On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4.

Newsletter July 1983, part 2.


from the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting.

held in London, 7 May 1983.

Elections. All eight candidates wer elected to serv one year - A. Bye, H. Cookson, M. Cross, L. Fennelly, C. Jolly, E. Oakensen, G. Rae, W.J. Reed.

The Secretary's report. Advertisements had cost about £26, and there had been some enquiries as a result.

The Tresurer's report showed a helthy balance. The 1984 subscription will remain at £5.

Spelling Reform in the 1980s. H. Cookson thaut that local S.R. committees should be set up wherever possible. 'Pronunciation' was discussed and is to be placed on the next Committee agenda.

Membership involvement in the Newsletter is to be welcomed and an Asian member is being asked to contribute to the next issue.

New name for the SSS is discussed later on in this Newsletter. Suggestions included SPRINGLISH, Spelling Reform of Inglish (A.Bye), and prefixing our title, "Spelling Reform, Simplified Spelling Society" (H. Cookson).

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From the President, Professor John Downing, writing to the Chairman, Mr Jolly:

"I heartily endorse both the new constitution and the statement of policies for the Simplified Spelling Society which the Committee has worked out. They represent a major step forward in the Society's work. Now we can face the public with confidence that we have practical common sense proposals that are worth considering. Please convey my opinion to the Committee and members. I cannot come to England in 1983, but am planning a visit in 1984... a lecture tour from 14th May to 3rd June.

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news1pt3i1 (17K)
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[See Journal and Newsletter articles by Mona Cross.]

From Miss Mona Cross, our new Public Relations Officer, and for so many years our unflagging and dedicated Tresurer:

"Dear members and interested people,

Greetings! Many thanks for your letters. If they were concerning details of reform, they are now being considered by Mr H. Cookson who in one of our special committee of three who prepare for our decisions on future Spelling Reform steps.

I have resigned as Honorary Tresurer so that I can devote my energy to the newly created position of "Public Relations Officer". As you, too, will be well aware, - few people know of us. Any ideas of yours as to how to 'spred the gospel' will be gladly received by me, and any co-operation you'll give will be welcomed. Last month a very tolerant and understanding reporter for our local paper, the CHRONICLE AND ECHO gave an excellent report about the Simplified Spelling Society and my work. As a result the BBC asked me if I could broadcast for Nationwide. Because of a change of venue to a town over a hundred miles away, this couldn't take place. I hope similar opportunity for publicity will arise for me, and for you. Why not?

Our new Tresurer is Mr Laurie Fennelly who lives in Southampton. He is a most plesant and efficient committee member. In the past year he has delt with the making of a good, currently valuable constitution and with the SR-1 etc. proposals. We ar fortunate to have his services as Tresurer, and I myself am especially grateful to him.

The Auditors state that our monetary affairs are satisfactory. I will send you a copy of the relevant part of the Audit Account in the next News Bulletin.

We shall not be sending you any more free SPELLING PROGRESS BULLETINS because of the expense incurred, but they can be bought direct from Newell Tune, California, U.S.A., Subscription 5 U.S. dollars p.a.

I have been reading Newell Time's SPELLING REFORM, A COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY OF THE ADVANTAGES, EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS AND OBSTACLES TO ADOPTION. It seems to have in it something of everything I want to know. I recommend it to you. We sell it at the subsidised cost of £16.You can obtain a copy from our committee member Mr Alun Bye, Northampton. Cheques should be made out to the Simplified Spelling Society.

I should be grateful for any SSS books which you can spare and would refund your postage. I particularly want a copy of ALPHABETS AND READING, by Sir James Pitman K.B.E. and John St. John.

As a result of the CHRONICLE AND ECHO article on Spelling Simplification, I received on loan a little book from book collector Mr George Freeston. It's wellworn, dated 1829 but printed in 1824. Its title is ORTHOGRAPHICAL EXERCISES: IN A SERIES OF MORAL LETTERS etc. I send you a copy of an extract. The gentle moralising attitude of the writer James Alderson might make us smile. Yet the realisation that a hundred and fifty years later we have only just entered a time when the authorisation of spelling change has barely been considered, points to another moral.

You give so much of your time to working out the details of how we can help children and all who need to communicate in English. I'd be glad if you'd write to me about any ideas you have to popularise such a fine cause.

My best wishes to each one of you, all over the world.

Yours sincerely,
Mona Cross.

As you will see from the News Letter, I have resigned as Tresurer, but I hope that you will still go on writing to me, particularly for the News Bulletin; and maybe you will write about publicity too.

I'd like to thank you all for the plesure you've brought me during the eight years in which I've served as Tresurer. For that job I was told I would only have to sign some cheques. But that brought a link with members all over the world, and with people who, to me, are individuals and frends. I haven't met you all - but I feel as tho I had. So I send my thanks and my good wishes to you in your personal lives. May you be rewarded for all your efforts and allegiance to the Society by finding that we have created an enlightened and co-operative public. There's a high hope for 1983!

