[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989-2 p3 later designated J11]


Acceptability problems.

From His Grace, the Archbishop of York:-

I admit that though there is a good case for modest simplification, I had never previously heard of the Society. Having read your literature my immediate reaction is that it contains some excellent ideas, but that you are probably trying to do too much all at once and that your proposals may therefore suffer the fate of Esperanto. The fact that American spelling has not proved acceptable in this country is, I suppose, an example of the resistances likely to be encountered.

Indeed the difficulties in changing something so fundamental to most people's educated awareness are formidable and it is difficult to know where one begins. Perhaps computer language might be a good starting point because being new itself it is not likely to resist further innovation. Furthermore the next generation will, I suspect all be using it. It might thus gain currency alongside standard spelling without in the first instance threatening it.

Oldest member.

From Mrs D M Castell, St Leonards on Sea, E Sussex:-

I regret to inform you that my father, Mr H V Borley of Bexhill, died on May 1st, aged 93. He kept your magazines from April 1926 and January 1927. For his own notes he would often use simplified spelling. In 1931 he was writing for the Decimal Education Magazine. He was certainly most keen on spelling reform and was reading your Journal until the last one received.

[Axel Wijk: see Bulletins.]

Axel Wijk.

From Mrs Anna-Greta Wijk, Stockholm:-

I was deeply touched learning that my husband's Regularized English has been such a source of inspiration. I read every issue of the SSS Journal with the greatest interest and I follow the development of your efforts thoroughly. My husband was fully aware of the enormous difficulties in finding a solution to the reading and writing problem of the English language, and he often said that it will take generations to find a suitable way to solve the problem. For Axel, who was such a skilled phonetician, it was an intellectual challenge to present a system that he believed in.

Waning enjoyment.

From Alison Tams, Birmingham:-

I am a nursery teacher whose job it is to encourage the first enjoyment of writing, and the mother of an 8 year old who has seen that enjoyment slowly wane. At 4 and 5 she was happily exploring the delights of writing, but now only sees it as an irksome, troublesome school activity. I am convinced that the problem of spelling was one of the factors which discouraged her. She used to write phonetically and understandably with great enthusiasm; she now writes with no enthusiasm, still struggling with the transition from phonetics to English spelling.

One day, on a rare occasion when I saw some of her writing, I commented that had she been American, some of her spellings would have been right. I was touched by the look of relief, pleasure and pride in her face. I think this shows the degree of strain she was under trying to interpret and follow the inconsistent rules of English spelling. I think she was relieved that it was not her who was incapable, but the English language which was unreasonable. I now take every opportunity to point out the inconsistencies to her in order to bolster her confidence.

Trying out Cut Spelling.

From Timothy Moore, Cambridge:-

I'm sur u'l be glad wen th Cut Spelling Working Group produces its Practicl Guid. I'l be glad too - not to mastr th systm, bt just to hav a guid.

I don't think forenrs can be taut Gardian, or Upwrd, or Moor - wat about telefon directries?

Th reasns for my using CS now ar:
as a jestur of suport, as an exampl to othrs and as an exercys of my freedm. Obviusly I shan't use it in unsuitbl circmstances.

I'm sur u no that 1st staje CS can't produce fonograficly regulr spelings, bt has to be a comprmise between sevrl ireconcilbl criteria.

How cn th foren lernr deduce th pronunciation of both 'purpose' and 'supose', or of 'hos' and 'som' and 'bom'? How cn he deduce frm th pronunciation tht 'rite' isn't spelt 'ryt' (as in 'insyt') or 'hos' isn't spelt 'hooz' (as in 'booz').

I don't see tht, becaus 'tense' has to keep th finl <e>, 'purpose' shud, or that becaus 'princess' needs th finl <ss>, 'mes' can't be spelt like 'yes'.

[Harvie Barnard: see Journal, Anthology, Bulletins.]

Modernizing World English.

From Harvie Barnard, Tacoma, WA, USA:-

In promoting English as the 'Language of the World', we are reminded of the present program here in the US to make US English our 'Official Language'. But altho most of us speak and write a more or less Johnsonian English according to Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of 1755, the US English organization has not as yet defined precisely what form of English they would legalize as 'Official'.

