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Spellbound: Experimenting with Alternative English Orthography

Journal: Athens Journal of Philology (Vol.2, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 49-62

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I doubt anybody who wanted to be taken seriously would claim that our orthography is simple, but few realize the true depth of its notorious incoherence. Fewer still have any more than the vaguest understanding of how it became the creature it is today. As many already know, English vocabulary is an untidy mix of primarily Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, Norman French, Latin, and classical Greek roots. Where its spelling has mainly failed is in regularly integrating the written forms of all those borrowings so that they conformed to a cohesive Anglo-Saxon whole. Many balk at the notion of spelling reform, arguing against the “dumbing-down” of a long-hallowed orthodoxy that is somehow beyond reproach, but it may now be time to seriously question that characterization and explore just what English orthography could be if it were ever streamlined and renovated. I hope to plant the seeds for such exploration by presenting a detailed overview of an experimental orthography for modern English, one of several complete overhauls that have been proposed in recent years.

Last modified: 2015-07-01 20:11:50