[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J28, 2002/2 p32]
[On this page: Literature received, Tribute to Mona Cross.]


Edited by Chris Upward.

Letters are welcomed on any matters raised by items appearing in JSSS, or on any observations or experiences relating to spelling that readers may wish to report.

Anglo-American variants.

When it comes to choosing between UK and US spellings, I'm not sure we should rush to simplify spellings which have not yet been simplified on the other side of the Atlantic. For example, Americans still prefer prophecy as a noun - and while it might be better if everyone always wrote prophesy, perhaps we should continue to distinguish the noun and verb. I also think the Americans are right to use the spelling of practice in all cases, largely because the word notice has the same -TICE ending.

The American spellings I'm most keen to see in British English are those related to biology, and I wonder whether the SSS has ever tried to persuade the British Medical Association to use forms like anesthetic and hemoglobin. I think it would be worth mentioning that fetus is acceptable in the UK and so there's no reason why all the other US variants can't be as well when it involves omitting silent A or O (e.g. diarrhea, gynecology and orthopedic). I would prefer tumor, but I feel this belongs in a different category with words such as humor/humour and labor/labour).

I have some reservations as to whether we should follow American acknowledgment and judgment, however. Retaining the E when their base words (acknowledge and judge) have it could well make things easier for the average person. In fact, acknowledgement and judgement are such common spelling "mistakes" in America that they are now being accepted. Also, the E in management has yet to be dropped in the States, and if all three words continue to be spelt with an E it might help to maintain some consistency.

Jon Free, Ipswich, England

[See Newsletter articles by Ted Relton.]

Danish Ø.

In his article on Finnish (JSSS 25, p12), Colin Davies suggests, with reference to a symbol for the schwa: "If we are going for fonetic spelling, we had better find a substitute for Ö that is quicker to write, and has no dots on top."

In his article "Spelling Reform - arguments against and for" (JSSS 27, p19), Justin Rye states " One new vowel would be handy; I' d go for Scandinavian (Danish, actually) slashed ø as in Bjørk."

The SSS Committee has ruled that it will not consider further systems in the Personal View series which involve diacritic symbols.

I suggest we might adopt Danish Ø as a 27th letter, to represent the ER sound as in fir, fur, heard, were, meter, which would become før, før, hørd, wør, metør. A large number of English words could be regularized by its adoption. I am not sure that it should be adopted for schwa, and if it was to be, it should be at a later stage. Perhaps even Ø should come as a second stage?

Ø does not stick out in lines of type like Ö and ö do. The letter can be produced on a typewriter by typing /-backspace-O. It can be written quickly by completing the circle and making a downstroke. Finally, even the traditionalists ought to be able to accept that English owes something to Danish as one of its predecessor languages.

Ted Relton, Ilford, England

[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J28, 2002/2 p32]

Literature Received.

In the past 6 months JSSS has received the following publications:

1. eda News, newsletter of the European Dyslexia Association, Vol.6 No.2, August 2000.

2. English, the Journal of the English Association, Vol.49, No.194, Summer 2000; No.195, Autumn 2000.

3. English Association Newsletter, No.164, Summer 2000.

4. English Today, No.63, July 2000; No.64, October 2000.

6. QUEST, the Journal of the Queen's English Society, No.76, September 2000.

7. Reading, Vol.34, No.2, July 2000; Vol.34, No.3, November 2000; from UK Reading Association.

8. Rechtschreibung, newsletter of the Bund für vereinfachte rechtschreibung (Federation for simplified spelling), Zürich, No.181, June 2000.

9. Sprachreport, from the Institut für deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, Germany, 2/2000, 3/2000.

[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J28, 2002/2 p23]

MONA CROSS: a tribute from Chris Jolly

Mona Cross, who died in September 2000 aged 95, was a committee member of the Society until the mid-1980s.

Mona Cross was a remarkable lady who helped hold the Society together through one of its more difficult times. Her slight appearance concealed a character of determination and great warmth. She had been a teacher and the headmistress of a primary school in her village of East Haddon in Northamptonshire. She became interested in spelling reform from using i.t.a. (initial teaching alphabet) at the school.

In the early 1980s the Society was at a low ebb, and the fact that it survived is in large measure due to Mona, and to Stanley Gibbs. Stanley tells of an AGM at that time with only four members present.

In the 1970s and 80s, Mona was variously Secretary of the Society, and Editor of the Newsletter (the main publication of the Society at the time). In these roles she was the link with the members. She wanted to see the Society thrive and to see its ideas for reform gain ground.

She did not harbour a scheme of her own, but instead put her efforts into publicity and the communication between members. Even though she had not been able to attend Society meetings for many years, she had continued her interest in the Society.