News5. (underlined words and letters are presented as headings or in italics here.)
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.
News. July 1984, part 5.
Special Articles from China, Japan and India.
From Mr. Peh-ling Lee of Gangou, China.People all over the world are trying to reform English Spelling so that we can use it internationally - and here is a scholar from Communist China, who is working on the problem, and has sent us his ideas on the subject, for which we thank him warmly.
Mr. Peh-ling Lee's contribution deserves serious study - particularly by those who think that the solution to the spelling problem is pure "Spelling as you speak". Mr. Lee has a good phonetician's ear for how a Chinese hears English, and speaks it himself. If you read Mr. Reg. Dean's BRITIC you can hear a man from Leeds, and among American reformers, there can be a difference between Boston and the Middle West. A Swedish friend tells me that my own efforts are recognizably Australian. So when it comes to designing an international English spelling, if we go by 'spelling as you speak' we should remember that most of the people of the world are Chinese, Indian or Hispanic. A rule-based conventionalised spelling may then seem more practicable.
EXTRACT.from Mr Peh-ling Lee, Gangou, Jiang-xi Province, CHINA 16 November 1983.
This Package Scheme is my persistent effort to do something for the more rapid progress of English-spelling reform after a score years arduous research into the most fundamental phonetics through a peculiar approach strange to Western scholars. I am going to write an article on the topic - Spelling reform and the struggle of a moderately-stressed syllable against its over-stressed partner in English pronunciation.
PACKAGE SCHEME OF A SORT OF UNlVERSAL ENGLISH SPELLING FOR ADVICES AND EVALUATION.
A. Three Tables.
1. How vowel letters and groups of letters are pronounced in the New Spelling.
|pronounced in the
*The newly erected vowel letter named /u:/ as convention has already done implicitly for it in the diphthong /aw/ and in the German= alphabet.
+ Pronounced depressedly in harmony with an unaccentuation as convention has already done for the long sound /ay/ in /always/, /ow/ in /window/ etc.
2. How consonant letters and groups of letters are pronounced in the New Spelling.
*Actually little difference is heard from the consonant /w/
+/c/,/g/,/x/ and /z/ are cleared of the conventional alphabet, and English pronunciation as well as spelling is simplified.
3. How conventional letters and groups of letters are replaced in the New Spelling.
|Letter or group||Replaced by|
|consonant /w/ (as well as /u/)||v|
|consonant /i/||y (as /oeillade/ by /oeyard/)|
|vowel /y/||i (as/physics/ by /phisics/)|
|ph and gh||f when so pronounced)|
|g *1||j when pronounced /d/ or /ʒ/|
|/g/ of /ing/||dropped, for it's seldom heard in|
|the popular speaking|
|c||k or s as the way that's pronounced|
|ci (as well as si and ti)||sh (tiby jh when it's so pronounced)|
|x||ks or ksh as the way that's pronounced|
|ir (as well as ur) (accented)||er|
|er (ir, or ur) (unacc.)||el (for /l/ represents the actual right phoneme)|
|il (ol, or ul) (unacc.)||el, when that's so pronounced|
|u (unacc. or shortly acc.)||i, when that's so pronounced|
|u (o, or oo) (accented)||ww, when that's so pronounced|
|u (o, or oo) (accented)||w, when that's so pronounced|
|u (or ou) (accented)||a, when that's so pronounced|
|a (o, ou or u) (unaccented)||e (in a closed end.syll. or ensued with m,n,l or r, or|
|a (else situated)|
|a (unacc. end opened syll.)||aa|
|au (ou*4 or) (in long sound)||oa|
|i (unacc. end. closed syll.)||e or ee, when that's so pronounced|
|o (or ow) unacc. at the ending)||oo|
|etc.||Their respective equivalents of the new spelling|
*1 Academically, the last /g/ of /garage/ should be pronounced as /d/ instead of / / or / /.
2. Practically as in /is/, /s/ is seldom heard as /z/. This popular tendency, which has the background of adopting a milder pronunciation in English speaking, is imperative, and should be taken into serious consideration. And it's always advisable for one to keep fit by being cured or operated thoroughly with a disease.
3. It's in an artificially twisted state of /s/ or /z/ and seldom heard in popular practical speaking.
4. Actual sounds of the three spellings are transformed into one another by automatic phonematical shiftings in their specific spelling environments.
B. Two Suppositions.
1. It's supposed that a conventionally weak beginning syllable is now universally pronounced as a secondary accent in the broad popular practices.
2. It's supposed that the standard one of the variant pronunciations, if any, of a conventional syllable, is to be adopted upon a reasonable scientific basis, and that dissensions on delicate concerns, needless to say some minute obstacles, can be settled through patient consolations or personal interviews.
