[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1988/3 pp27-29 later designated J9]
[Doug. Everingham: see Journals, Newsletters, Bulletins.]

The Case for SR1 and Nothing Else.

Doug. N. Everingham.

Dr Everingham writes that he at one time favored Reg Deans's BRITIC (see Journal of the SSS J5 1987/2, pp.25-27) as the most economic use of the Latin alphabet for English, but wanted some changes. After seeing W Gassner's proposal, Doug put out a more complete scheme, Braud Inglish Speling (1966), to provide 66 spellings for 40 English phonemes so as to allow preservation of existing spelling-distinctions among homophones. This was acclaimed by Frank Laubach of the Laubach Institute, USA, who had devised a similar system with the added aim of preserving word length for greater sight-familiarity by doubling consonants etc where possible. In 1967 Doug entered the Australian federal parliament. On seeing Lindgren's Spelling Reform: A Now Approach (Sydney: Alpha Books, 1969), he accepted it as incomparably better and abandoned his own proposal. He suggested to Lindgren (a resident of the federal capital, Canberra) that a 'Spelling Action Society' be formed on SeptembeR 1, 1971, 'SR1 Day'. As Australian Minister for Helth 1972-75, Doug produced the first official publication to use Lindgren's SR1 (Spelling Reform Step One), including the form helth. He tried without success to set up a parliamentary committee on spelling reform. He currently edits 'Spelling Action', quarterly newsletter of the Spelling Action Society.
Following this article, Chris Upward discusses the points numbered [1-8]

Attacking outrageous 'gargoyles' of spelling like hiccough lough ought plough thorough though through tough trough (see Bill Herbert, Journal J4 1987/1, p. 3) appeals in part because such reform has had partial success with hiccup loch plow thoro tho thru. The last four words were reformed chiefly by the example of the Chicago Tribune which has now largely abandoned the effort. But <-ough> words occur on average less often in print than words eligible for Lindgren's Spelling Reform Step One (SRI): the use of <e> for the clear short vowel sound of trend ses gests sed hemorrhaging lepard beried meny ded hefers. [1]

Apart from the Tribune's group of four, these <-ough> reforms came about from causes as little connected with each other as the reforms of eschallotte gaol manoeuvre racquet shew sulphur to shallot jail maneuver racket show sulfur.

Also, such isolated attacks on gargoyles, however successful, distract attention from, and may delay, the more positive aim of spelling reform: to follow consistent rules for encoding distinct sound elements (phonemes) of a language, irrespective of
The above 'successful' reforms do not achieve this consistency for eny of the phonemes re-written <u, p, ch, ow, o, o, u> respectively from <-ough> or re-written <sh, t, j, ai, eu, er, ck, ow, f> from <esch, tte, g, ao, oeu, re, cqu, ew, ph>. The reforms affect only a single word and its derivatives in each case. Thousands of one-word reforms of this type (some of them re-reforming earlier such reforms) would be needed to bring consistency to English spellings.

Part 1 of Chris Upward's 'Cut Speling - a Linguistic Universl?' (Journal of the SSS, J5 1987/2, pp.17-25) contains some 500 words with nearly 600 phoneme-coding irregularities (if <th> for /dh/ sound is deemed irregular). CS removes some 180+ redundant letters, occurring more than once in some words, so in about one word in three of print. A few more irregularities of traditional spelling are removed using <j, f, y> for <g, ph, gh, ig> which is now declared part of the CS 'system' along with deletion exception rules like
By contrast, each of Lindgren's proposed forty or so spelling reform steps (SRI, SR2, ... SR40) should achieve total consistency for one of the forty phonemes of English for every word. Forty such steps would totally regularize English spelling. Attacking gargoyles first achieves regularity for no phoneme and requires rules with exceptions. SR1 amends only two gargoyles in the passage referred to (producing <insted, meny> and in general affects only one per 80 words of print as Ivor F has shown in his million-word count. (See 'Spelling Action', Jul-Sep 1986, page 4.) This unobtrusive change, so easy for high pressure professional writers to adopt, is resisted by Chris in his article. He writes <insted> (CS) but <many>!

Yet SR1
If SR1 is widely recognized it will have established the positive principle of the rule of phonemic logic, not the negative principle of piecemeal patchup of past botchups. This SR1 principle will be worth more than all the complicated rules of Cut Spelling, rules which, if supplemented eventually by similar rules to regularize the rest of traditional spelling, will, including their multiple exceptions and provisos, far exceed the number of SR steps (40) required on the Lindgren principle to transform spelling from a word fossil field and museum to a reasoned written code for speech. [6]

Lindgren's book has a cartoon showing two mountaineers arguing and pointing at distant mountains. One ses: "You want us to climb the left peak and I the right. Let's go towards them while we argue about it." Every spelling reform movement wants total regularity eventually. Every one of them has a referred first step, although SAS seems to be the only one that has never varied it. Every one of them agrees on SR1 as part of their aim. Yet they do not use it while debating much more complex proposals which have never been used throughout journals and literary works as SRI has been repeatedly!

SR1 is one of the few possible phonemic reforms that does not significantly mislead readers using otherwise current spellings. It does not require exceptions. It does not close off options for further phonemic reforms. It sets an example which could lead to restoring to traditional English spelling some of the interlingual compatibility it had before the great vowel shifts, such as <ei au ai ou> as in <veil sauerkraut aisle soul>, by
Thus /i:/ as in <kiwi> will be reformed before <ei>, which in turn will have its international function promoted before <ai> does; /o:/ as in <awe, oar, all> before <au> which will precede <ou> reform.

