HUMOR: Spelling Simplification

Subject: HUMOR: Spelling Simplification
From: Fred M Jacobson <fred -at- BOOLE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 09:58:35 PDT


Here's a little humor to start your weekend.

INTERNET: fred -at- boole -dot- com PHONE: (408) 524-3292 FAX: (408) 730-0558
USPS: Fred Jacobson / Boole & Babbage / 510 Oakmead Pkwy / Sunnyvale CA 94086

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The following essay is the slightly modified work of a Navel
officer with a lot of time on his hands as he was assigned shore
duty during WWII. It appears to have withstood the test of time


by Dolton Edwards
Essays for a Scientific Age

Because we are still bearing some of the scars of our brief
skirmish with II-B English, is is natural that we should be
enchanted by Mr. George Bernard Shaw's proposal for a simplified

Obviously, as Mr. Shaw points out, English spelling is in much
need of a general overhauling and streamlining. However, our own
resistance to any changes requiring a large expenditure of mental
effort in the near future would cause us to view with some
apprehension the possibility of some day receiving a morning paper
printed in - to us - Greek.

Our own plan would achieve the same end as the legislation
proposed by Mr. Shaw, but in a less shocking manner, as it
consists merely of an acceleration of the normal processes by
which the language is continually modernized.

As a catalytic agent, we would suggest that a "National Easy
Language Week" be proclaimed, which the President would
inaugurate, outlining some short cut to concentrate on during the
week, and to be adopted during the ensuing year. All school
children would be given a holiday, the lost time being the
equivalent of that gained by the spelling short cut.

In 1992, for example, we would urge the elimination of the
soft "c," for which we would substitute "s." Sertainly, such an
improvement would be selebrated in all sivic-minded sircles as
being suffisiently worth the trouble, and students in all sities
in the land would be reseptive toward any change eliminating the
nesessity of learning the differense between the two letters.

In 1993, sinse only the hard "c" would be left, it would be
possible to substitute "k" for it, both letters being pronounsed
identikally. Imagine how greatly only two years of this prosess
would klarify the konfusion in the minds of students. Already we
would have elimiinated an entire letter from the alphabet. Type-
writers and linotypes kould all be built with one less letter, and
all the manpower and materials proveously devoted to making "c's"
kould be turned toward raising the national standard of living.

In the fase of so many notable improvements, it is easy to
foresee that by 1994 "National Easy Language Week" would be a
pronounsed sukses. All skhool tshildren would be looking forward
with konsiderable exsitement to the holiday, and in a blaze of
national publisity it would be announsed that the double konsonant
"ph" no longer existed, and that the sound would henseforth be
written "f" in all words. This would make sutsh words as
"fonograf" twenty persent shorter in print.

By 1995, publik interest in a fonetik alfabet kan be expekted
to have inkreased to the point where a more radikal step forward
kan be taken without fear of undue kritisism. We would therefore
urge the elimination at that time of al unesesary double leters,
whitsh, although quite harmles, have always ben a nuisanse in the
language and a desided deterent to akurate speling. Try it
yourself in the next leter you write, and se if both writing and
reading are not fasilitated.

With so mutsh progres already made, it might be posible in
1996 to delve further into the posibilities of fonetik speling.
After due konsideration of the reseption aforded the previous
steps, it should be expedient by this time to spel al difthongs
fonetikaly. Most students do not realize that the long "i" and
"y," as in "time" and "by," are aktualy the difthong "ai" as it is
writen in "aisle," and that the long "a" in "fate," is in reality
the difthong "ei" as in "rein." although perhaps not imediately
aparent, the saving in taime and efort wil be tremendous when we
leiter elimineite the sailent "e," as meide posible bai this last

For, as is wel known, the horible mes of "e's" apearing in our
writen language is kaused prinsipaly bai the present nesesity of
indikeiting whether a vowel is long or short. Therefore, in 1997
we kould simply elimineit al sailent "e's," and kontinu to read
and wrait merily along as though we wer in an atomik ag of

In 1998 we would urg a greit step forward. Sins bai this
taim it would have ben four years sins anywun had used the leter
"c," we would sugest that the "National Easy Languag Wek" for 1998
be devoted to substitution of "c" for "Th." To be sur it would be
som taim befor peopl would bekom akustomd to reading ceir
newspapers and buks wic sutsh sentenses in cem as "Ceodor caught
he had cre cousand cistls crust crough ce cik of his cumb."

In ce seim maner, bai meiking eatsh leter hav its own sound
and cat sound only, we kould shorten ce languag stil mor. In 1999
we would elimineit ce "y"; cen in 2000 we dould us ce leter to
indikeit ce "sh" sound, cerbai klarifaiing words laik yugar and
yur, as wel as redusing bai wun mor leter al words laik "yut,"
"your," and so forc. Cink, cen, of al ce benefits to be geined
bai ce distinktion whitsh wil cen be maid between words laik:

ocean now writen oyean

machine now writen mayin

racial now writen reiyial

Al sutsh divers wies of wraiting wun sound would no longer
exist, and whenever wun kaim akros a "y" sound he would know
exaktli what to wrait.

Kontinuing cis proses, iear after iear, we would eventuali
hav ei reali sensibl writen languag. By 2015, wi ventiur to sei,
cer wud be no mor uv ces teribli trublsum difkultis, wic no tu
leters usd to indikeit ce seim nois, and laikwais no tu noises
riten wic ce seim leter. Even Mr. Yaw, wi beliv, wud be hapi in
ce noleg cat his drims fainali keim tru.

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