[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J19, 1995/2, p2.]
[Also on this page: Literature available.]
[Kenneth Ives: see Journals, Newsletters, Anthology, Bulletins, Book Written Dialects.]

Editorials. Kenneth Ives.

The "Teachability" criterion for reformed spellings for schools.

A major failing of traditional spelling is its poor teachability - part phonic, part visual. Two books on the "regularities" (and exceptions) in it (see pages 3-5 for one) each are over 100 pages. Someone has noted "It would require a linguistic PhD. with an encyclopedic memory' to use it reliably. Neither first grade students, nor their teachers, have these qualifications.

Those books present hundreds of rules. For example, 11 rules for doubling consonants, which most reformers would abolish. The other extreme is the linguists ideal of one spelling rule for each phoneme, hence about 44 spelling rules for English. Unfortunately this plan only spells about 28% of English words as in the dictionary. The alternate, briefly (and likely controversially) described below would require about 97 rules, with long vowels spelt differently in different positions, but would spell about 50% of words as in the dictionary.

This plan would need about 9 rules for syllables. It would avoid syllabic "l, m, n, r" as complicating the definition of a syllable. This is another case where the optimum reform for learners differs from the optimum reform for fluent adults.

Phonics First.

A first grade instruction plan which would teach phonics first, replacing "invented spellings" with regular spellings as the basic rules are taught may need to be developed and debated. It could make half of English words regular by teaching:

1. pronunciation rules for the articles the, a. Stressed these are pronounced thee, ay. Unstressed they are pronounced with schwa, thuh, uh;

2. pronounciation rules for plural nouns in "-s, - es", when these are pronounced "s" or "z";

3. The spelling rules for long vowels in different positions in a word: end of word = ai, ay; au, aw; oi, oy; ou, ow. Examples are: aid, day; author, saw; oil, boy; out, how. Also me, I, go, thru.

end of syllable: ba/by, fi/nal, do/nut, du/ty;
common schwa sound spellings; apart, perhaps, local, extra, over given, event, moment.

Regularized spellings would use the same rules (about 97!) (plus 9 for syllables) on other words:
to = tu, write = ryt, of = ov, was = wuz, age = aij.

Using only regular and regularized spellings, first grade students could write any word they hear (as with ITA), and half would be as in the dictionary. It should be possible for them to learn dictionary spellings for over 1,000 words, compared with 200 in Edward Fry's plan, which uses both phonic and sight methods, and irregular spellings.

A History of English for First Graders?

If spelling reformers are to make an impact in elementary schools, one method will need to be imparting some of the history of English to first graders, their teachers, and their parents. This presents a challenge to us. Can such a history, with explicit spelling reform implications, be written in a way that first graders will understand and enjoy? Your editor has made an attempt at this, in 20 lines, each line ryming with a nearby one. Can others come up with similar efforts, in the 20 to 40 line range? Suggested illustrations, and an introduction for parents and teachers might well accompany such an effort. These histories will need field testing on first graders, as preparation for some becoming children's books.

[Edward Rondthaler: see Journals, Newsletters, Anthology, Bulletins, Personal View 8, ALC web.]

Guest Editorial. Edward Rondthaler.

In view of the disappointment of "Literacy by the year 2000" the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English should appoint a commission to develop a definitive and unbiased answer to these questions:

1. Why, among the developed countries, is the nation with virtually the highest per pupil expenditure for education in the lowest quartile of literacy?

2. In the light of scientific advances in teaching technologies, what steps should be taken to correct this?

The commission should be chaired by Robert MacNeil, author of "The History of the English Language" who retired from broadcasting in April. It should include, for example, Marilyn Adams, author of "Beginning to Read", the U. S. Department of Education's exhaustive study of whole language and phonics; two persons chosen by her; and etymologist like Louis J. Herman or someone of the stature of Mario Pei; educators like Patrick Groff, Helen Bisgard, or Wood Smethurst; a sociologist like Kenneth Ives; someone from Literacy Volunteers, or William Barlow of Laubach Literacy; an expert in Turkey's highly successful solution for its enormous illiteracy problem, like Nur Kurtoglu-Hooton; and an educator and author experienced in computer applications like Edward Lias.

[Similar lists, shorter at first, were on the inside covers of each issue of the second JSSS series. Hard copies are no longer available.]

Literature Available.

From the Simplified Spelling Society, London, England.

NEW SPELLING 90. £5, outside Europe, US $12.

SPELLING REFORM IN CONTEXT, Bob Brown. £2, outside Europe, US $5.

INTRODUCING THE SIMPLIFIED SPELLING SOCIETY, leaflet. 50 copies (or less) £1, outside Europe, US $2.

