Sensible Spelling Survey
Marilyn vos Savant, Parade Maginze
When I asked readers to suggest words with simplified spellings, I received about 2,000 letters [read article]. Some 10% were from people opposed to any change. But nearly all of the latter assumed that simplified spelling is the same as phonetic spelling, and that isn’t the case.
Phonetic spelling focuses on pronunciation. By contrast, simplified spelling aims to reduce the clutter that has accumulated over time, helping students learn to read faster and better. I like to think of simplified spelling as *sensible spelling*. It is!
Streamlining spelling wouldn’t “dumb down” the language, as opponents said, to accommodate lazy learners. Our language is the problem, not our children or our spell-challenged grownups! Examples of simplification are “hiccough” and “plough,” which became “hiccup” and “plow.” What an improvement!
I suggest we give up the wish to freeze spelling the way it was when we were in high school, do our children and grandchildren a favor, and make these changes, at least in our informal writing:
The new words are instantly recognizable, shorter, and do not appear illiterate. Nor would they be mistaken for other words or mispronounced. Use them enough, and they’ll start to appear in dictionaries.
|CURRENT || IMPROVED |
|though || tho || BASIC* |
|although|| alth || |
|through || thru || BASIC* |
|throughway|| thruway || Basic |
|thorough|| thoro |
|thoroughfare || thorofare || |
|laugh || laff || BASIC |
|cough || coff || BASIC |
|trough || troff |
|trough || ruff || BASIC |
|tough || tuff || |
|enough || enuff || BASIC |
|light || lite || BASIC* |
|bright || brite || BASIC |
|flight || flite || BASIC |
|night || nite || BASIC* |
|tonight || tonite || Basic |
|overnight|| overnite|| Basic |
If you find any spelling change disturbing, rest assured that like old soldiers, old spellings never die. They just become obsolete!
by Marilyn vos Savant, Parade Magazine.
The position of Basic English is to use the forms of normal English and not to lead in the admirable simplied spelling effort of others. However, in keeping with support to acceptable forms of Basic English, we have previously acknowledged tho , thru, lite, nite as acceptable alternatives as introduced by the Chicago Tribute efforts of some time ago and accepted into common, though not formal, English usage.
All of these new survey spellings will be added for definition in the Basic English Dictionary.
All of the sensible spellings that are of Basic words will be added as acceptable alternative spellings.
References : Original Article
Back to : Basic English Institute.
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See also: spelling ; phonetic key ; phonetic Unicode
Last updated January 21, 2007.