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

simpl speling. members' supplement. March 1999.

Editor: Allan Campbell.


Masha Bell had misgivings reconciling her own views on reform with the overall aims of the SSS, and how to make the most effective use of her time. She thought her secretarial duties (and possibly later those of treasurer) might leave her with insufficient energy for effective publicity, which she saw as almost more urgent. She would not take over the treasurer's duties without additional paid time.

Chris Upward needed more time in the next 18 months to complete a book. He also wanted someone to train for his editorial role.

Tony Burns said longer travel time required by a new job left insufficient time for copying PV's, and this had caused a backlog.

It was agreed Simpl Speling retain the present title spelling; there was no enthusiasm for an email version; Masha was to go ahead with designing a leaflet for the public and the website: Chris Upward, Masha, and Gerald were to be a subcommittee to work out a proposal for a limited first-stage reform to be put to the AGM in April.

It was decided not to reprint the leaflet Tough, though, thought: 200 copies of Bob Browns PV1 were to be reprinted.

It was suggested: That in the next JSSS Chris Upward advertise for someone to become editor of the Journal for a limited period: that Allan Campbell in the supplement to Simpl Speling invite members to photocopy Simpl Speling and ask libraries to carry it in their reading room: that the publicity subcommittee be disbanded (the efforts by Masha and Allan were acknowledged): that Masha liaise with Bernard Sypniewski on the layout of the website: that she also investigate what size of pamphlet is best suited for displaying in libraries: that Allan suggest how his game plan ideas could best be put into practise by the committee; that Masha find out to what extent American spellings were accepted in public examination by Scottish boards.

It was reported Bob Brown's Spelling Reform in Context, with slight updating by Chris Upward, was nearly ready for printing: that PV8 by Edward Rondthaler, PV9 by Katherine Greenland, PV10 by Valerie Yule, and PV11 by Paul Mitrevski were also almost ready, and that Don Morrison's and G V Phadke's still needed editing by the authors.


Masha Bell was appointed paid treasurer on a one-day-per-week basis for six months. The job would take more time initially, but she would keep an eye on her workload and hoped that, after she had set up accounts spreadsheets and worked out a routine, she would need less time. She accepted the position because nobody else volunteered. If any member is willing to take on the role. she would be happy to relinquish it at the earliest convenient date.

Masha replaced Alun Bye as signatory for checks. Jean Hutchins and Chris Upward continue as signatories. The changeover of trustees had finally been completed.

Committee members were to inform Masha before the AGM if they wanted to stand for re-election.

Allan Campbell was appointed official spokesman for the Society in New Zealand.

The committee was more interested in supporting an 'International Spelling Reform Day' than just International Spelling Day' as proposed by Valerie Yule. It was. however, unlikely that the committee would be able to do anything much to promote such a day in the near future.

The subcommittee for micro reform had made slow progress in the absence of David Barnsdale and during Chris Upward's illness. Only consistent use of the letter f for f phoneme and replacing you with U had so far found a good measure of support in the email discussion group.

Masha had postponed redesigning a simpler version of the SSS information leaflet until members views about the future direction of the Society had been obtained.

She would try to learn by the AGM if Scottish boards accepted American spellings in public examination.

Chris Upwards article In Defense of Spelling Reform, refuting David Crystal's view that English did not need reform, had been published in English Today.

Chris Upward had had offers of help with producing the JSSS from Joe Little, Chris Gledhill and Stanley Gibbs. He will keep no more than 20 copies of back numbers of JSSS more than five years old.

Before the AGM Paul Fletcher intended to compare and evaluate all schemes so far published.

For guidelines on presentation of members schemes as Personal Views, contact Paul Fletcher.

Committee attendances.

October: Committee - Chris Jolly (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), John Bryant, Tony Burns, Leo Chapman, Paul Fletcher, Jean Hutchins, Gerald Palmer, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward: member - Edward Marchant; apologies - David Barnsdale. Nicholas Kerr, Alun Bye.

January: Committee - Chris Jolly (chair), Masha Bell (minutes), John Bryant, Leo Chapman, Jean Hutchins, Nicholas Kerr, Gerald Palmer, Gwenllian Thorstad, Chris Upward: members - Frank Garnett, Edward Marchant; apologies - Alun Bye, Tony Burns, Paul Fletcher.

