[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J25, 1999/1, pp24-30]
[See Journal and Newsletter articles, Pamflet 15, Cut Spelling and Papers by Chris Upward.]

Overcomng Orthografic Frontirs, Part II.

Christopher Upward.

Th first part of this articl is appeared in JSSS J24 1998/2, pp18-22.
Both parts ar ritn in Cut Spelng.

As th European Union expands, so do its problms of languaj manajmnt. Many se a solution in english as a natrl lingua franca, but its caotic orthografy is a major deterent to lernrs. This paper sujests that comunication between european languajs is made unecesrily dificlt because ther ritn forms hav not been co-ordnated since roman times. English, notebly, represents an unregulated mishmash of orthografic traditions, wich, if co-ordnated, cud make it a mor efectiv lingua franca.

Part I then anlyzed Cut Spelng (CS) for its compatbility with othr languajs. CS, wich simplifys traditionl orthografy (TO) chiefly by omitng redundnt letrs, has thre cutng rules, each adresng a particulr spelng problm: Rule 1 omits letrs irelevnt to pronunciation, Rule 2 omits vowl letrs from sufixs, and Rule 3 simplifys dubld consnnts. Rule 1 is shown to asimlate numerus individul words (and som jenrl spelng patrns) to cognate forms in al th main west european languajs. (End of Part I)

In Part II, publishd here, CS Rule 2 is shown mainly to brij som importnt difrnces between french and jermn, wile Rule 3 introduces to english a major advantaj of iberian orthografy. CS also substitutes F for PH, so alyning english with danish, duch, italian, norwejan, portugese, spanish, swedish, and, for certn words only, french and jermn. It furthr simplifys th use of capitl letrs in line with italian/spanish, and th use of apostrofes in line with othr jermanic languajs.

Finaly, th paper considrs th implications of th abov concept for intrlingul spelng co-ordnation, and speculates on posbilitis for its realization.

3. Harmnization thru Cut Spelng (cont.)


Th efect of th CS Rule 2 omissions difrs from that of Rule 1, wich alyns many english word forms with ther equivlnts in varius european languajs. Rule 2 (Categry 1) by contrast introduces patrns rarely found in those languajs, altho they did ocur in Old English (and thence Old Norse), and do so today in welsh, in th translitration of arabic and russian, and ocasionly in modrn english. These patrns ar chiefly th use of word-final sylabic L, M, N, R. Thus we se sylabic L in segl 'sail' in Old English and Old Norse (cf, modrn jermn Segel), sylabic M in bosm 'bosm' in Old English, sylabic N as in hræfn/hrafn 'raven' in Old English/Old Norse respectivly, and sylabic R in silfr 'silvr' in Old Norse. We furthr se sylabic L as in welsh trestl, N as in cefn 'bak', and R as in calendr. From arabic we hav patrns with sylabic N such as ibn 'son' (cf, hebrew ben) and R as in th name Nasr (alternativly Nasser). Th russian equivlnts of Alexander, Peter ar comnly translitrated as Aleksandr,Pyotr. [1]

Modrn english has sylabic L in endngs such as apple (th final E is silent), M as in spasm, N as in hadn't, and R in the british form of som dozn words such as centre (th americn form center has non-sylabic R) as wel as in a few words like acre (th E here has 'majic' function, shoing th long valu of th preceding vowl A). Since sylabic L, M, N, R scarcely ocur in th major languajs of westrn Europ (a rare instnce is in certn south jermn surnames like Lendl, Haydn, Mayr), th main efect of CS Rule 2 is not directly to harmnize english with those languajs, but to remove inumerabl anomlis from th spelng of english words that formrly made ther relationship to equivlnt forms in othr languajs unpredictbl. Th consequences ar now anlyzd.

Sylabic L is spelt in a variety of ways in TO, as word-final -LE, -AL, -EL, -IL, -OL, -UL, -YL. In CS these ar harmnized to -L as in beetl, forml, novl, lentl, symbl, consl, methl. In othr languajs th equivlnt endngs apear in difrnt gises. For english TO -LE, th typicl ranje of equivlnts for english possible givs -LE in fr. possible and sp. posible, -EL in jer. possibel and port. possível, -ILE in it. possibile, and sylabic -L in welsh posibl; th CS form posbl uses letrs comn to al th othr languajs, but reduces th english pronunciation to its minml represntation. A difrnt ranje of endngs, but with th same CS outcom, is seen in TO bottle, duch (verb) bottelen, fr. bouteille, it. bottiglia, sp. botella, welsh potel, CS botl.

Wher TO ends in -EL, difrnt patrns again ar seen across th varius languajs: th -EL of TO tunnel is seen in identicl forms in fr., jer., it., as wel as in port./sp. tú nel and welsh twnel; CS again uses sylabic -L in tunl to represent th same final sylabl as in posbl and botl. TO chapel coresponds to duch kapel, fr. chapelle, jer. Kapelle, it. cappella, port. capela, sp. capilla, welsh capel; CS chapl once mor uses th -L comn to al languajs for th final sylabl. Simlrly CS counsl (TO counsel) compares with fr. conseil, jer. Konsilium, it. consiglo, welsh cwnsel.

