THE PYONEER OV SIMPLIFYD SPELING.

VOL. VI, No. 3. SEPTEMBER 1917. Prys 2d. pp33-48

[The Pyoneer was published in A5 size paper, pp33-48 with additional text on the colored cover pages. SSS membership was noted as being 2862. The poem Our Speling at See! shows spelling anomalies.]

PUBLISHT BY THE SIMPLIFYD SPELING SOSYETI, London.

The traid suplyd by SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT, & CO., London

THE EKSPERIMENTS WITH SIMPLIFYD SPELING.

[page 33 missing ....]
a test in S.S. diktaishon woz given. The persentij ov korekt werdz woz 84. The saim pasij, but in ordinari speling, woz then given tu the klaas siks munths ahed hoo had been taut œnli that speling. The persentij ov korekt werdz woz 54. The pasij woz nekst diktaited tu the klaas a yeer in advaans ov the S.S. klaas. The persentij in this kais woz 72. The valeu ov konsistent speling iz beyond dout.

The werk iz being kontineud this seshon with the Second Reeder in S.S.

The fakt that Mis Paten iz herself the author ov a seereez ov Fonik Reederz for the infant skool maiks her eksperiment and her opinionz thairon ov seupreem valeu.

Inkwyriz az tu theez eksperiments shood be adrest tu Mr. Robt. Jackson, Training Kolej, Dundee.



We hav given pryd ov plais tu Scotland, for it haz the kredit ov provyding the pyoneer skool.

But thingz ar mooving in England too. The Bord ov Edeukaishon haz, az our reederz nœ, sankshond eksperiments in elementari skoolz, and we ar indeted stil ferther tu it for entrusting the seupervizhon ov theez eksperiments tu so eminent an inspektor az Mr. H. M. Richards.

The ferst English eksperiment woz begun on Mai 1 at the York Road Council School, Leeds, ov which Mr. Ezra Sykes, hoo haz long been a speling reformer, iz the hed maaster. Ryting tu us in the midel ov joon, he sez:
The werk iz maiking satisfaktori prœgres. I am drauing up waul charts with simpel ilustraishonz, and the children ar aulredi begining tu reed eezi sentensez; that meenz we ar too or three munths ahed ov whot thai wood be dooing under normal speling. The teecherz wer not entheusiastik at ferst, az everithing woz so strainj tu them, but wun week woz sufishent tu remoov aul dout, and I must sai thai ar nou keen on the werk. The œnli piti iz that it must be stopt and a transizhon maid tu the reched œld speling. In ordinari serkumstansez the children az yet wood hav dun no speling, but az an eksperiment, without menshoning such a horid werd az speling tu the children (hoo ar œnli for and fyv yeerz ov aij), the teecher sed: "Nou eu hav lernt aul the soundz and thair letterz, and eu kan drau them aul on eur blakbordz. Drau the sound ov eur naim."
[Mr. Sykes kwœts az egzaampelz ov the rezult: "maak, jon, lili, Mairiokinz (= Mary Hopkins), Tom, Joni Jaimz, Hari, jauj, Persi."]
In ordinari speling theez children wood not hav reecht the staij at which thai kood ryt thair naimz for anuther ten munths. Then thai kood œnli hav kopid whot the teecher set for them. This rezult speeks for itself az tu the valeu ov S.S.

1. Without teling or sujestion, the chyld on its œn inishiaitiv diskuverz for itself.

2. No need tu wait until the chyld iz aibel tu memoryz mistikal kombinaishonz.

The children wer delyted when tœld hou wel thai had dun; thai wont tu doo mor, shoorli a far beter wai than waiting tu doo sumthing which thai did not understand, but which teecher sed thai must doo. Simplifyd Speling tendz tu development, az opœzd tu the kram ov the œld speling.


In the midel ov August similar eksperiments wer started in for or fyv uther English tounz, about which we shal report in deu kors.



