Spelling Reform

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Spelling Reform

Postby JO 753 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:57 pm

Several languages have done spelling reform with some success in the past. Spanish and Korean are good examples.

Many notable people have advocated reform for English over the last 1,000 years and many reformed systems have been promoted with virtually no success.

I think the main obstacle is that people react to the notion rather than thinking it through, assuming they would have to go through the same drudgery they did to learn regular english. Although this is true for many 'regularization schemes', which only eliminate some irregularities and thus would still require memorization of most words, true systems use the alphabetic principal and maybe some rules to determine spelling. The best ones add enough letters to the alphabet to eliminate any reliance on rules beyond 'this letter = this sound'.

The second biggest obstacle is also only a mistaken perception in my opinion; that it would be too expensive to convert everybody and everything.

As near as I can guess, traditional english spelling is costing the world economy over 300 billion dollars a year! Changing to a new system is actually a matter of replacing the old with the new only when it is being replaced anyway, thus the cost of transition is basicly zero.

Here's my website on the subject: http://www.nooalf.com
JO 753
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Postby JO 753 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:28 am

Just started the KoMIKS section.

I don't draw very well, so I usually modify photos to make the artwork. Lots of work, and usually it's just an attempt to punch up a lame joke!
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Postby stepka » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:12 pm

The other argument is that we would lose the history of the word. English is a mishmash of different languages which is why it's so unpredictable, and some believe that that's the beauty of it. I read somewhere that spelling bees are only done in English speaking countries, and we'd lose that too. I don't know--I'm not willing to give up the elegance of the spelling of many of my favorite words, but then I'm lucky enough to be a good speller. The biggest spelling that most people have though is the spelling of homophones like there, they're, and their, and I'm not sure how the spelling squad would fix that.
No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness. Aristotle
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Postby JO 753 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:15 am

Welcome to the forum, stepka. :D

'Lose the history of the word' (etymology) is a weak argument. The main flaw is best exposed in an analogy.

Suppose we were still making cars the same way as 100+ years ago just to respect tradition. Hard to imagine how much more pollution, death and injury there would be with 100,000,000 of those relics rolling around.

The upside is that there would never be an unemployment problem because there would be so much repair and maintenence work!

Even more than cars, writing is an essential functioning part of civilization. Keeping it locked in a crude, unrefined state of disorganization is having similar effects. Countless thousands of gallons of wasted ink and who knows how much paper. People's lives hobbled due to illiteracy, or derailed by a single spelling or pronunciation mistake. Everybody wasting years memorizing, then time every day writing barnacle letters and leafing thru dictionaries to find the correct spelling.

The upside being all the employment devoted to teaching the tradition!

Another flaw in the argument is that anybody who cares to can find plenty of books on the subject of etymology at the library. Far more reliable and informative than trying to divine origins and meanings by peculiarities of letter arrangement. In other words, I can still see a Model T at the museum, but I sure wouldn't want to drive one to work every day.
DONT KaST YOR PRLZ BEFOR SWiN. XA WIL BE IGNOReD & TRaMPLD INTQ XU MUD. HaND XeM OVR RESPeKTFULE INSTeD.
http://www.nooalf.com
JO 753
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