NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED330209
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar-5
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Spelling Reform--An Old Idea Revisited.
Dauterman, Philip
One cause for illiteracy that is often overlooked is the difficulty of learning the English orthographic system, which is less consistent than that of many other languages. Several historical and linguistic factors have contributed to this inconsistency, including: the "freezing" of the rapidly changing spelling system in the early years of printing; the large number of borrowed words; and misguided scholarship in medieval times. Periodic attempts to reform English spelling have met with derision and little success. Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster in the 18th century and the American Philological Society, Spelling Reform Association, and Simplified Spelling Board in the 19th and early 20th centuries have made only slight progress in simplifying English spelling. Arguments against spelling reform include the proposals that an isomorphic spelling system cannot handle all the phonemic variations arising between dialects, that many homophones would not longer be differentiated in print, and that isomorphic orthography would obscure the semantic connection between related words. However, each of these has a counterargument. The perennial issue facing reformers is how far to take reform. A feasible reform plan would have to meet the criteria of economy, least disruption, and acceptance. It may be time to undertake this change. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A