[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J30, 2002/1, pp24-25]
[Edward Rondthaler: see Journals, Newsletters, Anthology, Bulletins, Personal View 8, ALC web.]

Dr. Ed Rondthaler says, "Quit fooling around ...

Recogniez whut is "guud enuf" and run with it!

A Comparison of Glossic and Romic solutions.

Picture of a finger in a pie. It wuud be a big step forward if thoez of us hoo beleev in reform began rieting in the guud sensibl 'ae ee ie oe ue' was propoezd bi respected skolars in 1910 - with the fue mienor chaenjes offerd in 1955+.

But the reel reezon that isn't dun is that evrybody waunts to hav a fingger in the pi. That's whi speling reform is not liekly to get enywhair.

We need sumbody big enuf to sae "Qit fooling around! Recogniez whut is guud enuf and run with it."

I'v tried to do that and hav bin rieting that wae, much of the tiem, for yeers - and I'l keep on doing it becauz it werks for evry werd in English and luuks enuf liek our speling so that noebody has ever complaend or had trubl reeding whut I riet. I shuud probably point out that I hav no authorship of this ae ee ie oe ue speling. I was introdoost to it by John Downing, Godfrey Dewey, James Pitman and Ben Wood - all graet men not with us enymor...

Editor comments:

See Ed Rondthaler's book, Dictionary of Simplified American Spelling, 1988. for details see ALC web on the Links page.

Henry Sweet described the problem this way:
The great difficulty of arriving at any agreement is the multiplicity of possible systems. Any system, however clumsy and arbitrary, which clears away only a portion of the irregularities of the existing spelling, is an improvement on it. Any one, for instance, if he likes, can drop the silent w in such words as write, and make night into nite, thus getting rid of a large number of irregularities at one stroke. In fact, given a hundred human beings of average intellect who can read and write, it would be perfectly easy to turn out a hundred different systems of spelling, all of them more or less an improvement on the existing one.
It is not so much a question of wanting "to get one's finger in the pie" as with having different opinions as to how much irregularity to remove. All reformers want to remove some of the irregularity in written English. If all the irregularity was removed, over 50% of the words in the dictionary would have to be respelled. Masha Bell recommends the following reforms:
This would include removing all non-functional silent letters. ate eel ite ote ewe spellings would not be changed because the "magic e" has a function. The proposal is essentially Cut Spelling with double consonants to mark short stressed vowels and a few more substitutions such as [eel for /i:/.

Implementing these three reforms might not be "good enough" for Dr. Rondthaler because long vowel spelling is not standardized, but the elimination of these irregularities would certainly simplify spelling. These limited reforms would fail to eliminate all "code overlaps": It would still be possible to read or decode some spellings two or more ways.

If we just look at the different systems on the Spelling Reform Ring, we see three different types of proposals - all of them "good enuff" to solve 70% of the problems with English.

Ways of representing the long vowels:
We can simplify this somewhat by referring to the first option as Glossic - based on familiar shifted sound-symbol correspondences and the third as Romic - based on the Roman or Latin sound-symbol correspondences.

PG Code pronunciation guide.

One should probably distinguish spelling reformers from alphabet reformers such as Franklin, Twain, and Shaw. Alphabet reformers want to standardize the phonemic spelling code found in dictionaries. This code could support the teaching of an i.t.a. or a parallel writing system. It might compete with the traditional multi-coded notation but would not try to change it. Alphabet reformers want to teach sound spelling so this code becomes available to all. However, the choice of using it for communication is a personal choice.

The parallel system of Global English in PG Code would live side by side with traditional hard to learn English orthography. It would provide English speakers with a complete alphabet and a way of talking about sounds. With a complete alphabet, all traditional spellings could be pronounced as spelled, clearly revealing that what is being spelled is a historical dialect not something we use today.

Pronunciation guide spelling has fewer compromises than Rondthaler and Lias's American Spelling [aka ALC SoundSpelling]. The PG Code would be available to those learning English as a second language and probably suit them fine. Many would never have to complete the transition to traditionally written English since documents written in the PG code could be understood by all.

The new PG Code would resemble IPA but use the traditional ME devices rather than new letter shapes for distinguishing long and short vowels. However, a couple of Icelandic letters might be added to the PG code later to eliminate some of the digraphs. For instance, a grave accent could be added to indicate "half" vowels or unstressed mid lax vowels: àgo sofà thè hèr bìrd revòlušòn.


