News8. (underlined words and letters are presented as headings or in italics here.)
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.

Newsletter Summer 1985. part 3.


[Ayb Citron: see Journals, Newsletters, Anthology, Bulletins.]

From Ayb Citron,

Better Education thru Simplified Spelling, Michigan, USA, two letters:

1. Bill Herbert, who has organized Australian Society for Simplified Spelling, and I hav been corresponding on possible short word list on which groups working on simplified spelling in various English speaking lands could agree. We now agree on the following list of thirty words:

ait (ate = ayt)
rt (write= ryt)

In support of differential spelling of homophones please glance at enclosed comic strip from DETROIT FREE PRESS, 25 May 1985... When the bear says 'Airplanes', the reference is to Wilbur and Orville Wright, a play on words impossible if all 'rights' are spelled alike.

Cartoon with play on words.

I hav on file a number of examples of this play on words made possible by differential spelling of homophones. For example, a business school advertises that it will teach people 'how to right a letter'. Much pleasure as well as some accuracy would be lost to our written forms if we abandon differential spelling of homophones where differentiates.

2. REVISED NEW SPELLING looks pretty good, much improved over NEW SPELLING. I hav seven suggestions (there are more, but I will hold this to seven.) I write as a member of SSS.

1. For purposes of GAINING ACCEPTANCE, hard C should be retained. As long as C is always hard (except in the digraph CH) it will giv children no problem. Words such as 'kat' and 'kan' look odd and sloppy and will make acceptance of the system much more difficult than need be.

2. For purposes of acceptance Q should be retained. Since Q ALWAYS has the sound of /kw/ 'quick', 'quality', 'quiet', etc, can be spelled as 'qik', qaluty', qyet'. I recommend that the present alphabet be retained. Even if you retain the spelling of proper names, people whose names begin with Q will strongly resent the dropping of Q from ordinary spelling, as will many other people.

3. For purposes of acceptance, I recommend retaining Y for /ee/ at the end of words such as 'meny', 'lykly', 'nesusery', 'hapuly', truly' or 'trooly' etc. Whenever we can, we should stay with present practice. We are still not overworking Y, because it can easily be perceived in final digraphs such as 'ly', 'ry', 'ty', and at the end of words such as 'meny', 'funy', .glory', 'hapy', etc.

4. I believe that E (now used to make A, E, O, U long and also long in final postion) should hav only one other use and that is as short E as in 'bed', .sed', 'fed', 'let', 'red', etc. Other than that let E alone. The closest sound we now hav for schwa is U as in 'cur', 'fur', 'murmur', 'femur', 'purpose', 'turn', etc. A word such as 'difficult' should be spelled as 'diffucult'. A word such as 'paragraph' should be 'perugraf'. All the 'ar', 'er', 'or' endings should be 'ur'. Two principles are involved: the best sound we hav for schwa is really 'u'; and E will be overworked.

5. The initial sound in a word such as 'aside', or 'abound', is U as in 'up', 'but', 'hut', 'cut', etc. We should therefore use U in such words; i.e. 'uroez', 'usyd', 'ubowt', 'utak', etc. People do not say /a/ in articulating these words, they say /u/.

6. Because of present common pattern of 'day', 'may', 'say', 'lay', 'ray', play', 'stay', 'gay', 'hay', 'nay', 'way', etc., we should express long A as 'ay'. Thus we should write: gray, grayt, fayt, hayt, stayt, layt, aybi, taybl, faybl, rayt, etc.

7. I believe that we should express at least ten of our MOST COMMON words (in addition to 'a', 'i', 'u') in one letter...
(The penultimate page of the February 1985 Newsletter lists the 100 abbreviated forms of Professor Citron's SPD SPLNG, with their frequencies -


Frequencies are taken from 'Computational Analysis of Present-Day American English', by Henry Kucera and W. Nelson Francis, Brown University Press, Providence, R.I., 1976, pages 6, 7, 8.

The frequency of one of these words means the number of times it was found used in a million words taken from asorted representative texts, including newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, law, business materials, educational materials, letters, etc.

The total frequency of 222,839 for the 25 words (i.e. those reduced to 1 letter -


) means that a student mastering these 25 words would have at command over 22% of the words needed to write and read English at the high school level.

Since the average English word consists of five and a half letters, a million words involves 5,500,000 letters. In these 25 words we find we have saved 382,005 letters, which is 6.94% of five and a half million. Thus we can say that if these 25 words are used, we will save nearly seven percent of the time and effort taken to write English....

Finaly, I urge the serious consideration of SPD SPLG. Here is the first paragraph of the three on page 93 of NEW SPELLING, in SPD SPLNG:
T ansur, thn, tu this objecn z tt wht givz no trubl i t spoekun langwij z nt lykly tu giv trubl i its ritun form; n tt if i wn or tw caysez trubl uroez, it wd b cownturbalunst by t uvoyduns o ambiugueuty in uthur caysez.
In this form this paragraph requires only 165 letters, whereas the REVISED NEW SPELLING text requires 198 letters. SPD SPLG, in this passage, produces a saving of over 16 percent over REVISED NEW SPELLING.

In a sentence such as:
Do you have the experience for the job?
D u hav t x f t job?
SPD SPLG produces a saving of 60%.

[Robert Craig: see Journals, Newsletters.]

From Robert Craig,

Weston-super-Mare, Avon.

