SS11. On other pages: part 1, part 2 part 3.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Spell 4 Literacy NZ.]
simpl speling March 2000 part 4. members' supplement.
Editor: Allan Campbell.
October: Listing main patterns.Masha Bell had compiled what she felt was a fairly comprehensive basic English vocabulary without inflections (BEV) of just over 4700 words. With considerable help from Jean Hutchins, Zé do Rock, John Gledhill, and Elizabeth Kuizenga from the discussion group and Joe Little from the ALC, she had tried to divide these into words with fonemic spellings and words with unpredictable elements in them, but encountered a variety of problems.
She and Jean had compiled a list with the main spelling patterns and sub-patterns for all the English fonemes from which she would try to categorize BEV in order to get a clearer picture of English spelling regularity and irregularity. She hoped that this would prove useful for both reform and publicity purposes.
• The leaflet Modernizing English Spelling: Principles & Practicalities needed updating. Chris Upward would do this in consultation with the committee.
• [Financial details: omitted.]
• The new Personal View guidelines for authors would be made available on request as soon as Paul Fletcher had made minor amendments to his draft, following discussions at this meeting. Prospective new authors would be sent examples of spelling solutions from earlier PVs and a summary of grafemes previously proposed, so they could compare their own ideas.
• Professor John Wells had interviewed Chris Upward about spelling and reform for the BBC world service in October 1999.
Attendances - October.Committee: Chris Jolly (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), Tony Burns, Paul Fletcher, Leo Chapman (pm only), Jean Hutchins, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward.
Member: Edward Marchant.
Apologies: Nicholas Kerr, Gerald Palmer.
Attendances - January.Committee: Chris Jolly (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), Jean Hutchins, Gerald Palmer, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward.
Members: John Gledhill, Vilma Scott.
Apologies: Nicholas Kerr, Leo Chapman, Tony Burns, Paul Fletcher, Mona Cross.
Reports from the committee meetings.
January: Press release is planned.Chairman Chris Jolly's suggestion to send a press release to major UK newspapers about the submission to the parliamentary committee on early years education was adopted. He would draft it. The submission made a powerful case for the need to consider reforming English spelling. It set the tone for arousing interest among recipients to whom the idea would be new. The Society now needed to arm itself with all available relevant facts and figures for an eventual appearance before the committee.
- The Society is seeking charitable status.
- Annual accounts will be circulated before the AGM. They will continue to be professionally audited, tho the Charity Commission would not require this with registration.
- John Gledhill has been co-opted to the committee with a view to taking over as membership secretary when Jean Hutchins retires this year.
- Allan Campbell asked the Society to set a target for its active campaigning. The committee decided it was not possible to specify a target audience, altho politicians and education correspondents were probably worth considering. Different countries had different power structures, some central (eg, UK and NZ), others federal (eg, US and Australia). Members in different countries needed to tailor their strategies to local circumstances. They also needed to take account of members' talents in individual countries.
- The Society will not promote adoption of American spellings in Commonwealth countries, as this might provoke hostility to spelling reform in some quarters; but it recommends pupils not be penalized for using American spellings.
- Masha Bell sought a scanner for her work. She was asked to supply details of models and prices.
- The leaflet Modernizing English Spelling: Principles & Practicalities will be revised and reprinted.
- John Reilly, New Jersey, USA, is helping Chris Upward edit JSSS. Chris is considering making the next, first issue of the millennium a special edition in which two outstanding earlier publications will be reprinted, ie, W Archer's pamflet The Etymological Aspect of Spelling Reform (written in New Spelling) and J Downing's article The Transfer of Skills in Language Functions. The Society's parliamentary submission will also appear.
- Chris Upward is preparing new material on heterografs and on American spellings for our website.
- Chris Jolly is piloting a remedial reading scheme for young learners in which all surplus letters are printed in a fainter font. He finds that allaying parental concerns is a major hurdle in introducing such a scheme, just as with ITA. When parents of children who have used it for a year can reassure newcomers, this becomes much easier.
- Membership was 140. In 1999 12 members left: 28 joined and one lapsed member renewed his membership.
Free for the asking.1. Richard P Mudgett, author of Donuts aren 't UGHly eny mor, Simpler Speling for th 2,000'z (1997, 131pp), has generously donated 10 copies for distribution to members of the society.
The book offers a lighthearted account of a variant on Nue Speling (NS), World English Spelling, and Soundspel (American Literacy Council), and is recommended as an easy introduction to the NS tradition of spelling reform.
2. Faster Spelling for 2000 - Spelling design moves on from the usual range of proposals focused on sound-symbol correspondence. Faster Spelling takes account of the needs and abilities of users and learners internationally, the nature of English, and how literacy teaching could be improved - information useful for other reformers - and includes a two-page teachers' guide, games, answers to reform objections, the first step and the future. A 24pp expanded revision of Personal View 10, International English Spelling, which was too condensed and too minutely printed. Available email from Valerie Yule. [See Links page.]
Congratulations toJenny Chew, until recently a member of the Society; who in the British New Year honors list was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) 'or services to literacy'.
Michael Bell, who has had a 1500-word article published in LinguaSig newsletter of Mensa, outlining his views on spelling and the aims and work of the Society.
Dates of the three committee meetings after the AGM are July 15 and October 7; 2000, and January 27, 2001.
Guidelines on presentation of members' schemes as Personal Views are available from Paul Fletcher.
Meanwhile, back at the office ...
[Masha Bell: see Journals, Newsletters, Leaflets, Media, Personal View.]
Preparing a submission.
During the last months of '99 I spent most of my time putting together a submission to the Inquiry into Early Years Education by the parliamentary select committee at Westminster. A newspaper article in July had alerted me that this was coming up and I began to plan for it. but the terms of reference did not appear until the end of October.
The closing date was 17 January. The Christmas and new millennium breaks intervened; and I was still researching some of the facts and figures that I wanted to include. I also wanted to give committee members and members of the email discussion group a chance to put forward suggestions for amendments before sending off the final draft.
I decided not to include any suggestions for reform - just explain clearly why English-speaking children on average take several years longer to become literate than many other European nationals. I could not avoid drawing attention to the main areas of spelling difficulty. When setting out the many grafemes for spelling the ee-sound in English, for example, I pointed out that adopting just one spelling instead would save much school time. This can perhaps be construed as advocating a specific reform, but I could see no other way of explaining meaningfully what the costs of English spelling irregularity are, or what gains reform would bring.
It was suggested to me that one measure which we could perhaps advocate was to recommend the adoption of American spellings in the UK, but this did not fit easily into my argumentation. I also believe that the American changes that have been adopted have little to do with the kind of spelling reform that English needs.
Our constitution states 'a reform of the spelling of English in the interest of ease of learning and economy in writing' as our goal. Few American changes fall into that category. This is not surprising since one of Webster's avowed aims was to make US English different from UK English, rather than make spelling substantially easier for learners.
More time for the cause.At the end of '99 and at the start of this year membership subs have been coming in steadily, but I would put in a plea for everyone who has not yet paid to please do so now. Prompt payment will allow me to devote more time to the cause of reform and be less regularly distracted by administrative matters.
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On other pages: part 1, part 2 part 3.