Yours sincerely, Mona Cross.

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EXTRACT FROM Orthographical Exercises in a Series of Moral Letters, etc.

by the late James Alderson, revised and corrected by the Reverend Thomas Smith. London. Printed by (nine printers including Longman). On the cover is stamped "Jas Gibbs, Blisworth, 1829.

"My deer sun, I resevd yoor lettur and am delited with the karaktur yoo giv me ov yoor yung frend. You (sic) describe him az being affabl, oblijing, komplezant; as (sic) wun hoo plezes all, and with hoom all ar plezed. Yoor warm and anemated kommendashuns make me hope that yoo see thoze ameabl kwolletes in ther tru lite, that you will endevur to imetate so good an egzampl and to let the koppe ekwal if possebl, the orijenal.

There iz nuthing we awt more to inkurridje in ourselvz and uthurs than good-natshure. Wer this kwollete in more jeneral yuse.. the paths ov life, too oftn strowd with thorns, wood be kuvurd with rozes.

Comment by Mona Cross: As you will see, the reformer tried to spell phonetically, occasionally missed out unpronounced letters as we would for SR-1, and is inconsistent. Some spelling schemes tried out in the nineteen-eighties show exactly the same characteristics.

Where do you think this well-worn 'Spelling Reform' book could have been used?

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Boy dropping a box of letters.

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Choose your own spelling reforms.


A report from the working party of Laurie Fennelly, Harry Cookson and Chris Jolly - a working party established as a result of the initiative of Professor John Downing.

It has been our aim to produce and publicise a number of separate reforms for spelling that people could use on a 'help yourself' basis. The proposals have not been finalised yet and a fuller report will be made later. At this stage we simply provide an outline for discussion. Each reform will be independent of the others. There will be no implication that people should be using all of them at once or even that they should select from them in any particular order. The reforms will each stand on their own for individuals to choose from as they wish.

Several good proposals have alredy been made by other reforms along these lines. Our intention has been to acknowledge and draw on these ideas while adding some original ideas of our own. The most important innovation we feel able to make is to introduce reforms based on the t.o. spellings of words, rather than their pronunciations. A few examples will make this clear.

Take the popular suggestion of reforming the spelling of ph as in photo. If this becomes a reform of all f sounds it needs to include the reform of words like cough and laugh - a worthy idea but complex if carried out this way. On the other hand if it is the reform of all ph spellings then it needs to include the reform of words like nephew and shepherd where ph is not, or not always, pronounced f. To insist that the reform applies only when the spelling ph is pronounced f is to make it dependent on two factors instead of one, an unnecessary complication and one that would be very confusing in more complex reforms.

Reforms based on spelling in t.o. have three distinct advantages,

1. Dialect differences cause very much less confusion, if any.

2. Specific letter clusters, e.g. ph are very much easier to notice than specific pronunciations, e.g. f. This is important when we come to write in a reformed spelling - any reformed spelling - and need to notice where to use the reform.

3. When reading in a reformed spelling we may need help in identifying a letter, e.g. fase, fobia, especially if there is no context to guide us. Reforms based on spelling can provide a link back to the original spelling in t.o. It is suggested that a designation such as SR-ph be used to identify a text where ph spellings have been reformed. Armed with this knowledge, a reader would be able to work back from fase to phase and from fobia to phobia.


The complete pattern of reforms being considered is therefore a mix from several sources:

The first is the long-standing SR-1 proposal of Harry Lindgren, a proposal that is gaining increasing acceptance. This is the suggestion that the letter e is used for the sound of e as in bet. Hence meny, frend, etc.

The second proposals are those of Ayb Citron. These include the suggested removal of the final e in common words where it is not necessary. Hence hav, liv, giv, ar, etc.

Finally there are the fresh proposals being made here. Two examples are given below to help make them clearer. They are reforms of the letter clusters sc and augh.

SR-sc
1. sc - s Scene - sene, science - sience, crescent - cresent.
2. sc - sk Scare - skare, describe - deskribe, disc - disk, sceptic - skeptic.
3. sc - sh Crescendo - creshendo, fascist - fashist.

SR: augh
1. augh - af Draught - draft, laugh - laf (cf: daft, staff, after)
2. augh - au Caught - caut, fraught - fraut, daughter - dauter, haughty - hauty
3. augh - aw Taught - tawt (to avoid a homograf with taut. cf law, saw, crawl)

Spelling reform needs fresh ideas to encourage individuals to use reformed spellings and to think about the subject. Increasingly this is happening and the intention of the working party is to help this process take place.

Chris Jolly.

(Editor's comment: The working party will, it is hoped, later be considering the approach being tested in Valerie Yule's reserch with lerners and skild readers "When in dout, leave it out" as in words taken from this page:-

knowledge, would, back, considered, therefore, sources, the, friend, are, examples, below, scene, science, Crescent, staff, caught, fraught, daughter, haughty, taught, reformed, will, approach..)

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On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4.