Th unstresd -AL endng of TO formal is seen variusly modifyd in duch formeel, fr. formel, jer. both formal and formell (with difrnt meanngs), it. formale, port./sp. formal; here too th CS spelng forml subsumes both th E-based and A-based variants of those othr languajs.

Th anomly between th U of TO difficult and th I in fr. difficile, jer. diffizil, it. difficile, port. difícil, sp. dificil disapears in th CS form dificlt.

It wil be noted that th sylabic -L used for th CS forms is particulrly suitd to representng th unstresd final vowl of th english pronunciations, wheras in most othr languajs th equivlnt vowl is stresd and therfor requires to be representd by a ful vowl letr. (Historicly wat has hapnd is that th orijnl final sylabl stress of th sorce languajs has been systmaticly shiftd forwrd in english, ofn to th first sylabl, folloing th usul first-sylabl stress patrn of jermanic languajs, a process seen today in th incresing tendncy to stress th first sylabl of grimace.) Howevr, th gretst advantaj of sylabic -L in CS is its predictbility: in riting, simpl -L replaces 9 alternativ TO spelngs for a final sylabl with th same pronunciation; and in readng th danjer is obviated of givng ful valu to th vowls by analojy with th (usuly) stresd -AL, -EL, -IL, -OL, -UL in such words as apal, compel, fulfil, control, helpful, ocult.

Sylabic M ocurs aftr a variety of vowl letrs, as in TO madam, system, victim, custom, album, synonym, hos endngs ar harmnized to CS madm, systm, victm, custm, albm, synnm. Som of these words apear in othr languajs in variant forms, as in fr. madame; fr. systéme,jer. System, it./port./sp. sistema; fr. victime, it. vittima, port. vitima, sp. victima; fr. coutume, it./port. costume, sp. costumbre; fr./it. album, jer. Album, port./sp. álbum. A group of words endng in TO -OM coresponds to -EN in jermn, as in bosom, bottom, fathom, seldom coresponding to jermn Busen, Boden, Faden, selten, wile th TO sufix -DOM coresponds to jer. -TUM (christendom paralels jer. Christentum). CS ransm relates to fr. rançon, CS randm (distntly) to fr. randonnée, CS venm to fr. vénin (ajectivs CS venmus, fr. vénimeux), it. veleno, port./sp. veneno. Thus CS sylabic M dos not significntly enhance th harmny of european spelng patrns (th O of venom is perhaps th main anomly in TO), but th benefit for th predictbility of english spelng to both readrs and riters is considrbl.

Sylabic N ocurs aftr a variety of vowl letrs, as in TO American, garden, cabin, lemon, Whitsun, curtain, cushion, pigeon, assistant, consistent, consonant, can(n)on, linen wich ar cut to CS americn, gardn, cabn, lemn, witsn, curtn, cushn, pijn, asistnt, consistnt, consnnt, cann, linn. CS brijs som european difrnces here: TO American, duch Amerikaans, fr. américain, jer. amerikanisch, it./port./sp. americano, CS americn; TO garden, fr./sp. jardin, jer. Garten, it. giardino, CS gardn; TO cushion, duch kussen, fr. coussin, jer. Kissen, it. cuscino, sp. cojin, CS cushn; TO mountain, fr. montagne, it. montagna, port. montanha, sp. montaña, CS mountn. A particulr featur of CS is its alynmnt of th -ANT/-ENT variations as between TO assistant/consistent. On this point most othr languajs prefer latn-derived -ENT, but french has developd its own -ANT endng (-ENT in duch assistent/consistent, jer. Assistent/konsistent, it./port. assistente/consistente, sp. asistente/consistente, but -ANT in fr. assistant/consistant). As wel as removing th unpredictbility of TO and gainng econmy, th CS forms asistnt/consistnt thus brij (or evade?) a confusing franco-latn divide.

Sylabic R ocurs aftr a variety of vowl letrs, as in TO vicar, teacher, amateur, doctor, ardour, centre, languor, murmur, injure, martyr, wich becom CS vicr, teachr, amatr, doctr, harbr, centr, langr, murmr, injr, martr. Numerus deviations from these patrns ar seen in difrnt european languajs.

For english -AR as in TO sugar, duch has suiker, fr. sucre, jer. Zucker, it. zucchero, norw. sukker, port. açúcar, sp. azúcar, welsh siwgr, th latr with sylabic R wich is then adoptd for CS sugr. On th othr hand, th -AR of TO vicar merely ses th variation -AIRE in fr. vicaire, but elswher -AR, as in it./sp. vicario and jer. Vikar. Difrnt again ar th french endngs for TO calendar (fr. calendrier) and particular (fr. particulier), wile TO cellar relates to fr. cellier, but jer. Keller.