C. Contrast with the World English Spelling.
(I have not included the World English spelling in this re-typing, since it is available elsewhere.)
Linken's *l Gitisbelg Adres (Lincoln's Gettysburg Address)
Foarskoor and seven *2 yeers agoo oar faasels broat foas on sis
(Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
kontinent a nuu naishen *1, konseevd in libelte.. dediketed tww si*3
(continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, dedicated to the
propasishen sat *4 oal mens *5 aa kriaited eekvel. Noa wee .. ingaijd
(proposition that all men are created, equal. Now we engaged
..gret sivel *1 Woa testin hvesel *6 ... or ene ..soo ... kan lon induur..
(great civil war testing whether or any so can long endure
met.. batelfeeld of ..hav kom *7 ... poashen ..as ... fiinel *6 restin-plais
(met ..battlefield of..have come.. portion as final resting-place
foar soos hvww heer gaiv sair liivs ..miit liv. It is oaltagesel fitin..
(for those who here gave their lives might live. It is altogether fitting..
propel *6..shwd dww.. Bat*1.. laajel sens..kanot ..haloo..grond..faa
(proper should do But larger sense cannot hallow ground far
aberv *7..pwwr poael..ditrakt..werld *1 wil..rimembel ... raasel..
(above poor power detract world will remember rather
*1. The vowel falls upon the right phoneme /e/.
2. It's significant not to spare a vowel letter but to hold that every syllable consists of a vowel.
3. Its pleasantly mild tongue justifies the replacement of /th/ by /s/ in (/the/ which is always weakly pronounced due to intonation, thus justifying the replacement in the new spelling in general.
4. /satt/ for the past tense of /sit/ to be distinguished from /that/.
5. /men/ for /man/ with regular plural for several reasons.
6. The consonant falls upon the right phoneme /l/.
7. A milder-tongued pronunciation is preferred.
EDITOR'S NOTE:For reasons of space, the full passage from the Gettysburg address has been shortened, omitting spelling that is not affected.
[Thomas Hofmann: see Journals, Bulletins.]
Thomas R. Hofmann.English Dept/Fac of Humanities, University of Toyama, Softiku, TOYAMA, JAPAN. 1984.2.06.
Mona CROSS & Members of the SSS Committee
Dear Mona & others, especially George O'H.,
Newsletter of 83.11 just arrived & was enjoyed; good job & keep up the good work. You asked for comments, so here they ar:
Frist, Gibbs's statement of SR-3 is wonderful! I am a solid convertee, & will try to follow it (may even make a programm for this computer to convert automatically to it, wher I don't catch them myself). It has a number of virtues, som of which I hav never realized wer to be sought, so let me list what I see in it, & why each aspect seems good.
First Gibbs's statement: "D.U.E. Drop useless E on the end of short vowel syllables"
(1) This is vague enough to be interpreted by each person to his own liking. This is important, as SRers (spelling reformers & potential spelling reformers) seldom agree on overall plans, nor even the details. For example, me, I am not so sure that the -e in -able & -ible suffixes is not useful, so as you can see, I am not dropping it. Others will hav other reservations. As with any successful political statement, ther is enuf vagueness to allow different people to interpret & practice it in their own way.
(2) It is easy to apply in practice; it doesn't take a computer or an expert's knowledge of English to decide whether or not som particular word ought to lose its -e. You can do it as the spirit moves you, & maybe defend the uselessness of som -e you dropped.
(3) It saves enuf, I think, to be rationally defensible, in terms of ink & paper, for those who might be influenced by such thoughts. (Speaking as a linguistician, I note that languages ar seldom if ever influenced by such considerations, but som people might be, & every person counts, who can be motivated to change, or even just to tolerate.)
(4) It saves the system underlying English spelling, rather than thwarting it, as Lindgren's statement of SR-1 did. That made already becom alredy, which ought to be pronounced as alreedy - I would prefer a more systematic alreddy. But Gibbs's statement of SR-1 avoids this problem, having Virtue (1), a certain vagueness. Bravo, Mr Gibbs.
Rather it improves the system, making it move easily discovered & learned by children. Words like hav & liv which must be learned early, & when "misspelled" as they ar in standard orthography, lead som children (myself included) to distrust the whole concept of letters indicating pronunciation.
(5) Its use is obvious. These spellings will not be taken to be typographical errors, as SR-1 spellings may be, or my own reform (SR-101), spelling another as an other. A reform that does not hav this virtue cannot be used by a non-native speaker of English, as he will be corrected & be thought to be rather stupid.
