Sunday, 25 April 2010


George Bernard Shaw once made a joke that you could spell fish as "ghoti" — using the "gh" from enough, the "o" from women, and the "ti" from motion. But he was just being silly, wasn't he?

Why are there, for example, twelve different ways to spell the sound "ee", (here just five of them: "seem", "clean", "ski", "key", "people" and "quay") and four different ways to spell the "sh" sound (as in "shut", "motion", "malicious" and "mission") and four to spell the "i" sound ("sit", "system", "women" and "pretty")? Wouldn't one for each be enough? (And why does "enough" end with a "gh" when we say "f"?)

"Spelling reform
A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter c would be dropped to be replased either by k or s, and likewise x would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later.
Year 2 might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish y replasing it with i and Iear 4 might fiks the g/j anomali wonse and for all.
Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.
Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez c, y and x — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplais ch, sh, and th rispektivli.
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld." Mark Twain

And a similar story:

"The European Commission have just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty"s government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish". - In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump for joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter. - There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter. - In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away. - By the 4th year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". - During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz year, ve vil hav a realy sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand each ozer ZE DREAM VIL FINALI KUM TRU! "

There is no transcription in the German dictionary, no transcription in the Spanish dictionary, no transcription in the Dutch dictionary... and the transcription in the English dictionary.
Cuz there are rules of pronunciation in German, rules of pronunciation in Spanish, rules of pronunciation in Dutch, and there is transcription in the English dictionary.

Yes, im studing. Digging deep into my books, trying to learn one language and do not forget another.