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#26116 - 04/07/01 11:34 AM moron spelling
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10525
Loc: this too shall pass
Rather than being about "modernized spelling" or standardised spelling, this is an exercise (why not exercize? or excercise?) in comparative spelling: how did we come to this sorry state? By now we know that (in the main) we have Johnson to thank for much of present day English orthography and Webster for attempting to formalize(!) the American strain.

Johnson always took the conservative side, opting for "a scholar's reverence for antiquity". Thus he had contradictions like moveable and immovable, deign and disdain; and even in the -our family, interiour and exterior.

Into this random standarisation comes Webster (only fortysome (why not fourty?) years later to be an advocate for phonetic spelling ("those people spell best who do not know how to spell", quoting Franklin) -- but many of his innovations didn't take root, just enough to re-muddle the situation.

Which brings us full circle to the root of the problem, which others touched on in the "modernised spelunking" [hi shanks] thread: it's too late in the game (and the game continues to evolve out of anyone's control).

Inevitably, discussions on modernization become academic, in the word's most pejorative sense. At the end of the day, who would decide? Would we take a vote, being the democratic lot that we are? In a way, the vote has already been cast. It is summarized(!) in the OED.


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#26117 - 04/07/01 05:48 PM Re: moron spelling
BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/02/01
Posts: 76
Loc: New York City
"those people spell best who do not know how to spell", quoting Franklin
Another Franklin -- Delano Roosevelt -- tried to encourage the modernization of spelling, and proposed a number of simplifications. "Nite" is the only one I remember. I don't think any of them caught on.


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#26118 - 04/07/01 05:55 PM Re: moron spelling
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were going to discuss a certain marginally sentient teenage actress, but then I saw that, being the proper type that you are, Spelling (the family name) was spelling (no capital). Alas, no moronic lass to lash.

Modernisation, if that's an appropriate term, does injustice to one's ability to recognise the etymology of a word. I'll sing a verse with Teyvya from Fiddler On the Roof and advocate TRADITION! In an earlier thread I ranted about corporate corruption of English, such as "Rite Aid" being the name of a drug and sundry store when, by rights, it should be a ritual and Sunday sermon sales store.


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#26119 - 04/07/01 06:11 PM Re: moron spelling
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
Some of the Modern spelling advocated by Mr. Wade are part of the reporters' shorthand many have used for years.
2/2 for Mr. & Mrs.
ru for are you
K for thousand (100K for 100,000,)
and just one stroke through the S to make a dollar sign.
Reporters had some really interesting individualist codes for quotes!
wow


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#26120 - 04/08/01 08:17 AM Re: moron spelling
BlanchePatch Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/02/01
Posts: 76
Loc: New York City
Modernisation, if that's an appropriate term, does injustice to one's ability to recognise the etymology of a word.

But it's a series of modernizations, innovations (and errors?) that comprise the etymology of a word, isn't it? A modernization simply enriches the etymology. How's that for a rationalization?

That said, I am really fond of old, vestigal things, whether parts of words, bits of architecture or techniques in a recipe. To me, they can be an enticing mystery and can lead to a new understanding of how the world got the way it is today. And when a word is modernized, it loses those clues.

But pity those of us to whom correct spelling is not second nature. Spell checkers help, but only part of the time. Perhaps we need two versions of English spelling. Clothing and food and architecture have developed distinct modern and formal styles. Would spelling benefit from the same? Or would that relegate the "formal" style to the same rarefied, lonely, and stiff precincts as those of dinner jackets, haute cuisine and drawing rooms?


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#26121 - 04/08/01 12:23 PM Re: moron spelling
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
But pity those of us to whom correct spelling is not second nature.

BP, there was an article in our local newsrag about English speakers having more dyslexia than speakers of any other language. Being of polyglottal origins, English confuses the dickens out of most people, myself included! So, if we can, as you say, trace a word by its spelling, it makes things much easier, IMHO.


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