(6) Its user can never be thoght to be illiterate, as it affects only the most common words. The writer can still show his education & qualifications to speak & write by spelling the difficult words correctly. Many reforms lack this virtue (SR-1 & -2 included) & thus can never be used by the native speaker of English for he will appear illiterate; having read no books & lacking an elementary education, he is hardly qualified to comment on any aspect of life. What is said in such a reform is sure to be ignored. I would include N. Tune's reform here (call it SR-5, as a memorial to his work): "spell any, many as eny, meny". Altho this has much virtue, my naiv reaction is that it marks its user as an out & out illiterate! I don't know why, but ther it is.
(7) It is obvious to the most naiv & the most disinterested reader that it is an improvement. This virtue is perhaps as important as (6) & (4), as it will make tolerant readers & avoid inane criticism or bad humor.
By contrast, I find SR-4 detestable, & would follow it only if most SRers wer following it (for the sake of a united front) - & they ar not. It is good for making English look like Spanish or Italian, but many would not like that comparison. It saves too little ink & paper for that to be a rational motivation, & it seems to me to be good for little else than showing that one is a rabid SRer, a person that most people like to avoid.
Sorry to get carried away giving comments, but perhaps you might print it as a letter (which it is), or I can add a conclusion to make a short article. In the latter case, indicate wher you find it unclear or unconvincing, & I will rewrite it.
You ar quite right, Mona. SRs do not get adopted by mere use. To cite a good example, take G. Dewey's reform, SR-0 if I may presume to give it a number: "spell the suffix -ive as -iv" (actually a part of SR-3). Altho proposed many years ago by a major name in education in America, & used in his reference book of word-frequencies, it has been totally ignored by English. It has even been ignored by us SRers, which is a shame. What we don't learn from past errors we are bound to repeat.
Of course if the language of power (or money) uses a SR, then people will follow it, for in all nations, people imitate the language of power: the King's English in a slightly older England, & the language of the government, bankers, & especially the granting agencies today.
On the other hand, he who advocates what he doesn't practice himself may not be listened to for that reason alone. We should practice what we preach, but as you note, practice alone is not sufficient.
For example, I have been publishing articles in linguistics for som 15 years in SR-101 (above) & SR-102 ("use the international pasigraphs like &, 2, 3, 4, ... wherever possible", as they avoid the "misspellings" of two, eight, and & make English a more international - less parochial? - language at the same time). So far, I havn't seen anyone else following my lead.
Thus, altho you ar right, I would support the SSS board for printing the newsletter in whatever system is advocated. Indeed ther ar 2 move good reasons to do so: It allows us (or at least the editor) to find difficulties with the proposals. You really ought to report 1ce (once) a year on the difficulties encountered, whether in applying the system, getting printers to accept it, training typists, or whatever. Also, it shows others that SRs ar easy to liv with.
But we must strongly support your feeling that the execution of SRs in the SSS Newsletter - or anywher els we may do - is virtually nothing in the way of support for a reform. That needs political & social action.
Thomas R. Hofmann.
From Jacob Nettikkatt of Calcutta.He has written a book called "Inventions Galore", which gives details of his ideas and how to teach languages quickly thereby.
The Hon. Secretary, Simplified Spelling Society.
1st May, 1984.
I owe thanks to the British Council, Calcutta, for your name and address. I also understand that your Organisation is for simplifying the spelling of English so as to make the reading easier, and I sincerely hope you will be interested in my research efforts.
I am happy to inform you that my personal efforts for over 18 years have culminated in the evolution of a scientific and logical NEW LANGUAGE FORMULA. Part of the new language formula is AN ABSOLUTELY PHONETIC and SELF GUIDING ALPHABET, to eliminate the need for learning spellings and pronunciations of individual words, now being suffered by the learners and practisers of most languages, particularly English and French. But for this defect, English should have been much easier to learn and practise and it would have served greater cause of a UNIVERSAL LINK LANGUAGE.
In the new alphabet formula devised by me, there are 23 of the existing English letters, one newly formed letter and dots and dashes, totalling 29 species of types. The letters are a mixture of small and capital styles of existing letters which are easy to write, as there will be no small and capital distinction in the new order. This will entail learning of only 29 species of letters in place of the conventional 26 x 4 = 104 species of letters (one each in small and capital type for printing and hand-written styles). A total saving from learning spellings and pronunciations of individual words for the learners and practisers of the language may be considered by all modern thinking people, who value time, as a LIBERATION FROM ETERNAL BONDAGE OF LANGUAGE.
The economic effect of this new alphabet formula may be a revolution, as a printing press will need only 29 types of letters and the cost of printing will be considerably reduced; abundant quantity of printing materials will be saved. Above all, the size of the typewriter can be reduced to nearly half and cost brought down considerably.