The Honorary Chairman of US English, S I Hayakawa, has been in communication with me, and has agreed that the archaic English of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries is not what we need as the basis of an international medium of communication. I have also had extensive correspondence with other leading members of the US English group, including their Director of Research, who has agreed with me that Johnsonian English may well require some modification before it is wholly acceptable as a world-wide language for all English speaking, reading, writing and spelling purposes.

This problem is not as yet resolved. We are therefore concerned that our family of English speaking peoples need to consider the fundamental issues at stake before a world-wide program of English promotion is permanently tied to an archaic outmoded orthography which has perhaps done more harm to the extension of our language than any other major factor.

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[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989/2 p.24 later designated J11]

Strategies of an adult dyslexic.

We are grateful to Jean Hutchins, Editor of the South East Surrey Dyslexia Association (S.E.S.D.A.) Newsletter, for permission to reprint this account. Misspellings are from the original.

I am a 40 years old married man with two children, a boy aged 11 years and a girl who is 9 years old. I was the youngest of two brothers, and was educated intirely within the state system.

On leaving school at 17 years of age, with one O-level and six of the new GCSEs (it was the first year of this exam) three with grade 2 and the rest with grade 3, high joined the Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps. This was an achivement for me as the Cadet Corps set a 5 O-Level standard (English Lang. and Maths included). Having squeezed through an entrance exam I discovered my fellow cadets were all my peers with reguard to academic qualifications. All had numerous O-Levels and many had A-levels. This apart, I could hold my own in what was a Higher Education College for aspiring Police Officers.

On joining the Police Force, I completed my training, coming top in my class. I had no problems apart from pressure in 'written' situations. This I overcame by writing very badly! I had never been a very good speller, having had to cope with exams by not only learning the text, but key word spellings as well. Police examinations were easier to adapt to this system, but by taking them I would only be placing myself in the type of job situation that I was trying to avoid. I did not take any of the promotion exams for this reason, and joined the Traffic Branch. This branch does more report writing, but in 'plain English' with only a limited number of key words.

By making friends with the typists, I could dictate any complicated report, thus saving hours of time (and a forrest of screwed up paper!). Also, as one has more service, one's suggestions are listened to and acted on e.g. "I think it would be better to do this, not that." With this experience, I am able to manipulate events to insure that I'am not placed in a situation which will manifest my poor English.

When my son started going to school, it was soon aparent that he had trouble with the written word. He was tested and found to be dylexic. I started atending S.E.S.D.A. meetings. On listening to the speakers talking about 'Children' I knew that a large amount of what they said applied to me.

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[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 11, 1989/2 p.21 later designated J11]

Visual disruption from Letter-Omission.

A factor in assessing the likely acceptability of specific reformed spellings is the degree of visual shock they provoke. Readers are invited to rank from 0-5 the relative visual shock they experience from the following forms:


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[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 11, 1989/2 p.29 later designated J11]

Alternative spellings and misspellings from age 6 to 11: can readers help?

As suggested in the Editorial, the time may now be ripe to assemble further data on English spelling patterns. Such a task offers readers an opportunity to become involved in the necessary research; but arrangements need to be coordinated to ensure that procedures are standardized and work is not duplicated. Please contact the editor if you would like to contribute.

Alternative spellings.

A systematic search through recent editions of medium-sized dictionaries is needed to compile a full inventory ofalternative spellings currently listed. The potential importance of such data can be judged from §6 of the submission to the National Curriculum Council (see p34). Offers are sought from readers willing to scan a section (e.g. A-E, or F-K etc.) of one of the following dictionaries (or similar): American Heritage, Chambers, Collins, Gage, Longman, Macquarie, Oxford (Concise), Random House, Readers Digest, Websters (e.g. Collegiate).

Young learners' misspellings.

Useful data has already been analysed (Journal J6 1987/3, pp21-24) on the misspellings of university students and 15-year olds; but apart from the century-old evidence of Daisy Ashford's Young Visiters, we have not carried out such an analysis of the misspellings of 6-11 year olds. Readers having access to the writing of children of this age who would like to collect their misspellings for analysis are asked to inform the editor of the age of the children concerned and the kind of material from which the errors might be collected.

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