Our frend, Mr. J. Walker, hooz aktiviti in the kauz ov speling reform dezervz our unstinted admiraishon, sendz us the folœing egzaampelz ov diktaishon which he reseevd from an elementari-skool teecher. The aij ov the children woz seven and a haaf tu ait yeerz.

(a) Jac felt veri prowd as he waukt the dec of his farthers ship. He ment to be a kapting himself sum day, and of caus he wonted veri much to lirn all erbowt ships and the sea.

(b) Jak felt veree proud as he walkt the dek of his farthir's ship. He ment to be a captin himself sum dai, and of kors he wonted veree much to lern al about ships and the see.

The teecher ov theez children remarkt: "Tu prevent theez 'erorz' (and thouzandz ov utherz) children wil hav tu spend a long tym memoryzing eech werd; thair ar no definit roolz for them tu folœ. I hav tu mark theez werdz az rong, yet thai sound lyk that tu the chyld, and nateurali the chyld feelz veri disapointed and dishartend at the bad rezults ov ernest eforts."

The "erorz" ar werth looking at; nœtis hou ofen theez children hav adopted the Simplifyd Speling form without ever having herd ov Simplifyd Speling.

Heer iz an ekstrakt from anuther chyld'z kompozishon (not diktaishon):
Ther fiermern is er veree brave man. He werks veree hard sumtims. I sor wun wonse neerli bernt too deth.
Unkonshusli a litel fonetishan!


A LETER FROM WEST AFRICA.

It seems to me that the only thing that prevents the English language from being the language of the world is the difficulty caused by the spelling. Think what this means. It means that in order to know the pronunciation of any written word somebody who knows that word and its spelling must be consulted; and also, conversely, before any word can be written, a consultation has to be held on what amounts to usual custom derived from heaven knows what tradition.

It would be interesting to know how far "pidgin-English" has captured the markets of the world. A map showing the extent of this would surprise many at home, and the idioms of the language, as written by R. L. Stevenson in his Pacific stories, are wonderfully like those spoken in West Africa, which shows that the English language in native mouths tends to take a certain form, and to adapt itself to native idiom. Were an easy phonetic system available, to lead those who use "pidgin-English" into more accurate channels of speech, English would swamp the markets of the world.

In order to illustrate my point I would like to tell you a story of a little West African boy. In 1908, a small Yoruba child of nine or ten attached himself to my household as a "small boy." His duties were to wash up plates and dishes, to run errands, and to do all kinds of odd jobs about the house. The lad interested me, and more for my own amusement than anything else, I began to teach him the alphabet. I got out the little capital letters on square bits of cardboard that used to be used in a game now, I believe, extinct, called "Word-making, word-taking." The boy quickly mastered the capital letters, then the small letters, then the written capitals and small letters. After this I began to teach him to spell the simple words, "cat, dog, bat, rat," and so on; but very soon I found the work, that up to now had been pleasurable, become distinctly irksome and uninteresting, and the lessons that had begun as a game were dropped. The boy felt that he was "up against it," and no wonder.

Soon after this I went home on leave, and the boy returned to his home, where he found a great impetus awaiting him in that he could read and write his own language. There he found books in his own tongue, phonetically written by missionaries, and the words spelled themselves - e.g. Nigbati was spelt " Ni-i-gbi-ā-ti-i" (i=ĭ). He began reading his own native books, and writing to his friends, and on my return to West Africa. I found an increased keenness to master English.

The boy is still at his studies; the nine years of work have taught him, perhaps, to spell 1,000 words, after much labour, cheerfully undertaken in the hopes of getting on.

I think this true story is better left here without comment on the irony of it all, but, if I may be allowed to do so, I should like to suggest fresh fields and pastures new for THE PYONEER. Why should not catalogues for West Africa, China, the Pacific Islands be printed in the phonetic type? Why should you not try to follow the Pyoneers of Empire - the trader and the missionary?

I hope, Sir, you will forgive the inordinate length of this letter from one who is not yet a member of your Society; but it appears to me useless to talk to the people in England. They live so near to certain things that they cannot see them. Spread your wings and capture the markets of the world, and the educational value of your work will react on the people at home.

