COUNTER CASE AGAINST SPELLING REFORMS.

1. Public apathy and prejudice.

 

People are reluctant to switch to another system of writing considering the difficulties faced while learning the current spelling system.

The learned populace still faces difficulties with script though. People write which a lot many people dont understand or different people understand differently, something the writer didn’t mean.

See beyond words give you a new perspective towards script. It clearly doesn’t suggest in anyway that you have to take the same sort of trouble again, as learning new scripting style could be equally gruesome as learning the present orthography.

It helps you relate to the present orthography better. Doesn’t suggest forgetting what we’ve learned hither to; suggests you to adopt the remedial script, which is already a part of the present orthography. All we have to do is to regularize specific approaches to gage a specific sound forms. It’s system of writing where we pick the best of different scripting styles. A system where we don’t have to remember the appearance of every word and sound separately; with which it is easy to get to the sound form if we see the visual form and the otherwise.

 

2. There is a fear of adaptability to a new strange writing style.

 

See beyond words brings out, which already exists in our present writing style, is not strange at all. It gives you the best possible permutation and helps you recognize it. Present suggestions to channelize the English writing style and brings out the benefits of a universally followed writing style. It attempts distinguish sub-scripting styles with that of English.

Does not recommend a total make over.

 

3. Spelling reform is an attempt to lower down the education system.

 

Sir William Darling: “I am of the opinion that it [spelling reform] is an attempt to step down our education standard, because reading English is a little difficult in as much as it requires concentration and thought, and well-intentioned persons should not make it easier.”

 

Step down education standard—–Do we need to learn every other scripting style if we just wanted to learn English? What standard do we talk about? English scripting style is not at all standard. We have Indian script, Spanish, German, French, etc.

This is nothing less than being dual standard. First, we allow different scripts to percolate and be a part of English and then we distort original word forms.

I dont understand, why we do to foreign entries what we would never encourage otherwise.

We accept mutilated word forms as per the Standard English pronunciation and writing style, and latter we somehow change the very identity of the word.

By doing this we are not only damaging individual word forms, we are also corrupting English script.

We can maintain standards if we do a structural compatibility check with all new foreign entries as per a well-defined English scripting style.

Moreover, concentration of thoughts is much required in some more intensive studies with human welfare perspective, like healthcare, medicine, engineering, etc., not with language for God sake!

 

 

4. Implementation.

 

This is the only argument, which seems genuine. Simplified spelling society has an implementation plan to take reform forward.

Nevertheless, before that we have to decide on the reform itself.

The best approach would be to decide on a reform first—–create  need—–educate people of the benefits——Create a commendable work first.

Implementation is secondary. If there has to be a body for the implementation, it definitely need not be SSS. It had never been the objective of the organization. Moreover, if they come forward to implement it too, nothing would be better than that.

 

5. Printers won’t welcome reform.

 

The argument, that it would create confusion for typesetters and slow down their work, is nothing but under-mining the capabilities of typesetters.

This argument is not a valid argument in Digital era; with computer aided phototypesetting and high resolution imaging printers dont have to rely on the spelling skills of typesetters. And even if some printers use Linotype machines, a reformed text would test the operators on the very nature of their job, not on their spelling skills.

 

6. With reformed spelling, we would have to reprint all of the books.

 

No at all! This could invariably be one of the criteria to select suitable reform. The perfect reform would be the one, which suggests smooth switch from old to new orthography. Even if we have to reprint some books, that would solely be on demand basis and boost economy. To ensure smooth sailing we can easily add suggestions as to help people read and learn the new writing style in every book printed with new orthography for nascent years.

 

7. Foreign words will not be easily recognized by foreigners.

 

At least they are recognizing the fact that native speakers of different languages don’t understand the English versions in sound form and they can possibly recognize if they get to see script form.

 

This means that we also recognize the fact that original word sound changes when a foreign word is assimilated to English language.

Why should the sound change?

If we do not want spellings to change on the pretext of recognition, then what about the word sounds, when the very purpose of writing system was to represent speech sounds.

The purpose of script is to reflect the sound form. If the script form does not reflect the core word sound, there has to be something wrong.

The argument is that the foreigners may not be able to understand words when they hear it, but at least will have no difficulty in recognizing them when they are written down. This argument clearly defies the very concept of a writing system, the purpose of a language. Are they suggesting that if you can’t understand what they say or either ways, we should keep a notepad if we have to talk to foreigners.

I don’t understand why do we cry for only spellings, when we can’t retain the original sounds. May be original word sounds are very hard to trace and the only easily accessible thing is what we cry about. If we have to be so particular about something, then why only spellings, why not sounds this time!

First, we have to differentiate foreign languages based on respective alphabetic scripts. The argument that the French won’t recognize the reformed spelling of French words in English doesn’t have any solid grounds. There is also a population, which did not use English alphabetic script to write words like Urdu, Hindi, Chinese, etc., but have started using it with the popularity of English. Those French origin words or any other language word would be as alien as the words from those many different languages with a total different sound to letter relationship. Words from a region like India, China, and Pakistan would definitely look like French, even to French.

 

 

8. Reform would complicate grammar rules.

 

English grammar rules like making plural forms by adding ‘s’ or ‘es’; verb forms by adding ‘s’ and ‘es’; past tense with the addition of ‘ed’.

There is discontent over the change of grammar rules based on pronunciation. It is just because a few reform proposals, which suggested to make it more phonetic.

