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  • On the internet, nobody knows you can't spell

Comments Nov 25, 2010 9:55 pm

Language is free. Spelling is not, although it was in Shakespeare's time. Spelling in print is held in check by Spellcheckers and ultimately by dictionaries. Spelling on the internet depends upon who is to read it.Most modern languages except English have updated their writing systems. If we updated ours, the enormous number of non-readers would be less, and we would have a guide to spelling sensibly ourselves. Experiment! 1/A dictionary pronunciation guide based on a modified BBC Text pronunciation guide for beginners.2. Keep 35 very common irregularly spelled words, because they make up 12% of everyday text.3. Make the rest the dictionary guide modified by grammar (e.g. for plurals and tenses, and by units of meaning (morphemes) for a spelling system everybody could use if they wanted to, 4. and then allow up to 4 variant spellings for each speech sound (phoneme) for a spelling most people could read, 5. and then go on to read present spelling too. It would change 3% of letters in words in ordinary text, and omit 6% as surplus letters in words, that did not help with meaning or pronunciation. Everyone could be happy, and we would not have to reprint everything in print either.Experiment with Parallel Texts - present spelling accompanied by any of these forms, for those with difficulty in reading now. It would be much better than present methods of teaching literacy in English, which rely on rote learning.

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