SS9. 8pp. On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4 (Supplement), part 5.

simpl speling July 1999 part 2.

Member shows promotional badges to AGM.

ss9 (34K)
Alan Mole, USA, and his father have been designing full color badges to spread the word.

Alan showed six designs to members at the AGM.

[Alan Mole: see Newsletters, Web link.]


Foneticism a second priority?

Time and again we are presented with various spelling reforms, and for a century now people have been seriously interested in reform, yet almost nothing has happened. I am starting to think, from my own efforts at changing my spelling (in letters to trends and so on) that we have in fact grossly underestimated the momentum of a system used by millions of people. Let me suggest

1. Change should be incremental. I agree with Robert Craig (SSMar99) that we need a strategy of change first and foremost.

2. Try to be fonetic, but only as a second priority.

3. After the age of about seven we read by sight recognition, ideographically like the Chinese, so the main priority should be to preserve the visual profile of the words, even if they are not fully fonetic. Much can be done therefore by using abbreviations (as in Cut Spelling).

4. We should start using these immediately. Even if we start writing one new spelling a year, on our own Spelling Reform Day, we can change something.

I wd be intrestd to read coments on these perhaps maverik ideas of mine. my own taste is to go veri hevili for abreviations, thus bypasng mani of th problems of fonetic acuraci. th end rsult wd lk a liti like ths, a sort of unpointd english (like unpointd hebrew).

Peter Gilet. Australia. [See Newsletters .]

Delighted at active stance.

I am delighted the Society is moving towards an active stance for advancing the cause, and away from endlessly debating possibilities. It is also apparent some members - and our opponents - have doubts about ever being able to make any progress. I suggest a gradual start is essential, and once the benefits can be demonstrated, we will achieve widespread support, and progress will then accelerate.

In Britain we used to suffer dreadful thick fogs. Manchester declared a clean-air zone in its eastern suburbs and coal-burning was banned. Many people scoffed, and the naysayers said nothing would be achieved. But the first zone brought small results, the zone was extended, and then neighboring towns joined in, until the whole conurbation became a clean-air zone.

Then there was the awful currency system we used to labor under. The naysayers said Britain never would - never could - switch to decimal currency. Now nobody would want to go back to the old system. Metrication of weights and measures is another area where great amounts of time are saved now we have (almost) ditched the old cumbersome methods, which few could understand. Just like English spelling, really!

This is the whole point - once we make a few changes people will wonder how we bumbled on in the old days, and why we did not make the change long before.

We must make a start, and I suggest a very small one, but one which will have a lot of effect and be popular with almost everyone. That is to replace all ph spellings with f. All of them, whether at the start, middle, or end of words (peoples' names excepted).

The only source of objection is likely to be from the cultural elitists, who will claim the old spelling is derived from ancient Greek. That is nonsense, for the ancient Greeks knew nothing of telefones or fotografy.

We can demonstrate their objections are absurd, and we can win the debate. Result: one small step forward for spelling reform.

Ted Relton. England [Abridged]. [See Newsletters .]

LANGO example.

Ai em raiting zis in LANGO (Language Aspects Normalized Grammar, Orthography, etc). Ai hoop zet zs letar ken bi pablixd in Simpl Speling in zis orthografi. If ai rait a familiar nursari raim, it wil giv a fiil for hou it wurks.
Meri hed a lital lem
It fliis was wait es sno.
End evriwer zet Meri went
za lem was xur tu go.
It folod hur to skul wan dei
wic was agenst za rul.
Haw za cildran laft end pled
tu si a lem et skul.
Robert Craig. Great Britain. [See Journals, Newsletters.]

[Abridged] (Simpl Speling is a newsletter in which we try to give news of happenings and views about spelling in the Society and beyond, and about the campaign. Normally, we do not devote space to various orthographies, the place for which is Personal Views. We suggest readers interested in learning more about LANGO should write to Robert. - Ed.)

Brevity, please.

As stated previously, we welcome letters on spelling, but we do not have the luxury of unlimited space. Most letters on this page had to be abridged. Please restrict your message to 150 words maximum.