Th TO -ER endng has a wide ranje of mostly comn equivlnts in french, with -R in tour 'tower', -ER in danger, -EUR in porteur 'porter', -RE in ordre 'order', -IER in papier 'paper', -IÉRE in matière 'matter', -AIRE in partenaire 'partner', and -OIR in pouvoir 'power'. CS retains th R of al th french variants, most notably in th aproxmation to french tour in CS towr (cf, also powr, flowr, and welsh tŵr). Welsh provides sevrl instnces of sylabic -R, as in meistr 'master', theatr.

For final -OR, -OUR in TO (eg, doctor, labour), we note that americn spelng has larjly elimnated this variation, cutng -OUR to -OR (eg, doctor, labor, wich ar also th spanish forms), and that french laks that variation too, havng -EUR for both (docteur, labeur).

In a few words, these sylabls aquire an extra consnnt in english, thus TO standard, modern, sojourn, wich CS treats no difrntly, producing standrd, modrn, sojrn. In fr. étandard, moderne, séjour th vowls ar quite distinct in their pronunciation.

In jenrl, we observ that in languajs othr than english these varid endngs pose no problm because each coresponds to its own pronunciation. Thus in jermn th -AR of Vikar, th -ER of Winter, th -EUR of Amateur, th -OR of Doktor or Humor, th -UR of Natur and th -YR of Satyr ar mostly pronounced, acordng to th vowl letr used. English TO by contrast has a dubl problm with these endngs: first, as they ar pronounced alike, pronunciation is no gide to ther spelng; and secnd, since th spelngs can ofn hav an alternativ pronunciation (as with -AR in debar, -ER in defer, -OR in decor, -OUR in devour, -UR in demur, and -URE in demure), they ar no sure gide to th pronunciation eithr. Th obstacls therby placed in th way of lernng and acuracy jenrly ar imense, but th use of sylabic -R in CS resolvs most of these problms at a stroke.


CS Rule 2 also simplifys th main english inflections, but with one exeption th resultng CS forms hav no berng on th spelng of othr languajs. Th exeption concerns -S inflections atachd to base words endng in -I, -O, -U, wher th TO endngs -IES, -OES, -UES becom just -IS, -OS, -US in CS. Som of these endngs then alyn with equivlnts in french and spanish, wher th plural inflection ads just -S to a singulr endng in -I, -O, or -U. Words hos base-form alredy ends in -I, -U in TO ar unafectd, as wen taxis, menus remain unchanjed; but words endng in -O ar unpredictbl, as described belo.

Th TO -IES plural forms enemies, mercies, parties, rubies becom CS enmis, mercis, partis, rubis like th french plurals ennemis, mercis, partis, rubis (singulr also rubis). At th same time, howevr, a much larjr numbr of plurals cut in th same way in CS lose ther alynmnt with equivlnt french words hos singulrs end in -IE, thus TO industry/industries becom CS industry/industris, as against french industrie/industries (th difrnt -I/-IE endngs in fr. typicly reflect a difrnce in jendr that is supresd in english, as between masculin un ennemi but femnn une industrie).

Th situation regardng -O endngs is complicated by th fact that TO alredy ofrs alternativ -S/-ES plurals in a numbr of cases (eg, eskimos/eskimoes), and CS then natrly prefers th -OS form, as in eskimos, getos, mosqitos, porticos, tornados. Wher th -OS alternativ is not alredy availbl, CS somtimes alyns with th french and/or spanish wher TO did not, thus TO echo/echoes, CS eco/ecos, french écho/ échos, indeed th CS forms ar here precisely ecod by spanish eco/ecos. Othr exampls of CS alynmnt with french and/or spanish final -OS (wher TO has -OES) ar seen in sp. búfalos, fr. cargos, fr. desperados, fr./sp. dominos, fr. embargos, sp. frescos, fr. ghettos, fr. héros (singulr also héros), sp. mangos, fr. mémentos, sp. mosquitos, sp. pecadillos, sp. porticos, sp. tornados, sp. torpedos. In a much larjr numbr of cases, th TO plural alredy follos franco-spanish patrns, thus TO/CS/fr./sp. al hav radios.

TO forms endng in -UE, with plural -UES, ar reduced to -U/-US in CS on th modl of menu/menus. Som of these words hav -UE in french (TO avenue-s, CS avnu-s, fr. avenue-s), but som hav no -E, in wich case th CS forms alyn with th french endngs. Thus: TO residue-s, CS residu-s, fr. résidu‑s; TO revenue-s, CS revnu-s, fr. revenu-s; TO tissue-s, CS tissu-s, fr. tissu-s; TO virtue-s, CS virtu-s, fr. vertu-s.


