What sort of spelling could be mor user frendly
for everyone - readers, writers, lerners and internationaly?
Cutting out Surplus Letters,
as a first spelling improvement
with exampls, definitions, how spelling is changing,
and a set of experiments
Definition of surplus letters in words: Surplus letters serve no purpose in representing pronunciation
or meaning of words. They are redundant.
Over 56% of literat adults omit one or both surplus letters in ACCOMMODATE, so ACOMODATE makes sense.
1. Exampl of surplus letters
2. How spelling is changing by cutting surplus letters
3. Which letters are surplus? surplus
4. Advantages of cutting surplus letters
5. Cutting surplus letters as a reform
6. Letters that are not omitted
7. The 16 word spelling text
8. Further #exampls
9. Experimental texts. U be the master mind.
10. Fastr spellling
Petition – a trial of help in the literacy crisis. Petition to press, public and spellcheckers – a trial of help to readers and speller. Experiment! Sign the Petition if u agree with it! Tell yr frends.
1. EXAMPLE - THE TOURISTS
Redundant letters are in grey.
It will be marvellous when it is possible for more visitors who were tourists on journeys to learn about research to receive brilliant and exciting catalogues and programmes that explained more fully the exceptionally delicate character of the expensive antiques hidden in the little cupboard that belonged to the mysterious people in the old-fashioned castle. This recommendation would answer their mischievous guests’ curious questions without the double trouble of travelling back to interrogate the guards. They are often stuck if suddenly asked to discourse on difficult matters.
HOW SPELLING IS CHANGING
The trend in dictionaries and in popular spelling is to slowly remove redundant letters. Dictionaries now accept scores of 'cut spellings' as in
demon, omelet, economy error, ether, exotic, horror, medieval, music, program, develop, salad, satin and toxin,
which are increasingly replacing the old spellings of
daemon, omelette, oeconomy, errour, aether, exotick, horrour, mediaeval, musick, programme, develope, sallad and satin.
Other spellings that have had their surplus letters dropped include:
abominable, adrenalin, author, characteristics, control, critic, deposit, domestic, employe, energetic, exorbitant, exotic, fabric, falter, frolic, gelatin, gothic, governor, havoc, iambics, judgment, lanolin, mirror, octet , paltry, paraffin, phenomenon, phlegmatic, physic, politics, public, quartet, quintet, reneg, reostat, rhetoric, rustic, septet, sextet, shallot, sheik, superior, tenor, tepee, teutonic, toxin, traffic,and translator
Which are the surplus letters in words that can be cut?
1. Dubld consonants that do not indicate stress or short vowels. Examples of preferred spellings are RECOMEND
These are a constant
hassle for spellers and lerners - a main cause of 'tears for schoolboys', observed H W Fowler.
2. Silent final 'e' when it misleads pronunciation as
MINUTE, SIEVE, MUSCLE, PEOPLE, DISCIPLINE, PRIVATE, PERMISSIVE,
MINUT, SIV, MUSL, PEPLE, DISIPLIN, PRIVAT, PERMISSIV,
3. Other silent letters when they mislead
pronunciation, as in
HEAD, DEBT, VIGOUR, FOREIGN, TECHNOLOGY, GUARD, QUEUE,
HED, DET, VIGOR, FORIN, TECNOLOGY, GARD, Q, MANUVRE
Advantages of cutting surplus letrs from words
- Cutting waste. Up to 15% of writing costs time,
energy, paper, money and hassl.
- Removes many traps for learners and spellers 'when
in dout, leave it out'.
- Follows current trends to streamlining in English
- Modern tecnological and business trends towards
streamlining in general are also appearing in spelling, as shown
in 'Advertising spellings' and
trends in spelling change such as DEVELOP and PROGRAM replacing
DEVELOPE and PROGRAMME.
- Useful for compact hedlines, labels, email subject
titles where space is tight.
- Empirical reserch backing.