T. F. G. MAYER, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.
Freetown, Sierra Leone. West African Medical Service.


A SUJESTION FROM INDIA.

It sometimes occurs to me, Why should we have the unnecessary luxury of two sets of letters, capital and small? There are so many other languages - for instance, all the Indian languages - which have never felt the necessity for such a double set, and they do not seem to have been in any way the worse for it. Moreover, in phonetic transcriptions of English itself, capital letters have been discarded, and yet they have not been missed. Therefore it is quite possible, as it appears to me, to complete the English alphabet by having one of the two sets as the basis, and eking it out with the superfluous types of the other.

I think the small set has a decided advantage over the capital set. For in every printing press the number of small letters is much larger than the number of capital letters. Moreover, since we are accustomed to see more small letters than capital ones on a printed page (as well as on a page of handwriting), the principle of proceeding along the line of least resistance favours the former. If care is taken that the sizes of the letters (capital and small) used in printing is the same, the aesthetic beauty of the printed page (or of a page of handwriting) need not be lessened.

I may say that this scheme satisfies many of the conditions laid down in the Proposals for a Simplified Spelling of the English Language, by Prof. Walter Ripman and Mr. William Archer. It is phonetic. It does not involve the introduction of new symbols nor any diacritics. It makes each symbol self-contained. It considerably economizes the use of material (paper, types, &c.) - an advantage not to be found in any other scheme. It can be so adapted as to make allowance for the existing divergences of pronunciation, though it is absolutely necessary, from my point of view, to have a standard pronunciation, and perhaps the sooner the better. The only drawback seems to be that new sounds have to be associated with the capital letters rather arbitrarily. But this, after all, is not a great matter. If it is once remembered that capital letters are banished, their recall under other sounds will present no difficulty. If the symbols of the International Phonetic Association, such as æ, ^, ɛ, θ, and ð are not objected to, why should there be any objection to representing those sounds by A, U, E, T, and D?

From what has been said above it will be readily seen that printing presses, typewriters, and other interests are not at all affected, though a slight readjustment within a very limited area may be necessary. The telegraphic code does not require more than a simple device to show whether the letters telegraphed are capital or small-sounds, of course, being different in either case.

I shall now try to indicate how the scheme can be worked out. For my part I should like a drastic measure; but, to conciliate those who may not go so far with me, I shall lay down the following scheme for their consideration. I count forty-four (including tsh and dzh) sounds in Southern English, and, as I have said, I should prefer to have forty-four symbols to represent them. If the eight diphthongs, however, are not individually represented, and if the five long vowels are represented by doubling the corresponding short sounds, and if tsh and dzh are resolved into their component parts, there are only thirty-two sounds for which we have to find suitable symbols.

Letters b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, y, and z (seventeen in number) may retain their present values: a, e, i, o, and u may have the values they are given in the International Phonetic Association scheme. This leaves but ten sounds without corresponding symbols - the five vowels (ɛ, æ, ə, ^, and ɔ) and the five consonants (θ, ð, ʃ, ʒ, and η). The selection of symbols for these sounds has to be more or less arbitrary. With some diffidence, therefore, I suggest the following:-

ɛ = Eθ = T
æ = Að = D
ə = Rʃ = C or c
^ = Uʒ = J or j
ɔ = X or xη = Q or q [or N]

The following two nonsense sentences contain all the forty-four English sounds I have referred to, each occurring but once. For the sake of convenience I here pronounce "for" as "fɔ," "of" as "ɔv," and "the" as "ði."
One poor room here for eight azure air-boys!
I charge you, Earl, go think of the sow-shed.
The above sentence will appear as
wUn pUR rum hiR fxx eit AjR ER-bxiz!
ai tcaadj yuu, RRl, gou Tiqk xv Dii sau-ced.
As has been indicated above, I do not claim any finality to the scheme, and I wish to be understood as making a suggestion, which I hope will be worthy of serious consideration.

T. A. RAMAIVA.


Back to the top.
Forward to part 2, part 3.


