SS17. On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Spell 4 Literacy NZ.]

simpl speling March 2002 part 4 members' supplement.

Editor: Allan Campbell

January committee meeting.

Previous discussion, voting improves procedures.

The non-fysical committee members and some attendees had contributed to email discussions and had recorded their votes on agenda items. Reports were also circulated before the meeting. This arrangement is improving but is not yet satisfactory and will be further refined. The prior discussion and receipt of reports enabled the meeting to deal with a very long agenda.

Committee: Chris Jolly (chair), Jean Hutchins, John Gledhill, Gwen Thorstad, David Stockton (minutes).
Member: Edward Marchant.
Apologies: Nicholas Kerr, Jack Bovill, Masha Bell, Paul Fletcher. Non-fysical committee members: Elizabeth Kuizenga, Zé do Rock. Guy Otten has left the committee.

Note from John Gledhill, membership secretary.

If there is an 'e' at the bottom right of your address label it means that we have not yet received your membership subscription, and your membership will lapse at the end of February.

Kiwi members meet and chat.

Auckland SSS member Chris Kiwi's November visit to family in Christchurch was seized on as an opportunity for him to meet with the three local 'Simplies' - Chrissy Parker, Ian Hunter, and Allan Campbell. After this had been arranged, another member, Tom Shanks, of Oamaru, got word of it and made a point of traveling to Christchurch to attend.

So five of the seven New Zealand members were able to meet informally to air pet ideas on, and generally discuss the matter of, reforming spelling.

Topics varied. The need to maximize recognition of the cost of traditional spelling (TS), by a benefit-cost analysis in comparison with other systems, was seen by Ian as a important option, but he doubted that the Society had resources to do this. (See article).

Political strategies were looked at by Tom, a one-time political activist. He saw the Government as being too busy to be receptive to ideas of spelling change. Opposition parties were probably a better bet. Convince them to espouse the idea, and then hold them to that if and when they become the government. Having, a prominent person to promote the cause was also desirable.

Chris reported on the changing language mix in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, which was now only 62% Pakeha (European extraction). Increasing numbers of Polynesians and Asians were affecting the New Zealand English spoken there, and to a lesser extent, thruout the nation. We should be proud of our unique evolving English, and if necessary, be prepared to go ahead with spelling reform even if other nations did not follow.

Selling spelling change was addressed by two members. A book, The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell) was recommended by Chrissy for reading, with attention being paid to the suggestions on ways to sell ideas.

Proactivity to match present reactivity was proposed by Allan. Addressing meetings such as PTAS, and being willing to take part in talkback radio could be important in raising awareness at grass roots level.


The times, they are a'changing.

Change is inevitable.

Sometimes it comes in little bites; sometimes all at once. In the life of the Society, this is one of these latter times. After 20 years as chair, during many changes, Chris Jolly is calling it a day; illness has forced Chris Upward, one of our linguistic stalwarts and prolific writers, to relinquish his roles as Journal editor and committee member; Masha Bell, a bundle of energy in her short time as secretary, has withdrawn her services; Paul Fletcher, editor of Personal Views, is standing down from the committee, tho not from PV editing; vice-chair Jean Hutchins, a tiger for work, plans to lighten her load; Simpl Speling may not continue.

The changes are, however, not all of letting go; some are the accepting of new challenges.

Masha is using her quiet time to write a book on spelling; for the first time, some American members hope to attend the National Spelling Bee; and Kiwis may do the same with the Reading Association of New Zealand's conference.

With the new world of internet communication, the Society is no longer a crusty old London-based - and largely southern England - association, but a worldwide group having to front up to a savvy, street-wise, email clientele.

We want the world to change some of its ways. We are in the midst of learning to change some of our own.

Is a newsletter really necessary?

This is the last issue of Simpl Speling with me as editor. Since Cornell Kimball and I in 1996 revived the newsletter, I have mostly enjoyed producing it every four months, with Cornell as publisher for the first three issues, and Jean Wilkinson and Steve Bett as regular contributors.

But with age one wearies of the task (particularly when not always agreeing with committee decisions, or with what, in fairness, has to be published), and seeks other avenues.

Unless a member comes forward to take on the task, there will not be a newsletter. Is this a disaster?

Not necessarily. In pre-internet days it would have been, but now most of our members are online, and the proportion will increase until all are connected. News travels fast this way, quickly dating many items Simpl Speling carries or may have otherwise carried.

Some members are in Society email groups, moderated very efficiently by vice-chair, Jean Hutchins. One of these is an announcement group. In it, Jean keeps members informed of anything of importance in the life of the Society. This group may be the nucleus of an electronic replacement for Simpl Speling. And our new, attractive web site, set up by Fred Swartz, may eventually have a news page.

In the meantime, unless a new editor is forthcoming, non-emailers will be at a disadvantage, and to keep in touch, will have to rely on enclosures with their copy of the Journal or with the annual subscription renewal notice.

- Allan Campbell.

Costs group winds up.

Reporting to the committee on the progress of the costs group (see SSJune01) the co-ordinator, Jack Bovill, said there had been no activity in the last three months of its appointed nine-months life.

The aim had been to test, on selected groups or people, the idea that costs were an important consideration in the negative effect of TS on pupils and adults learning to read.

'Where we had difficulty was the systematic selection and testing of groups and people. We started with employers, but they had already eliminated poor spellers from their prospective list of possible employees,' Jack wrote. 'it may be that working at a distance via email was also an added difficulty, in spite of the enthusiasm and energy put into this initiative'.

In announcing the winding up of the group, he recommended that the committee revert to its original work on identifying barriers to reform, and after preliminary work it look for a group that could work together fysically.

Members should have received, with this issue of Simpl Speling, a nomination form for the election of committee members. If you have missed it contact David Stockton.

Teaming up with text messaging?

With the continuing publication of text messaging spelling booklets, are we looking at another avenue to promote spelling simplification? asks committee member Jack Bovill.

'It cuts across the generation gap. Will people be ready to use their simplified text message spelling in ordinary communications - emails, letters, etc? The Society might wish to lend its name to a dictionary of these new spellings now at booksellers.'

Richard Wade, the speaker at the coming AGM, is promoting this approach in his work on his web site [see Links page], There may be other web sites also looking at this aspect. 'Can members advise us of any other sites doing the same and their views, practised or thought about?', he asks.

Guidelines for presentation of members' schemes as Personal Views are available from Paul Fletcher, England.

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On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.