News4. (underlined words and letters are in italics here.)
On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4.

Newsletter November 1983 part 2.


I hav written separatly to thirty teacher-members of the U.K. ita Federation enclosing a recent Newsletter and a copy of "Spelling Reform and our Schools" by W.J. Reed.

One reply has been received from Mrs. J. Lantern, the General Secretary, in which she suggested that the S.S.S. be represented on an Advisory/Consultativ Committee which is expected to be formed later this year.

Several S.S.S. members hav made complaints that our pamflets and leaflets ar old, and that they need to be updated.

It is my intention to seek permission from the Committee to reprint some of them using the "Big Four".

I find that in reading our Nue Speling pamflets, too much of my mind is being used in decifering and too little in comprehending.

When enquirers read our pamflets we want them to (a) get the message (b) see that we practise what we preach.

If I may remind our readers:

The Big Four.

(1) Spell short e with an e. e.g. "head" to be spelt "hed".
(2) Respell all ough and augh words.
(3) D.U.E. Drop Useless E on the end of short vowel syllables.
(4) Respell ph words with a singl f.

Stanley Gibbs. [See Journal and Newsletter articles]

OBITUARY September 1983.

Dr. Newell W. Tune.

Founder and Editor of Spelling Progress Bulletin for over 20 years.

Dr. Newell Tune died on July 21 after a brave fight working on for spelling reform despite leukemia and increasing loss of strength. He was stil pasting up a last issue of th Bulletin three weeks befor his deth.

Newell put a tremendus amount of time, energy and his own financial suport into th Bulletin he founded, originaly 'dedicated to finding th causes of dificulties in lerning reading and spelling' and latterly also to 'eliminating th causes of failure'. It acheved th status to be included in international abstracts of jurnals in th fields of language and education.

Altho with th suport of an editorial bord, Newell realy managed, published and singl-handedly produced th Bulletin thru all its stages. He was a meticulus and consientius editor and correspondent, with no hesitation in adding his own disagreement with articls he publishd, and a good frend.

Newell has not livd to see the achevement of English spelling reform for which he gave so much. Last year frends and coleags all over th world contributed to an expression of their admiration and apreciation of his work, and he was encuraged to make an anthology of what he himself considerd th significant peces from 20 years of th jurnal's publication. Copies of this work, of nearly 300 pages, "Spelling Reform: a Comprehensive Survey of the Advantages, Educational Benefits and Obstacles to Adoption" are available from the Simplified Spelling Society for £16.

It is now left to us to continue his work with th same determination.

[See Journal, Newsletter, Anthology, Bulletin articles, by John Downing.]


John Downing, Professor of Psychological Foundations in Education, University of Victoria, Canada, has just returned from a one year sabbatical leave journey overseas. He undertook professional engagements in Japan, The People's Republic of China, U.S.S.R., Austria, England, Ireland, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia.

He conducted research for four months in Papua New Guinea on children's linguistic awareness in multilingual societies with and without formal schooling. Dr. Downing also carried out an evaluation study of an experimental program in reading in the content areas in high schools in Queensland, Australia.

In the U.S.S.R., Dr. Downing completed the arrangements for publishing his book, Foundations of Reading Instruction in Russia.

During the year, Dr. Downing earned a higher doctorat from the University of London, England. This was the Doctor of Literature which is awarded on the recommendation of a jury which reviews the candidates published books and articls.

Dr. Downing taut a cours on the psychology of reading for one month at East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. His shorter speaking engagements included presenting papers at the World Congress on Reading, Dublin, Ireland; the annual conference of the United Kingdom Reading Association, Newcastle, England; the conference of the International Council of Psychologists, Southampton, England; and the South Pacific Reading Conference, Auckland., New Zealand.

During the year, Dr. Downing's new publications were:

(1) "Jack Holmes' substrata factor theory of reading." In Gentile, L. M., Kamil, M. L., and Blanchard, J. S. (Eds.), Reading Research Revisited. Columbus, Ohio: Charles Merrill, 1983.

(2) (With Ayers, D.) "Testing children's concepts of reading." Educational Research, 24 (November 1982), 277-283.

(3) "Cognitive clarity and reading disabilities." In Das, J. P., Mulcahy, R. and Wall, A. E. (Eds.), Theory and Research in Learning Disability. New York: Plenum, 1982.

(4) "The Value of Comparative Reading." In Malmquist, E. (Ed.), Handbook on Comparative Reading. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1982.

(5) "La Influencia de la Escuela en el Aprendizaje de la Lectura." 1982. In Ferreiro, E., and Palacio, M.G. (Eds.), Nueras Perspectivas sobre los Procesos de Lectura y Escritura. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Edotores, sa., 1982.

(6) (With Brown, A., and Sceats, J.) Diccionario Basico. New York: Jove, 1982.

(7) (With Ayers, D., and Schaefer, B.) The Linguistic Awareness in Reading Readiness Test (LARR). Windsor, England: NFER-Nelson, 1983.

Educator's record earns doctorate.

(Extract from an article published in the University of Victoria's newspaper - 'The Ring'.)

Dr. John Downing, chairman of the Department of Psychological Foundations in Education, has received a prestigious Doctor of Literature in Psychology at the University of London,England.