CUT SPELLING: A Handbook to the simplification of English spelling by the omission of redundant letters. 306 pages. First edition sold out. Orders accepted for 2nd edition, but publication date not yet known. £10, outside Europe, US $20.

ANDROCLES & THE LION, Bernard Shaw. Printed in the Shaw Alphabet with a parallel transcription in traditional orthography. Send £2/$5 for postage and packing. [sample page]

PERSONAL VIEW: Occasional papers by members, £1 or $2 each.
1. Literacy & the way we spell English. Bob Brown.
2. Yurospel. Paul Fletcher. An alternate regular system.
3. SIST3M 2, Therd Idishn. Sinclair Eustace. A 1970's alternate to New Spelling.


From Progresiv Publishr, Chicago, IL USA.

12 pages, US $5 postpaid in North America; $6 overseas.
History of spelling and spelling reforms, especially in the United States.
Examples from Benjamin Franklin to ITA.

TOUGH, THOUGH, THOUGHT: And we call it correct spelling! Leaflet, 5 for US $1.50 for US $7.

From American Literacy Council, New York NY.

[See link to ALC web for current details.]

SOUND-SPEL TM software. For IBM or compatible PC's. Enables user to typewirte using conventional or simplified spelling. Corrects spelling on the fly. Specify American or British spelling. Individual $55/£30. Classroom 10 station use, $300/£150.

SOUND-SPEL+VOICE. Program as described above augmented with instant and delayed voice feedback. Indicate the type of sound driver you have. Individual, $100/£55. Classroom $650/£350.

SOUND-SPEL Demonstration Disk. For use on IBM or compatible PC's. Demonstrates all features of SoundSpel. Indicate what (if any) sound driver you have.$5/£3.

DISCOVERY GAME software. Rhyming game variation of SoundSpel, with vocabulary designed primarily to teach syllable spelling patterns. Emphasizes rationale of simpler spelling. $40/£25.

FONETIC TRANSLATOR software. PC-based software enables users to transliterate common word processing documents from traditional to simplified spelling, at least 55 words per minute. $40/£25.

"BEFORE teaching the ABC's". 50-minute audio tape and booklet helps parents/teachers teach children the SOUND of each letter before teaching them letter names. $12/£7.

Storybook printed in parallel lines, traditional and simplified, not unlike SoundSpel. Unless needed, simpler spelling is hidden by moveable film overlay. $12/£7 postpaid. [see 'Fonetic' version.]

SOUND-SPELLING STARTER KIT. Contains list of 100 simpler spellings for use in correspondence. Includes rubber stamp stating that text is written partly in simpler spelling. $12/£7.

DICTIONARY OF SIMPLIFIED 'FONETIC' SPELLING: 44,500 words in T.O. and 'Fonetic', including frequency of occurrence of each word and phoneme based on a corpus of 1,000,000 words. $20/£12.

From Doug Everingham, Westlake Q. Australia.
[See items about Spelling Reform in Australia.]

SPELLING REFORM: A New Approach Harry Lindgren. 160 pages, 14 cartoons. £l or US $2: Asia & Oceania Australian $2. UK, US, Australian or Canadian stamps accepted in payment. Post free. Extra copies with same: order, half price.

From Northwest Publishing, UT.

INSTANT LITERACY FOR EVERYONE. Second Edition. By Bob Cleckler. $12:95 plus $1.50 postage and handling in USA. [See description.]

From Better Education thru Simplified Spelling, BEtSS, Detroit MI.
[See items about BEtSS.]

Leaflet: a different approach to the crisis in American Education. Single copies free.

From HESO, Ivry-Sur Seine Codex, FRANCE.

RECHERCHE ET REFORME. Liaisons - HESO, # 19-20. Janvier 1992. 50 Franks, TTC. [See description.]

[See link to Jolly Learning web for current details.]

A comprehensive phonics program for teaching reading, published by Jolly Learning Ltd (the company is owned by Christopher Jolly, SSS chairman). Their leading publication is The Phonics Handbook (£19:95, $19.95) for teachers, but the range includes videos, workbooks, etc. Contact address for catalogs and orders: Chigwell, Essex, UK.

(Note: Phonics Handbook does not use - nor advocate simplified spellings. It provides a systematic phonic basis for learning English spelling. Similar materials will need to be developed using simplified spellings to enable them to be used in any substantial number of elementary classrooms.)

Simplified Spelling on WWW.

Information on simplified spelling' is now accessible electronically (WorldWideWeb): Items available are:

1. Details of the Simplified Spelling Society.

2. Contents of the JSSS, second (American)' series.

3. Text of leaflet 'Modernizing English Spelling: Principles & Practicalities'.

4. Text of leaflet 'Introducing Cut Spelling'.

JSSS Printed in USA by Omega Graphics.

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