Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Does Our Spelling Miss the Mark?

I am discovering something shocking about myself. A habit that I never thought I would succumb to. And one I am not sure I am steeled enough in resolve to remedy this habit.  Oh, my, how did it happen.  Yes, I will admit it: technology. I’ve grown sloppy in my dependence of that little red underscore telling me I’ve slipped in my spelling. I used to be an excellent speller–pride goeth and trippeth me up. But I got quite cheered up when I came across this ditty by Samuel.

A plan for the improvement of spelling in the English language

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.
Generally, 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 rimeiniing 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” rispektivili.
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

And there you have it, my students will embrace this plan for sure. I think some of them are on the trial plan already. I wonder how “vacuum,””anoint,””disappearance,” and a few other pesky bugs fair under Sam’s plan?

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