SS7. On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.
[Allan Campbell: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Spell 4 Literacy NZ.]
simpl speling. members' supplement. November 1998.
Editor: Allan Campbell.
Micro-reform for AGM agenda.A motion 'that an official limited, first-stage reform proposal would be of value and that members be informed such a proposal will be put on the agenda of the 1999 AGM' was carried unanimously at the July meeting.
Work on refining the limited proposal needed to begin now and the widest possible agreement within the SSS should be sought.
Gwen Thorstad would present her research findings about children's suggestions for spelling improvements to the October meeting to help members focus on the kind of micro-reform that is most needed initially. It was thought to be useful for web surfers who came across relevant research findings to pass them to Gwen to evaluate.
Sue Lloyd is doing research into the effectiveness of fonics teaching in Scotland using Chris Jolly's Jollyphonics.
Sister John's research (reported by Downing), which compared how children's experience with TO and ITA subsequently affected their ability to match patterns, might be worth looking at again, in that it suggests TO, apart from being difficult to learn, impedes brain development.
Leo Chapman reported he was collecting fonetically sound spelling errors which could be useful in helping to determine the starting point and extent of a micro-reform.
New membership not a priority.Recruiting new members should not be the priority of the Society for the time being, the committee felt. It would instead concentrate initially on making the Society's existence better known and on persuading whoever, wherever we can, that TO is the worst possible spelling solution for English.
But Allan Campbell was authorized to go ahead with a proposed six-issue advertising campaign in a New Zealand newspaper for teachers (circulation 22,000) at an estimated cost of £125. This relatively cheap pilot in New Zealand could indicate whether it would be worth trying the same in the UK or elsewhere.
July committee meeting reports.
State of play with schemes and PVs.
Spelling schemes and Personal Views were discussed at length at the July committee meeting.
It was decided to reprint Bob Brown's Personal View No. 1, and his Spelling Reform in Context (with slight updating by Chris Upward); Nue Speling (with introduction revised by Nick Kerr, David Barnsdale, and Chris; and Tough, Though, Thought (a partial reform scheme from 15 years ago). John Bryant was to check with Tony Burns and offer to photocopy PVs, and suggest these be sent out with either Simpl Speling or the Journal, depending on which was closer, to save effort and costs.
Paul Fletcher sent in a report on the current state of Personal Views:
1 Brown: Literacy & the way we spell English.Schemes in the pipeline -
2 Fletcher: Yurospel (1996).
3 Sinclair: Sistem 2 (1997).
4 Burns: Milenyum (1997).
5 Goodwin: Yurabet (1997).
6 Lahey: Inglish (1998).
Other inquiries received and standard format submission invited -
Bett: New Follick Passed to Tony Burns for printing.
Rondthaler: Soundspel. Received complete January; needed typing of handwritten phoneme list and two small amendments. Passed for printing.
Greenland: ROSE. Passed for printing.
Zurinskas: Truespel. Referred back 1997 for resubmission in standard format.
Yule: Surplus-cut, Interspel. Valerie has submitted in the required format but hopes to publish more fully in her book on spelling in general.
Mitrevski: English Phonetic Alphabet. Submitted in May, since when protracted correspondence aiming to get Paul Mitrevski to accept style and grammar corrections (English is not his native language) and to weld submission into a continuous 12-page whole.
For guidelines on presentation of members' schemes as Personal Views, contact Paul Fletcher.
Hughes: Shortskript. November 1997.
Craig: Romano-Greek. November 1997.
Bromley: Englishspeak. October 1997 (so far scheme aims to simplify whole language).
Tucker: Spel-Eze. Submitted March; some necessary material sent but not suitable for gradualist ideas.
Phadke. Lojikal. Requirements for PV sent to Shri GV Phadke in 1997 but reply March refers back to prolix manuscript previously sent August 1997. Reply April. Resubmission in required camera-ready format was requested by letter April 1997 but none had been sent yet:
Ascott (Sound Spelling), Atkinson (Equals-Plus), Alexander Wilson (IMPS), Pidd (Lojivow), Stygall (TOPOS), McKnight (Pass Review), Weatherall (Real Spelling).
