Simplified Spelling is Not So Simple
Every once in awhile, I stumble across an article by the Simplified Spelling people. The society believes phonetic spelling should rule the day and traditional spelling has created a legion of illiterates. A couple of problems arise with this – first and foremost, they don't examine the underlying causes of illiteracy. Poverty and lack of adequate resources are the first areas that should be looked, along with how students are taught.
The second problem is a more practical one. Their policies would create an illiterate society. This snippet comes from one of their pamphlets:
"Dhe aer ov reverens, aulmoest amounting to sanktity, widh which meny invest our speling iz an evident obstakl in dhe paath ov reform."
When I saw it, I wondered what language is it? Then it dawned on me, it was phonetically spelled out and as such, is unreadable to anyone who doesn't share that particular regional accent. To be honest, I made it to the second sentence and then gave up. It took too much effort to decode.
Simplified spelling becomes shaky when you look at the mess in the above paragraph. Think of the complications it would bring to the world. Phonetic spelling doesn't take into account regional accents and pronunciation oddities. The cost of working internationally would increase, as would accidents. There is a reason for standardized spelling - to cut down on miscommunication. Regardless of where you live, you can read this blog. We can read the words because of general rules that breaks down barriers.
This also has repercussions for the blogging world - I don't relish the idea of having to hire a translator to read someone's blog. It takes longer to read a phonetic paragraph than a standardized one because your brain doesn't have to decipher the individual words.
"Ar we riting the old spellings - & being considderd stupid wen we don’t – to liv up to an ideal of sum kind?"
It's much more straightforward than the previous example, but how many stumbled because you spent too much time trying to figure out what words meant. Think of an entire blog like this? Or worse, a manual on how to safely use a new piece of equipment. Most of us wouldn't even bother trying. I can't even imagine reading a text book or novel written with simplified spelling. It would be a nightmare.
Instead of complaining about spelling conventions, the Standardized Spelling Society should use their energy exploring ways to help people who have difficulties learning, not make it impossible for all of us to communicate.