Subscriptions still go to Jean.

Altho Masha is secretary, Jean Hutchins remains membership secretary, and all subscriptions and membership queries should be addressed to her. Subs for 1999 (£10 or $US20. cash or check - payable to SSS) are now due.

The Society has 128 members: 18 joined in 1998 and 11 left. Only a few have so far paid their subs for 1999.

Members who are interested in serving on the committee should indicate this to Masha Bell before the AGM.

Simpl Speling in libraries?

Would your local library display Simpl Speling in its reading room? Are U willing to find out'? The October committee meeting suggested we try.

Last year I tried six New Zealand public libraries. Three. Canterbury (ie. Christchurch, which I approached personally. and at which I left three issues at once), Dunedin, and Auckland declined.

The others - Wellington, Palmerston North, and Timaru - have still to respond. I send a copy of two successive issues before asking for a decision.

The committee has suggested U photocopy your copy - minus this members supplement Section.

Our aim is to make SS readable and attractive for those with a passing interest in spelling change.

-Allan Campbell

What's happened to BEtSS?

At the January committee meeting It was reported the Detroit based sister organization Better Education thru Simplified Spelling (BEtSS) had not replied to correspondence from Chris Upward for some time.

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must he willing to be anything or nothing, in the world's estimation. - Susan B Anthony, American proponent of women's rights in the late 19th century.

Meanwhile, back at the office ...

Lady with computer.

[Masha Bell: see Journals, Newsletters, Leaflets, Media, Personal View.]

A lesson from history.

Masha Bell.

A few months ago I had cause to find out a little about Andrew Carnegie's connection with spelling reform. SSS member George Anderson had approached Fife Library and also the Carnegie Cottage Museum in Dunfermline, where the famous philanthropist was born, about getting them to display something about his involvement with the movement. The possibility of a leaflet mentioning Carnegie and the present aims of the SSS had been discussed.

I knew nothing of Carnegie's connection with spelling reform at the time. but was lucky to turn for help to Cornell Kimball. He knew a great deal, and kindly also sent me a great wadge of material from which I could learn myself. After a weekend spent doing little else except perusing it. I now know quite a bit about Carnegie's connection with spelling reform and also the whole history of the spelling reform movement.

I used to think reforming English spelling was a fairly difficult undertaking - I am now starting to wonder whether it is not completely impossible. I used to imagine that if we got some influential, rich or famous people on our side, and if we had greater financial resources, our chances of success would improve enormously.

It turns out the movement enjoyed quite substantial amounts of both fame and fortune at times in its 150-year history without bringing reform very much closer. The support of President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, the $250.000 (about 25 million in today's money) of Carnegie, or the sackful of petitions from people in England did not make much difference. Only lexicographer Noah Webster enjoyed a modicum of lasting success.

This does suggest to me that being thoroly informed about the intricacies of the English language is probably one of the most essential prerequisites for aspiring reformers. Being able to enlighten the public effectively about what is wrong with TO would certainly be impossible otherwise. We also need to understand the difficulties presented by TO exceptionally well to come up with some sensible improvements.

Looking at the history of the spelling reform movement I found myself reacting repeatedly with an 'If only...'. If only the early reformers had suggested improvements by principle like the ones Webster made some headway with rather than lists of words: if only they had co-operated more instead of trying to advance their own obsessions: if only GBS had never given any one the silly notion that inventing a new alphabet is the answer; if only Pitman had not introduced fancy new symbols in his ITA. I'll try to find out a bit more about Webster next.

the simplified spelling society - voting form

As a member of the SSS, you are asked to vote on the question below to indicate to the committee the direction you think the Society should be taking in its endeavors to reform English spelling.

[Please tick ONE square box 0 below;

IF you choose to tick square B, you may ALSO tick ONE of the two circles O under B

Should the SSS direct its efforts towards bringing about:

  A. A comprehensive, single-stage reform (eg, Nue Speling)


    O 1. Improving English spelling in a few big stages

  O 2. Improving English spelling via a series of small steps

  C. Other - To be explained in not more than 20 words:

Comments of not more than 25 words about the choices on offer are also invited:

Votes to be sent to SSS Secretary Masha Bell, or by email - by April 17, 1999, so that the results can be collated and presented to the AGM on April 24, 1999.

Your name:         

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