Category Archives: spelling reform

Troublematical

I invented this word! Or independently reinvented it. I’m sure someone else has already thought of it, and probably used it as a band name.

Anyway, this was a late night thought and I’ve had 10 000 of those escape from me recently, so I thought I would make a large feeling effort, and post this.

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A bus from “shicagoe”

My grand mother’s house is full of discarded teaching and educational methods and trends from her decades of working in a public school. One of them is a stack of little books written in the “Initial Teaching Alphabet“, which was sortof a quasi-reformed spelling and writing style to help children learn English without reference to the obnoxious spelling of English. It has evidently faded out of any practical use.

Here is the book cover in question:

busfromshicagoe

If anyone is interested, I will scan the rest of it (it’s a small, short book) and provide comments on it.

New characters in the English language alphabet

One of the more annoying parts of English appears to be the fact there are some digraphs. The most common are “sh”, “ch” and “th” for their respective sounds. I propose using three new characters to replace these sounds:

For “th”, we use instead “8”.
For “ch”, we use instead “4”.
For “sh”, we use instead “2”.

For those who know Greek alphabet, the “8” looks like a lowercase theta, which represents the “th” sound. “4”, when written with an open counter, appears like the Cyrillic letter that represents “ch”. The nearest glyph to “sh” sound would be the Cyrillic one, but it looks like a W, so we can’t use that. Instead we use “2” because that follows the pattern established by “8” and “4”. The other option would be “6”, but that looks like a G.

So, for a sample:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. 8ey are endowed wi8 reason and conscience and 2ould act towards one ano8er in a spirit of bro8erhood.

Note that the “ch” in “conscience” was left alone. These aren’t supposed to be replace all instances of the sounds, but only those represented by the digraphs. This will make replacement of existing text much easier, almost machine capable.

English simplification #1!

I, like about 10 000 other people out there, periodically have ideas about improving the language(s) they speak and write and use. My first one, which I propose to the rest of the English using world is this:

1. Words ending in -y add a letter S to pluralize and an apostrophe and a letter S to make possessive. To make both plural and possessive, add a letter S and then an apostrophe.

So:

My party is fielding a candidate for the mayorship.
My partys are fielding a candidate for the mayorship. The laws allow electoral fusion here.
My party’s platform is trash, all the extremists poisoned it.
My partys’ turnout is always zero, because I never tell anyone I’m throwing a party.

This allows the removal of one of the ten dozen rules for plurals and possessives in English (currently, you have to change -y to -ies for plural, but not for possessives). It is also worth noting that this “rule” is actually the removal of a special case. The new “rule” is the default for English words, and so does not actually have to be specially memorized or learned. In other words:

1′. Words ending in -y form plurals and possessives the default way.

Those who already know English will have to slowly unlearn the rule during the transitory period.

If this were to seriously be taken up by the English speaking world, I have no idea how long that would take. I would love to see this happen, but I know this blog is read by almost noone right now, so I’m not going to pretend it will happen untill someone “big in English” proposes it. I’ll be glad if/when that happens and hopefully not too jealous of their fame. (: