News3. A5 16pp. [underlined words and letters are in italics here.]
On other pages: part 2, part 3, part 4.

Newsletter July 1983, part 1.


Information Technology.

Patron: H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K.T.
Founded in 1908 with William Archer, F.J. Furnivall, Israel Gollancz, A.W. Pollard and W.W, Skeat.
Former Presidents: Professor Daniel Jones, D.Phil., LL.D., M.A.:
Professor Gilbert Murray, O.M., D.C.L., D.Litt., F.B.A.: Sir I.J. Pitman. K.B.E., M.A.:
Professor W.W. Skeat, Lit.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Ph.D.

President: Professor John Downing.
Chairman: Mr. C. J. H. Jolly.
Hon. Secretary: Mr Stanley Gibbs, Staines.
Hon. Tresurer: Mr Laurie Fennelly, Southampton.
Hon. Public Relations Officer: Miss Mona Cross, Northampton.

Next Meeting

Sat. 17 Sept at 10.30 a.m. in London. Committee meeting mainly discussing spelling reform and the ramifications of the American BETTS 'Big Four' proposals.

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[Chris Jolly: see Journals, Newsletters, Bulletins.]

Chairman's MESSAGE from Chris Jolly.

Chris Jolly.
The past year has been one of significant achievement in the Simplified Spelling Society. As a result I believe we are in a much better position to take forward the interests of us all in reforming English spelling. Let me briefly tell you the progress that has been made and the direction we plan to take in the future.

The constitution of a society such as ours may seem a simple administrative matter and indeed, in a way, it is. However the old constitution was very unsatisfactory, being both cumbersome and restrictive. The task of drawing up a new one was taken on very ably by Laurie Fennelly and we are very grateful to him for the clear and purposeful revision he produced. Following the postal ballot of members in February it is now the society's constitution.

In May of this year we had the Annual General Meeting. Stanley Gibbs continues as Secretary, Alun Bye as Vice Chairman and myself as Chairman. Mona Cross was elected to the new position of Public Relations Officer where her talents and energy for communication will be able to flourish. Her position as Tresurer has been taken by Laurie Fennelly and I'm glad to report that she leaves the society's financial balance in a healthy state.

After many years working for the Society Ralph Cropper has asked to be relieved of his responsibilities as a trustee. We are sorry to see him go and thank him for his support and efforts over the years. Mrs Elsie Oakensen has kindly agreed to take his place as one of three trustees who administer bequests.

For some time now the Society has been concerned that its name does not reflect its objectives and needs in the best way possible. You may have read Alun Bye's article in the last issue of the Newsletter, and again he seeks your views on the possible alternatives.

At his visit last year the Society's President, Professor Downing, suggested that the Society focus on the small steps that get spelling reform under way, rather than trying to achieve a whole new system all in one leap. His suggestion was the development of a range of small steps, all of them independent of one another, so that people could select reforms and use them as they wished. A working party was set up consisting of Harry Cookson, Laurie Fennelly and myself and elsewhere in this issue to an outline report of the initial stages that have been proposed. It is a report for discussion and your comments are welcome.

As you will be aware, the Simplified Spelling Society needs to tred the difficult path of seeking to bring about specific changes to English Spelling while encouraging discussion on the various alternatives possible. Many years ago New Spelling was officially adopted as the Society's preferred scheme for the reform of English spelling. There have been a few slight amendments to New Spelling over the years but the policy is still the same. In practice we actively encourage discussion on all possible schemes and more importantly on how to bring about any spelling reforms. It is my view that it is the small stages to get spelling reform under way that are the most important, though we should not lose sight of the final result desired.

A Society such as ours thrives on the interest and involvement of the members and we need to encourage that wherever we can. Committee Meetings are held every two months or so, in London, and any members who wished to come to a meeting would be most welcome. Please let Stanley Gibbs know if you would like to be kept in touch with the dates and have a map of how to get there. It is planned to invite outside speakers to meetings on occasions in the future so that we can benefit from their experience and discuss ideas with them.

In your own area you may find that there is an opportunity to talk to clubs or societies about spelling reform. It makes an excellent discussion subject. In addition, newspapers can sometimes be persuaded to carry an article, as Mona Cross found recently, very successfully. One of our most difficult problems is that even though people are broadly aware of how illogical English spelling is, they are just not aware of the concept of Spelling Reform. The subject has not been widely considered or discussed. Hence at this stage our most important task must be to get people to think seriously about it and the benefits it can bring.

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Editor's comments: Hints for speakers to clubs and societies

Useful material as a basis for talks, discussions and stimulating 'Spelling Games' -

Sir James Pitman and John St.John. ALPHABETS AND READING. Pitman, London 1969.


Elsie M. Oakensen, "Is spelling reform feasible'?" Vol XX.2.1980, p 2-6.
Valerie Yule, "Causes of illiteracy and recommendations for action" XV 1975.4.
Valerie Yule, "Spelling and spelling reform, arguments pro and con", Vol XVI.I.1976.

THE GAME'S UP! A little book of spelling games. V. Yule.

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