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  1. #1
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    CMN - why dont comb, tomb and bomb rime?

    Why English Spelling should be updated

    • A quarter of English-speaking children cannot read properly by age 11
    • Around 7 million adults in the UK and 40 million in the US are functionally illiterate
    • Nearly half of all English speakers have spelling problems

    Nearly all Italian children learn to read in couple of months
    and can write well after just 2 years at school
    Learning to read English is difficult because it has too many contradictory spellings
    eg limber - climber
    bison - prison treat - great bomb - tomb, comb plinth - ninth
    Learning to write English is even harder because almost all English spelling patterns have some exceptionsham - salmon pause - pawn due - few film - photo taxi - accent lotion - ocean heart monetary-cemetery get - guess need - knee musician - gentian

    Some English spelling rules have hundreds of exceptions
    1. The -er ending pattern of mother, father, brother, sister has 140 exceptions: actor, grammar, sculptor ...

    2. The ee pattern of need seed is not used in at least 323 words: bead, beak, beam, chief, police, tedious, weird..

    3. Around 1000 ordinary words obey the basic rule of doubling a consonant after a short and stressed vowel:
    cabbage, gallery, stammer, dilemma, sorry ; while another 1000 common words disobey this rule:
    cabin, galaxy, camera, lemon, forest, or use doubled consonants for reasons which are unrelated to keeping a stressed vowel short: abbreviate, allege, ammunition, arrive, correct.

    There are at least 3500 commonly used English words which are spelt unpredictably
    German has only about 800 irregularly spelt words, Spanish 600 and Italian fewer than 400.

    That's why Italian spelling can be learnt quickly while learning to spell English takes a long time and is never completely mastered by millions of learners.
    Spelling errors which pupils commit in tests and examinations show that
    learners find it difficult to cope with the inconsistencies of English spelling1. They leave out oddly doubled consonants (acount, aply, ocurred) or double by analogy (accrosss, affraid, leggs).
    2. When identically sounding words are spelt differently, they often pick the wrong alternative,
    e.g. there/their, here/hear, two/too/to, its/it's allowed/aloud, see/sea, by/bye/buy, weather/whether.

    3. They fail to insert silent letters (bild, frend, yung), put surplus letters in the wrong place (freind, detb)

    or insert surplus letters (chaeous, nervious, suddenely, vigourously, hellow).

    The inconsistencies of the present English spelling system have neither a logical historical basis nor do they add anything to the beauty of written or spoken English. Modern editions of Shakespeare's plays do not use his spelling conventions. If we simplified many of the difficult current English spellings, by letting them follow basic English spelling rules, the English language would not change in any way, but English spelling would become easier to learn and easier to teach. More people would become literate and confident about writing, and children would have more time to learn many other useful things - and to play.
    How did English spelling become so difficult ?
    After the Norman Conquest in 1066 Norman French became the official language of England. During the next three centuries only a few monks continued to write English. Important and wealthy people even stopped speaking it. English became the language of mainly the lower classes.When England began to re-establish its own identity around 1350 the English language had changed a great deal, and English writing had to be rediscovered. Early modern English writers, like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Tyndale who translated the Bible into modern English in 1525, tried to give English a consistent spelling system. Their efforts were repeatedly frustrated. Many people had only written French or Latin before and continued to spell according to French rules (double, couple, route, sure, centre).

    When books began to be printed in England in 1476 the newly invented spelling system was undermined because nearly all the early London printers were foreign. They were usually paid by the line and often inserted additional letters into words to earn more money. They regularly also added extra letters to the last word of a line to make the whole
    text look neater. Many of their spelling errors, whims and tricks eventually became accepted English spellings.
    In 1525 William Tyndale's English Bible was condemned as sacrilegious by the Pope of Rome and the English bishops. Nevertheless, even before Tyndale was executed in 1536, many people wanted to possess Tyndale's bible. It was much reprinted in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In order to reduce the chances of censorship, Tyndale's authorship was often disguised, and many of his consistent spellings were changed too, to make the reprints appear more like genuine new editions.

    During the 16th and 17th centuries many Latin and Greek words were imported into English. These imports were allowed to keep their Latin spellings, because Latin and Greek were regarded as superior to English.

