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

Joon 1917/2 part 3.



DEEN RAMSAY, in hiz Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, relaits the folœing storiz:-

A Montrose œld laidi protested against the eus ov steem veselz az kounterakting the dekreez ov Providens in gœing against wind and tyd, veehementli aserting I wood hai naithing tu sai tu thai impius veselz."

Anuther laidi deklaimd against the introdukshon ov gas, and aaskt: "Whot's tu bekum ov the puir whailz?"

We hav had meni dekaidz ov the advaantijez ov steem veselz and gas tu smyl at the feerz and prejoodisez ov thœz Scotch laidiz; but ar thair not meni personz bœsting ov a larjer outlook upon lyf hoo ar just az konservativ about English speling, lest a reform ov it shood bring about a katastrofi in English lyf and literateur, and entertain az eekwali abserd nœshonz about Simplifyd Speling az the feerful daimz ov the North entertaind against steem veselz and gas?

Oliver Wendell Holmes seemd tu lash himself for harboring similar veuz when he remarkt: "Thair ar meni thingz I shood lyk tu hav a glimps ov a hundred yeerz from nou (1880), and amung the rest our English speling. I have litel dout that meni ov the chainjez eu kontemplait wil hav taiken plais, and that I shood look bak upon myself in 1880 az a hœples bigot tu seuperaneuaited nœshonz long sins ekstinkt."

Litel did the delytf ul "Brekfaster" antisipait that in therty-seven yeerz a Simplifyd Speling Bord wood be establisht, and that 380 euniversitiz, kolejez, and normal skoolz, and 456 neuspaiperz and peeriodikalz wood be euzing mor or les simplifyd formz ov speling, or that an English Edeukaishon Department wood giv sankshon for eksperiments in Simplifyd Speling tu be maid in elementari skoolz in England.

The tenets ov the œld order ov thingz ar gradeuali left behynd; and whot wer wuns feerz hav been translaited intu smyling fakts, with the ashoorans that the werld'z foundaishonz ar az ferm az ever. Eeven the "puir whailz," in no les number than ov yor, swim in the wauterz ov the North See, despyt the ravijez ov the submareen.

We moov slœli, but we ar mooving. Let us keep peging awai remooving the obstakelz - wun by wun.

S.S. in Unekspekted Plaisez.

"Sir, - I have just bought a steel shield for an iron. It is stamped with the words 'British maid'! If this article was supplied by a neutral, why not say so? And if it was not supplied by a neutral! -."

- GWEN H. E. (leter in the "Daily Mail").


A CANADIAN frend haz sent us the folœing jeu d'esprit, which wil sertinli ameuz our reederz. It wil be nœtist that the simplifikaishonz ov the American "Simplified Spelling Board" hav been adopted:-
(Second Paper.)

1. (a) "Prior to the World War of '14-'18 an English-speaking child had to lern many ways of spelling each of the common vowel sounds."

Giv examples of at least ten ways in which the child had to lern to spell o as in "so."

    (b) ". . . the number of reasonable spellings that the child had to lern to avoid was an even heavier burden."

By the method of permutations, using "society" as example, calculate how many spellings by analogy, exclusiv of "sosiety" and "pseausigheathe," the speller had to lern to avoid.

2. "An irrational orthografy, including such forms as 'wrought, phlegm, colonel,' was made an educational fetish by the scoolmaster." - "The Scool Pilot."

Examin this statement; account for the worship of the spelling-book, and giv details of its method.

3. (a) "The now defunct spelling-book was in cronic rebellion against the child's mental nature."

Defend or dispute this declaration.

    (b) "Until recently children spent two years of their scool life in lerning to read fairly and spell rather poorly. If we ever come to use one and the same sign and only one for each unshaded sound, a bright pupil will lern to read and spell in one week."

Would you lengthen or shorten the time factors in this statement? Fully defend your anser.

4. "Siv, sieve." Sho how each of these spellings was supported or repudiated as the case may be by: Reason, prejudis, fashion, economy.

5. (a) "'Honor, labor, tumor,' and a few other -or words, which were formerly (in Shakespeare's time and after) correctly speld, sufferd the peculiar hypertrophy of a u."

Relate the history of this interesting affectation.

