SS4. 8pp. On other pages: part 2, part 3.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media.]

Founded 1908
Working for planned change in English spelling for the benefit of learners and users everywhere

simpl speling November 1997 part 1.

Editor: Allan Campbell.

A new name.

This is the first issue of the Simplified Spelling Society Newsletter to appear as Simpl Speling. Proposed by the editor, the name was adopted by the committee at its April meeting. Background and comment: see editorial.

Publish - and be damned ...

In spite of peer criticism, a Society member will use a small range of improved spellings in his publication.

Ted Relton, of Ilford, England, has decided to use the forms alinement, altho, congestion, gage, program, strait, and thru throughout part of the World Gazetteer of Tram, Trolleybus, and Rapid Transit Systems, which covers North America. Most crop up frequently in a transport context.

I am firmly of the opinion that the way to get improved spellings adopted is to use them in publications," he says. "They should therefore appear in dictionaries in due course, because dictionaries record usage; they do not attempt to be arbiters of spelling."

He has had adverse reactions member from an expert reader in Chicago, and from the former editor of Trolleybus Magazine. He sought the advice of Chris Upward, the Society's editor-in-chief and literature secretary, and as a result has decided to stand his ground.

On rereading part 3 - Europe - he has found he used thru consistently in that issue, with no adverse comment.

"I therefore feel justified in using "the limited reforms. I think as long as I am consistent, I obviate the charge of 'poor spelling'; a 'poor speller' is likely to have different forms in different places," he comments.

... or simply praise the Lord.

Joe Little, American Literacy Council, USA.

The forms, thru, thruout, and tho are now being used in the weekly bulletins of a big New York City church. The bulletins include various well-known Christian worship songs, such as Just a Closer Walk with Thee.

I used to sing along and grumble when I came to through, etc. Finally I spoke to the worship director. Tho I had known him for years, something told me he needed more than a face-to-face proposal. So I demonstrated ALC's new Sound-Spell literacy software and then moved to our one-page Close Look at the Variations of English Spelling.

I took the scenic route in my quest. I asked about the logistics of bulletins, printed lyric sheets, and music. Once he saw I was interested in his know-how, I repeated some of the words or themes he had used to segue into my proposal, which was to consider a very short list of simpler spellings within the hymn portion of the bulletin because each 1) matches the word's sound; 2) is listed in dictionaries; 3) is conservative so as not to distract; 4) saves line space.

When he could get a word in, he offered a fifth reason: Shorter spelling helps match note width to word width.

He agreed to go along without announcing the change or my involvement. And I call him when a hymn slips thru without the simpler spelling.

He would also likely favor other spellings I recommend. The best ones with dictionary cache I can think of are nite and tonite. But I'll bide my time.

Can other Simpl Speling readers match this in their church or synagog? I hope to hear from them. It's doable!

[Joe Little: see Journal, Newsletters, Web links.]

This 'n' that from here 'n' there.

Phonological awareness important.

Evening Standard, Palmerston North, NZ.

No one expects a teenager to know how to drive a car with-out a step-by-step learning program, and the same should be true of the approach to reading, says Professor Robert Calfee, of Stanford University.

His lecture to a Reading on Track reading conference in New Zealand was based on his findings in the Read Plus research.

He said phonological awareness was an important role of learning English spelling, as the English phonic was a real mess unless U know how to carve it up".

He said some children did not have the 'foggiest idea' what the teacher was talking about when asked to match letters to sounds, because they had not been taught. When asked during an exercise what they were doing, some children didn't know. They said they were doing it because the teacher had told them to.

Professor Calfee said spelling was a recent invention, and the best way to advance children was to have teachers available to "help children understand this technology".

Bilingual kids see relationship sooner.

Washington Post.

Bilingual preschool children understand the relationship between writing and words earlier than children who know only one language, a study published in the journal Developmental Psychology reports. This difference may help bilingual children learn to read more easily.

The study of 137 4- and 5-year-olds compared the performance of bilingual children (French-English or Chinese-English) with that of monolingual children (English only) on tests evaluating their grasp of the relationship between written letters or characters and words.

Cornell's plan a Sunday feature.

An article, Spelling for dummies, on member Cornell Kimball's plan for improved spellings appeared in July in the San Jose Mercury News (California) Sunday magazine. It was partly tongue-in-cheek, but publicized the absurdities of spelling.

His plan was reported as persuading newspapers to adopt better spelling forms.

The article noted misspellings such as Lanscaping on a Caltrans (California highway department) sign (Cornell works for Caltrans, but disclaims responsibility!).

In August a follow-up article, Misspelling Bee, was published. Later, a series of letters appeared: A reading program volunteer related the difficulties he encountered explaining exceptions to spelling rules, and now understood why people gave up trying to learn English. Another writer facetiously asked which dialect would spelling be standardized on.

Cornell also had a letter published correcting the original report, which erred in indicating he was advocating phonetic spelling.

[Cornell Kimball: see Journals, Newsletters.]