Dear Mona

Please find enclosed my latest version of the Gettysburg Adress. As you will see the spelling used is nearer to Nue Spelling than wer my previous efforts, but is mor fonetic than Nue Spelling.

The chief feature is the use of Q as a vowel. I hav been reluctant to use Q in this way, but it is an ancient practice to use consonants as vowels - the Greeks derived our present vowels from Semitic consonants. Q = 0 in ON, O = O in COME.

Fqqrskqr and sevon yiorz ogou aar fathorz brqqt fqrth qn this kqntinont o nyu neyshon, konsiyvd in liborti, and dedikeytid tu tho prqpozishon that ql men ar kriyeytid iykwol. Nau wi ar engeyjd in o greyt sivil wqr, testing whethor that neyshon, qr eni neyshon sou konsiyvd, and sou dedikeytid, kan lqng endyur. Wi ar met qn a greyt batolfiyld qv that wqr. Wi hav kom tu dedikeyt o pqrshon qv that fiyld az o faynol resting-pleys fqr thouz nu hiyr geyv ther layvz that that neyshon mayt liv. It iz qltogethor fiting and prqpor that wi shud du this, bot in o larjor sens we kanqt kqnsikreyt this graund. Thouz breyv men, living and ded, hu strogold hiyr hav konsikreytid it fqr obov aar pqqr pauor tu ad qr ditrakt. Tho world wil litol nout nqr lqng rimembor whqt wi sey hiyr, bot it kan nevor forget whqt they did hiyr.

From Ted Culp,

President, Simplified Spelling Society ov Canada, Toronto, Ont. Canada (for the SSSC proposals, see P.5):

I am riting about English speling reformasion. Yu kno that we need it now, and that we hav wasted alredy 50 years becauz ov very sereus errors.

We must now avoid all major errors, the biggest ov which iz trying tu develop a fully reformd nu speling. This shud not be dun, and it must not be dun. I see now that the SSS alredy haz adopted a lot ov speling reforms (5 lists by the Wurking Grupe). This iz more than enuf - exsept that sum or all ov Fase 1 /SSSC reforms shud be adopted by the SSS.

Yu now hav only one dominant and prinsipal task: tu promote, tu uze, tu difuze, and tu screem continuusly about theez eesily acseptabel reforms.

We must avoid errors that wil create further debilitating disasters.

From A C Dalgleish,


... My own views on spelling are those of a complete layman. I am concerned that, in the search for technical excellence in the system proposed for adoption, we produce something that is unacceptable to the millions without whose complaisance we will get nowhere.

An acceptable system must have an appearance similar to t.o. and must be as readily comprehended as t.o. by the masses. Any attempt at phonetic exactitude must fail from the widely differing pronunciations used in different areas.

For these reasons I am attracted to the idea of reform by radical omission suggested by Christopher Upward in the July 1984 'News' and I fear that the Working Party is on the wrong track.

From Rae Elser,

Veterans Administration Hospital, Lyons, New Jersey, USA, an excerpt from several notes he has sent, this one dated 29 May 1985, concerning political affairs in America:
Jak Andərsn iz not iksplicit, bət ie thingk hi haz insied infərmaeshn. Hi sez, "Volcker wil probəbli leev dhə Fedrəl Rizəəv Baud əəli nekst yiə." Ie feeəl wi shuud get maugijiz on kondəminiəm uenits bie 31 Disembə - bifau hiz səksesə rileesiz dhə wotə bihiend dhə dam əv det - runəwae inflaeshn.

From Bill Herbert,

convenor of Advocates of Simplified Spelling Australia, Kenmore, Queensland, Australia, several letters developing the idea of a list of 'unphonetics' as a first stage, the following being its latest form (but see letter from Ayb Citron, above, for, further details):

First step of 30 words all now using unphonetic GH (ough, 6 pronunciations! augh, igh). A write-in invitation in Queensland newspapers showed high 85% favour change for ough and augh. New and old spellings can co-exist with new gradually gaining, as happened in metrication in Australia ...

Further steps could be foreshadowed - SRI, drop final E, F for PH, gross unphonetics like one, once, tongue, does, some, was, foreign, yacht.

From Garry Jimmieson

Editor of 'Spelling Action', North Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia:

Dear Mona

... Many thanks for the issues of your 'Simplified Spelling Society Newsletter'... The material you are printing is most interesting and informative - there's certainly a lot happening.

Please find enclosed a copy of "Spelling Action", the first of many I will send your Society. I believe all communication lines must be kept open and honest - even if we disagree on issues. Harry edited this one, for my first one will be coming out before the end of June - not long now! Keep your issues flowing off the presses.

From Gilbert Rae,

W Hampstead, London:

The article entitled 'Phonetic Simplification of English Spelling' (Newsletter February 1985) has on the left side of its last page a list of words with the letter O converted to long U, excepting the word 'two'.

The author now thinks that it would be a more practical arrangement to convert 'two' in the same way as the others, making it 'twu'. This restores the link with twa/twain/twice/twin.

The bottom words of the list - 'toe' and 'tow' - can be omitted for the present.

From David Sephton,

Primrose Publishing, Cambridge:

Dear Miss Cross

... We are involved with 20 foreign languages, and I must confess that the thought of simplifying the spelling of most of them fills me with consternation.

I feel that the final objective is admirable, but surely the changeover period for introducing a major change in spelling of any one language would be chaotic.

How do you answer the point that the current spelling of words reflects significant depths and changes in the language over a long period, and gives pointers to meaning?

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On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.