[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1992/2 p22, later designated J13]
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The Gift by O'Henry.
In "Fonetic" Spelling (Key after text).
This is wun of O'Henry's best storys. He livd a hundred yeers ago when yung men ernd $30 for a 54 our week, when a shabby room rented for $8, when gerls let thair hair gro doun to thair nees, and when men wor poket woches - befor the invenshun of rist woches.Wun dolar and sixty-seven sents. That was all. And fifty-too sents of it was in penys. Penys saevd wun and too at a tiem. Dela counted it three tiems. Wun dolar and sixty seven sents. And the next dae wuud be Crismas.
Thair was nuthing to do but flop doun on the shaby litl chair and cri. So Dela did it.
Whiel Dela is drieing her ies, taek a luuk at the hoem. A fernisht room at $8 a week. A gas lamp with a crakt shaed and a flor that sqeekt at evry step.
In the hallwae belo was a maelbox, rairly uezd, and an electric buton frum which noebody cuud coex a ring. Oever it was a card with the naem "Mr. Jaems Dilingham Yung'. The "Dilingham" caem frum a former tiem of prosperrity when its oener was being paed therty dolars a week. Now, when the incum had shrunk to twenty, the leters of "Dilinghaam" luukt blerd as if thae wer thinking of faeding out, leeving oenly a modest D. But whenever Mr. Jaems Dilingham Yung caem hoem to the room on the top flor he was caud "Jim" and hugd bi Mrs. James Dillingham Yung, hoom U allredy noe as Dela.
Dela finisht her cri and atended to her cheeks with a pouder puf. She stuud bi the windo and luukt out sadly at a grae cat wauking on a grae fens in a grae bak yard. Tomorro wuud be Crismas Dae, and she had oenly $1.67 with which to bi Jim a prezent. She had bin saeving evry peny she cuud for munths, with this rezult. Twenty dolars a week duzn't go far. Expenses had bin graeter than she had expected. Thae allwaes ar. Oenly $1.67 to bi a prezent for Jim. Her Jim. She had spent meny hapy ours planing sumthing nies for him. Sumthing fien and rair. Sumthing just a litl bit werthy of being his wief. What cuud she do?
Sudenly she ternd frum the windo and luukt into the miror. Her ies wer shiening. Qikly she puuld doun her hair and let it fall iuo its fuul length.
Now, thair wer too pozeshuns of the Jaems Dilingham Yungs in which thae boeth tuuk a miety pried. Wun was Jim's larj goeld poket woch that had bin his grand faather's. The uther was Dela's hair. Noebody els had hair as long and buetyful as Dela's, and noebody els had a woch as stuning as Jim's.
Dela's long hair now fel about her, ripling and shiening liek a cascaed of broun wauters. It reecht belo her nee. Then she pind it up agen nervusly and qikly. Wuns she hezitaeted for just a minit and stuud stil whiel a teer or too splasht on the worn carpet.
On went her oeld broun jaket; on went her oeld broun hat. With a wherl of skerts and the briet sparkl stil in her ier, she fluterd oun the dor and doun the stairs to the street.
She stopt at the sien that red: "Wigs Maed to Order". Dela ran up wun fliet. Thair she met a larj gruf wuuman.
"Wil U bi mi hair?" askt Dela.
"I bi hair," sed the stern wuuman. "Taek yur hat off and let's luuk at it."
Doun ripld the broun cascaaed.
"Twenty dolars," sed the wuuman. "Giv it to me qik," sed Dela.
And for the next too ours Dela floeted hapily frum wun stor to anuther luuking for Jim's prezent.
She found it at last. It was just riet for Jim and no wun els. Thair was nuthing liek it in eny of the stors, and she had ternd all of them insied out. It was a platinum chaen, simpi and elegant in dezien. It was eeven werthy of The Woch. As soon as she saw it she nue it was reit for Jim. It was liek him. It was cool and valueabl.
It cost twenty-wun dolars, and Dela hurryd hoem with the 67 sents. With that chaen in his woch, Jim cuud luuk at the tiem in eny company. Grand as the woch was, he sumtiems luukt at it on the sli becauz of the oeld lether strap he uezd insted of a chaen.
When Dela got hoem she tuuk out her curling iern and went to werk repairing the damej dun bi her jenerosity and her luv for Jim.
Within forty minits her hed was coverd with tieny curls that maed her luuk lick a kid. She luukt in the miror long and cairfuly.
"If Jim duzn't kil me," she sed to herself, "befor he taeks a second luuk at me, he'l sae I luuk liek a corus gerl. But whut cuud I do - o whut cuud I do with a dolar and sixty-seven sents?"
At 7 o'clok the coffy was maed and the frieing pan was on the bak of the stoev hot and redy to cuuk the chops.
Jim was never laet. Dela dubld the chaen in her hand and sat on the corner of the taebl neer the dor that he allwaes enterd. Then she herd his step on the stair far doun on the ferst fliet. She felt scaird for just a moement. She had a habit of saeing litl silent prairs about the simplest evrydae things, and now she whisperd: "Pleez, God, maek him think I'm stil prity."
The dor oepend and Jim stept in and cloezd it. He luukt thin and verry seerius. Pur felo, he was oenly twenty-too. He needed a nue oevercoet and he was without gluvs.
