[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 27, 2000/1 pp14,15]

Alternative Scenarios for the Year 2100

Edward Rondthaler

Dr Rondthaler, President of the American Literacy Council and Vice-President of the SSS, here celebrates the new century by combining his typographical expertise with a little crystal-ball gazing...

A clever tongue-in-cheek page in the New York Times on 1 January 2000 purported to be page 1 of its issue on 1 January 2100 with articles reporting the news of the day in the distant future. Included was the announcement of statehood for Cuba, a solution for garbage disposal by shipping it to the sun, the misuse of weather-controlling satellites by a politician to prevent rain at a fund raising garden party, a report on Atlantaland's population of 40 million and New York's decline to ninth place. The forecasters, however, did not address an item vital to all. No mention was made of the state of literacy in 2100. English speaking countries will have experienced dramatic change in literacy - for good or for bad. The text below, (presented as a double-page spread in the printed journal) redresses that omission with appropriate text and orthography.

In the second text,

the long vowels   A EIOU
ar speldae   ee    ie   oe    ue   

The New York Times


NEW YORK, FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2100
2100 CENSUS WILL SHOW BIG DROP IN LITERACY
Secretary of Education Has New Plan Involving
Chinese Team of Experts at Yale L. A. Campus

By TONG MEI KUEN

WASHINGTON, 17:06 E.S.T.

The Census Bureau will today forecast that its 2100 statistics will show that literacy in the United States has dropped alarmingly with only 24% of the adult population able to write and read above 4th grade level. This compares with 29% in 2090 and 78% in 2000.

The announcement was made in the offices of the Department of Education where Secretary of Education John Maynard explained that the drop was less than in the preceding decade.

While it is recognised that dependency on tapes and other audio means of communication had made inroads on reading and writing, plans are afoot to reverse this trend by providing children with Fun-a-Spell ear phones to be used during play.

Secretary Maynard explained that Fun-a-Spell is expected to end the persistent illiteracy problem of all English-speaking peoples. It was developed on the Los Angeles campus of Yale University by a team of Chinese psychologists under the leadership of Prof. Hing Yu Seng.

It is claimed that research by the team shows a remarkable similarity between the skills required to write and read Chinese and those required to write and read English.

The 308 rules of English spelling developed in 1969 by Dr. Paul Hanna at Stanford University have been compressed into 240 to match the new 240-day school year. One rule and a few typical words illustrating it will be broadcast continuously each day from a facility to be set up in mid-Kansas specifically for that purpose. All Fun-a-Spell earphones will be tuned to the broadcast wavelength.

Secretary Maynard explained that these broadcasts are expected to enable learners to absorb the rules, and bring our reading and writing up to levels found in fully developed countries where a word's spelling matches its pronunciation.

One of the unique features of Fun-a-Spell is that at the end of each 30 minutes of use it delivers a small candy bar.

An almost invisible earphone for use by adults in the workplace and home will be available in 2101. It will not provide candy bars.


The Nue York Times


NUE YORK, FRIEDAE, JANUAIRY 1, 2100
2100 SENSUS WIL SHO
BIG RIEZ IN LITERACY

U.S. Reeding and Rieting Ability Now on Par With Literasy in Uther Developt Cuntrys
By TONG MEI KUEN

WASHINGTON, 17:06 E.S.T.

The Sensus Buero today forecast that its 2100 statistics will show adult literasy in the U.S. at a nue hi of 98%, a figuer sed to mach that of developt cuntrys speeking uther langwejes. The nue figuer compairs with 96% in 2090 and 78% in 2000.

The anounsment was maed in the offises of the Department of Ejucaeshun bilding whair Secretairy of Ejucaeshun John Maynard saw the 98% figuer as evidens of the wizdom of teechers and uthers hoo, in the early 2000s, faut an uphil batl for a lojical English speling.

In recounting the history of speling reform the Secretairy explaend that a simpl, werkabl speling was developt in 1910, but no feesibl wae to implement it was found until compueters maed the tranzishun from normal speling efortles and automatic erly in the 2000s.

When test scors indicaeted that U.S. stoodents wer falling behiend thair peers in non-English speeking cuntrys, Prezident Mildred Diaz orderd that all Whiet Hous compueters be eqipt with automatic simplified speling translaeshun softwair. She is sed to hav realiezd that this wuud cauz controversy if she maed an ishoo of it, so she simply did it unanounst.

The chaenj was wiedly acsepted. Scools, colejes, publishers, and uthers qikly fel into lien, imprest by the eezs of chaenj and awair that our speling, not having bin updaeted for hundreds of yeers, was far out of sinc with prezent speech.

Last to acsept the speling we now taek for granted wer the etimolojists. Thae reluctantly agreed that a speling's cheef perpos is to miror speech.

Undersecretairy of Ejucaeshun Kim Wu pointed out that when, in the erly 2000s, it becaem cleer that lojical English speling was permisibl, meny important internashunal buzneses began to uez it. This boosted the popuelarrity of English far beyond expectaeshun, maeking it indispuetably the werld's "lingua franca".