If CS Rule 1 cuts acheved a scatrng of individul alynmnts with othr languajs, plus a few patrnd alynmnts, and Rule 2 acheved far mor by way of regulrization of english than of harmnization with othr languajs, th efect of Rule 3 is dramatic and systmatic in alynng english with th most straitforwrd contnentl european spelng modls. For Rule 3 simplifys th overwelmng majority of th unpredictbl dubld consnnts that prolifrate in TO. One of th consequences is that numerus inconsistncis in english itself ar removed, as wen TO abbreviation alyns with its cognate abridge (CS abreviation; cf, fr. abréviation/abréger), and a root like stop keeps its singl P regardless of sufixs (CS stopd, stopng, stopr, unstopbl).

Consant dublng in asimlated latn prefixs.
A larj numbr of words made up of a latn prefix asimlated to a base word beginng with a consonnt dubld that consnnt in latn. They do so usuly in TO, ofn in french, variably in italian, but jenrly not in portugese and spanish. CS follos portugese/spanish with singl consnnts in many such cases, as with TO accusation, port. acusação, sp. acusación, CS acusation (CS in fact somtimes gos furthr by also reducing NN to N and RR to R, wher portugese/spanish do not).

Such patrns of alynmnt with spanish ar seen aftr th prefix A- in th cut from TO BB to CS B in abreviation (port. abreviatura, sp. abreviación); CC to C as in acusation abov, but stil CC wen pronounced /ks/ as in CS accidnt, port./sp. accidente (but brazilian acidente), DD to D in adition (port. adição, sp. adición), FF to F in afection (port. afeicção [brazilian afeição], sp. afección), GG to G in agravation (port. agravação, sp. agravación), LL to L in alusion (port. alusão, sp. alusión), MM to M in amunition (sp. amunicionar 'to suply with amunition'), NN to N in anexation (sp. anexión), PP to P in aparition (port. aparição, sp. aparición), RR to R in arognt (port./sp. keep RR here, both riting arrogante), SS to S in asumtion (sp. asunción, but port. assunção), TT to T in atention (port. atenção, sp. atención). To these may be add CQ to Q in aquisition (port. aquisição, but sp. adquisición) and DJ to J in ajust (port./sp. ajustar).

Aftr othr prefixs th ranje of consnnt simplifications is smalr, but simlr CS/portugese/ spanish paralels aply. Aftr CO- ther is TO LL to CS L in colection (port. colecção [brazilian coleção], sp. colección), MM to M in comission (port. comissão, sp. comisión), NN to N in conection (port. conexão, sp. conexión), RR to R in corection (RR stil in port. correcção [brazilian correção], sp. corrección). Th prefix DI- trigrs consnnt-dublng in TO, but not CS difrnt(port./sp. diferente), disolv (sp. disolver, but port. dissolver). Aftr th prefix E- we hav only TO FF to CS F, as in efusion (port. efusão, sp. efusión). Aftr th prefix I- (wich is a reduced form both of th preposition in and of th negativ prefix in-) ther ar simplifications as with TO LL to CS L in ilusion (port. ilusão, sp. ilusión) and ilejbl (port. ilegível, sp. ilegible), MM to M in imigration (port. imigração, but sp. inmigración) and imature (port. imaturo, but sp. inmaturo), NN to N in inovation, inocent (contrast port. inovação, sp. innovación, beside port./sp. inocente), RR to R in irigation, irationl (port./sp. RR in irrigação/irrigación, irracional). A few words dubl consnnts aftr th prefix O, as with TO CC to CS C in ocur (port. ocorrer, sp. ocurrir), tho with CC kept if pronounced /ks/ (eg, CS occidnt, port./sp. occidente, but brazilian ocidente), FF to F in oficial (port./sp.oficial), and PP to P in oposition (port. oposição, sp. oposición). Rathr mor hav th prefix SU-, as with TO CC (eg, succour) leadng to CS C as in sucr (but keepng CC for /ks/ in success etc; portugese/spanish patrns vary here, with port. sucção, sp. succión 'suction', but port. sucessão, sp. sucesión 'succession'), FF to F as in suficient (port./sp. suficiente), GG to J in sujestion (port. sugestão, sp. sugestión), PP to P in suposition (sp. suposición), and RR to R in surealism (but RR in port./sp. surrealismo).

Simlr patrns arise from th greek prefix SYN-, wher th N is asimlated to a folloing consnnt producing TO LL but CS L in sylabl (port./sp. sílaba), and MM cut to M in symetry (port. simetria, sp. simetría).

In a few cases, these simplifyd consnnts of CS alyn with french and/or italian as wel as with portugese/spanish. Exampls in french include abréviation, adresse, agrandissement, agrégation, agression, apaiser 'apese', comité 'comitee', exagération and, as alredy noted, J in ajourner, ajuster for TO DJ. Italian is inclined rathr to dubl consnnts wich othr languajs rite singl (eg, MM in commedia, BB in repubblica), but also rites singl M in such forms as accomodare, comandare, cominciare 'comence', comitato 'comitee', comune, and singl G in esagerare 'exajrate'.