EDITOR:I will forward the rest of this letter to anyone sending an S.A.E.
Miscellaneous.Two Recommended Magazines.
One of the consequences of the rapidly increasing international role of English is that the language is ceasing to be the private possession of the peoples who speak and write it as a first language. If Koreans and Brazilians, or Indonesians and Italians for example, want to communicate, they often must do so in English. That is why the teaching of English as a foreign language is the fastest growing profession in the language world today. But English spelling is still one of the major stumbling blocks to acquiring an understanding of the language, both for English children, immigrant children in England, and foreign learners of English.
So the question is again being raised, is it time to reform English spelling? Reformers, some of them, like Bernard Shaw, prominent and articulate, have tried before but have failed to make any impact. Most English-speaking adults, having already obtained their language knowledge, have naturally been hostile to the proposal. But new circumstances may create new solutions. Valerie Yule at Aberdeen University has been doing a lot of work in this field, and she has contributed this special article for LANGUAGE MONTHLY.
The fact that the topic is now in the air is shown by the fact that LANGUAGE MONTHLY has received independently a contribution by Christopher Upward on the same theme.
There is a special introductory offer for a copy of "Spelling Progress Quarterly". The paper is an excellent follow-up of Spelling Progress Bulletin. Price: $5. Address: Columbus, OH. U.S.A.
The Quarterly is edited by Dr. Walter Barbe of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He is also Chief Editor of 'Highlights for Children'.
[Madhukar Gogate, see Journals, Newsletters.]
Stage I Spelling.
from: Shri M. N. Gogate, Bombay, India.
ROMAN LIPI PARISHAD.
I can send you a photostat of the papers on 'Roman Lipi Parishad' if you send an S.A.E. Mr. Gogate would be delighted to hear from you of course. In his papers he says that altho English is used for governmental purposes, it has to be put into 15 different scripts in order that the people can read them. This greatly increases costs. He has therefore called a Conference to discuss the use of the Roman alphabet.
I have quoted a paragraph which encourages the Society to carry on with its work:
The external handicap of Roman script is that it has been totally misused by English language. Many English words have entered our languages, and are written in respective scripts as per our perception of pronunciation. But when we go for romanization, current English spellings will create chaos in our languages.
FIRST ROMAN LIPI SAMMELAN.1. It is due to meet on Sunday 9 December 1984, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in Chowpatty, Bombay. Details will be announced, and sent to delegates in November.
2. All correspondence should be made with Roman Lipi Parishad, Bombay.
3. The Parishad is not in a position to assist in respect of accomodation and travel.
4. The Sammelan will be a get-together of like-minded persons. It will discuss some papers and finalize a scheme for Romanization.
5. Delegate fee is Rs. 25 (for Members of Parishad), Rs. 50 (for Non-Members). Please send it by cash or cheque, in favour of Roman Lipi Parishad. Institution Members of Parishad may nominate as many delegates as they like, at a fee of Rs. 25 per delegate.
6. Papers are invited on following themes (a) Past Romanization attempts in India (b) Suitable scheme for Romanization, (c) How Roman script may be popularized.
7. Papers should be in English, limited to 2000 words. Non-Roman symbols, if required, may be referred with numbers on separate black ink diagrams, and not included in the main text. This would facilitate printing.
8. The Parishad reserves rights to accept and edit papers. Select papers will be discussed in the Sammelan.
9. The Parishad intends to send papers, for advance study, to all delegates in November. So Please send papers and register as delegate before 15 October 1984. Please co-operate. Sammelan proceedings will be published and mailed in January 1985. Those who cannot attend Sammelan, and yet desire papers and proceedings, are requested to book order by registering as delegates. Limited number of copies will be printed, so please take early action.
INSTRUCTIONS.1. Please use application form at back, or its xerox copy, or replica on plain paper. You can thus advise your friends to apply.
2. Age, Sex, Mother tongue: These particulars are not required for Institution members.
3. Name: Full name, with surname last, for individuals. Institution name, in case of Institutions. Signatory may record his/her name and designation below signature, in case of Institutions.
4. Please write postal PIN code number (applicants in India).
5. This is a joint application form for membership and delegateship. Strike out words not needed.
6. Cheques to be drawn in favour of ROMAN LIPI PARISHAD.
7. Please apply preferably before 15 October 1984.
8. Membership Subscription: Rs. 200 (individual), Rs. 1000 (institution) Sammelan Delegate fee: Rs. 25 (Members), Rs. 50 ( Non Members). Subscription will be increased by 50% after 31 December 1984.
Back to the top.
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.