3. English Language Simplification

To teach and use the tools of the English language more effectively, the rules of its usage must be simplified. This point will not address anything related to the grammatical construction of the English language. It will focus exclusively on spelling, specifically advocating a phonetic spelling for the English language. Today, our written language, is not nearly as efficient a communication tool as it could be. It requires that too much time and energy be spent on making sure that nonessential, useless, inefficient, unproductive conventional rules of spelling are followed. In other words, too much time and energy is spent, often subconsciously, on unnecessary spelling overhead associated with reading and writing.

A great deal of time, energy, money and frustration could be saved (especially in early primary school) by teaching people a drastically simpler and essentially a much more logical form of the written English language that would not at all change the pronunciation of words or the grammatical rules of usage, but would make the spelling of each word virtually entirely phonetic. The look of written English would change dramatically, but with a little practice and insight, the increased ease with which words may be read and written would make the benefits of a change over to this system obvious.

For the most part, English words would be written using their dictionary phonetic spellings but without syllabication symbols such as syllable dividers and accent marks. Most diacritical marks (pronunciation symbols) would most likely remain left out, especially if new letters are introduced into the alphabet to represent single sounds currently made by vowels (all of which can make two, three, or more sounds) or a combination of two or more letters (vowels or consonants). Some diacritical marks (pronunciation symbols) may still need to be permanently introduced (though very sparingly) to further clarify pronunciations.

It perhaps may not be practical to have each of the close to 50 sounds in the English language represented by a unique symbol, letter, or even combination of letters. However, it would be useful to add a few additional letters to the alphabet as well as incorporate into standard spellings a few diacritical marks so that many more sounds are represented by distinct letters or markings. For the words that may not be perfectly phonetically spelled, readers can refer to the dictionary for more complete phonetic instructions. This would be no different than what people do today.

A change of this magnitude would take, at the very least, several decades to get it to the point where its own momentum would guarantee its ubiquitous adoption throughout all aspects of American English culture and writings. The benefits, however, would be impressive and make it very well worthwhile. The most obvious benefits would be realized during the early primary education of children. A phonetically spelled language system would shave several months or even a year or more off a child’s educational career. These savings would be occurring during early childhood which is the most important time of a child’s career. This is when their ability to absorb and learn material is optimal. In other words, less time would be spent teaching the child to read and write while more time could be spent teaching other subjects and activities precisely during the time of their lives when they are the most receptive to learning. Following is an example of perhaps how this new written English language would look.

We can doo it, but onle if thə jenərl popyəlashən iz kənvinsd uv, and bilevz in, thə grat benəfits that wood rizult.

The strategy to use to cause this proposal to be adopted is rather simple, though it will take time. First, an official proclamation of legitimacy and sanctioning of this type of simplified spelling is needed. Then academic institutions, textbook and dictionary publishers and other influential products and services would be strongly encouraged or perhaps even required at least to list this new phonetic spelling and text alongside conventional spellings and text. Every year, progressively more influential products and services and everybody else in society would be encouraged to learn and switch over to the new phonetic spelling system. Second, the youngest cohorts of the population should be exclusively taught and totally immersed in the phonetic system (mandated throughout their educational curriculums). Progressively older cohorts would then follow in this total immersion at a rate equal to the rate of the natural aging of the population (or at least should not exceed this rate). In other words, the first cohort to be totally immersed would always be the age group that leads the population in the adoption of this new system as the population ages.

The publicly required switch to reading and writing in the phonetic system (such as private publishers) should be at a rate that is significantly slower than the rate of switching required in the educational system. This is to allow for a possible time lag in people of the same cohort to keep up with learning fluently the new system or to just make the transition a little less abrupt. Nevertheless, since the future market will be for material published using the phonetic system, publishers will likely want to stop publishing using the traditional spelling system about as fast as the first cohort ages. Because of the possibility that the natural inertia of our society’s conventional spelling system will erode the fluency of members of the first totally immersed cohort in the new system, the speed at which the required switchover is required may have to be significantly slower than the rate as which the population ages. Conversely, because this would be seen as being the future of the English language, and due to its simplicity of use, it may very well be that the last few cohorts of standard English learning instruction (those older than the first cohort of mandatory instruction under this new spelling scheme) would voluntarily take it upon themselves to learn and fully adopt the new system.

This process, likely lasting up to 100 years, would continue until the entire population has switch over. New immigrant speakers should be taught the phonetic language unless they are much older than the current switching age.

If none of these language proposals seem workable, the least we must do to make English more logical and easier to read and write is to attempt to guide and slowly force the evolution of complex words like through, silhouette, and quayage into simpler words like throo or even thru, silooet, and keig. British English words like faecal and colour should be fecal and color. Fortunately, it may be easier to accomplish the goal of changing the spelling of words and then keeping those spellings static than it is to keep the meanings of words the same over time.

Chanjing thə wa we red and rit from kənvenshənəl Inglish too prənunseashən-basd Inglish will prəvid wurthwil benəfits too our səsiity, ispeshəle bi making it ezeər too tech our childrən too red and rit. The kweschən iz wethər səsiity iz wiling to embark on this multesenchəre strugəl. It’s not reəle hard too doo, it duzənt rekwir much nyoo lurning, just praktis and geting yoozd too the nyoo systəm. Thə meningz, yoosijəz, and prənunseashənz uv thə wurdz riman thə sam, onle thə spelingz chanj.

Leave a Reply