"Enuff" is enough
support Spelling Reform


A Saxon-Spanglish Transcription.

Recognaiz wat iz gud enuff and runn with it.
Saxon-Spanglish is another contender for the role of a "good enuff" writing system for English. It has an equally illustrious history. There is an 85% agreement with ALC SoundSpel but there are two major differences: The Romic solution [1] has fewer exception rules and [2] is based on the Middle English [and Germanic] conventions and Continental grapheme/phoneme conventions.
It wud bi a big step forward if thowz av uss hu believ in reform began raiting in the gud sennsibl 'ei, ie, ai, ow, uu' wey propowzd bai respeckted skolerz in 1890: Henry Sweet, Daniel Jones, and Mont Follick.

The riel riezan that iznt dunn iz thaet evvrybody wants to hav a fingger in the pai. Thaet is hwai spelling reform iz not laikly to get enywerr.

Wi need sambody big enuff to say: "Kwit fuuling aroundl Recognaiz wat iz gud enuff and runn with it."

Aiv traid to du thaet and hav bin raiting thaet way, mach av the taim for yirz - and ail kiep on duing it becoz it werks for evvry werd in English and luks enuff laik our spelling so thaet noboddy haz evver had trubbl rieding wat ai rait. Ai shud probbably point out that ai hav no awthership av this spelling. Ai waz introduust to it by rieding Sweet, Jones, and Follick. Greit men hu aar not with uss ennymor.
There are currently no "sight" words in Romic solutions because this represents a major compromise with 'one symbol per sound' However, [I] for [ai] could be added. As an i.t.a., it would be added after the basic symbol sound correspondences had been learned.

The differences between this Romic solution and the Glossic solution in the first paragraph are easy to spot: [1] one way of spelling the unstressed mid lax vowel in ago, [two exceptions: before r and after th, tha is spelled the]. [2] fewer compromises with the phonemic principle and the base alphabet. [3] consistent use'of the Middle English convention of double consonants to mark short stressed vowels. [ALC has hurry, carry, and ferry] [4] IPA/continental long vowel conventions.

All combined, these features would benefit ESL students who represent a majority of the population now studying English. The long vowel conventions are not quite as easy for TO adepts as ALC.

Mostly due to the ten exception rules, this particular Romic solution is not quite as easy to learn as Unifon - a one and only one symbol per sound or 100% phonemic system. However, SS is more systematic than ALC making it easier to spell without consulting a dictionary. It should be emphasized, however, that all alternative writing systems will require dictionary standardization or a base pronunciation. SS is basically midland NBC-English with a BBC-English [o] before a single consonant. Terminal [o's] are closer to Spanish. [bello not bellow, bellou, or bell@u., belo not bilou]

Summary.

There may be hundreds of ways to regularize English but to date there have been only two basic types of proposals for visualizing the long vowels: glossic - systems that try to standardize the shifted symbol-sound relationships and romic - systems that try to return to the Latin symbol-sound relationships. There is about a 15% difference in the two conventions. Without exception rules and "sight words" both types of proposals would respell over 50% of the words in the dictionary and distort 1,000's of "eye rhymes."

Glossic respellings may distort familiar shifted shapes a little less. In the process, glossic would probably distort familiar international word pronunciations a little more. Romic solutions would be the better alternative if the main beneficiaries of the reform were those learning English as a second language.

Both approaches could provide pretty good pronunciation guide codes. Glossic advocates tend to stress compromise and the retention of word shape recognition. Romic advocates tend to sidestep the issue of an easy transition for those adept in the traditional orthography and advocate a parallel highly phonemic code.

Rondthaler expresses the impatience of many spelling reformers when he says "quit fooling around" pick a "pretty good" spelling system - a compromise between [1] spellings that are easily recognized by those versed in traditional spelling and [2] spellings that provide a more reliable guide to pronunciation - & go with it.

Dutch children watch English television and listen to English pop music. By the age of 12 they can speak quite fluent English. When they must start learning English at school, they encounter English spelling. A common gripe is, "you must learn English twice, once spoken and again later written." - Benjamin Rossen


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