10th May 2011 - Ben Sweeney
Growing up with English as a first language, it's pretty easy to forget all that hassle involved in learning the spelling rules. You take for granted the incredible flexibility of letter combinations like 'ugh', and the myriad of ways that you can spell the 'ee' sound. Until you stumble across a word like 'æsthetics', or 'dipthong' and your tongue trips over the curious and slightly alien lettering.
I quite often get asked by people who speak English as a second language how to spell words, followed by an exasperated flap of paper and pen when they find out the word they wanted to spell has a silent 'p' at the end of it.
So, I propose the following textual experiment.
Say we do away with unnecessary letter combinations, such as: 'æ', 'gh', 'œ', 'ph', 'rh', and 'sque'. And we replace them with 'e', 'g', 'f/p', 'r', and 'sk' respectively.
Silent p's, b's, and l's, and double l's, t's and d's, waste precious resources with their superfluity. The same goes for their distant and less common cousins, the silent 's' in iland, and the silent 'u' in gard.
While 'C' looks lovely in the combination 'ABC', is a bit of a rogue letter in my personal opinion. 'K' and 's' do the job much better. The digraf 'qu' can ekwaly be replased by the more fonetic 'k' or 'kw'. That leaves only one sound to be kovered by the 'c', and that's the 'ch' sound in 'butch'.
The '-le' ending is normaly pronounsed '-al/-el'. As wel as the '-age' ending is normaly pronounsed '-ij'.
Then, every time we use the past tense, the final '-ed' are generally pronounst '-t'. So let's use that where aplikable. Same for '-yz' instead of '-ise'.
This is only the konsonants. We're far from finisht; now the vowels need to be kustomyzd.
We'l have to give the five vowels a kwik make-over: 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', and 'u' are short vowels, and 'aa', 'ee', 'ii', 'oo', 'uu' bekume long vowls. Soo suthenas wud bii siting on the graas in the gaaden drinking tee, while northenas aar reeding buuks on the gras. While wii aar at it, let's sort out sum of thoos peskii vowels. Silent e's serv a very useful purpus, as we aar tort as kid's, yet if wii triitid th utha vowls with th simpal respekt thee deservd, th silent 'e' wud bekum redundant.
'Y' has a very unik sound aal on it's oon, and it shudn't bii konfuust with th 'i' sound in 'fight', or 'white'. A dubal 'y' kan duu that job.
Right, gud byy tuu al thoos suudo-dipthongs (th ones that aarn't strictly spiiking dipthongs): 'ea' (as in 'tea'), 'ei' (as in 'deceive'), 'oeu' (as in 'manoeuver'), 'ou' (as in 'colour'). And gud byy tuu th slyytlii grootesk leta kombinashun 'ough' (as in 'doughnut').
Th 'ou' yuu sii in 'clout', 'doubt' and 'flout' shud bii replast with 'ow', so as not to konfuus it with th utha 'ou' pronunshiieeshuns.
And I think that's abowt dus it.
Sii, that wos noo hemorij of yuusful letas, and alredii th Inglish language is luking simpla and iisiia tuu yuus. Owr childran kan spend les tyym weestd on owt-deetd speling ruuls and spend mor tyym lerning haad mathmatiks, and stuudents of Inglish aar seevd owrs - yirs iiven? - of konfushun and dowt.
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