    (b) In what ways did good old spellings such as " soverain, gess, fantom" become corrupted? How did many spellings, e.g. "posthumous, belfry, humble-pie," conceal derivation? Use these or substitute other examples.

6. "In Spain and Italy - countries in which each letter or digraf is used consistently as a rule - the blind lern to spell more easily than the def, whereas in this country the converse is yet the case."

Examin the reasons.

7. "If simplified spelling and metric standard units come to be adopted the public-scool teachers will not hav enuf to do to occupy their time, and the people will not be able to read old books." - From a Reactionist of 1919.

Sho how these dangers hav been averted.


Mr. ANDREW BRODRICK, of Rockferry, Cheshire, writes:
In the laast PYONEER eu invyt ferther ekspreshons ov opinion regarding the simbolz for the oo soundz. Y must sai Y am inklynd tu agree with Mr. Gundry that the eus of oo for bœth the long and short soundz iz a raather seerius defekt in whot, in uther respekts, nou seemz tu me tu be a veri good skeem. Ov the aulternativz suggested Y again agree with Mr. Gundry in thinking that v wood be the best, because it is, Y imagine, less ofen found in the konvenshonal speling than w, and thairfor its eus az the vouel wood not look so strainj az the later. At eni rait, Y shood lyk tu see a number ov THE PYONEER printed in this wai, when the ordinari speling reformer lyk myself kood form a beter opinion ov its suetabiliti.

Ar my felœ memberz kariing out Prof. Emery Barnes'z rekomendaishon, which Y aulso maid in a bak number of THE PYONEER in a leter entyteld "Preesepts and Egzaample," tu eus sum ov the simpler and mor obvius simplifikaishons in speling in thair œn korespondens, such as "hav, giv, liv, gon, shon, wil, shal, traveling, honor, center, theater," etc?

Let me again erj them tu doo so, and so shœ the faith that iz in them. Thair iz nuthing lyk shœing the strength ov wun'z konvikshonz and praktising whot wun preechez, for which reezon Y hav for the paast three or for yeerz draun aul my bank cheks with the neumeralz spelt in Simplifyd Speling.

Doutles this givz ryz tu much hilariti, and not a feu unkomplimentari remarks about the mental kaleeber ov the drauer, but, it advertyzez the moovment for reform: and, aafter aul, nœwun seemz tu mynd having cheks in this form, for thai ar never reternd!

Mr. D. MACKENZIE, ov the Chief Accounts Office, Revenue Section, Johannesburg, ryts:
I enklœz for eur obzervaishon a kuting from "Commercial Education," entyteld "Writeing - a Niglected Art," which mai interest reederz ov THE PYONEER. The person hoo hœldz up tu ridikeul the pairent's leter failz tu see whair the real weeknes lyz; it iz in our irashonal sistem ov speling. The pairent mai not hav the edeukaishonal kwolifikaishonz ov the Prinsipal ov the Norwood Teknikal Institeut, but he sertinli displaiz komon sens. Thair iz a moral leson in the leter which the editor ov "Commercial Education" duz not seem tu hav obzervd.
Heer iz the ekstrakt:

In a letter to the editor of the "Norwood Press," the Principal of the Norwood Technical Institute writes:-

"You are doubtless aware that in order to secure the continuous education of children leaving the day schools the County Council offers free admission to evening classes to all school-leavers who join within a certain period. A letter addressed to such a scholar elicited the following reply from an outraged 'farther and gardian':-

"'Deer Sir, - Letter received to-day to my daughter E-. Don't you think, as farther and gardian, you should have addressed your letter to me. As an act of courtisy (and not direct to a School girl of fourteen), asking me if I would like her to continue her Studies - I might remind you that she has already SPent 9 years at School, witch is 2 years longer than any man is apprenticed to, to carry him through life does the School Board learn them so little that you have to tout for custemers. this letter may offend you - but if you look up my chrildren's reports from the - school you will find they Bear out my remarks in this letter.-Yours, -.

"'P.S.- I allways wrote I notice the three things which are to carry my son through is the most niglected.- viz., Reading, Writeing and Arithemetic - and you will find its true.'"