Those who would reform <gh, ph> spellings of /f/ ignore the exceptions of
Lindgren has made all of the above clear in his book for those prepared to define and seek its logical aim. This should be preferred to a quick but patchy fix (which will lead to further patches over patches) chosen to give an easy ride to gargoyle-based reform for those hooked on traditional spellings.

The table below shows the absurdity of the common <gh, ph> reform proposals compared with the order and logic of SRI and its sequels: the logic of starting from a phoneme in the top row and going down the column, and the craziness of starting with a gargoyle in the left column and going across the row.

Articles by Chris and others in past issues of the Newsletter have shown incomplete adherence to SR1 at times, among more sweeping reforms. This suggests that reforming more than one word in 80 or so for a start is likely to lead to poor consistency for professional writers who work regularly to tight dedlines. [7] They and the public have to be convinced before the momentum of change can begin towards eventual spelling sanity. If we cannot persuade pedagogues, publishers, politicians and the populace that the logic and simplicity of SR1 is worth putting into practice, our philosophical meanderings and debates among the converted will be worse than useless - they will convince the uncommitted that we are confused or the problem is too hard, and so will delay our success. If we want action, not words, we must choose to promote one reform on which all reform groups can agree. So far that is ONLY SR1. [8]

(See phoneme chart below)

Chris Upward coments on points numbrd abov:

[1] or all Err-analysis shos th <gh> 'gargoyl' is a real bugbear, and it is very comn. Th 250 most comn english words, in desending ordr of frequency, include any, many, might, through, again, though, thought, right, against, head, enough, high, night. Chanjing letters causes problms (e.g. bakwrds compatbility, pronunciation), and if eny, agen etc ar excluded, <gh> seems to hav a strongr claim than SR1.

[2] Conflicting pronunciations ar a serius obstacl to reform by fonemes. SR1s letr-chanjing trips over these: americns and scots rym ate with late, not with bet; in Ireland any has th sound of Annie; many english speakrs rym says with pays; if americns oftn rym bury with furry, not very; again, against ar oftn spoken with th vowl of gain and th SR1 forms agen, agenst confusingly sujest soft <g> as in agent.

[3] We shud not despise th spelings of othr languajs. A major purpose of speling reform is to help forenrs lern english. Cut Speling removes discrepncis between languajs, as in abreviation (french abrévation), wen (jermn wenn.).

[4] Hetrofones must be avoidd! CS needs few exeptions.

[5] Not only conflicting accents prevent consistnt speling by fonemes. As David Brazil showd (SSS Jurnl J4 1987/1), our pronunciation varis as we speak, and linguists even disagree about how many fonemes ther ar in english, som even douting wethr they realy exist. Speling is not only a systm for recording sound, it represents morfemic structur too, wich is anothr reasn wy ses is a dubius speling for says.

[6] Certnly th 3 rules of CS ar mor complex than th 1 rule for SR1, but wheras SR1 only improves ritn english marjnly, CS targets th most serius practice dificltis of th systm: silent letrs, post-accentul shwa, dubld consnnts; and it streamlines th hole riting process. SR1 has th advantaj that it is simper to describe, but CS acheves mor. Our overiding comn airn must be to get any improvemnt, larj or smal, simpl or complex, acceptd. Th public needs educating about th ranje of posbilitis, with al ther pros and cons, and not about one sceme "and nothing else".

[7] CS requires training and practice, but once lernt, it is a boon for riters with tyt dedlines: script is produced fastr both because it is shortr, and because ther is less uncertnty and likelihood of err: e.g. harass, embarass at last mach!

[8] Th quote from Harry Lindgrens book is good: "U want us to climb th left peak and I th ryt. Let's go towards them wile we argu about it". By al means - but let us also accept that th peaks ar shroudd in mist, and ther ar sevrl paths!


Doug Everingham's Table of Phonemes vs. Gargoyles.

SOUNDauu:ouo: oaʌa:æ əreeiai i:i
NOW
SPELT
<u>tutuup onusburybusy
<ue>ruevaguer guestappliquemarquee
<ou/ow> outcari-bousoul
own
four countryhonour
<ough>ploughthr-ough tho-ughtho-ughtcough
lough
(loch)
rough <f?ff>
hic-cough <p>
thorough
<oe> shoetoeo'er* oedemafoetidfoetus
<o>dosooron wonapronwomen
<au>sauer-kraut bu-reautautAussie auntaustere
<augh> aughtlaugh
<a>allwas mamaaft*axsofaany apingadage*
<ae>aes-thetic haem-orrh-sun-daeaery*aeon
<a -e>arehave senateate*hate
<ai>plait boat-swain saidaidaisle
<ay>moray sayssayay(e)quay
<aig>campaign
<aigh>straight
<eh>eh
<e>shewing openledcafebe
<ee> three-pence*neefee
<ey> heyeyekey
<eo> surgeonleopardpeople
<ei>villein heiferreineiderseize
<eig>sovereign reign
<eigh> sleighsleightLeigh
<igh>light
<ig>sign
<i>office hikiwiin
<ie> friendhiesiege

* Concise Oxford Dictionary 1964 pronunciations. Lindgren leaves open what words may be written in more than one way to suit main speech communities, e.g le(i)sure, alumin(i)um.

In summary:
 RULESSOUNDS SPELLINGSWORDS WORLD
USAGE
CONSENSUSHOMOPHONE
CREATION
SR11 logical1 (all
occurrences)
1 from 12
(1 in 80
of text)
>500+All
reform
bodies
3
 
Omit
redundant
letters
4 40Hundreds10 000x
(1 in 3
of text)
No
change
sought
Under
constant
review
Dozens
 
<gh-ph>
reforms
601217 from 8 Few hundred
(1 in >100 of text)
Not
sought
VariesFew:
<doh>
etc.

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