Eengleesh Has No Rime or Reeson
By Doug Robinson
Deseret Morning News

It mite seem redikulus, but sum peepol want to change the way we spel.

Thay want to spell werds phonetically — um, fonetiklee.

Members of the American Literacy Council and the Simplified Spelling Society protested the 77th annual spelling bee in Washington this munth. Thair beef: Thair's no rime or reeson to the way we spell. The ALS claims that our spelling sistem — if it can be called that — contributes to illiteracee and dislexea, makes life moor difficult for immigrants, wastes class time and is generally a pain in the darry-air.

So members of theez groops showed up at the national spelling bee with sines saying thay were "thru with through."

Maybe this is just a case of peepol having too much time on their hands.

On the other hand, they have a poynt. Why is it "trouble" instead of "trubble," as in "rubble" and "bubble"? Why don't we count "won-too-three-for" insted of "one-two-three-four"?

Why is it "rule" and not "rool," as in "fool" and "pool"? Why is it "dough" and "doe" instead of "do," which now says "doo," as in "dew." We spell it "doubt," but "clout" isn't "clought" and "out" isn't "ought."

It's funny or phunny. It's enuf to make you laf. We have "air" and "hair," but itz "bare" or "bear" and never "bair." Wat jeenyus desided to put a "u" after "q" instead of a "w" — qwick, not quick. And hoo desided that the one werd that sownds like "q" is spelled "cute"?


It's a mirrakall anyone can spell. Especially when companees have their own way of spelling werds —Tastee Freezes and Lite Beer and such. How do kids ever lern to spell?

Did you know that we are pretty much the only country in the werld that holds spelling bees? Know why? Becoz other countries spell fonetically. Holding a spelling bee anywhere else would be like having a counting contest from 1-10. Too ez.

"Spelling bees are largely an American phenomenon, something that is unique to the English language," Paige Kimball, director of the national spelling bee, told the Chicago Tribune. "We are simply not aware of any long-standing spelling bee programs in other languages."

There are a few spelling bees in other countries — Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia — but — and this is laffable — they use English werds for the contest. In other werds, English spelling is the equivalent of a rubix cube or calqulus.

(Memo to editor: Pleez unplug the spellchecker.)

This is not the ferst time peepol have lawnched a campain for spelling reform. The Chicago Tribune made a cupull of attempts to reform spelling. In 1934, the newzpaper began spelling werds fonetically, respelling about 80 werds on their pages over the years — advertisment, agast, ameba, burocrat, crum, missil, subpena, bazar, hemloc, herse, rime, sherif, staff, glamor, harth, iland, jaz, tarif, trafic, altho, thru, thoro, frate.

The paper reported that reeders preferred the new spellings 3 to 1 and continued the spelling reform campane for 40 years.

As early as 1876, spelling reform groops began to arize in England and America. In the coming decades, Teddy Roosevelt supported the cause, as did Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Charles Darwin, George Bernard Shaw and Lord Tennyson.

Roosevelt ordered the guverment printing offiss to use the Simplified Spelling Boards's 300 proposed spellings, altho Congress didn't approve it. Shaw provided a contest in his will to design an English "phonetic" alfabet.

For his part, Twain seemed to soften on the subject. "Simplified spelling is all right," he said, "but, like chastity, you can carry it too far."

A spokesman for the national spelling bee told The Associated Press that to be a good speller you merely have to know the story behind a word and what language it comes from. "For these kids who understand the root words, who understand the etymology, it's totally logical," he said.

Hope that helps.

(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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