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Author Topic: Spelling Reform in the English Language  (Read 9020 times)
kanajlo
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« on: July 11, 2010, 01:44:30 AM »

A plan for the improvement of spelling in the English language

By Mark Twain

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Generally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeiniing voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x"— bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez —tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivili.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

(Translation: Finally, then, after some twenty years of orthographical reform, we would have a logical, coherent spelling in use throughout the English-speaking world.)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 01:51:58 AM by kanajlo » Logged
kanajlo
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 02:10:55 AM »

Difficulties and Resistance to Spelling Reforms in the English language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_spelling_reform

# Public resistance to spelling reform has been consistently strong, at least since the early 19th century, when spelling was codified by the influential English dictionaries of Samuel Johnson (1755) and Noah Webster (1806).
# English vocabulary is largely a melding of ancient Latin, Greek, French and Germanic terms, which have very different phonemes and approaches to spelling. Some reform proposals tend to favor one approach over the other, resulting in a large percentage of words that must change spelling to fit the new scheme.
# The large number of vowel sounds in English and the small number of vowel letters make phonemic spelling difficult to achieve. This is especially true for the three vowels /uː/ (e.g.: fume, moon), /ʌ/ (e.g.: hut, sun) and /ʊ/ (e.g.: look, put) which are represented in English by only two symbols, oo and u. Spelling these phonemically cannot be done without resorting to unusual or novel letter combinations, diacritic marks or the introduction of new letters[14].
# The variety of local accents makes it difficult to agree upon spellings which take into account most accents. Furthermore, some words have more than one acceptable pronunciation, regardless of dialect (e.g. economic, either). Spelling reform may solve this issue by continuing to allow multiple pronunciations of a standard spelling, as happens today with the modern standard spelling of such words, or by allowing multiple acceptable spellings for such words. Other spelling reform proposals impose a new spelling that is based on a particular pronunciation.
# Some inflections are pronounced differently in different words. For example, plural -s and possessive -'s are both pronounced differently in each of cat(')s (/s/), dog(')s (/z/) and horse(')s (/ɪz/). The handling of this particular difficulty distinguishes morphemic proposals, which tend to spell such inflectional endings the same, from phonemic proposals that spell the endings according to their pronunciation.
# The English language is the only language in the top ten major languages that lacks a worldwide regulatory body with the power to promulgate changes to orthography. The establishment of such a body may be necessary before any coordinated efforts to reform English spelling can be undertaken globally.
# Some words are spelled so differently when compared with their pronunciation — such as tongue and stomach — that changing the spelling of such words would noticeably change the accustomed shape of the word. Similarly, the irregular spelling of very common words such as is, are, have, done and of makes it difficult to respell such words to remove the irregularity without introducing a noticeable change to the appearance of English text. Such difficulties tend to create acceptance issues.
# Spelling reforms render pre-reform writings more difficult to understand and read correctly in their original form, often necessitating translation and republication. Today, relatively few people choose to read classic literature in the original spellings as most of it has been republished using modern spellings.[15] Similarly, changes in "modern" spelling could require new translations of old text, and translation of previously "modern" texts into the new standard, in order to keep the works accessible going forward.
# For people profoundly deaf since birth or early childhood (who might already find reading and writing very challenging), each change of spelling would be arbitrary, as they would be unable to use sounds as a guide, and they would thus have to unlearn and learn each case individually.
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