Experimentl reserch (1972, 1980, 1982,1986, 1989, 1991)
shows that although normal reading is often slowed when letters in text are changed, omission of surplus letters may be barely noticed or
not at all. The most acceptable introduction to spelling reform
indicated by experimental research is to clear clutter from
present spelling by omitting useless letters from words (Yule
1991). Surplus letters are least missd when cut from towards the
end of words and sentences and from less frequent words, so these
are the best sites to initiate omissions and to introduce readers
to spelling reform.
SurplusCut spelling takes account of cognitiv and educationl
reserch into children's 'natural spelling', how beginners lern
literacy (which is not necessarily how they are taught), adult
reading processes and spelling preferences, and popular trends
- A practical place to start reform.
Omitting letrs barely disrupts the appearance of text,
unlike changing words by substituting or adding more letters. It
is therefore the most practicabl introduction to improving English
spelling. The first steps in any reform are the most dificult.
Public awareness of the benefits of spelling change is an
essential first step. Once useful changes can start, they can
accelerate and snowball, and conventional membrs of the public
start to conform to the new fashion. The wedge principl for reform
is that once change begins in anything formerly monolithic, and is
successful, further changes can be rapid.
In English spelling, letter-deletions are an easy start, that
can then be followd later by the letter-changes that are necessary
for a fully logicl, user-frendly English spelling system. During
transition, while surplus-cut spellings run as alternatives to
present spellings, pragmatism as well as writers' personal
imperfections make temporary inconsistencies unavoidabl, as in
these pages. But once users discover the benefits of improved
spelling, they will want to go furthr themselvs to reduce TO's
inconsistencies. After the first step, movement has begun.
Note: Letters that are not
Letters aare not omitted where this could be disruptiv. Omission in each situation is according
to 'what 'the market will bear' .Absolute logical consistency in
streamlining spelling is not required where it might confuse
lerners and users who are familiar with present spelling.
Unstressd (schwa) vowels are not omitd where readers may be
confused by their omission, and so, ERROR not ERR, NATURALLY not
NATRLY, PSALM not SAM, CALF not CAF, WHO not HO. In this Surplus
Cut spellilng differs from the rigorus and radical development of
its principls in Christopher Upward's Cut Spelling (1996).
The 16-word spelling test
Hardly anyone can replace all the missing letters correctly in the sixteen words below - because they are surplus and not needed.
acomodate . . . . . . . . .
miniture . . . . . . . . . .
remembrd . . . . . . . . .
disapoint . . . . . . . . .
mischivus . . . . . . . . .
sovren . . . . . . . . . . .
iliterat . . . . . . . . . .
ocasion . . . . . . . .
exessiv . . . . . .
professr . . . . . .
unparaleld . . . .
gardian . . . . . . .
psycology . . . . .
disiplin . . . . . . . .
recomend . . . . . . .
tecnicly . . . . .
F rather than PH and J rather than G or DG to spell /dj)
are changes that are becoming popular, and can be brought into
mainstream spelling and made consistent. Spellings such as
TELEFON, JAIL, JELL are becoming familiar thru international
spellings and dictionary alternativs.
Further exampls of spelling without redundant
This and following sections are written with moderat
cutting of surplus letters and F replacing PH, to familiarise
readers with an unobtrusiv introduction to this reform by shedding
Trend-setters may like to go further in their personal and email
correspondence, as in the exampl below:
1. EXAMPLE - THE TOURISTS
In this example, surplus letters are in gray, and letters that can mislead are in red
It would be marvellous if it were possible for more visitors who were tourists on journeys to learn about research to receive brilliant and exciting catalogues and programmes that explained more fully the exceptionally delicate character of the expensive antiques hidden in the little cupboard that belonged to the mysterious people in the old-fashioned castle. This recommendation would answer their mischievous guests’ curious questions without the double trouble of travelling back to interrogate the guards. They are often stuck if suddenly asked to discourse on difficult matters.
2. EXPERIMENTAL TEXTS
You be the master mind ! A.