Jim stopt insied the dor, as stif as a seter at the smel of a qael. His ies wer fixt on Dela, and thair was an expreshun in them that she cuud not understand. It terrified her. It was not angger, nor serpriez, not disaprooval, nor horror, nor eny of the feelings she had bin prepaird for. He simply staird at her with that straenj expreshun on his faes.
Dela wigld off the taebl and went to him. "Jim, darling," she cried, "don't luuk at me that wae. I had mi hair cut off and i soeld it becauz I cuudn't liv thru Crismas without giving U a prezent. It'l gro out agen - U won't mind, wil U? I just had to do it. Mi hair groes so fast. Sae 'Merry Crismas!' and let's be hapy. U don't noe whut a nies - whut a buetyful, nies gift I'v got for U."
"U'v cut off yur hair?" askt Jim, sloely, as if he stil didn't noe it after a lot of hard thinking.
"Cut it off and soeld it," sed Dela. "Don't U liek me just as much enyhow? I'm stil me without mi hair."
Jim luukt about the room cueriusly. "U sed yur hair is gon?" he sed.
"U needn't luuk for it," sed Dela. "It's soeld - soeld and gon. It's Crismas Eev, Jim. Be guud to me becauz I soeld it for U. Maebe the hairs on mi hed ar numberd, but noebody cuud ever count mi luv for U. Shal I puut the chops on, Jim?"
Jim woek up qikly out of his dreem. He throo his arms around Dela. Then droo a pakej frum his oevercoet poket and laed it on the taebl. "Don't maek eny mistaek about me, Del," he sed. "I don't think thair's enything in the wae of a haircut or a shaev or a shampoo that cuud maek me liek my gerl eny les. But if U'l unrap that pakej U mae see whi U had me serpriezd at ferst."
Dela's nimbl finggers tor at the string and paeper. And then a screem of joi; and then, alas! a qik chaenj to teers and waels reqiering all the comforting powers that Jim had.
For thair lay The Coems - the set of hair coems that Dela had wershipt for a long tiem in a Braudwae stor windo. Buetyful tortus shel coems with jooeld rims - just the shaed to wair in the buetyful vanisht hair. Thae wer expensiv coems, she nue, and her hart had longd for them without the leest hoep of ever having them. And now thae wer hers, but the long broun hair that shuud hav adornd them was gon.
She hugd them tiet, and after a whiel was aebl to luuk up with dim ies and smiel and sae: "Mi hair groes so fast, Jim!"
And then Dela jumpt up liek a litl scaird cat and cried, "0, o!"
Jim had not yet seen his buetyful prezent. She held it out to him eegerly in her oepen hand. The preshus metal chaen seemd to flash with a reflecshun of her briet spirit.
"Isn't it buetyful, Jim? I hunted all oever toun to fiend it. U'l hav to luuk at yur woch a hundred tiems a dae now. Give me yur woch. I waunt to see how the chaen luuks on it."
Insted of oebaeing, Jim tumbld doun on the couch and puut his hands under the bak of his hed and smield.
"Del," he sed, "Let's puut our Crismas prezents awae and keep them for a whiel. Thaie'r too nies to uez just now. I soeld the wochj to get the muny to bi yur coems. And now supoez U put the chops on."
Key to pronounciations (partial)
- An <e> following any vowel gives that vowel the "long" pronounciation.
- <aa> as in father; <all> as in haul; <j> as in edge; <uu> as in could, pull; <zh> as in vision.
- Plurals, possessives, 3rd person singular present all retain <-s> even tho many are pronounst "z". "U"= "you"
[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1992/2 pp19 later designated J13]
N'wenglish: the way to Instant* Literacy
By Bob Cleckler. Northwest Publishing,
5949 South, 350 West, Murray UT 84107.
$12.95 plus $1.50 postage and handling in USA.
The author starts with a challenge to understand a root cause of illiteracy - English spelling - and with an exercise in problem solving. Four visual problems are presented, which can only be solved by non-obvious but not prohibited means. These demonstrate the necessity of getting a different perspective before some problems can be solved.
His spelling system uses <tt> for the unvoiced ("soft") <th>, and adds <-c> to vowels to make them long. Only <k> is used for its sound, <c> only in <ch>. The vowel sound in "full, good!" is spelt <oo>, while <ue> is used for "fool, soon". "Are" is spelt <or>, and "far" as <for>, while "for" is respelt <fur>. Thus "full" becomes "fool", and "fool" becomes "foel". These make for confusion in moving between T.O. and N'wenglish.
Appendix I gives the Gospel of John in N'wenglish, the first half with macrons over long vowels, the rest without them (using <-e>). Appendix 3 has suggestions for teaching - based much on Frank Laubach's experience.
Recherche et réform. Laisons - HESO, # 19-20.
Janvier 1992. 50 Franks, TTC
27 Rue Paul Bert 94204, Ivry-Sur Seine Cédex
Nina Catach wrote four, and Susan Baddeley two of the 22 articles in this issue. They hope to supply us with translations of a few of the articles, and with reports on the implementation of these and other developments in French spelling.
This is the latest issue, in French, of the series begun by Histoire el Structuer de l'Orthographe in 1978.
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