[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, J30, 2002/1 inside front cover.]
Also on this paje: Recent Research on Difficulties in Literacy Learning, and
Tribute to Kenneth Ives.]

SIX Axioms on English Spelling in 3 transcriptions.

The Six Axioms are transcribed here in

a. Saxon Spanglish, b. Unifon, c. Johnson's archaic notation.

A dozen other phonemic notations could have been used (e.g., RITE, New Spelling, ALC Soundspel, Truespel, etc.).

a. Spanglish is very similar to Middle English in [1] its alphabet of unshifted symbol sound correspondences and [2] its marking of short stressed vowels. Digraphs (double letter symbols) indicate stress in multisyllable words.

b. Unifon was an entrant in the Shaw alphabet competition which was disqualified because Malone ignored the requirement that no Roman letter should be used.

Unlike Cut Spelling, Spanglish is an alphabet reform and a pronunciation guide spelling. It is a parallel script that can be used as an i.t.a. and to show how words should be spelled. New spellings only used when the traditionally spelled word cannot be pronounced alphabetically and understood: through = thru, thorough=thero/ thoro, although=altho.

la. The letterz av the allfabet wer dezaind to repprisent spiech soundz; thaet iz the allfabetic prinncipl. Six rules for Saxon notation: a=ə, erz=arz=ərz, all='ael=Al, ol=all, the=dha or dhi=ð, eir/err=air
1b. Dc letcrz cv Dc alfcbet wcr dizInd to reprisent spEC saundz; that iz Dc alfabetik prinsipcl.
1c. The letters of the alphabet were designed to represent speech sounds; that is the alphabetic principle.

2a. The alfabettic principl meiks littracy iezy, alauing the rieder tu pranauns werds fram their spelling, and the raiter to spell them fram their soundz.
2b. Dc alfcbet ik prinsipcl mAks litcrasy Ezy, clqiN Dc rEdcr to prcnqns werdz frem ther speliN, and Dc rItcr to spel Dem frem ther sqndz.
2c. The alphabetic principle makes literacy easy, allowing the reader to pronounce words from their spelling, and the writer to spell them from their sounds.

3a. Az pronuncieishan cheinjez thru the eijez, the allfabetic prinncipl tendz to bi corrupted; the spelling av werds then nieds to bi adappted to show the nu saunds.
3b. az prcnxnsEAScn CAnjcz Tru Dc Ajcz, Dc alfabetik prinsipcl tendz to bE korxptcd; Dc speliN cv wcrdz Den nEdz to bE cdaptcd to shO Dc nu saundz.
3c. As pronunciation changes through the ages, the alphabetic principle tends to be corrupted; the spelling of words then needs to be adapted to show the new sounds.

4a. Unnlaik ather languajez, English hazz not sisstematticly moddernaizd its spelling owver the paest 1,000 yirz, and tudey it oanly happhazzardly observz the alfabettic prinncipl.
4b. cnlIk xDcr laNwcjcz, EngliS haz nqt sistematikcly modcrnIzd its speliN Ovcr Dc past 1,000 yirz, and tudA it Only haphazcrdli observz Dc alfabetik prinsipcl.
4c. Unlike other languages, English has not systematically modernized its spelling over the past 1,000 years, and today it only haphazardly observes the alphabetic principle.

5a. Negleckt av the allfabetic prinncipl nau meiks littracy unnessaserly difficult in English thruout the werdd, and lurrning, edjukeishan and comiunikeishan ol suffer.
5c. Neglect of the alphabetic principle now makes literacy unnecessarily difficult in English throughout the world, and learning, education and communication all suffer.

6a. Prociedyerz aar needed to mannaj impruuvments to English spelling az a werld comyunikeishan sisstam.
6b. prcsEdYrz or nEdcd to mancj imprUvments tU EngliS speliN az a world kcmUnikAScn sistcm.
6c. Procedures are needed to manage improvements to English spelling as a world communication system.

[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society J30 2002/1 p13.]
[See Journal and Newsletter articles by Allan Campbell.]

Allan Campbell's Summary of

Recent Research on Difficulties in Literacy Learning

1984: Journal of Educational Psychology, vol 76, #4, pp 557-568: Decoding and comprehension skills in Turkish and English: Effects of the regularity of grapheme phoneme correspondence; Banu Oney and Susan R Goldman, University of California, Santa Barbara.

The decoding and comprehension skills of Turkish and American first and third graders learning to read their respective languages were assessed. Turkish students were faster and more accurate on the decoding task than Americans at first-grade level and equally accurate but faster at third-grade level. 'The data suggest that languages with more letter-sound correspondences lead to faster acquisition of decoding skills.'

1991: British Journal of Psychology, #82, pp 527-537: The effect of orthography on the acquisition of literacy skills; Gwenllian Thorstad, The Tavistock Clinic, Child and Family Department, London.

This study compared Italian and British children, showing, for example, that 7-year-old Italians were able to read words they did not know, and some 11-year-old British children could not read words they DID know [in speech]. The report concludes: `As a result of this learner-friendly orthography, Italian children do not need to spend so long learning the mechanisms of literacy skills as English children do, and have more time for other studies.'

1997. Cognition 63, pp 315-334:The impact of orthographic consistency on dyslexia: A German-English comparison; Karin Landerl, Heinz Wimmer, Uta Frith (variously of University of Salzburg and MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London).

'The main finding of the present cross-orthography comparison of development of dyslexia was that English children suffered from much more severe impairments in reading than the German children.'

2000: Nature neuroscience, vol 3, #1: A cultural effect on brain damage; E Paulesu and 15 other researchers from Italian and English educational institutions.

The study was to see how the different orthografies of English and Italian were accessed by the brain. It found that Italians showed greater activation of the part of the brain that deals with foneme processing. In contrast the English had greater activation of the part of the brain that deals with word retrireview. Among other results: 'Italian students were faster at both word and nonword reading, even when the nonwords were derived from English words.'

2001: Science 291, March 16: Dyslexia: Cultural diversity and biological unity; Eraldo Paulesu and 11 others (from Italy, France, England, and Quebec).

This study found that tho the neurological basis for dyslexia is the same across English, French, and Italian languages, the disorder manifests itself in different ways according to the regularity of the orthografy. The reading disorder is twice as prevalent among dyslexics in the United States (and France) as it is among Italian dyslexics. Again, this is seen to be because of Italian's 'transparent' orthografy.

2001: How do children learn to read? Is English more difficult than other languages? Paper presented to the British Festival of Science, Glasgow, September; Professor Philip H K Seymour, University of Dundee.

English-speaking children take up to two years more to learn reading than do children in 14 other European countries.

In addition there have been studies by the Institute of Learning at Hull University, which has developed a model for predicting spelling success, based on the length of words, their regularity, and frequency of use. It claims that less able English-speaking children need up to four more years to reach the same efficiency with difficult words as they have attained at age 7 with easy words.

[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society J30 2002/1 p23.]


In Memory of Ken Ives (1917-2002)

Sociologist Ken Ives died on April 2, 2002 at his home in Chicago. He was 85. Ken was the guest editor of the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society from 1992 to 1995. In June, 1996, Ken was given a plaque by Chris Jolly, Chairman of the Simplified Spelling Society in recognition of his work. Ken continued to assist Chris Upward with the editing of the Journal until 2000. His contributions are listed below:

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