Medial consnnt dublng.
Beside this widespred patrn of consnnt dublng in TO wher latn prefixs ar asimlated to stems, ther ar also many english words wich hav dubld a medial consnnt in a french loan wher french has it singl, ofn reflectng a stress-shift. For instnce, wen french bouteille, with final sylabl stress and singl T, was respelt with TT from Midl English botel in th 15-16th centuris for TO bottle, this reflectd th stress shiftng to th first sylabl in modrn english.

Othr exampls of such dublng ar seen (th dubld consnnt being kept in CS befor final Y, as in carry, and in a few other cases) with:

BB in bobbin (fr. bobine, CS bobn), Bobby (from Robert; CS uncut), cabbage (fr. caboche, CS cabaj), gibbet (fr. gibet, CS jibet), ribbon (fr. ruban, CS ribn) We may also compare th english loan snobisme in french, with B beside BB in TO snobbery (CS snobry).

CK (th dubld form of C) in buckle (fr. boucle, CS bukl), cuckoo (fr. coucou, CS cukoo), jackal (fr. chacal, CS jakl).

DD in sudden (fr. soudain, CS sudn).

FF in traffic (fr./CS trafic), muffler (fr. moufle, CS muflr), saffron (fr. safran, CS safron), scaffold (fr. échafaud, CS scafld).

GG in baggage (fr. bagage, CS bagaj), bugger (fr. bougre, CS bugr), faggot (fr./CS fagot), juggle (fr. jongler, CS jugl), haggard (fr. hagard, CS hagrd), nigger (fr. nègre, CS nigr).

LL in bullet (fr. boulet, CS bulet), fillet (fr./CS filet), folly (fr. folie, but CS uncut), gallant (fr./CS galant), gallery (fr. galerie, CS galry), gallop (fr./CS galop), jelly (fr. gelée, but CS uncut), jolly (fr. joli, but CS uncut), and simlrly galley (CS gally), gullet, hello, pellet, pillar, villain, volley (CS volly).

MM hammock (fr. hamac, CS hamok), mummy 'embalmd body' (fr. momie; but CS uncut).

NN dinner (fr. dîner, CS dinr), manner (fr. maniére, CS manr), cannon (fr. canon, CS cann), pannier (fr. panier, CS panir), and simlrly channel, fennel, kennel, linnet, rennet, tennis (from fr. tenez).

PP in Appalachian (fr. apalachien, CS aplachian), sapper (fr. sapeur, CS sapr), supper (fr. souper, CS supr), supple (fr. souple, CS supl).

RR as in carrot (fr. carotte, CS carot), cherry (fr. cerise; but CS uncut), current (fr. courant, CS curent), marriage (fr. mariage, but CS marrij from marry, uncut), mirror (fr. miroir, CS mirr), and simlrly barracks, barrel, carrion, ferret, garrison, herring, parry (CS uncut), quarrel, squirrel, turret, warren.

SS less directly in a few cases like lesson (fr. leçon, CS lesn), scissors (fr. ciseaux, CS sisrs), and cossacks (fr. cosaques, CS cossaks).

TT in battle (fr. bataille, CS batl), bottle (fr. bouteille, CS botl), cotton (fr. coton, CS cotn), matter (fr. matière, CS matr), committee (fr. comité, CS comitee), and simlrly with battalion, batten, battery, Brittany, button, fritter, glutton, gutter, jetty (CS uncut), lettuce, litter, lottery, mattress, mitten, mutton, petty (CS uncut), pittance, potter(y), rebuttal.

ZZ, typicly relating to modrn french S, in buzzard (fr. busard, CS buzrd), grizzled (fr. grisaillé, CS grizld), mizzen (fr. misaine, CS mizn), muzzle (fr. museau, CS muzl).

In adition to these exampls, ther ar numerus othrs wher th Old French equivlnt, from wich th english was first borrod, has not survived into modrn french, as wen OldF atorne led on to english attorney, but has no desendnt in modrn french.

We shud also note that ther ar many cases wher modrn french dubls a consnnt that is ritn singl in english TO, and wher, if any simplification wer to be proposed, it shud aply to french, not english. Th TO forms battalion, carrot sho both tendncis, th dubl and singl consnnts being reversd from modrn french bataillon, carotte. Th L, LL variation between english solicit, french solliciter apears to reflect vacilation in latn. Ofn th dublng seems as arbitry in french as it frequently is in TO: compare TO honest, fr. honnête, it. onesto, CS onest. Othr comn exampls ar french maisonnette, marionnette, traditionnel with NN, appartement, développement with PP and carrousel with RR for english maisonette, marionette, traditional, apartment, development, carousel. Sevrl french words begin with RESS-, thus ressemblance, ressentiment, ressource, ressusciter, wher th english equivlnts hav singl S, thus resemblance, resentment, resource, resuscitate. Like consnnt dublng in english, so in french such spelng patrns ar somtimes inconsistnt (cf, traditionalisme with only one N, but traditionnel with NN), and riters confusion is furthr agravated wen they encountr oposit patrns in english. Altho th question canot be mor closely examnd here, ther may be as much of an argumnt for french to considr jenrly alynng its dubld consnnts with singl consnnts in english (and spanish), as for english, in othr instnces, to alyn with singl consnnts in french. [2]