    This has given us the hundreds of words which according to English spelling rules should have a doubled consonant after a short stressed
    vowel, but because they are spelt according to Latin rules, they do not: abolish, abominable, banish, body, capital, category, habit, hideous, lily, perish, petal, statue, study, topic, tropical, value, vanish, vomit…)
    By 1700 the different influences had made English spelling much as it is now and Samuel Johnson's dictionary of 1755 fixed our present system. Spelling mainly by dictionary, rather than phonic rules or common sense has been the order of the day ever since.

    Updating a spelling system can make it much easier to learn

    Denmark and Sweden have very similar languages. These neighbours also educate their children in similar ways: young children are allowed to learn mostly through play and formal education does not begin until the age of 7. Sweden updated its spelling in the last century. Danish spelling is still very much as Swedish used to be before it was reformed. Swedish spellers always come near the top in all in international comparisons on standards of literacy, Danish spellers near the bottom.

    English spelling has also been updated occasionally. For example, we no longer write, 'atte, hadde, olde, shoppe', or use the letter 'u' for both the V-sound and the U-sound. 'Over' used to be written 'ouer', even in Shakespeare's day. English spelling is in dire need of similar further improvements.

    SSS Membership Secretary, Dr. John Gledhill, 4 Valletta Way, Wellesbourne, Warwick, CV35 9TB, UK
    This information was compiled by SSS member Masha Bell, author of 'Understanding English Spelling' - see Amazon.co.uk: low prices in Electronics, Books, Music, DVDs & moreThis information was compiled by SSS member Masha Bell, author of 'Understanding English Spelling' – see www.amazon.co.uk


    http://www.spellingsociety.org/aboutsss/leaflets/whyenglish.pdf


  2. #2
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    We deliberately make English as hard as possible so that we can go abroad and charge money to teach it

  3. #3
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    ^ in that case youall not making enuff

  4. #4
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    And all this just to get your post count up.

  5. #5
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    Kingwilly is obviously taking this easy way to spell quite seriously, notice the novel way he spells rhyme in the title of the thread

  6. #6
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    What I do not understand about the education, from what I see in Thailand, in regards to the English language is why they are so strict on reading and writing. I reckon that speaking is the most important and basic reading - and the rest will eventually fall into place. I was reading a friend's book who is learning English - I nearly choked with some of the words they were using. Honestly, some of the words that she was trying to remember I have never used in my life nor have I really found it anywhere in print...

  7. #7
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaibook
    why they are so strict on reading and writing.
    Becuase nobody wants to lose face by making a mistake when speaking whilst learning?

  8. #8
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    We make up new words too! Somebody had to tell me what a chav was the other day.Returning to UK soon so please tell me if there are any more new words I've missed in the last few years as I would like to chat with my fellow Englishman.

  9. #9
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
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    ^
    My daughter is an emo.
    seriously.
    she looks like a goth.

  10. #10
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    CMN Should you be seriously worried shes an emo?

    Guessing its a trend.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter
    had to tell me what a chav was the other day
    Yea, well think how hard it was for me - learning both English AND Scottish lingo for things - a chav in Scotland is a "ned".

  12. #12
    befuddled
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    I have no problem if the spelling of English words is updated - It's the meaning and the sound or words that interest me. What's the point of knowing of how to spell a word if you do not understand the meaning. The spelling is just a mechanical device to represent the word in written form. If it was up to me people who could spell 'ambivalence' without knowing the meaning would be thrown off of a cliff.....People who knew the meaning without knowing the spelling would just be roughly wrestled to the ground....Those who were uncertain about either the spelling or meaning would be let off.
    Back off Margaret, you're on a sugar rush!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter View Post
    And all this just to get your post count up.
    not really u lose count after the first 1000 posts....

    I was trying to annoy the speeling nazi! instead he's tried to hijack my thread by discussing his daughter...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaibook
    Honestly, some of the words that she was trying to remember I have never used in my life nor have I really found it anywhere in print...
    Sounds like the SAT English exam.