Wagging the dog.

Bruce Beach, World Language Program, Canada.

ANJEL Tug (Angel Tongue) is a language/spelling system with a difference: It targets non-English speakers.

It is used as part of the World Language Program (WLP) which aims to teach the language in 18 days, using captioned video, workbooks, teacher's manuals, and eventually such aids as a captioned simplified English animation series and comic books.

The WLP was developed by the Unkommon (Universal Kommunications por la Monde) Foundation (a Canadian federally incorporated nonprofit organization) in response to worldwide interest in English. The WLP is a project of the IAEWP (International Association of Educators for World Peace), an NGO to the UN and Unesco. The WLP has chancellors in over 30 countries. It hopes to train and send out 1000 volunteer teachers from its base in North America, and eventually to establish interact procedures, along with schools and classes thruout the world.

ANJEL Tug is named from the biblical concept of humanity once speaking a single language in common with the angels, until confused at Babel. It is phonemically based. So that there will be a unique symbol for each sound, it assigns separate sounds to both the upper and lower case letters used in TO.

WLP uses the Access (Auxiliary Closed Captioned English with Simplified Spelling) system along with its pedagogical principles to teach ANJEL Tug in 18 days. Access involves closed captioned entertainment video which provides motivation for learners to continue to improve their ability to hear English and increase their vocabulary.

ANJEL Tug is promoted as an intermediate teaching language (ITL) for teaching EFL (English as a foreign language). An ITL makes simplifications in the target language to make it easier to learn. ANJEL Tug simplifies English spelling, syntax, and vocabulary.

The billions who might be inclined to learn English could do so more easily thru this ITL. If this should occur they could be wagging the dog of the mere millions of native English speakers.

[Bruce Beach: see SS5.]

[Robert Craig: see Journals, Newsletters.]

What one member has been doing - and observing.

Long service has seen many proposals.

Robert Craig.

I first became acquainted with the SSS and Nue Speling in 1948 when language reform was being applied to Irish and Dutch. It then took me many years to rediscover it, mainly because it never occurred to me, or anyone else, to seek the 'Spelling Reform Society' under the heading 'Simplified'.

It was not till the early 1960s that I eventually found it again. The membership consisted largely of enthusiastic, committed people who had given many years to the cause. Predominantly they were elderly school teachers, whose sole object appeared to be to lessen the problems of infant school children. They seemed to regard Nue Speling as the whole answer, perhaps needing a little tweaking to make it generally acceptable.

This culminated in the World English Spelling of the 1970s. Apart from the school teachers, there were a number of people with their own schemes which were in conflict. A valiant few predominantly elderly people kept the flag flying, producing a mimeographed newsletter, The Pioneer, until that eventually petered out. By the 1980s things were at a low ebb with a dedicated core membership soldiering on (altho there had been a successful international conference).

It was then that things began to turn around, largely I think because of the dynamic presence of Chris Upward. I attended the AGM in 1984 where I supported motions in favor of a revision of Nue Speling proposed by Larry Fennelly and in favor of adopting Stanley Gibbs' 'Big Five' stage 1 reform. While I was not a supporter of NS, and had reservations about the 'Big Five', I felt it was better to do something than to do nothing, preferring praxis to theory. The revised version of NS was produced as NS90, which effectively killed it off. Altho the 'Big Five' was the official policy for many years, it failed to thrive.

Shift of emphasis.

It was as a way to overcome the subjectivity of the 'Big Five' that Chris Upward developed Cut Spelling. This gave rise to strong opposition from the old teaching faction, because it shifted the emphasis from speech to the existing written language, and from children's needs to adult convenience.

The next important event was when Bob Brown took over as secretary, bringing professional organizing skills to the task, and a certain flair. His deth was a great loss. He shifted the Society's thrust from promoting an agreed scheme to establishing the principle of reform among the public and opinion formers.

My own views developed following correspondence with the editor of the Bristol Evening Post, who brought to my attention the need for a house style, and the preference for narrow letters - i and u to e, y, and w - by the press (cf, gipsy, dispatch vs gypsy, despatch). I feel that rather than pressing for our own particular systems we should co-operate to promote those changes which have majority support. I also think that we should have an official house style so that we can show the public that our proposals work in practise (there should be a house-style subcommittee).

In the last couple of years I have cooperated with Antony Alexander in writing Lango. It is our contention that if it has not proved possible to reform traditional English spelling then the answer is a parallel geolect which, while being mutually intelligible with English, would influence traditional English in all its aspects, including spelling.

We need to find open doors and press on them - 'American' spelling, shorter words, international forms; eg, I conducted a one-person campaign for jail in newspapers. I have also campaigned for the 'American' spellings, and had some favorable response - from public people in Ireland until they became aware of my connection with the Society. I put my name on the Avon Register of Societies as the county representative of the Society. This is distributed to local libraries thruout the county.

Why is abbreviation such a long word? And long such a short one?

Back to the top.
On other pages: part 2, part 3.