[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J31, 2002/2, pp14-16]

Chris Upward 1939-2002.

Foto of Chris Upward. Senior Lecturer in German Aston University Birmingham, UK.
Editor-in-chief, Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society 1985-2000.
Author, Cut Spelling Handbook.

It is with the greatest sadness your Committee has heard from Janet Upward that Christopher Upward died last 4th August at a hospice in Birmingham at the age of 63.

There will be many members who will recall his unstinting devotion to our cause, his many years of contributions and his good will and companionship.



Recollections of Chris Upward.

I first met Chris in 1991 when I attended my first SSS meeting.

For most of the 1990s anyone arriving early for an SSS quarterly meeting at the YWCA Great Russell Street YMCA in London was bound to be greeted by Chris with all his papers for the meeting around him. This is because Chris was always the first to arrive even though he was probably the one who travelled furthest as he came from Birmingham.

On yor arrival Chris rose from his chair. He shook your hand. Then he immediately made you feel welcum. This applied especially to enny new member.

Then during the meeting if thair wer enny technical language matters or questions about the history of the SSS it was always Chris who ansered them.

He also had a great sense of humor as the following short cutting from the press in 1991 indicates:
The uther day the Simplified Spelling Society receeved a letter objecting to simplified spelling as being 'beyond the pail'.

That letter speaks volumes.
- Ron Footer [notice the misspelling of pale, above]



Tribute to Christopher Upward.

[1939 - August 4, 2002]

We meet today to say farewell to a scholarly linguist and teacher, and to pay tribute to a man of principle and passion. I speak on behalf of members of the Simplified Spelling Society, many of whom from all parts of the world have already expressed in e-mails their sense of sorrow at the passing of an esteemed friend and colleague.

Christopher was passionate about the reform of the English spelling system, for the benefit of children whose difficulties in coping with the complexities of traditional orthography hinder their progress in other fields, and to face the problem of being considered illiterate because they failed to spell in the conventional manner. He joined the society 20 years ago, and was quickly elected to its committee, only being forced to withdraw from a very active participation in its affairs by increasing ill-health.

The society has a long history, during which there have been periods of relative somnolence followed by others of intense public and private activity. Chris was instrumental in pushing the society from a quiet period into a very active and public role during the 1980s. He took over the members' newsletter and transformed it into a twice yearly scholarly journal which commanded academic respect for the quality and breadth of its articles. His knowledge of the written form of many European languages was formidable, and he worked tirelessly at promoting his favoured scheme for reforming English, Cut Spelling, both within the society and in the world at large. His own writings are extensive; during his most active period, it wasn't unusual for him to publish five or six pieces on spelling the year, as well as producing two issues of the Journal and assembling material for his major works. The most important of these are his contribution to Tom McArthur's Oxford Companion to the English Language, and his incomplete Oxford guide to English spelling, which I can report from my reading of it as encyclopaedic and beautifully articulated. This and his simplified spelling work must ultimately be available on the Web.

Chris's scholarship survives him. His theoretical work on spelling represents a major advance in the academic study of the subject. In his handbook on Cut Spelling he gave the world the most important system of reform of the second half of the 20th century, and his analysis of written English will be used by any future worker in the field. He will be remembered by us who knew him as a gentle man in every sense of that term, a sociable man, a man whom one was always pleased to read and to engage with. The world will remember his scholarship and, one hopes admire his energy.

- Prof. Don Scragg, SSS President.



Publications by Chris Upward.

See Journals, Newsletters, Leaflets, Media, Pamflet, Book, Papers.

[The article had a full list of journal articles by Chris Upward.]

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