Final consnnt dublng.
English also somtimes dubls consnnts word-finaly wher french rites them singl, a notorius case being th much mispelt TO tariff (fr./CS tarif), and simlrly plaintiff; or french may hav -FFE, as in étoffe for TO stuff. Final -CK ocurs in som TO forms, eg, block, shock, hammock, hos french equivlnts end in -C (bloc, choc, etc); here howevr CS prefers th less ambiguus final -K to french -C (blok, shok, etc); th -CK of cock (CS cok), unusuly, has a corespondng -Q in french coq. Likewise, TO 'dubls' french G to DG in budge (fr. bouge), judge (fr. juge), lodge (fr. loge), but CS respels them with -J (buj, juj, loj). French drôle, roule corespond to TO droll, roll with -LL, but to CS drol, rol with -L. French simplifys greco-latn MM in symmetry to give symétrie; singl M being used in CS symetry too. Wher Midl English borrod a french word endng in -S, it is normly dubld in TO, but has falen silent in modrn french, as in mess, progress, success (fr. mets, progrès, succés); with ajectivs, th french femnn inflection shos th S is stil pronounced by riting -SSE; thus for TO express, gross, french masculin exprés, gros with silent S becom femnn expresse, grosse. Th french diminutiv sufix -ETTE is somtimes ritn -ET in TO, as in clarinet (fr. clarinette) and th americn forms cigaret, omelet; CS systmaticly reduces these endngs to -T, as also in brunet, etiqet, gazet, siluet etc.

Jermn comnly dubls a final -L and -T aftr E in french loanwords, to sho that th final sylabl is stresd. Thus jermn Formel 'formula' has stress on its first sylabl (rymng with english CS forml), wile formell 'forml' (fr. formel) has secnd-sylabl stress. Simlrly, Kabinett (from fr. cabinet) reflects its stresd final sylabl by dublng th final -T. Jermn cud in fact preserv th french -EL, -ET endngs without consnnt-dublng in such words, wile stil markng th stress patrn, if unstresd final -EL wer reduced to -L (riting Formel as Forml) as produced by english CS Rule 2. Alredy final -ETT dos not compete with an unstresd -ET, and formel, Kabinet wud therfor stil sho ther stress patrns unambiguusly.

CS also alyns well, will with duch wel, wil.

In jenrl, it is clear that ther is considrbl scope for languajs othr than english also to harmnize ther patrns of consnnt dublng.


In adition to th abov 3 rules of letr-omission, CS has 3 rules of letr-substitution, chiefly replacing anomlus G in varius contexts by F (TO tough, CS tuf), or by J (TO ginger, judge, CS jinjr, juj), or by Y (TO sigh, sight, sign, CS sy, syt, syn). These substitutions hav litl or no relation to spelng patrns in othr languajs (turkish mesaj is a rare instnce, tho th J reflects french pronunciation of final -AGE in message).

Howevr, one furthr CS substitution alyns very strikingly with many european languajs: wen PH is pronounced /f/, CS substitutes F. (Th PH orijnated as a roman translitration of th greek letr fi (φ), and standrd greek itself has nevr ritn PH.) Most notebly, italian, portugese and spanish long ago made this substitution, so that TO photographer apears as italian fotografo, portugese/spanish fotógrafo; likewise, duch has fotograaf and danish/norwejan/swedish fotograf. Jermn is less consistnt, with greco-latn PH spelngs mostly preservd, although words to do with certn evryday modrn tecnolojis ar jenrly modrnized with F (Fotograf, Telegrafie, Telefon); in adition, Stefan alternates with Stephan (cf, TO Stephen/Steven), Fasan 'pheasant' derives its F- from french, and, since th PH in english cypher, nephew, sulphur is aberant anyway, ther is no question of jermn Ziffer, Neffe, Sulfur being ritn with PH. (Th 1996 jermn spelng reform cald for a modest extension of F spelngs for PH, thus alowng Ortografie beside Orthographie. [3]

French is rathr less predictbl, since altho in jenrl greco-latn PH is preservd, a scatrng of words hav, in th corse of ther histry, aquired F insted (as fantasy, frenzy hav in english): thus french has faisan 'pheasant', fantaisie, fantôme 'phantom', frénétique. Natrly, chiffre, neveu, sulfurique do not hav PH. Overal, it is clear that it wud be beneficial for english, french and jermn to join in respelng al words containng greco-latn PH with F, as danish, duch, italian, norwejan, portugese, spanish, swedish and CS do.