SS suggested for libraries.
It was suggested SSS members be sent an extra copy of Simpl Speling and asked to approach their local (or biggest nearby) library and ask them to carry a copy in the reading room. But, to minimize adverse reaction at first sight, the title should be changed to Simpl Spelling. It was thought simpl alone would give an adequate but less offensive intimation of our aims. It was to be discussed again at the October meeting.
- Many members were thanked for services. Among them was Gwen Thorstad, for
finding a pleasant and reasonably priced new venue for meetings, and arranging
- The SSS now had 129 members, but 20 had not yet paid their 1998 subs. (Five had
joined since April, 55 were on email or fax email; the email chat group
consisted of 25.)
- English Today had carried a Society article on the Langscape project,
plus information about the SSS.
- A letter in The Times Educational Supplement, responding to an editorial
about dyslexics and Spanish, had elicited four inquiries.
- A spelling scheme had been received from Don Morrison.
Present at the July meeting:
Committee - Nicholas Kerr (chair), David Barnsdale, Masha Bell, John Bryant, Leo Chapman, Jean Hutchins, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward;
members - Adrian Murphy, Edward Marchant.
Apologies - Chris Jolly, Paul Fletcher, Gerald Palmer, Tony Burns.
Inducting the secretary.
Masha Bell was welcomed at the July meeting as secretary of the Society and was immediately harnessed to the job. It was decided:
She should attempt to improve the impact of the SSS web site, especially in terms of the information contained on the first page, and pass her ideas on to Nick Kerr and David Barnsdale for further refinement.
She would carry out the recurring business tasks, like booking the venue for meetings, settling bills, compiling and distributing the minutes and circulating agendas. She would also contact the treasurer, Alun Bye, and offer to take on his work if, as indicated, he found it too onerous. [He has suggested changing at the end of the year. - Ed.]
She would also approach educational organizations offering to speak to teachers at conferences; offer articles and press releases to print media; seek help and advice from members on publicity; and pursue our application for space in the Millennium Dome.
Meanwhile, back at the office ...
[Masha Bell: see Journals, Newsletters, Leaflets, Media, Personal View.]
Masha Bell.When Chris Jolly first appointed me as secretary, he suggested that to begin with I should just try to acquaint myself with the SSS as well as I could before the next committee meeting at the end of July.
As it was then only the beginning of June, I deemed his time allocation very generous, but he had made an astute estimate of the extent of my ignorance and of the task confronting me.
Finding out how the SSS worked was relatively straightforward. Jean Hutchins knows all there is to know about how the Society operates, and she proved a very willing and patient tutor during my initiation period. Allan Campbell, Chris Upward, and Valerie Yule were also generous with their time, and recent copies of the JSSS were hugely informative too.
I was soon made aware that one of the reasons for appointing me, in addition to having someone organize meetings and take the minutes, was a fairly widely perceived need for the Society to make itself better known.
I share this view, but have become increasingly disabused about my ability to remedy the situation.
I had imagined that within a month or too I would get a fairly clear idea of what the SSS stood for and what its aims were, and that I could then begin to tackle the task of promoting it. Unfortunately, everyone in the SSS appears to agree only that TO be reformed. On how to reform it there are nearly as many ideas as SSS members. This may explain why the SSS has made even less progress with advancing the cause of simplification in the second half of this century than it had done in the first.
The British government's current literacy strategy, with its emphasis on fonics, is helping British primary teachers to become more aware of the irregularities and difficulties of TO, and we should be able to further this process. But if we want reform to come even a little closer, we need to find more agreement among ourselves.
Until more than just a handful of members can agree on a bundle of simple suggestions for reducing the irregularities of TO (which stand a realistic chance of being accepted), there seems little point in trying to sell the SSS to the wider world.
So for now, while giving some time to publicity too, I am directing my efforts mainly towards that end.
Back to the top.
On other pages: part 1, part 2, part 3.