THE PYONEER OV SIMPLIFYD SPELING.

VOL. VI, No. 3. SEPTEMBER 1917. Prys 2d. pp33-48

[The Pyoneer was published in A5 size paper, pp33-48 with additional text on the colored cover pages. SSS membership was noted as being 2862. The poem Our Speling at See! shows spelling anomalies.]

PUBLISHT BY THE SIMPLIFYD SPELING SOSYETI, London.

The traid suplyd by SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT, & CO., London

THE EKSPERIMENTS WITH SIMPLIFYD SPELING.

[page 33 missing ....]
a test in S.S. diktaishon woz given. The persentij ov korekt werdz woz 84. The saim pasij, but in ordinari speling, woz then given tu the klaas siks munths ahed hoo had been taut œnli that speling. The persentij ov korekt werdz woz 54. The pasij woz nekst diktaited tu the klaas a yeer in advaans ov the S.S. klaas. The persentij in this kais woz 72. The valeu ov konsistent speling iz beyond dout.

The werk iz being kontineud this seshon with the Second Reeder in S.S.

The fakt that Mis Paten iz herself the author ov a seereez ov Fonik Reederz for the infant skool maiks her eksperiment and her opinionz thairon ov seupreem valeu.

Inkwyriz az tu theez eksperiments shood be adrest tu Mr. Robt. Jackson, Training Kolej, Dundee.



We hav given pryd ov plais tu Scotland, for it haz the kredit ov provyding the pyoneer skool.

But thingz ar mooving in England too. The Bord ov Edeukaishon haz, az our reederz nœ, sankshond eksperiments in elementari skoolz, and we ar indeted stil ferther tu it for entrusting the seupervizhon ov theez eksperiments tu so eminent an inspektor az Mr. H. M. Richards.

The ferst English eksperiment woz begun on Mai 1 at the York Road Council School, Leeds, ov which Mr. Ezra Sykes, hoo haz long been a speling reformer, iz the hed maaster. Ryting tu us in the midel ov joon, he sez:
The werk iz maiking satisfaktori prœgres. I am drauing up waul charts with simpel ilustraishonz, and the children ar aulredi begining tu reed eezi sentensez; that meenz we ar too or three munths ahed ov whot thai wood be dooing under normal speling. The teecherz wer not entheusiastik at ferst, az everithing woz so strainj tu them, but wun week woz sufishent tu remoov aul dout, and I must sai thai ar nou keen on the werk. The œnli piti iz that it must be stopt and a transizhon maid tu the reched œld speling. In ordinari serkumstansez the children az yet wood hav dun no speling, but az an eksperiment, without menshoning such a horid werd az speling tu the children (hoo ar œnli for and fyv yeerz ov aij), the teecher sed: "Nou eu hav lernt aul the soundz and thair letterz, and eu kan drau them aul on eur blakbordz. Drau the sound ov eur naim."
[Mr. Sykes kwœts az egzaampelz ov the rezult: "maak, jon, lili, Mairiokinz (= Mary Hopkins), Tom, Joni Jaimz, Hari, jauj, Persi."]
In ordinari speling theez children wood not hav reecht the staij at which thai kood ryt thair naimz for anuther ten munths. Then thai kood œnli hav kopid whot the teecher set for them. This rezult speeks for itself az tu the valeu ov S.S.

1. Without teling or sujestion, the chyld on its œn inishiaitiv diskuverz for itself.

2. No need tu wait until the chyld iz aibel tu memoryz mistikal kombinaishonz.

The children wer delyted when tœld hou wel thai had dun; thai wont tu doo mor, shoorli a far beter wai than waiting tu doo sumthing which thai did not understand, but which teecher sed thai must doo. Simplifyd Speling tendz tu development, az opœzd tu the kram ov the œld speling.


In the midel ov August similar eksperiments wer started in for or fyv uther English tounz, about which we shal report in deu kors.



