[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1992/2 p25, later designated J13]
[Also on this page: Kanadian nuuzletter, Letters.]
The Simplified Spelling Society
Annual General Meeting, 25 April 1992, Summary.
Chairman's Report:The Society is determinedly pluralistic in its approach to specific spelling reform schemes, and this lends great vitality to our proceedings. Our main mission must be to change public attitudes to reform. This involves two factors:
- Informing the public of the issues. The idea that there is some single decision-maker with power to get things done on spelling reform is a myth. We have to aim at educating the public at large. Airing our differences on specific reform proposals is not a weakness, and we should do it publicly to bring a wider audience into the debate.
- Building, over time, personal commitment in the public to specific reform proposals.
Secretary's Report:Bob Brown reported on his first year as Secretary, during which he has concentrated on:
(1) stabilizing membership, which now stands at 105;
(2) offering value for money to members - this year we have sent three books to members, three Newsletters, one Journal and several other items. In the next year he expected we will produce at least one new book. There will be a regular, attractive Newsletter and the Journal is now anticipated on a more regular basis. He is planning a new series of less formal (newsletter-style) publications to give a platform to individual members who had detailed ideas that they would like to put forward for general comment.
(3) building a professional image: Bob Brown believes this is the key to future success.
We need to justify our claim to a place at any future committee table set up by educational or other authorities to discuss spelling issues. This means we have to be (a) sensible, (b) expert in our subject area - as opposed to just dogmatic about one idea - and (c) a source of information, research expertise, etc.
When he took over as Secretary, there were no publications to give or sell to enquirers. Now we have a credible initial set of leaflets and books, and this will grow. He believes that, amongst other things, we next need to address:
- Clarification of our aims as a Society, which seem slightly fuzzy to the outside world.
- A professional public relations campaign.
- Focussing on serious research in relevant areas, and the academics and other specialists who carry it out. We should publish and reprint relevant papers and encourage, sponsor, assist (even fund) suitable research projects. Appeals-to-reason from the armchair are not convincing to the people who matter; professionally-conducted research is.
Editor-in-Chief's Report:Cut Spelling is generating a lot of attention, with 12 radio interviews and lots of press mentions so far. Copies have been sent to many people of influence and such bodies as the National Curriculum Council.
A motion was passed, and amended to read: RESOLVED that:
1. In order to clarify its public position and always within its constitutional 'aim to bring about a reform of the spelling of English', the Society affirms the following more detailed statement of its aim, which is:
- to encourage the idea that spelling reform is possible;
- to foster debate on the possible nature of reform and how it might be brought about;
- to devise, publish and promote suitably serious potential reform schemes, and other research materials, in contribution to debate; by definition, the Society puts forward for consideration by the public and authorities any spelling reform proposals that it publishes;
- to persuade and campaign for spelling reform in general;
- to develop and maintain the Society's role as a source of expertise in spelling and relevant associated disciplines;
- to aim at producing a consistent and predictable spelling scheme with maximum benefit to future generations.
[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1992/2 pp26-28 later designated J13]
[See Journal and Newsletter items about Canada.]
The Kanadian Nuuzletter, januari, 1992.
1. Nu Prezident: I am the nu Internasional Prezident ov the I.U.K.L. I am a kwiet, linggwistik person, but I wil du mai best tu achiiv the objektivs of this organizasion. I thank evriwun whu haz wurked in the past, and I remind them that the struggel must tu kontinu. Du watever yu kan du.
2. The Times Ov Toronto: It waz reported tu me that the nekst edision of The Times haz biin delaade. Subskribors kan ekspectize it in the futuur. (Sumtimes our favorit nuuzpaper iz several months laat/leet. Wunse it waz wun yiir leet.! However, it alwaas reemerj bai sum misterius proses.)
3. Illiterasi: Our nuuzpapers kontinu tu report that illiterasi iz a major nasional problem in Kanada and in most kuntris. Pliiz kontinu to spred the messaj that the major, and onli signifikant, kawz/kaaz ov this pervasiv illiterasi iz the english langweej.
4. India: Both english and hindi kontinuize tu geen strength. Bengali, marathi, punjabi, tamil, and urdu remeen strong but stagnant. Nepali, manipuri, sanskrit, sindhi, kannada (but not kanadian), konkani, and portugiiz sloli ar luuzing strength. The Sahitya Akamedi ov Delhi, the nasional akademi wich grant literari awards in 22 ov India's 200 langweejs, refuuz at this time to bekum the ofisial regulator ov english.
5. Mitterand 1: In september, 1991, the Mitterand Government chanjed the spellings ov 4,000 wurds in order tu reduuse sliteli the massiv nonsense in the french langweej. In Kanada, a bilingual kuntri, this important chanjment resiived almost no reportaaj! Prezident Mitterand kreated Le Haut Conseil Du Lang Fransai tu implementize this reformasion bekawz, for over thrii senturies, the Akadami Fransai had pruuved itself tu be irresponsible, irrasional, and irrelevant.
6. Mitterand 2: In order tu selebreet Prezident Mitterand's 10th anniversari in paoer, the Roiter Ajensi's Paris offis asked the sitizens on Frans to spel his naeen'm. Over 80% of Franse, reportized Roiters, waz unabel tu spel the neem ov the man whu thee luv and for whu thee voot! Agen the fundamental kawz, the french langweej, seemed tu eskeep kritisism. In short, the irrasional langweej ov Franse stoppized its sitizens from spelling the neem ov theer french liider!
7. Missellani: The steet radio in Helsinkki, Finland is brodkasting the nuuz in latin! Miinwail, Freddi the Iigel, Britan's suisidal olimpik ski-jumpor, iz singing in finnish! Kwestsion: Hao much moor graond wil luuz the russian langweej?