‘See beyond words’ identifies it as an advantage to English and does not suggest nouziz for noses, cabz for cabs, boiz for boys, or walkd for walked, etc.,.

Rather provides sound ascertaining techniques.

 

9. Phonetic spelling would be disservice to scientists.

 

An argument that scientific terms are written forms and they don’t have pronunciation.

May be that’s the reason why I couldn’t ever figure out a doctor’s prescription. They are always confused over “how to spell”, and what they write is far from what we understand as a written word.

May be the spelling of drugs are quite difficult to remember, so they write a few recognizable letters and for the rest of it, you have to guess.

However, I had this habit of asking every time of the pronunciation, to help me remember which medicine to take at what time.

 

Today, we have different brand names for a specific medicine or a specific combination. It’s quite easy to remember those few names, as are easily understandable and written. But they’re still confused.

A phonetic spelling is not a disservice to anybody. The only disservice is, if any, when we distort names, be it of scientific, historic or of religious importance, or anything for that matter. Forget about scientific terms for a while; I presume that even a scientist would not like if somebody recognize him or their invention as just a spelling and that too a distorted one. We are humans, for Good sake! Scientists are not Tomatoes or Potatoes. Even if they were named Tomato or Potato, we do not have the liberty to say “po-Tat-o, po-Tei-to or po-Taa-to, or to-Mat-o, to-Mei- to or to-Maa-to.

This is the least we can do to show a little respect in appreciation of their work.

 

10. No reform is good enough for

 

11. Argument that the language isn’t static, it changes with time.

The argument that the spoken language changed a lot from King Alfred, to Chaucer’s, to Shakespeare’s, to what we speak today, has no solid evidence at all. We did not have human voice recording technology before Edison‘s “Mary had a little lamb”, 1877(ref: Steve Schoenherr). The only evidence we have is of orthography change. English writing style changed a lot.

How does a language change?

a. Language changes when two languages merge.

b. Changes with the introduction of new language words.

This is actually good for a language. Language bank increases; people get to know new things, new processes, new ways of doing things. This is good for everybody. People come together, share things, and learn things.

The only change that’s not good for any language is, when people start damaging the integrity of individual words. They start playing with the language; interpret word sound wrongly or differently; misspell, mispronounce. ‘See beyond words’ suggests not just a new writing system but also a learning system for everybody. Want it to be followed universally. Want to free English from the influence of different sub-scripting styles to affect English and other languages, and speakers.

 

11. Argument that English is not uniformly pronounced across the world.

The very purpose of “See beyond words” is to provide tools to read, write, speak and communicate easily. The number of English speakers outside nations with English as first language, is much more as compared to the latter. There are as many different way of speaking as different languages in the world. Every region speaks English in a different way.

The argument that a reform won’t be of no help to a Yorkshire boy, for whom ‘wheat’ and ‘red’ have same vowel sound is nothing but petty fogging, as the majority of English speakers is in India, Pakistan, china, etc., specifically in India than any other country in the whole world. The count is soaring everyday. I personally feel that no country can beat it, considering the population growth rate and the economic predictions. So do we want to help a few Yorkshire boys or a big population, which has a unique way of pronouncing words, a very different ways of ascertaining the phonemic value attached to a word, and a unique style of arranging letters to represent a sound form? Why English words borrowed from Hindi language do not indicate the actual pronunciation to the rest of the world? We should take a hint from this. Do we want to streamline things or give good enough reasons for a huge ignorant population to coin new word forms, which do not suggest anything close to the actual pronunciation to the rest of the world? On the other hand, they utter sound that’s not close to actual pronunciation.

Moreover, these disparities would further increase if we don’t act now.

 

12. The argument that all homophones would be spelled same if a reform is introduced.

That all of the homophones would come under same spelling, and all homographs would have different spelling.

 

Homophones & Homographs.

 

A reform would necessarily suggest same spelling form homophones. The existence of homophones and homographs can be traced to two basic root causes:

1. Different ways of arrangement of letters to give a specific sound value.

2. Different perceptions over the sound value attached to particular set of letters.

http://www.bifroest.demon.co.uk has a list of 441 homophones.

A question could arise that why we need different ways to represent a specific sound.

There is no harm if we have more than one way of arranging letters to get a specific sound, unless it’s contradictory to the writing system as a whole.

For Example: ‘ai’ digraph is used to represent soft ‘a’ sound; also a soft open syllable like ‘pane’. (ref. lf, onescript).

The argument that we still have two or three ways to decipher a sound, then what’s the use of a reform, and would that be called standardization?

We already have lot many heteronyms (same spelling same sound, but different meanings) in English; also the meaning and application of words changes with time. This is the beauty of English language. This will not add to the difficulties faced while learning English.

Meaning changes with the context.

Homograph is a perfect example of ‘take a guess’, whereas it’s not the case with homophones. But you are sure of the application and the sound value attached with homophones. You can learn different applications of words with time.

Perfect example of a homograph: The digraph ‘ei’. ‘EI’ exhibit different sound value in different words. It could be soft ‘a’ sound, soft ‘e’ sound, soft pure ‘i’ sound (refer to page no.____, lf, onescript), solid ‘e’ sound. A source of confusion.

 

 

See beyond words attempt to codify words; recognize a specific sound value from a letter if arranged in a particular fashion. All we have to do is to remember them; nothing less, nothing more.

Considering this, we definitely need a uniform orthography.

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One response to “COUNTER CASE AGAINST SPELLING REFORMS.

  1. Very nice!

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