Our frend, Mr. J. Walker, hooz aktiviti in the kauz ov speling reform dezervz our unstinted admiraishon, sendz us the folœing egzaampelz ov diktaishon which he reseevd from an elementari-skool teecher. The aij ov the children woz seven and a haaf tu ait yeerz.

(a) Jac felt veri prowd as he waukt the dec of his farthers ship. He ment to be a kapting himself sum day, and of caus he wonted veri much to lirn all erbowt ships and the sea.

(b) Jak felt veree proud as he walkt the dek of his farthir's ship. He ment to be a captin himself sum dai, and of kors he wonted veree much to lern al about ships and the see.

The teecher ov theez children remarkt: "Tu prevent theez 'erorz' (and thouzandz ov utherz) children wil hav tu spend a long tym memoryzing eech werd; thair ar no definit roolz for them tu folœ. I hav tu mark theez werdz az rong, yet thai sound lyk that tu the chyld, and nateurali the chyld feelz veri disapointed and dishartend at the bad rezults ov ernest eforts."

The "erorz" ar werth looking at; nœtis hou ofen theez children hav adopted the Simplifyd Speling form without ever having herd ov Simplifyd Speling.

Heer iz an ekstrakt from anuther chyld'z kompozishon (not diktaishon):
Ther fiermern is er veree brave man. He werks veree hard sumtims. I sor wun wonse neerli bernt too deth.
Unkonshusli a litel fonetishan!


A LETER FROM WEST AFRICA.

It seems to me that the only thing that prevents the English language from being the language of the world is the difficulty caused by the spelling. Think what this means. It means that in order to know the pronunciation of any written word somebody who knows that word and its spelling must be consulted; and also, conversely, before any word can be written, a consultation has to be held on what amounts to usual custom derived from heaven knows what tradition.

It would be interesting to know how far "pidgin-English" has captured the markets of the world. A map showing the extent of this would surprise many at home, and the idioms of the language, as written by R. L. Stevenson in his Pacific stories, are wonderfully like those spoken in West Africa, which shows that the English language in native mouths tends to take a certain form, and to adapt itself to native idiom. Were an easy phonetic system available, to lead those who use "pidgin-English" into more accurate channels of speech, English would swamp the markets of the world.

In order to illustrate my point I would like to tell you a story of a little West African boy. In 1908, a small Yoruba child of nine or ten attached himself to my household as a "small boy." His duties were to wash up plates and dishes, to run errands, and to do all kinds of odd jobs about the house. The lad interested me, and more for my own amusement than anything else, I began to teach him the alphabet. I got out the little capital letters on square bits of cardboard that used to be used in a game now, I believe, extinct, called "Word-making, word-taking." The boy quickly mastered the capital letters, then the small letters, then the written capitals and small letters. After this I began to teach him to spell the simple words, "cat, dog, bat, rat," and so on; but very soon I found the work, that up to now had been pleasurable, become distinctly irksome and uninteresting, and the lessons that had begun as a game were dropped. The boy felt that he was "up against it," and no wonder.

Soon after this I went home on leave, and the boy returned to his home, where he found a great impetus awaiting him in that he could read and write his own language. There he found books in his own tongue, phonetically written by missionaries, and the words spelled themselves - e.g. Nigbati was spelt " Ni-i-gbi-ā-ti-i" (i=ĭ). He began reading his own native books, and writing to his friends, and on my return to West Africa. I found an increased keenness to master English.

The boy is still at his studies; the nine years of work have taught him, perhaps, to spell 1,000 words, after much labour, cheerfully undertaken in the hopes of getting on.

I think this true story is better left here without comment on the irony of it all, but, if I may be allowed to do so, I should like to suggest fresh fields and pastures new for THE PYONEER. Why should not catalogues for West Africa, China, the Pacific Islands be printed in the phonetic type? Why should you not try to follow the Pyoneers of Empire - the trader and the missionary?

I hope, Sir, you will forgive the inordinate length of this letter from one who is not yet a member of your Society; but it appears to me useless to talk to the people in England. They live so near to certain things that they cannot see them. Spread your wings and capture the markets of the world, and the educational value of your work will react on the people at home.