Mr. OLDFIELD THOMAS sendz us the folœing leter, with the kwaint heding:

It iz not aufen that adults feel themselvz lyk children lerning the alfabet, a kondishun that iz aufen diskust in S.S. literateur. But I hav reesentli felt this in lerning tu reed Braille by tuch, az the blynd hav tu doo, and my ekspeeriens mai interest eur reederz.

Wun feelz eech leter, wunderz whot it mai be, beleevz it tu be sumthing, gooz on tu the nekst, and if that fits in, the werd iz gradeuali kompleeted. But thair iz no vizeualyzing the hœl.

Nou, if the speling wair reezonaibel this wood be eezi, soon dun, and without dout or wuri. But supoez I wair the poor man hoo kan not reed with hiz yz, and iz set doun tu sum ov our foolish English spelingz.

For egzaampel, my fingerz feel whot I konklood iz p, then l, then i, then g, and I nateurali sai, "'plig, plig,' whot kan 'plig' be? No English werd kan begin with 'plig.' Let's try again: p - yes, shoorli this iz p, l, i, g - yes, it iz 'plig'; let's try ahed." Then folœ too ov the difikult Braille leterz (for sum ar eezi and sum difikult, and if too or three hevili pointed wunz sukseed eech uther thai ar veri difikult); but at laast I maik out h and t, and lyt kumz in upon me. But if it had been p, l, y insted ov p, l, i, g, no hezitaishon or dout wood hav arizen, and I shood hav gon on hapili and at wuns tu t.

Poot in my plais a blynded sœljer at St. Dunstan's, with rakt brain and woonded hed; multiply the ekspeeriens by duzenz ov sili and misleading spelingz; and wun seez, by the wuri it givz him, hou much a proper speling wood hav saivd him; and similarli hou much in tym and brain werk such a speling wood saiv the children, in thair erli eforts, befor thai hav lernt tu vizeualyz eech werd az a hœl.

We must kongratelait our frend, Mr. W. GUNDRY, on the grœing sukses ov the Wissa School, Asyut, Egypt, ov which he iz the Hed Maaster. In an interesting leter he haz sent us he sez that the skool nou numberz 746 peupilz, hoo (he adz, sumwhot pathetikali) ar "strugling with diktaishon." In hiz leter Mr. Gundry reternz tu our eus ov oo for the long and the short sound; he ryts (we hav not chainjd hiz speling, eksept that he euzez a speshal leter for dh, for which we hav poot d):

De prinsipal dat I stand up for iz dat ov "desysiv signifikaesion," by which I meen dat it shvd be posibel for a steudent hue haz akwyrd a werd by reeding tu pronouns dat werd wid sertinti. Wun ov de cheef obstakelz in de wae ov spreding de eus ov English iz de expens ov lerning it kompaerd wid uder langwajiz. Bekoz de speling iz ambiguus it iz nesesari aulwaez tu hav an instrukter at hand, and dat instrukter haz tu be paed. Eeven in Greek and French, which, next tu English, ar badli spelt langwajiz, it iz jenerali posibel tu deryv de pronunsiaesion from de printed werd; so de steudent ov deez kan maek gvd progres by siting doun alœn wid a book dat haz kost him tue sous or tue lepta. For English he must hav a teutor at de raet ov tue franks or drachmae per our.

If eu leev de oo ambiguus, eu hav not remuevd dis objeksion. By a slyt strech ov imajinaesion let us supœz de S.S.S. establisht, and a Greek merchant lerning English under its gydans. He mae posibli reed sum such sentens az "De boocher took de rong bool by de foot," or agaen, "De rood boy iz shooting at de poor broot." Prezentli our steudent gœz intu English sosieti and sez, "De boocher* took* de rong bool* by de foot*," or "De rood# boy iz shooting# at de poor# broot#." In de ferst kaes he komits a vulgarism; in de sekond he maeks himself ridikulus. Moral: he must gœ hœm and engaej a teutor, or - lern French insted. To de Greek de cheaper aulternativ wvd apeel.
[Words marked * should hav a macron over the 'oo' and words marked # should have a breve over the 'oo'.]