Some spellings in English have no good reason for being difficult. They are simply out-of-date. Slash all the words below which have spellings that you think are silly - like this: pr/tty
It would be marvellous if it were possible for more visitors who were tourists on journeys to learn about research to receive brilliant and exciting catalogues and programmes that explained more fully the exceptionally delicate character of the expensive antiques hidden at the back of the little cupboard that belonged to the mysterious people in the old-fashioned castle. This recommendation would answer their mischievous guests’ curious questions without the double trouble of travelling back to interrogate the guards. They are often stuck if suddenly asked to discourse on difficult matters.
You be the master mind ! B.
In the passage below, letters have been omitted if they are not really needed to show the meaning or pronunciation of words. Suppose you could decide what the spelling should be like. Slash the places where you think letters really need to be put back - like this - autum/
It woud be marvelus if it wer posibl for mor visitrs who wer turists on jurnys to lern about reserch to receve briliant and exciting catalogs and programs that explaind mor fuly the exeptionly delicat caractr of the expensiv antiqes hidn at th bak of th litl cubord that belongd to th mysterius pepl in the old-fashond castl. This recomendation wud ansr their mischivous gests’ curius qestions without th dubl trubl of traveling bak to interrogate th gards. They ar oftn stuk if sudnly askd to discorse on dificult matrs.
You be the master mind ! C.
Slash all the places where the spelling is incorrect, like this: il/iterat/
It would be marvelous if it were posibl for more visitrs who wer tourists on journys to learn about reserch to receive brilliant and exciting catalogs and programs that explaind more fuly the exeptionly delicat charactr of the expensiv antiqes hiddn at the back of the littl cupbord that belongd to the mysterius peopl in the old-fashiond castl. This recomendation woud anser their mischievous gests’ curious questions without the dubl troubl of traveling back to interrogate the gards. They are oftn stuck if sudnly askd to discorse on dificult matters.
2. Further steps for fastr Surplus Cut spelling
i. Cut silent letrs when sylabic l, m, n, r, ng can replace
them, as in letr, remarkabl
ii. Cut the barely-sounded vowels (shwas) which cause such problems
for spelrs, as in observatry, difrent.
iii. Sound /f/ is speld with F and soft g with J.
Running text is 6.7% shortr than present spelling. 68% of words are
| Present Spelling
||Omitting surplus letrs
It was on the first day of the new year
that the announcement was made, almost simultaneously from
three observatories, that the motion of the planet Neptune,
the outer-most of all the planets that wheel about the Sun,
had become very erratic. A retardation in its velocity had
been suspected in December. Then a faint, remote speck of
light was discovered in the region of the perturbed planet.
At first this did not cause any very great excitement.
Scientific people, however, found the inteligence remarkable
enough, even before it became known that the new body was
rapidly growing larger and brighter, and that its motion was
quite different from the ordrly progress of the
It was on th first day of th new year
that th anouncement was made, almost simultaneusly from
three observatries, that th motion of th planet Neptune, th
outr-most of all th planets that wheel about th Sun, had
becom very eratic. A retardation in its velocity had been
suspectd in Decembr. Then a faint, remote spek of light was
discovrd in th rejion of th perturbd planet. At first this
did not cause any very great exitement. Sientific peple,
howevr, found th intelijence remarkabl enuf, even befor it
became known that th new body was rapidly growing larjr and
brightr, and that its motion was quite difrent from th
ordrly progress of th planets.
Noted that in experiments, the only comon
objection to Surplus-Cut is against TH for THE - and THE is the
most common word in English text.
That is, the more familiar a spelling, the more that any change in
it may be resisted.
When changes become familiar, they in turn may become
Or is it that the text appears visualy too compact without 'the'
as a spacer?
If so, is this a temporary or a permanent discomfort?
The Story of the Beautiful Princess in
- moderat cutting of surplus letrs
Once upon a time,
the beautiful dauter of a great magician wantd mor perls
to put among her tresures. "Look thru the centr of the
moon when it is blu," said her mother in anser to her
question. "U might find yr hart's desire." The princess
laughd becaus she douted these words. Insted, she used
her imagination, and went into the fotografy business,
and took pictures of the lunar sfere in color."I perceve
most certinly that it is almost wholly white," she
thought. She also found that she cud make enough money in
eit months to buy herself two lovely, huge, new jewels
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