <x> for <sh> has good international precedents, while <gx> for <j> is perhaps less justifiable, but <g> is usual for that sound although <dx> might be preferred on fonetik grounds.

On the international side, the I.P.A. does not necessarily use symbols in the most international way, e.g. where languages have a voiced sibilant it is most usually represented by <s>, whereas <z> is more often used for /dz/, /ts/ or /q/.

When we look at substitution we find that we are restrikted in the substitutions we kan make.

1) In the past there were people who said that <c> should be used for /k/. This proposal is still heard, but those who support it need a very strong kase. On the face of it, the kase for using <k> for /k/ is overwhelming.

2) The use of <k> for /k/ releases <c> and <q> for other purposes. The other use of <c> is as /s/.

3) An <s> is used for /s/ and /z/. Since we are going to use <c> for /s/, we kan use <s> for <z>.

4) Now if we let <s>=<z>, we release <z> for some other purpose. the best use here would be <z> = /ð, θ/.

5) On to <x>. This kan be replaced by <ks>. So <x> is now available and its best use is for /ʃ/.

6) Bakk to <q>. This kan be used for /tʃ/. All these proposals have good international precedents.

There remains one problem as far as the konsonants are koncerned and that is how to use <y> and <j>. On the one hand the present use of <y> and <j> has wide international acceptance. On the other hand <j> = /j/ is also widely agreed and the kase for it is very good. Letting <j> = /j/, as in most European languages, would mean using some digraf for /ʤ/, and I have proposed <gx>. This has the advantage of releasing <y> to be used for the vowel /ʌ/, which does not kurrently have a recognized symbol.

I suggest that the first part of a step by step reform would start with <k> for /k/, as I have done in this artikle. The next step would substitute for the rest of the konsonants. The following stage would be substitution of vowels - a more kontentious process, bekause vowels are more affekted by dialektal faktors than are konsonants.

This artikle has already illustrated the first step, substitution of <k> for 'hard' <c>. So what would the second step look like?

"For at least ten jears zere have been predikxions zat komputers will transform our lives, kreate paperlecc offices, a kaxlecc society and mindlecc gxobs. Alzough zese predikxions have been fulfilled in part, why does ze transformaxion remain inkomplete? Probably bekause zese predikxions ignored boz ze limitations ov komputers and ze resistance of people to embrace ze teknologxy wholeheartedly. Zic is as true ov writing as anyzing elce. Many people now use word proceccors instead of typewriters to produce zeir writing but zere hasn't been muq qangxe in how zey use komputers to improve ze kuality ov writing gxenerally."

(Transcribed from 'The Computer as Style Guide', English Today 19, vol.5 No.3.)

As kan be seen, this already represents a konsiderabl improvement on TO, and it only rekuires two more stages to reach a fully reformed orthografy, i.e. 2) substitution of vowels and 3) kutting of surplus letters.



[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/2 p.36 later designated J11]

Literature Received

Publications and papers recently received include:

Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit (ALBSU) Newsletter, No.34 Summer 1989.

L'Association pour l'information et la recherche sur les orthographes et les systèmes d'écriture

AIROÉ-INFOS, No.2, juillet 1989.

Department of Education and Science English for ages 5 to 16: Proposals of the Secretary of State for Education and Science, June 1989. (Cox Report 2).

Institut für deutsche Sprache, Mannheim Sprachreport, 2/89.

National Curriculum Council, NCC News, June 1989.

South East Surrey Dyslexia Association Newsletter No.37, September 1989.

English Today Vol.5, No.2 (ET18), April 1989; Vol.5, No.3 (ET19), July 1989.

United Kingdom Reading Association (UKRA) Newsletter, June 1989.

Conference.

The United Kingdom i.t.a. Federation
National Course Conference 1989, Lord Leycester Hotel, Jury Street, Warwick, Friday 13-Sunday 15 October 1989. Theme 'Literacy and the Pre-School Child'. Speakers: Dr Tom McArthur, Jean Augur, Sue Lloyd, Dr Joyce Morris, Dr Doris Kelly. Fee including meals and accommodation £89.50.

Meetings of the Simplified Spelling Society.

Main meetings are held four times a year and comprise a committee session for Society business and more general discussion of issues related to spelling reform, often including an address from an outside speaker. These meetings are open to all, but confirmation of the programme should be obtained beforehand from the secretary. Meetings normally begin at 1030 and close at 1330. Meetings are currently scheduled for 30 September 1989, and in 1990 for 17 February & 28 April (AGM). On 30 September 1989 Edward Carney of the Department of Linguistics, University of Manchester, will address the Society on the subject of. "Computer Speech from Spelling: how simple can you get?"



[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/2 p.35 later designated J11]

BROWN & BROWN - SPECIALIZING IN SPELLING. Books on spelling designed for adults, including A Speller's Companion, A short introduction to word origins and the history of English spelling. £1.80 ISBN 1 870596 15 3. 64pp. Brown and Brown, Westward, Cumbria.

[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/2 p.20 later designated J11]

Successor to Laurie Fennelly sought as SSS Secretary
At the 1989 Annual General Meeting Laurie Fennelly announced his intention, after many years of service to the Society, of giving up his office as Secretary as soon as a successor was found. The committee therefore wishes to encourage any member who may be interested in taking on some of the duties of the post to contact the Chairman, Chris Jolly.

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