T. F. G. MAYER, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.
Freetown, Sierra Leone. West African Medical Service.


A SUJESTION FROM INDIA.

It sometimes occurs to me, Why should we have the unnecessary luxury of two sets of letters, capital and small? There are so many other languages - for instance, all the Indian languages - which have never felt the necessity for such a double set, and they do not seem to have been in any way the worse for it. Moreover, in phonetic transcriptions of English itself, capital letters have been discarded, and yet they have not been missed. Therefore it is quite possible, as it appears to me, to complete the English alphabet by having one of the two sets as the basis, and eking it out with the superfluous types of the other.

I think the small set has a decided advantage over the capital set. For in every printing press the number of small letters is much larger than the number of capital letters. Moreover, since we are accustomed to see more small letters than capital ones on a printed page (as well as on a page of handwriting), the principle of proceeding along the line of least resistance favours the former. If care is taken that the sizes of the letters (capital and small) used in printing is the same, the aesthetic beauty of the printed page (or of a page of handwriting) need not be lessened.

I may say that this scheme satisfies many of the conditions laid down in the Proposals for a Simplified Spelling of the English Language, by Prof. Walter Ripman and Mr. William Archer. It is phonetic. It does not involve the introduction of new symbols nor any diacritics. It makes each symbol self-contained. It considerably economizes the use of material (paper, types, &c.) - an advantage not to be found in any other scheme. It can be so adapted as to make allowance for the existing divergences of pronunciation, though it is absolutely necessary, from my point of view, to have a standard pronunciation, and perhaps the sooner the better. The only drawback seems to be that new sounds have to be associated with the capital letters rather arbitrarily. But this, after all, is not a great matter. If it is once remembered that capital letters are banished, their recall under other sounds will present no difficulty. If the symbols of the International Phonetic Association, such as æ, ^, ɛ, θ, and ð are not objected to, why should there be any objection to representing those sounds by A, U, E, T, and D?

From what has been said above it will be readily seen that printing presses, typewriters, and other interests are not at all affected, though a slight readjustment within a very limited area may be necessary. The telegraphic code does not require more than a simple device to show whether the letters telegraphed are capital or small-sounds, of course, being different in either case.

I shall now try to indicate how the scheme can be worked out. For my part I should like a drastic measure; but, to conciliate those who may not go so far with me, I shall lay down the following scheme for their consideration. I count forty-four (including tsh and dzh) sounds in Southern English, and, as I have said, I should prefer to have forty-four symbols to represent them. If the eight diphthongs, however, are not individually represented, and if the five long vowels are represented by doubling the corresponding short sounds, and if tsh and dzh are resolved into their component parts, there are only thirty-two sounds for which we have to find suitable symbols.

Letters b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, y, and z (seventeen in number) may retain their present values: a, e, i, o, and u may have the values they are given in the International Phonetic Association scheme. This leaves but ten sounds without corresponding symbols - the five vowels (ɛ, æ, ə, ^, and ɔ) and the five consonants (θ, ð, ʃ, ʒ, and η). The selection of symbols for these sounds has to be more or less arbitrary. With some diffidence, therefore, I suggest the following:-

ɛ = Eθ = T
æ = Að = D
ə = Rʃ = C or c
^ = Uʒ = J or j
ɔ = X or xη = Q or q [or N]

The following two nonsense sentences contain all the forty-four English sounds I have referred to, each occurring but once. For the sake of convenience I here pronounce "for" as "fɔ," "of" as "ɔv," and "the" as "ði."
One poor room here for eight azure air-boys!
I charge you, Earl, go think of the sow-shed.
The above sentence will appear as
wUn pUR rum hiR fxx eit AjR ER-bxiz!
ai tcaadj yuu, RRl, gou Tiqk xv Dii sau-ced.
As has been indicated above, I do not claim any finality to the scheme, and I wish to be understood as making a suggestion, which I hope will be worthy of serious consideration.

T. A. RAMAIVA.


Back to the top.
Forward to part 2, part 3.