We think that in the kais ov books for forin beginerz it wood be wel to euz dh for the voist th (az we hav dun in our Ferst Reeder), to indikait by meenz ov an aksent the silabel which iz strest, and to plais a mark ov length œver the long oo. In maiking this remark we ar, ov kors, evaiding the œld difikulti ov oo in our ordinari S.S.; wun dai it mai be solvd. We hav probabli had befor us aul the posibel reprezentaishonz ov the sound bi meenz ov the egzisting alfabet. Wun ov theez apeelz to won kritik, another to another. Whot we wont iz an authoritaitiv Konferens to setel this and other kwestionz; and until such a Konferens haz met, and its report haz been aksepted, we kan not hœp to aryv at a desizhon on sum ov the trubelsom problemz which our praktikal eksperimenting with S.S. haz reveeld.

Mr. Gundry, in another part ov hiz leter, sujests az a rool for th that the sound iz voisles in verbz and nounz and voist in pronounz and pronominal adverbz, the œnli eksepshon he haz nœtist being "both." A referens to Mr. Ripman'z Sounds of Spoken English (revyzd vershon, paij 52) wood hav shœn him that thair ar neumerus eksepshonz. Thus, thair ar a number ov kaisez lyk the nounz "breth, reeth, baath," besyd the verbz "breedh, reedh, baidh"; thair iz the verb "betrœdh"; and thair ar meni kaisez lyk "faadher," and the plooralz "paadhz, troodhz," ets. O.S. "rhythm, smithy" ar sumtymz pronounst with th, sumtymz with dh.

MRS. DORA F. KERR, British Columbia, haz sent us sum "rekwests and sujestionz." In the ferst plais she sujests that THE PYONEER shood not be iseud in S.S., which she deskrybz az a speling bafling alyk tu ryterz and reederz. We beg tu ashoor her that komeunikaishonz in the bad œld speling reseev the saim konsideraishon az thœz in S.S., and that thai ar transkrybd intu S.S. by us or, if dezyrd, left in O.S.; and that we hav never yet herd ov eniwun being bafeld by S.S. We konsider it veri important tu poot it befor our reederz az much az posibel, bekauz œnli by ryting and reeding it kan we lern tu improov it. Nekst, Mrz. Kerr asks us tu giv speshal atenshon tu the internashonal aspekt ov S.S.-

(a) by enkurijing memberz tu studi modernyzd spelingz in several important langwijez ov western sivilizaishon ;

(b) by obtaining the help ov skolarz, espeshali French skolarz, in theez langwijez ; and

(c) by kompairing English werdz with forin werdz ov a komon derivaishon, and with Latin werdz internashonaili euzd in syentifik nomenklateur. On anuther paij we deel with sum "internashonal aspekts," but not with thœz menshond by Mrz. Kerr. Thair iz sum interest in seing hou the speling ov German and Dutch hav been modernyzd (theez ar prezeumabli the langwijez ment), but it duz not help us much for English; it iz not kleer in whot wai we ar tu reseev help from French eksperts in German and Dutch, and hou we kan improov the reprezentaishon ov our prezent spœken langwij by konsidering the entyrli diferent pronunsiaishon ov werds in uther langwijez. Laastli, Mrz. Kerr begz us tu promœt the studi ov the syens ov langwij by giving nœts on the bibliografi ov the subjekt and nœtisez ov kurent literateur, and by indeusing and helping teecherz to inklood simpel and interesting lesonz on the grœth and development ov langwij "amung the okaizhonal syens lesonz which ar given in everi good skool, eeven tu the yunger klaasez."

We doo not nœ much about edeukaishon in British Columbia, but in this kuntri the syens taut in the yunger klaasez iz Naiteur studi not historical gramar. We wormli advokait seutabel instrukshon in the grœth and development ov our langwij for thœz hoo ar ryp for it, bekauz this wil stimeulait the demaand for speling reform; but our resorsez ar so limited that we kan not undertaik werk which iz being dun by uther asœsiaishonz, such az the English Asœsiaishon, or giv bibliografiz such az ar suplyd in the "Modern Language Quarterly." We ar, houever, aulwaiz prepaird tu aanser, az far az we ar aibel, eni kwestionz on spesifik points ov historical gramar that hav sum bairing on the speling ov English, with which we ar prymarili konsernd.

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