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Chris Tooze
Professional Teacher
Should English spelling be made easier?

I read this on the BBC website:

 

Predicting the pronunciation of the English language is often difficult and the rules should be changed, says the English Spelling Society.

It was founded in 1908 and has been campaigning for changes in the spelling of words to make it easier for those learning the language.

In a personal film, its chairman Stephen Instead puts the case for a new way of looking at how to spell some words in the English language.



You can watch two films about this at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30698266

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30964716

The second one has children speaking, and some of them speak very quickly and have strong accents, so don't worry if you find them hard to understand, you should still be able to understand the main points of the videos.

 

What do you think? Should English spelling be made easier?

Jan 24, 2015 10:45 AM
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Comments · 10

English is not a phonetic language, and it should stay that way. Part of the reason there is such diversity in English accents is because of this. In my opinion it is just a simple fact of the language that people have to accept if they want to learn it, just like if you want to speak Spanish you have to learn to roll your r's or with other languages such as German you have to accept that the grammar is complicated.

 

By the way the accent of the children in the second video is a Manchester accent if anyone is interested.

January 24, 2015

I theenk u r nawt geting thu poynt Look. It wood b eezyer 4 awl.

January 24, 2015

Goodness! Please don't make our spelling as if we are preteen texters! It is important to know the rules of english spelling in order to understand the word, the spelling gives you social cues that you need to understand he situation. Take these two sentences "I'm going to" and "I'm going too" In the first one the reader is left the wonder if the is a spelling mistake or if not, where are they going. Spelling also let's us understand word not in our vocabulary, if I know "Poly" means "many"(As in polygamy,many marages) and I know "gon" means "sides"(Say, from the pentegon, five sided) then it is easy for me to deduce that "Polygon" means "Many sides" or that "Polyglot" is "Many languages". If you take out our spelling then you leave it open for people to use their own interpritation of words. Who cares if its hard to learn to write, Have you tried Japanese?! XD Instead of focusing on how hard it is, lets focus on making better tools to learn it ^^ Its like a computer, if all you need to know on you ipad is touch and swipe you will never have to same power as someone with a desktop and can program in the computer's language.

January 24, 2015

Maybe, but please, no halfway measures. Make it phonetic, or don't.

 

The cultural value of preserving ancient pronunciations seems limited to me. So do weird letter transpositions, like pronouncing a word "hwen" but spelling it "when," or the strange silent-e transpositions--"tueb" would almost be phonetic, but "tube" puts the e after the b for no good reason.

 

It would be a shock to many existing English speakers, who do mostly "sight-reading," as we would have to learn a whole new set of "looks" for words, and it would create a cultural disconnection between modern readers and centuries of books written with traditional spellings.

 

The annoying differences between U.S. and British spellings can be attributed directly to Noah Webster, who created enough spelling differences to be really annoying, without managing to make U.S. English spelling any easier to learn. Dr. Seuss' book title, The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough, is U.S. spelling, and it is hardly improved by changing it to "The Tough Coughs as he Plows the Dough."

January 24, 2015

It will get easier in time, but no one should rush it. I think official spellings should follow at least one generatoin after the spoken language has changed. Artificial spelling habits cause problems.

 

As a student, I find complex spellings difficult, but I prefer them to ridiculously simplified ones. They help me with the meaning and the nuances.

January 24, 2015
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Chris Tooze
Language Skills
English, German, Italian
Learning Language
German, Italian