Othr languajs jenrly hav clearr rules for th use of capitl letrs and apostrofes than TO dos. As wel as for propr names, TO rites capitls for languajs, nationls and nationalitis, months, days of th week, and somtimes for seasns and points of th compass too. Jermn uses capitls for nouns only (deutsch 'jermn', but ein Deutscher 'a jermn'), french only for nationls among th abov categris (français 'french', un Français 'a frenchman'), wile italian, portugese and spanish use capitls only for propr names. Duch follos th patrn of french, exept that it also capitlizes th names of languajs, wile danish, norwejan and swedish follo th patrn of italian/portugese/spanish. Th latr is clearly th simplst procedur, and CS recmends it for english. French and duch too cud adopt it, but jermn has mor jenrl problms in determnng wich words need capitls as nouns. Evidntly ther is scope for useful pan-european harmnization in this area.

Th use of apostrofes with S to indicate posession is a notorius complication of modrn english. Othr jermanic languajs avoid its hazrds by not normly using it, as indeed english formrly did not: Danmarks 'Denmark's', Deutschlands 'Germany's', Stockholms stad 'th city of Stockholm', vaders boek 'father's book' (duch), and from th first edition of Shakespears 'Hamlet': 'the Lawes delay'. Despite th ambiguity of S-inflections in english (S markng th plural of nouns and th 3rd persn presnt singulr of verbs, as wel as posession), no serius problms of undrstandng hav been observd to arise wen th posessiv apostrofe is cut in CS, wich therfor recmends its omission. In this way, ritn english wud alyn with th othr jermanic languajs.

4. Concluding remarks.

This paper has aproachd its theme from two directions, considrng first th problms, past, presnt and futur, of comunication between european languajs in particulr, and secnd, th Cut Spelng proposal for reducing th dificltis of TO. It has demnstrated that altho CS, as a response to th problms of english, was not desynd to aleviate wider languaj problms in Europ, it has som potential for doing so.

This potential is seen on two levls. One concerns th suitbility of english as a lingua franca, wich CS enhances in a numbr of ways. Visuly it increses th simlarity between many english spelngs and ther equivlnts in othr languajs, so making ritn texts mor accesbl to those with limitd nolej of th languaj. Pedagojicly, it simplifys th lernng process, removing arbitry complications, and enabling lernrs to derive th ritn form of english words mor relyably from th pronunciation and th pronunciation from th ritn form. And in terms of comunication, CS reduces th risk of mispronunciation and mispelng inherent in TO. In jenrl, by making th languaj mor user-frendly, CS cud help overcom th bad reputation ritn english curently has (english spelng as 'caos', [4] as 'one of th worlds most awsm messes', [5] as 'an insult to human intelijnce', [6]) and therby make it mor acceptbl as a lingua franca.

Th othr levl on wich CS myt, in principl, aid intrlingul comunication is as a modl for languaj planng in jenrl. CS has demnstrated th harmful efects of redundnt letrs, and th ecnomic and othr benefits of removing them. Apart from french, othr languajs tend not to hav redundnt letrs as english dos, but som do hav superfluus letrs: a particulrly extravagnt grafeme is th jermn SCH [7] - in this case english for once showd a gretr sense of econmy 500 and mor years ago wen it cut th C from SCH and graduly adoptd SH as its standrd spelng (eg, Midl English schip became ship).

Just as CS enhances th visbl simlaritis between english and othr languajs, so it implys that european languajs jenrly myt considr how ther ritn forms myt be harmnized. An prime candidat for harmnization is th spelng of /k/ across europ, with th initial consnnt of chemistry for instnce apearng as CH jermn and italian, but as QU in spanish and portugese, and K in danish, norwejan and swedish, wile th CH of TO character apears as CH in jermn, but as C in french, italian, portugese and spanish, and K in duch and again danish, norwejan and swedish. These difrnces hav arisn from th uncoordnated orthografic developmnt of languajs across Europ. In th case of /k/, th letr K wud represent th sound ecnomicly and unambiguusly in evry languaj, and increse ther visbl comnalitis. One exampl of th efect of such harmnization: th form komunikacion cud represent TO communication equaly in english, french, jermn, spanish and th scandnavian languajs, and with the endng adaptd also in duch, italian and portugese. Howevr, wethr th benefits of such harmnization wud outwei th cost of chanje, even in th Babel of Brussels, must be open to question, as is th practicality of proposing such chanjes in languajs wich hav few spelng problms of ther own needng reslution.

No dout ther is a strong elemnt of linguistic utopianism in such ideas, wich is not to say they ar not worth exploring. Ther ultmat implication is perhaps that, just as th latn-derived languajs arose a thousnd and mor years ago from th disintegration of latn, ther myt one day be a kind of re-integration of th languajs of Europ, in othr words that ther myt be a gradul process of groing togethr and reducing linguistic barirs. A mesur, howevr modest, of orthografic integration in th 21st century cud be a first step in that direction. One is remindd of th unity of th chinese languaj, hos ritn form enables chinese from difrnt dialect areas to comunicate in riting even wen ther speech is mutuly incomprehensbl, and how th chinese and japnese can to som degree read each othrs languajs, wich ar in orijn unrelated. Cud Europ one day becom a singl comunity in riting without being a singl comunity in speech?