The degree is a higher doctorate, earned by outstanding scholars who must submit a distinguished record of publications and scholarly achievements over several years.

Downing's Ph.D. and B.A. honors degrees in psychology were also earned at the University of London.

Downing is currently serving a three-year term on the board of directors of the International Reading Association, a non-profit organization devoted to the improvement of reading instruction and promotion of a lifetime reading habit among people around the world.

He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, British Psychological Society, Royal Society of Arts and the American Psychological Association. His publications include "Evaluating the Initial Teaching Alphabet", "Comparative Reading", "Reading Readiness" and "Reading and Reasoning". Downing has spoken on how children learn to read at conferences and universities around the world.

[See Newsletter and Bulletin articles by George O'Halloran.]


Editor: In respons to my request for material for this News Letter, George O'Halloran sent me a copy of a 1975 News Sheet from which extracts wer to be used. As you will see, the substance is right for 1983. Below ar a few of the extracts:-

Spelling Reform:

Since the first rationalization of English spelling proposed in the reign of the first Elizabeth - yes, as far back as that - literally hundreds of reform schemes hav been put out for consideration. They hav included:

1. Use of the traditional letters of the alfabet in their majority pronunciation together with the omission of redundant letters (x, q) and the use of digrafs to fill up gaps.

2. Letters of the traditional alfabet as above with redundant letters used to fill up gaps, e.g. reversion to the late Old English pronunciation of (c) as (tsh).

3. Use of the regular alfabet plus diacritical marks.

4. Use of regular alfabet plus some extra letters, e.g. Daniel Jones' version of IPA or Kingsley Reed's "Spell' or i.t.a.

5. Use of an entirely new non-Romanic alfabet e.g. Shaw's alfabet.

6. Ideografic orthografies e.g. Bliss's semantografy.

Preparation for a revival of Official interest.

Comment on the general work of the Society.

One day fairly soon, no doubt inside the next ten years, someone is going to hav to make a decision about spelling reform for English and it is good that all the possibl alternativs should be availabl to them for inspection and testing. One of the most useful functions the Society can perform is to hav as comprehensiv a collection as possibl of these scripts redy and waiting for this day, together with all possibl records of their functioning in use - if in fact they hav ever been used. A rational choice can be made only from full knowledge.

Who will be the makers of the choice? I should think probably an international commission made up of representativs of states which are English-speaking together, perhaps, with some members from states which use English as their official language. Its need will be sparked off probably by some kind of official action in one (or mor) of the English speaking states.

Such a commission will examin all the evidence, historical and current, local and international. It will examin orthografies and compare them with all the variant international pronunciations of English. It will probably try to find a script which will cover (diafonically) all of these pronunciations and which will at the same time help to keep the pronunciations of English sufficiently close to remain inter-understandabl.

It seems to me that the main function of the S.S.S. is to be a provoking influence for such a commission by promoting research, education, study, collections of records and similar programs. There is no doubt that real evidence put forward by the S.S.S. would be heard with respect.

How spelling reform can be introduced in practice.

a) Requirements for a practicabl spelling reform need to be worked out - which take account of what people are like, not just what the structure of spelling or English fonemes is like. Is a perfect spelling possibl or desirabl? Is the aim a fonetic spelling as an ideal, or a consistent one that takes the weaknesses of human beings into account? (e.g. that can cope with poor auditory discrimination and continental differences in pronunciation). What lessons can be learnt from other countries?

b) The introduction of dual spelling during a transition. cf. Common Market 4 - language usage.

c) Methods of getting people used to the idea that spelling can be changed, and interested in it. Gimiks, gajets, marketing etc.

d) Cost estimats. How much reprinting would actually be necessary?

e) Comparison of practical benefits of different varieties of spelling proposals. Popular reactions to different varieties.

f) Some have proposed 'permissive spelling. While this may be quite feasibl for privat correspondence, what evidence can be found for the likely effects if there wer no consistent standards - e.g. for printers, typists, commerce, foreigners learning English, communication between Anglo-Saxon countries, speed-reading which requires a good deal of habit-trained instant pattern-recognition rather than continual conscious decoding.


 The 1983 Committee believe that the use of "The Big Four" in our News Letters will show its readers how easily, and inconspicuously spelling change can be braut about. They hope that this will prove a first step towards official recommendation. However, 'Nue Speling' is still held as a Society recommended scheme if a complete one is ever required. Of this Mr. O'Holloran expresses an appreciativ opinion.

"The Society's 'Nue Speling' system seems to have been the first scientifically based new alfabet; most subsequent reformed alfabets seem to be based on it. 'Nue Speling' was built on a study of the sounds of English. It is interesting to make comparisons of Nue Speling and some more recent productions.

If one sets out Nue Speling with all its letters and digrafs to represent the sounds of English down the left-hand side of a sheet of paper and then places in parallel the new alfabet (or alfabets) to be compared with it, a number of interesting things will come to light. The first of these is that eny differences which occur will usually be mere differences in the shape of a letter or the substitution of some kind of a monograf for a digraf. Nue Speling has clearly been a seminal influence in English orthografy, and most more recent orthografies ar clearly based on the princpls it embodies. Some, like i.t.a., are so clearly based on Nue Speling that even its digrafies ar taken and converted into monografs still easily recognizable"

G. O'Halloran.

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