Spelling reform for English pretty much came to a standstill when the first English dictionary was published. It became “correct spelling”. So, now we find ourselves outcast when we attempt to “color outside the lines”.
Some languages’ spelling systems are updated from time to time. This is easier because those systems only need a little tweaking, whereas English text needs a major overhaul, if the goal is to have a user-friendly spelling system.
Some languages have a “spelling commission” to advise when/what changes should be made. English has no such office. That doesn’t mean English spelling is not governed. Just try to get creative in your schoolwork or on a job application or when you wish to write for the local paper. Dictionaries are held to be the final authority on what constitutes correct spelling. This is not done through any authoritative body by the dictionaries’ publisher. This is because dictionaries are understood to be the standard by which we judge the correctness of a spelling. Dictionaries show us what we are already doing. A new spelling of a word will have to be used by a lot of people, maybe for a long time, before it finds its way into a dictionary. Even then, one spelling may be considered inferior to another. This is no way to implement a spelling reform. The new spelling might be just as bad or worse than the old, when it comes to user-friendliness.
Some languages have more than one spelling system. English does too, if you consider texting, shorthand, and such as Morse Code. But there is only one way to spell in English if you are writing in school, or filling out documents, or writing for publication. It follows the spellings found in the established dictionaries. There are a few words that are given more than one spelling, but if it’s not in the dictionary, forget it.
So what’s wrong with that? Only that it freezes spelling in a form that is super hard to learn. Present English text is one of the hardest spelling systems in the world to learn. English didn’t become a leading language in the world because of its spelling system, but in spite of it. That will eventually change. Such things are not static. At the rate we are “improving” English text, the world will be speaking Esperanto before English spelling is user-friendly. Millions of people are handicapped by present English spelling. That’s not counting those millions/billions yet to be born. Providing a user-friendly spelling system for English would be huge.
Can we make reading and spelling English more user-friendly? Yes. Will we? Doesn’t look like. The English Spelling Society is over a hundred years old, and almost nothing to show for it. Mentur is a result of my looking for a user-friendly spelling system for English and being profoundly dissappointed in what I found. I don’t think you can find a more user-friendly spelling system for English than Mentur. It may look odd to you, but it works great. Some spelling reformers will have some dissagreement, but you can check them out. There are some links to that end on this site.
Speling riform for English prity mvch kaem to a standstil when dhv fvrst Ingglish dikshunery wvz pvblishd. It bikaem “kurekt speling”. So, nou we fiend ourselvz outkast when we utempt to “kvlur outsied dhv lienz”.
Svm langgwijuz’ speling sistumz ar vpdaetud frvm tiem to tiem. Dhis iz eezyur bikauz dhoez sistumz oenly need a litul tweeking, wheraz English tekst needz a maejur oevurhaul, if dhv goel iz to hav a uezur-frendly speling sistum.
Svm langgwijuz hav a “speling kumishun” to udviez when/whot chaenjuz shwd be maed. Ingglish haz no svch ofus. Dhat dvzn’t meen English speling iz not guvvurnd. Jvst trie to get kreativ in yor skoolwurk or on a job aplikaeshun or when yoo wish to riet for dhv loekul paepur. Dikshuneryz ar held to be dhv fienul uthoruty on whot konstutoots kurekt speling. Dhis iz not dvn throo eny uthorutaetiv body by dhv dikshunery’z pvblishur. Dhis iz bikauz dikshuneryz ar undurstwd to be dhv standurd by which we jvj dhv kurektnus uv a speling. Dikshuneryz shoe vs whot we ar aulredy doing. A noo speling uv a wvrd wil hav to be uezd by a lot uv peepul, maebe for a long tiem, bifoer it fiendz its wae into a dikshunery. Eevun dhen, wvn speling may be kunsidurd infireur to unvdhur. Dhis iz no wae to implument a speling riform. Dhv noo speling miet be jvst az bad or wvrs dhan dhe oeld, when it kvmz to uezur-frendlynus.
Svm langgwijuz hav mor dhan wvn speling sistum. Ingglish dvz too, if yoo kunsidur teksting, shorthand, and svch az Morse Code. Bvt dher iz oenly wvn wae to spel in Ingglish if yoo ar wrieting in skool, or filing out dokyumunts, or wrieting for publikaeshun. It foloez dhv spelingz found in dhe establishd dikshuneryz. Dher ar a fue wvrdz dhat ar givun mor dhan wvn speling, bvt if it’s not in dhv dikshunery, forget it.
So whot’s rong with dhat? Oenly dhat it freezuz speling in a form dhat iz soopur hard to lvrn. Prezunt Ingglish tekst iz wvn uv dhv hardust speling sistumz in dhv wvruld to lvrn. Ingglish didn’t bikvm a leeding langgwij in dhv wvruld bikauz uv its speling sistum, bvt in spiet uv it. Dhat wil iventuuly chaenj. Svch thingz ar not statik. At dhv raet we ar “improoving” Ingglish tekst, dhv wvruld wil be speeking Esperanto bifoer Ingglish speling iz uezur-frendly. Milyunz uv peepul ar handykapd by prezunt Ingglish Speling. Dhat’s not kounting dhoez milyunz/bilyunz yet to be born. Pruvieding a uezur-frendly speling sistum for English wwd be huej.
Kan we maek reeding and speling Ingglish mor uezur-frendly? Yes. Wil we? Dvzn’t lwk liek. Dhe English Spelling Society iz oevur a hvndrud yirz oeld, and aulmoest nvthing to shoe for it. Mentur iz a rizvlt uv mie lwking for a uezur-frendly speling sistum for Ingglish and being prufoundly disupointud in whot I found. I doent think yoo kan fiend a mor uezur-frendly speling sistum for Ingglish dhan Mentur. It mae lwk od to yoo, bvt it wvrks graet. Svm speling riformurz wil hav svm disugreemunt, bvt yoo kan chek dhem out. Dher ar svm links to dhat end on dhis siet.