How are the questions and answers organised?

The questions and answers are grouped into these categories:

  1. Spelling shouldn’t be reformed because …
  2. Spelling can’t be reformed because …
  3. Spelling should be reformed because …
  4. Spelling can be reformed because …
  5. Miscellaneous questions

Apart from the last one, you will notice that these are not questions at all. They are statements. This is because the most common response to any suggestion that English spelling might be in need of reform is an assertion that English spelling shouldn’t or can’t be reformed, for some reason. The same objections come up again and again, each time in the belief that this time they somehow deliver a death-blow to the notion of spelling reform. This pamphlet is a typical example. But the Society has heard them all before, and the answers are here.

Spelling reform is the aim of this Society. We are of the opinion that English spelling can and should be reformed, and the third and fourth categories start from this position.

The fifth and final category is for any questions that don’t fit into the previous categories.

1 Spelling shouldn’t be reformed because …
1.1 … it’s not even necessary
1.2 … it would cut generations off from each other
1.3 … it’s just dumbing down
1.4 … it would destroy the roots of words
1.5 … it would destroy useful spelling differences like profit vs prophet
1.6 … it would destroy the value of existing books
2 Spelling can’t be reformed because …
2.1 … no-one can make everyone change their spelling
2.2 … it would only work for one accent
2.3 … it has been tried before and failed every time
2.4 … it’s too difficult for the Society to do
2.5 … it would require every book ever written to be reprinted
3 Spelling should be reformed because …
3.1 … it takes 2 years longer to learn
3.2 … about 20% of UK adults cannot read better than a ten-year-old
3.3 … illiteracy leads to crime — or does it?
3.4 … English as a foreign language can be a lifeline
3.5 … we waste time on spelling when we could be reading
4 Spelling can be reformed because …
4.1 … information technology is a game-changer
4.2 … a grass-roots movement is unstoppable
4.3 … the Society is not repeating past mistakes
5 Miscellaneous questions
5.1 Why not do away with spelling rules altogether?
5.2 What about phone text message spelling?
5.3 Can I help?
5.4 What about bad grammar, grocers’ apostrophes, etc?
5.5 Can the Society speak at my event?
5.6 What sort of changes are you proposing?
5.7 How can I ask another question?
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