Spelling Reform Dilemma.
We need spelling reform very badly, yet there is strong resistance and conflict of interest. A large portion of the English speaking population has significant reading problems. These people also have little ability to do anything about it. While we can find a few hardy individuals that are self-taught, it is unreasonable to expect this of everyone.
Present readers have little interest in fixing our spelling system; likely because they have already learned how to read. But they are the ones who will have to make the changes, since those unable to read well are not in a position to do anything about it.
Not my problem?
The neglect is costly, but the cost is not obvious, therefore not tended to. We pay the interest, not knowing we can pay off the debt. By the time we get the message, we are too old to do much about it. “Too soon old, too late smart”. Later generations “go back to start”.
Some people think traditional spelling (TS) is good enough, and a new spelling system will cause them trouble. They obviously haven’t studied the subject very deeply. Compare this text with the Mentur text. Do you really think you will have trouble reading and spelling Mentur?
Present readers will not live long enough to be significantly affected by spelling change. For a long while, everything will be elective. No pressure. The change will become official only after it becomes popular. The spelling change I refer to here is not a patch job, “fixing” the most troublesome features of TS. It is an alternate spelling system, used at the same time as TS, until TS is discontinued through popular demand. Think, “Roman numerals” compared to “Arabic numerals”.
The laws of supply and demand don’t work here, because those needing the change are either unable to “pay”, or are unborn future generations. Just as our ancestors passed on the problem to us; it looks like we are going to pass it on to our children, grandchildren, etc.
The spelling reform community has been unable to reach consensus on how to deal with the problem, and they are unlikely to do any better in the future. No government body has been charged with the job, and it would probably be political suicide for any politician to suggest it.
If it isn’t done on a “grass roots” level, it won’t get done. Publishers are the gatekeepers. If they refuse to get behind the effort, it will die stillborn. Without exposure, a sympathetic community will fail to develop.
Publishers have little to gain by printing text in an alternate spelling system. A novelty piece now and then will not do much to improve literacy. Present readers will object to their favorite articles being spelled in a new spelling system.
Even if a publisher wished to support spelling reform of this kind; which system would he get behind? What if his choice turned out to be second-rate? There’s no reason he can’t switch if a “better” system shows up. In the meantime, he will have served to get the ball rolling.
At this point, a person is hard pressed to find text spelled in an alternate spelling system.
Somehow, some invented languages have found enough interested people to get a foothold. Consider Esperanto; it’s over a hundred years old. It started without government sponsorship. But it did have a big boost by a publisher who had the means and desire to promote the language.
A dedicated group could successfully promote a new spelling system. So far no proposal has been able to gain a following. Exposure is a big problem.
We can’t blame publishers and editors for not supporting a spelling system if none have been brought to their attention.
Speling Riform Dilemu
We need speling riform very badly, yet dher iz strong rizistuns and konflikt uv inturust. A larj porshun uv dhe Ingglish speeking popyulaeshun haz signifikunt reeding problumz. Dheez peepul aulsoe hav litul ubiluty to doo enything ubout it. Whiel we kan fiend a fue hardy induviduulz dhat ar self-taut, it iz unreezunubul to ekspekt dhis uv evrywun.
Prezunt reedurz hav litul inturust in fiksing our speling sistum; liekly bikauz dhae hav aulredy lvrnd hou to reed. Bvt dhae ar dhv wvnz hoo wil hav to maek dhv chaenjuz, sins dhoez unaebul to reed wel ar not in a puzishun to doo enything ubout it.
Not mie problum?
Dhv niglekt iz kostly, bvt dhv kost iz not obveus, dherfor not tendud to. We pae dhe inturust, not noeing we kan pae off dhv det. By dhv tiem we get dhv mesij, we ar too oeld to doo mvch ubout it. “Too soon oeld, to laet smart”. Laetur jenuraeshunz “go bak to start”.
Svm peepul think trudishunul speling (TS) iz gwd invf, and a noo speling wil kauz dhem trvbul. Dhae obveusly havn’t stvdyd dhv svbjikt very deeply. Kumper dhis tekst with TS. Doo yoo reely think yoo wil hav trvbul reeding and speling Mentur?
Prezunt reedurz wil not liv long invf to be signifikuntly ufektud bie speling chaenj. For a long whiel, evrything wil be ilektiv. No preshur. Dhv chaenj wil bikvm ufishul oenly aftur it bikvmz popyulur. Dhv speling chaenj I rifvr to hir iz not a pach job, “fiksing” dhv moest trvbulsum feechurz uv TS. It iz an aulturnut speling sistum, uezd at dhv saem tiem az TS, until TS iz diskuntinued throo popyulur dimand. Think, “Roemun noomurulz” kumperd to “Arrubik noomurulz”.
Dhv lauz uv suplie and dimand doent wvrk hir, bikauz dhoez needing dhv chaenj ar eedhur unaebul to “pae”, or ar unborn fuechur jenuraeshunz. Jvst az our ansesturz pasd on dhv problum to vs; it lwks liek we ar going to pas it on to our childrun, grandchildrun, ets.
Dhv speling riform kumuenuty haz bin unaebul to reech kunsensus on hou to deel with dhv problum, and dhae ar unliekly to doo eny betur in dhv fuechur. No guvvurnmunt body haz bin charjd with dhv job, and it wwd probubly be pulitikul soousied for eny polutishun to sugjest it.
If it izn’t dvn on a “gras roots” levul, it woent get dvn. Pvblishurz ar dhv gaetkeepurz. If dhae rifuez to get bihiend dhe efurt, it wil die stilborn. Without ekspoezhur, a simputhetik kumuenuty wil fael to divelup.
Pvblishurz hav litul to gaen bie printing tekst in an aulturnut speling sistum. A novulty pees nou and dhen wil not doo mvch to improov liturusy. Prezunt reedurz wil ubjekt to dheir faevurut artikulz being speld in a noo speling sistum.
Eevun if a pvblishur wishd to suport speling riform uv dhis kiend; which sistum wwd he get bihiend? Whot if hiz chois tvrnd out to be sekund-raet? Dher’z no reezun he kan’t swich if a “betur” sistum shoez vp. In dhv meentiem, he wil hav svrvd to get dhv baul roeling.
At dhis point, a pvrsun iz hard presd to fiend tekst speld in an aulturnut speling sistum.
Svmhou, svm inventud langgwijuz hav found invf inturustud peepul to get a fwthoeld. Kunsidur Esperanto; it’s oevur a hvndrud yirz oeld. It startud without guvvurnmunt sponsurship. Bvt it did hav a big boost by a pvblishur hoo had dhv meenz and dizier to prumoet dhv langgwij.
A dedukaetud groop kwd suksesfuly prumoet a noo speling sistum. So far no prupoezul haz bin aebul to gaen a foloeing. Ekspoezhur iz a big problum.
We kan’t blaem pvblishurz and eduturz for not suporting a speling sistum if nvn hav bin braut to dheir utenchun.