Jonathan Kates/Keets, Internasional Prezident. Toronto Ont.
P.S. The I.U.K.L wil must suun to adoptize its own flag. At the moment we du not hav a flag tu kiip flaiing.
[See Journal and Newsletter articles by Stanley Gibbs.]
Letters.Robert Craig has ritten suggesting that you may be interested in publicizing and USING a House Style (for JSSS) agreed by the majority of members.
I beleev that a House Style aut to be identical to the introductory Stage or Stages proposed for the general public.
Whot I now propose is that the too Stages which I hav pioneered should be the House Style.
In the past there hav been all kinds of suggestions made; lists of targeted words and a list of 15-20 Spelling Reforms, and members hav not united into a singl opinion; but we must now unite.
Stage I is intended as a disparat 5-point plan which would appeal to the public.
Putting Stages I and the Gibbs Stage 2 together as Stage "Alfa' we get these advantages:
- All of the 5 short vowels are delt with.
- All of the notorious "ough, augh" words are properly corrected.
- All of the "ph" words are braut up-to-date.
SR Short <e>: hed, plesant, tresurer.
SR "ough": cof, coffing, ruf, ruffen, laffed.
SR "augh": draft, dauter, caut.
SR non-magic <e>: hav, giv, gon, possibl, advertisment.
SR "ph": nefew, fotograf.
SR short <o>: swon, wonder, quodrant, quolity.
SR short <u>: cumpany, becumming.
SR DRIL: noe, nolledge, hoom, hoos, nat.
Robert Craig wonts to add:
SR "oo": floot, groop.
SR "ee": receev, preest; but leaving, clean, mete etc. alone.
SR "/v/" is too problematic for these early Stages.
The essential is, if we beleev in this, then we must use it in our correspondence.
If yoo agree with me, do pleas rite using Stage "Alfa".
Yours sincerely, Stanley Gibbs
Editors note:The Society's 1992 AGM, as reported in this issue, decided against a "house style". This editor's style is to use those shorter, more phonemic spellings found in most American dictionaries - altho, tho, thru, thoro; fixt, spelt; program, catalog; favor, labor; etc. Otherwise, the author's style is followed.
The following letter appeared in the March 1978 issue of the American Sociological Association's Footnotes:
Piener Rgues 4 Reformd Spelling.Dear fello Sociologists:
I hav bin a regular or Emeritus membr of the Association for haf a century, tho I do not now reciev yor jrnl, nor need to. I am now 88, and hav known almost all the Presidents of the Society or Asn. since its start, except that the first, Lester F. Ward, I only herd lecture. I hope yu hav on file, for publication at the rite time, the obituary I sent in some years ago, on Gilfillan; it wil make good reading. It is not at all boastfl, tho I hav publisht 5 books in the sociological field, mostly on the sociological aspects of Invention. And Im just completing my 6th and by far best, on my peculiar discovery, Lead Poison Ruined Rome it wil be cald, thru leaving its upper class almost childless and ofn sik, insane or ded.
Since their places wer naturally fild by the ablest from belo, this elimination of ability, and of their higher culture which was likewise quasi-heriditary, hardly past on save to the children of welth, the dubl ruin of Roman culture and genius, leading into the nite of the Dark Ages, is for the first time explaind. The same had hapnd erlier in Greece. My discovery of this class-wise ruin of ancient genius and culture has had an immense success, world wide, from just an articl or 2 in 1965. If yu'v herd anything about ancient led poisoning, it was some eco of my work.
And why the reformd spelling? Because as civilization advances, reading and riting becum the principl occupations of the sector of mankind that matrs most, and on which all depends. So the facilitation of that main occupation becums evr mor importnt. And we hav accepted the typeriter, and printing, and many othr reforms.
But I shud close. I remain yors for Sociology and all kinds of progress.
S. Colum Gilfillan, Los Angeles, California
[See Anthology and Bulletin articles, by Harvie Barnard.]
The #1 edition of the Journal reached me a few days ago and I am writing to comment on several articles.
I especially liked Kenneth Ives report on "A Spelling Reform Program for the 1990's". The seven steps were logical, reasonable and quite acceptable to anyone concerned and well informed as to our orthographic problems resulting from our adoption of Johnson's archaic English spellings of a bygone age.
Also, Ives' review of "Language Planning and Social Change" by Ralph Cooper, was well presented, interestingly organized, and deserving of consideration for implementation.
The comments reported in the Detroit Free press (in "Publicizing Reform") quite definitely express the U.S. viewpoint.
It is gratifying to know that you hav given well deserved space and attention to the progress being made by the American Literacy Council.
Dr. Edward Rondthaler and his assistant, Joseph Little have accomplisht a significant breakthru with their efforts to influence 3 different education publishers to proceed with the distribution of the Council's recordings of the Soundspeller Literacy software. This is one of the really significant advances made by spelling reform advocates in the last century. We are hopeful that this new program will receive the support it deserves as a long step forward in English Spelling Reform. And thanks to the SSS for your recognition and space in the Journal of the Society.
Incidentally, I would like to call to your attention the recent and significant surge of interest in the U.S. in nation-wide improvement of education. The Department of Education is very strongly promoting the "AMERICA 2000"; is advancing the organization of statewide America 2000 committees which hav alredy been structured in nearly all the 50 states. The program is being federally funded to ensure its continuance and extension into the future of public school improvement over the next century. Educators are finally aware that the social and economic future of the English-speaking world depends largely upon the level of literacy and communicative ability of the whole population, - not simply the few super-educated individuals of the upper classes. There is no doubt that we have tolerated too much stratification in the U.S., which is now recognized as more of an impediment to social progress than an asset!
With sincere kind regards and good wishes,
Harvie Barnard, A.L.C.
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