Call for official SSS foneme statement.

Answering his 'Can we pin down the number of fonemes in English?' (SSMar99), Steve Bett says 'probably not.' That appears to be overly pessimistic.

Better questions for us are: For the practical purposes of teaching students in English-speaking nations to read and spell competently, in the quickest way possible, can these nations (1) agree on a given number of fonemes and the different ways they are spelled? and (2) agree to identify the ways these fonemes are attached to letter clusters in words?

It is time to move away from endless arguments about the different number of fonemes. The history of linguistic dispute proves to be a dead end for proponents of simplified spelling. The controversy has become a barrier to the establishment of the united front the movement needs to present to still dubious publics and governments.

In dealing with those reluctant to accept its basic premise, the movement must follow Steve's dictum to 'pin down' the statistics on how many different ways a given set of fonemes can be spelled, and the various ways fonemes can be attached to letters. The movement's reputation is sullied by members citing wildly disparate numbers of ways.

Steve found this number to range from 256, Cover' 500, 561, to 'almost' 600. My study of Paul Hanna's Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences as Cues to Spelling Development (US Dept of Education) resulted in yet another: 301 (schwa foneme-letter/ letter cluster correspondences omitted.)

The present confusion leads me to propose the Society call for reputable scholars in each of the English-speaking countries:

1. To name what they believe is the maximum set of fonemes to which students must become consciously aware to read and spell competently;

2. to determine the number of different ways each of these fonemes can be spelled; and

3. to determine the number of different fonemes that can be attached to each letter/ letter cluster.

These scholars would exchange information, identify common conclusions, and defend irreconcilable views. An issue of JSSS would be devoted to their comments. At last we would have official SSS figures for the ways fonemes are spelled, and how fonemes are attached to letters, to be broadcast for worldwide consumption.

Patrick Groff, Professor Emeritus. San Diego, USA [Abridged]. [See Journals, Newsletters, Bulletins.]

SSS not using simplified spelling is 'absurd'.

It's a great idea to ask members their opinion, but it's not clear to me what was ment by the questions. Is Cut Spelling considered a big or a small step? If U were asking the members, why not ask which is their favorite scheme? Maybe U wanted first to determine the type - the 'party' - and then the scheme - the 'politician'. If U do it again, maybe U should ask for their favorite scheme (apart from their own scheme).

My own scheme zinglish (which I have submitted as a PV) is my favorite, of course, because it's much nearer to TO than Nue Speling but still comprehensive, and that's quite important for us foreigners. We've never heard the pronunciation of many words that we know only by reading, and we'd like to know it by seeing it.

The problem is that zinglish, in my opinion, is not the scheme with the best chance of coming thru, because of the many rules. Foreigners might prefer it, but not native English speakers.

I think it's absolutely absurd to have a simplified spelling society that doesn't use a simplified spelling. How can we convince people? 'Use simplified spelling!' 'Which one?' I have two options: Tell people to use my scheme (if I have one), but add 'I'm the only user'; or tell them to use any SSS scheme. And they'll ask me what are we using in the Society, and I will tell them we generally use TO!

We have to vote for a scheme and the winner should be our flag. It doesn't mean we'll get religious about it, but we need something in the hand, and we need a direction. Our only direction till now has been away from TO! And that can be everywhere.

Zé do Rock, Germany [Abridged]. [See Journals, Newsletters, Personal View.]

PV scheme evaluation presented.

At the Society's annual general meeting Paul Fletcher presented an evaluation of 11 spelling schemes being published as Personal Views. He noticed varying degrees of radicalism. None advocated a completely new alphabet, and there was a minimum of added letters and accents/diacritics. Because of this there was broad agreement that many sounds, particularly among the vowels, must be digraphs; and also that q and x were redundant, tho some reassigned them. Most also wanted to replace hard c with k, and similarly soft g with j. It was presumed all schemes which did not specifically mention them for retention would not retain unpronounced consonants (eg, gh).

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On other pages: part 1, part 3, part 4 (Supplement), part 5.