    I've always been very protective of proper English, as I love the idiosyncrasies of it. Likewise I have a healthy abhorrence of simplified (US) English. But, as English is the world language it does make sense to make it uniform and easier to understand for international use.

    The first thing I would do is sort out the alphabet.

    C to = ch
    F to replace 'ph'
    G to = hard 'g' sound
    J to = normal 'j' sound (ie. Jermany)
    K to = hard 'k' sound
    Q to replace 'sh'
    X to replace 'th' (X isn't needed as a letter in its current form)

    All English words could be uniformally spelt, but there are still issues that probably need to be resolved, such as should we use this opportunity to get people to pronounce their words properly. For example, 'where' and 'wear' should be pronounced differently (the 'h' is there for a reason and is only silent because of our lazyness/ignorance) and do we go with the US/French 'herb' ('erb) or the UK/Germanic 'herb' (herb).

    I don't think proper English should be changed (initially anyway) but develop a system for non-native speakers to enable them to become more proficient, quicker.

  15. #15
    befuddled
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    ....and do we go with the US/French 'herb' ('erb) or the UK/Germanic 'herb' (herb).
    Depends if the use is smokin' or cooking.


    Good post well thought out Marmers. Not a chance in hull of it happening though. I suspect the rougher edges of spelling will be smoothed out by the inevitable eventual domination of American English. No worries if we lose a few extraneous vowels.

    No doubt all languages that have developed over millennia have their own idiosyncrasies. To criticise such a thing is akin to criticising the impracticality of ancient buildings in, say, London or Paris - Neither the buildings nor spellings were placed there to deliberately befuddle future generations

    Any comments from our German and Scandinavian members on their own fair languages?

  16. #16
    watterinja
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    X to replace 'th' (X isn't needed as a letter in its current form)
    Oh dear, I'm not sure I'll get used to calling my friend Thavier.

  17. #17
    befuddled
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    ^If he doesn't like it tell him to qut the fuk up and stop being such a filistine for joodness sake.

  18. #18
    watterinja
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    Artatherthes just doesn't sound right.

  19. #19
    befuddled
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    ^I xink xat xe suggestion Marmite was making was xat 'x' replaced 'th' not xe oxer way around.

  20. #20
    Bounced
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon View Post
    ^
    My daughter is an emu.
    seriously.
    she looks like a goth.
    Why did you have to go and knock up that bird in the first place?


  21. #21
    Bounced
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    Sounds like xe SAT Engliq egzam.

    I've always been very protektive of proper Engliq, as I love xe idiosynkrasies of it. Likewise I have a healxy abhorrence of simplified (US) Engliq. But, as Engliq is xe world language it does make sense to make it uniform and easier to understand for international use.

    Xe first xing I would do is sort out xe alfabet.

    C to = ch
    F to replace 'ph'
    G to = hard 'g' sound
    J to = normal 'j' sound (ie. Jermany)
    K to = hard 'k' sound
    Q to replace 'sh'
    X to replace 'th' (X isn't needed as a letter in its current form)

    All Engliq words kould be uniformally spelt, but xere are still issues xat probably need to be resolved, suc as qould we use xis opportunity to get people to pronounce xeir words properly. For egzample, 'where' and 'wear' qould be pronounced differently (xe 'h' is xere for a reason and is only silent because of our lazyness/ignorance) and do we go wix xe US/Frenc 'herb' ('erb) or xe UK/Jermanik 'herb' (herb).

    I don't xink proper Engliq qould be canged (initially anyway) but develop a system for non-native speakers to enable xem to bekome more proficient, kuicker.
    Not bad.

  22. #22
    RIP
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    the ones that always fool me is WOMB like in woman and WHOOOMB like in elephants fart.

  23. #23
    befuddled
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    ^I can imagine how that must cause no end of confusion

  24. #24
    watterinja
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    Quote Originally Posted by danbo View Post
    ^I xink xat xe suggestion Marmite was making was xat 'x' replaced 'th' not xe oxer way around.
    Xat's wat I was trying to work out. Xanks.

  25. #25
    lom
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    A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
    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.

    Jenerally, 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 rimeining 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" rispektivli.

    Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
    May the bridges I burn light my way

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