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PV13. TYPES AND MAGNITUDE OF ENGLISH SPELLING PROBLEMS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE FOR REFORM by Masha Bell, part 3.

SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS.


ENGLISH SOUNDS AND THEIR COMMON SPELLINGS obtained from 6856 words Min. no. of words with those spellings Other spelling patterns for the same sound in the same position Min. of irregular spellings to memorise

 VOWELS 
 
The following 5 vowel patterns require the memorising of more than 100 exceptions:
 
 EEsleep 125  dream, here, receive, believe, police, be, people 301+125*
 end -erbetter 340  visitor 75, grammar 33, harbour 18, centre 7, odds 3 136 
 future 42, algebra 47 89 
 end -enhasten 73  abandon(68), urban(35), cabin(22), certain(7) 132+73*
 ERher 70  (64 ur, 36 ir, 11 ear, 8 wor, 3 our, 1 or, 1 ere) 124+70*
 A-ecake 338  main, break, eight, straight 107 
*When the dominant pattern occurs in less than 50% of words,
all spellings with that sound have to be learnt by heart
 
1.Acat 466  salmon, meringue, plait3 
2.Epet 300  head 49, said, friend62 
3.Ibit 421  system 45, pretty, women52 
4.Opot 375  want, what 30, gone, cough35 
5.Ubut 308  some 50, country 14, blood69 
6.EE*daddy 602  monkey, coffee, holey41 
7.A-eplay 35  they 7, duvet 7, weigh 3, café, matinee, satai 20 
8.I-ebite 278  bright(18), cycle (26), kind (10), other 21 + n/either 76 
 fly, sky17  die 5, bye, buy, high 4 14 
 reply, 50 -fy 60  Reading problem 
9.O-ebone 170  coal(37), bold(24), blown(11), roll(9), mould, most 98 
 go106  blow, toe, though (42 -ow, 15 others) 58 
10.OUout 74  brown24 
 now11  RPbough, plough, slough, thou (bow*, row*) 4 
11.U-eduty 137  beauty, feud 6, jewel 6, nuclear, nuisance 21 
 due20  few, view22 
12.OO longspoon 72  rule 18, lunar 13, soup 13, move, fruit, shrewd 57 
 too18  flew 12, blue 8, do, two, through, coup, shoe, lasso 34 
 to1  
13.OO shortwood 15  put 15, would, woman, courier21 
14.AU/AWauthor, fault 44  awe, dawn 17, all 14, shawl 8, salt 10, nought 2 51 
 saw13  
 water, quarter 23 
 always9  
15.OIboil, oil 29 oyster 1 
 toy 7, royal 5 12  buoy1 
16.ARcar 138  banana, aunt, calm, fast, bath - heart, hearth, sergeant 3 88 UK
17.AIRcare 31 air 15, aerial, there, their, bear, 27 
18.ERunsrt. In word 70 
 blizzard 22 
 ordinary37  battery 25, history 12, carpentry 12, luxury 6 55 
19.ORfor 188  more 22, your, door, oar 12, board, source 15 49 UK12-aw
20.Unstressedbelievable 33 credible 17 
 vowelspertinent 137  dominant38 
 in suffixesevidence 39  acceptance20 
 and pref.critical adj/nouns 195  fuel (28), anvil (15), pistol (9) 52 
 amble vbs/2Cs 93 
 decide 57  divide29 
 induce73  enquire30 
 