Yet th orijns of modrn english may ofr a closer paralel. Modrn english evolvd by a process of integrating a jermanic substrate with a romance superstructur (bondd by a hefty flux of greek, with trace elemnts from many othr languajs). But english, alas, faild in that process to integrate th contrastng ingredients of its riting systm. If now that failur cud be rectifyd, then, ho nos, english myt provide th ideal matrix for th linguistic integration of a futur Europ.

For wat is not in dout is th need for som rationlization of english spelng. In th past, proposals for english spelng reform hav tendd to treat english in isolation from othr languajs. Thus one recent proposal [8] sujestd respelng TO opposition as opozishun, wile anothr even sujestd opxzishxn, [9] regardless of its latn base and form in othr languajs. CS, on th othr hand, by severely restrictng letr substitutions (and with its F for PH swich anticipated long ago in sevrl european languajs), respects traditionl comn european spelng patrns to a substantial extent, and thus moves towards th comn cor of european spelngs. A plesntly positiv vew of such posbilitis myt say: english speakrs ar not renownd as lernrs and users of foren languajs, but tend to rely insted on th dilijnce of non-english speakrs in lernng english and making th efrt to use it in ordr to comunicate with th english-speakng world. English speakrs therfor o speakrs of othr languajs a det, wich can be partialy redeemd by alynng english mor with ther spelngs, by removing redundnt letrs. Not merely wud this asist litracy across frontirs, but it wud make english esir for english-speakrs too. English, with its multilingual roots and its presnt function as an intrnationl languaj, but with antiquated spelngs causing al kinds of problms, shud be idealy placed to take such an initiativ. Yet because english shares so many featurs with othr languajs, and because english wud itself chanje in th process, such a developmnt myt concevebly be pursud without any sense of linguistic domnation wich can so esily arouse antagnism in speakrs of othr languajs.

A revealng lyt is shed on these issus by a recent ISO publication, wich explains th orgnizations name as follos: [10]
Many people will have noticed a seeming lack of correspondence between the official title when used in full, International Organization for Standardization, and the short form, ISO. Shouldn't the acronym be "IOS"? Yes, if it were an acronym - which it is not.

In fact, "ISO" is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal", which is the root of the prefix "iso-" that occurs in a host of terms, such as "isometric" (of equal measure, or dimensions)...

From "equal" to "standard", the line of thinking that led to the choice of "ISO" is easy to follow.

In addition, the name has the advantage of being valid in each of the organization's three official languages... The confusion that would arise through the use of an acronym is thus avoided, e.g. "IOS" would not correspond to the official title of the organization in French - Organisation internationale de normalisation.
That spirit should perhaps inform the future development of spelling in a shrinking world.


[1] Adrian ROOM (1986) Dictionary of Translated Names and Titles, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

[2] Howevr, th latest proposals for reforming french seem rathr to move in th direction of dublng singl consnnts rathr than simplifyng dubld ones. Thus Le Français dans le Monde (No. 239, feb.-march 1991) "Les Rectifications de l'Orthographe", §VIII, sujests bonhommie, persifflage, sottie for traditional bonhomie, persiflage, sotie, by analojy with homme, siffler, sottise.

[3] Institut für deutsche Sprache Sprachreport: ExtraAusgabe, dec. 1994.

[4] Gerard NOLST TRENITÉ (1929), 'De Chaos' in appendix to Drop your foreign accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen, Haarlem: H D Tjeenk Willink and Zoon, pp117-121; se also 'The Classic Compendium to Cacographic Chaos' in Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J17 1994/2, pp27-30.

[5] Mario PEI (1968) Preface to Abraham Tauber Better English thru Simplified Spelling - a History of Spelling Reform, reprinted July 1982 (second edition) in ed. Newell W. Tune Spelling Reform, a comprehensive survey of the advantages, educational benefits, and obstacles to adoption p104, North Hollywood, California: Spelling Progress Bulletin.

[6] Mario WANDRUSCHKA (1990) Die europäische Sprachengemeinschaft, UTB Francke: Tübingen: Francke Verlag, p.104: "Seine eigenartigen, britischen oder US-amerikanischen Lautgestalten haben sich von ihren meist unveränderlich beibehaltenen mittelalterlichen Schreibweisen so weit entfernt, daß die englische Orthographie dem gesunden Menschenverstand Hohn spricht."

[7] Zé do ROCK (1995) Fom winde ferfeelt, Berlin: Edition Diá, proposes sweepng simplifications for ritn jermn, including reducing SCH to SH.

[8] eds. Edward RONDTHALER and Edward J LIAS (1986) Dictionary of American Spelling, New York: The American Language Academy.

[9] Ronald FOOTER (1996) New Spelling 96 privately circulated within the Simplified Spelling Society.

[10] International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (2nd edition, 1994) Compatible technology worldwide, Geneva, p3.

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