|Speling Riform - Thc Taim iz Raip|
Issue #06 (February 1982)
Some wholly uncalled-for suggestions on fixing up English spelling
Since time immaterial, many savants eruditer than I have tackled this difficult subject, and presented their solutions to an apathetic public. All to no avail -- English spelling continues to be inefficient, illogical, unreasonable, and a practical impossibility for speakers
of other languages to master. Or to mistress, as the case may be. The competition known as a spelling bee is peculiar to English-speaking lands alone.
Scm wcrdz wil stil bi speld the seim...
[quoteright]Several remedies for this orthographic disorder suggest themselves immediately, remedies oriented mainly but not entirely toward a phonetic cure.
First, let's eliminate doubling of consonants. This practice realy serves no useful purpose, and is actualy a wart on the as of eficiency.
Next, the leter c. Except in combination with k or h, it's pronounced either as an s or as a k, so why not use whichever one of those that fits. In words like "lucky" just omit the c; we'l take kare of "ch" when we kome to it.
Before wading cut into deeper waters, how about straightening out our ridikulous asortment of vowels. We kan distribute nine komon vowel sounds among the five basik vowels without doubling any of them - a as in far or bat, e as in get, i as in tin or to replase the double e in teen (akording to kontext), o as in over or or (likewise), u as in tuna or usual (dito).
For the ubikwitous (let's kil that "quo' right now) "uh" sound now signified on okasion by every one of the vowels sited (what, the, fir, work, fun), why not utilize that "c" we dip-sixed c kople of parcgraphs cgo. And where c dipthcng for cther vowel sounds is nided, we'l use thc two vowels rikwired. It's komensing tu sheip cp, don't u cgri?
C seldcm-pronaunsed leter is the tcrmincl e found in litle, bore, hope, ets., and pencltimctli in wcrds laik beter and level - thro it aut!
Bifor wi kcntinu, c fu cditioncl inprovments niding no expasitori rimarks:
Use z for s when it's scpozd tu saund laik z.
Uze f for ph, and when f saundz laik c v, wel, uz c v.
Ripleis "-ough," "-ight," ets., with the cproprict leter(z).
Uz "-shcn" for "-tion" and "-zhcn" for "-sion" (az in "It wcz c festiv okeizhcn.")
Climineit the "h" in whct (wct), when (wen), wher (wer), ets., and olso w wer nat nidcd.
Get rid cv thc cpastrofiz.
Nau tu that difikclt "ch." Therz cncthcr cthcrwaiz usles letr, "y." Its pleis iz teikn bi "ai," "i," or in scm keisez "u." (Spel uv the Ukan, bai Jak Lcndcn). So wi kan us "y" for "ch." For exampl in YarLi Yaplin.
Shud u hav falod mi so far, aim shur u wont bi at c los wan c frend raits "Ai had c tcrifik taim at the hukrz bol"
Scm wcrdz wil stil bi speld thc seim, with litl yeng, or olmost ncn. Examin, for instans, or onomoatopia. Bct wont riding and raiting bi izicr? Lets trai that fcrst parcgraf egen.Sins taim imctiricl, meni savcnts erudaitr than Ai hav takld this difikclt scbjekt, and prizentcd ther solushcnz tu an apcthetik pcblik. Ol tu no cvail - Inglish speling kcntinuz tu bi incfishcnt, ilogikcl, cnrizcncbl, and c praktikl inpascbiliti for spikrz cv cthcr langwijz tu mastr. Or tu mistrcs, az the keis mei bi. The kompctishcn non az c speling bi iz pekiuliar - pekyulyar? pekiulir? - o, fckit, lets drap the hol aidic.
David submitted this article from Mexico, where he camped for three months. His translation of a German book about making musical instruments is due out soon.