 CONSONANTS 
 
21.Bbun 784  0 
22.CHchip, speech 155 cello 1 
23.Ddog 1010 blonde 1 
24.Ffilm 580 photo 35, rough 8 43 
25.Ggap, bag 171  exact, exam, example, exaggerate 9 
  10 surplus -ue (league), 5 h ghost 16 
 15 get,12 gi, 1gy 28  guess, guilt (gu 13, gh 3) 16 
26.Jjet, jig 18  14 gem, 4 giant, 2 gym 20 
 jab, job, jug 78 
 cage, urge 115 spinach, sandwich 2 
 agent, digest 71  majesty, subject (-ject x 8)2 
27.Hhand 237  who, whom, whose, whole4 
28.Kkid, kettle, bleek 271 chemistry 9, quay, mosque 11 22 
 cat, cod, cup 1022  chaos 11, chlorine 8, karate 4, queue 4 28 
 queen 78  acquaint, acquire, choir4 
 taxi98  accent 6, except 5, exhaust, exhibit 13 
29.Lleg, feel, believe 1945  end -al, -le, -el listed under vowels and con. doublings 
30.Mman, sum 1128  bomb, limb 10, autumn 616 
31.Nnet 2312  knee 17, gone, -ne 10, mnemonic, gnat 4 35 
32.Ngring 40 meringue 1 
33.Ppen, cup 1220 hiccough 1 
34.Rrat, free 1670  write 21, rhubarb 6, are, were and 22 vowel -ore 29 
35.Ssend, sing 138  centre, city 36, science47 
 fence 88, force896  sense 12, course 13, lapse 8, 2lse 35 
 agency16  controversy, embassy, gypsy, courtesy 5 
 ice, face, fleece 41  base, geese, house* 5 25 
 ancestor, decide 62  consider, counsel 29 
36.Shshop, rush, -ship9 162 chef; sure, moustache 12 
 med.mushroom 4  8 c, 7ch, 3 ss, 1 ti, 1 sci 17 
 station 500  possible0 
 notion, caution 21 ocean 1 
 action, Ction 58 coercion, diversion, extension 20 
 ignition21  mission, ad- com- trans- 7, fission 3 
 ration, national 4  passion, fashion, fascism3 
 essential 20  commercial 14 controversial 15 
 session10  discretion1 
 discussion, per- 2  cushion1 
 vicious 20  pretentious 12, luscious 2, anxious 15 
  musician12  dietitian, gentian 2 
37.Ttop, act, dusty 1398 debt, doubt, two, cassette 11 
 separate 70 RPr 156  democrat, combat2 
38.Ththing,worth 142  the, them, this (+ 14 deriv.) Reading problem  
39.Thbother 61  ethics (TH is a reading problem only) 
40.Vend ve 120  surplus 87 - Reading Problem 
 never, ever, liver 55  jivvy, navvy, skivvy3 
41.Wwillow 216 when, whole 30 
42.Yyou 16, player 15 31 
 unite 5  
43.Zzip14  xylophone1 
 wise, advise 31 US 11 prize, size, capsize3US 22
 amuse, arose 60  seize, froze19 
 absorb(med Z) 94  citizen, gazelle 16, possess 16 
44.Zhvision, fusion 20 azure, fissure, bourgeois 3 

I have the word lists for all the exceptional spellings enumerated in the tables on these pages. They run to 35 pages. In this PV I have provided word lists for those irregular spellings which I have come to regard as the most worthy candidates for reform, in the light of my research results.

Conclusions.

My research findings have led me to conclude that
the following 5 changes deserve the most serious consideration:

1) Cutting surplus doubled consonants (p. 5) e.g. acomodation, acount, aply; [160 words]
2) Consistent spelling of EE (p. 7 / 8), excepting be, he, me she, we [296 words]
3) Consistent '-er' endings, excepting '-ure' and '-a' (p.8)[133 words]
4) Consistent stressed 'er' (p. 9) [124 words]
5) Consistent short E (p.9)[  62 words]
[with consistent consonant doubling in respelled words, e.g. reddy]

In total these 5 changes would amend775
They would also make the currently unpredictable 125 'ee' (e.g. feet) and 70 'er' (e.g. serve, term) predictable

195
They would therefore eliminate doubt from a total of970 words.

29% of the currently 3456 words with unpredictable spelling would be improved by those changes.

Example Texts.

If those 5 changes were adopted, the sample SSS texts would look as follows.

The Star.

It was on the ferst day of the new yeer that the anouncement was made, almost simultaneously from three observatories, that the motion of the planet Neptune, the outermost of all the planets that wheel about the Sun, had become very eratic. A retardation in its velocity had been suspected in December. Then a faint, remote speck of light was discovered in the reegion of the perterbed planet. At first this did not cause enny very great excitement. Scientific peeple, however, found the intelligence remarkable enough, eevn before it became known that the new body was rapidly growing larger and brighter, and that its motion was quite different from the orderly progress of the planets. (9 / 115 words changed).

Britten when young.

We may nowadays be chary about using the word 'geenius', but we still have a good idea what is ment by it. For example, there are great numbers of very gifted musicians who are admired but not called geeniuses. But there are others, manifestly prodigious, performing often at extraordinerily erly ages, a variety of feets so complex that the musical layman could hardly imagine, eevn with the most desperate laber, acomplishing enny of them, while eevn musicians are astonished: and we then reech for the good, handy, vague Enlightenment werd and call them geeniuses. The list includes Mozart and Mendelsohn; and, despite all the limiting judgements, it includes Benjamin Britten. (14 / 110 words changed).

Ode to a Nightingale.

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated eese.
(1 / 70 words changed)

The views expressed here are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the Society, or a majority of its members.

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