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13 February 2014 @ 06:37 am
I put a spell on you  
We used to hear a lot about simplified spelling. Why don't we just spell words phonetically, the way they sound? Well, for two good reasons:

1. That would cover up the subtle relationships in the derivation of words.

2. One person's clear, obvious phonetic spelling is another person's funny dialect writing.

Computers have solved that problem.

Thanx to Chronicle
fjmfjm on February 13th, 2014 12:04 pm (UTC)
1. is, however, often wrong, thanks to a preference for French, Greek and Latin antecedents in the 17th century.


ie late Middle English: from Old French cisoires, from late Latin cisoria, plural of cisorium ‘cutting instrument’, from cis-, variant of caes-, stem of caedere ‘to cut’. The spelling with sc- (16th cent.) was by association with the Latin stem sciss- ‘cut’.

is wrong.

The link is to scythe.

scythe (n.)
Old English siðe, sigði, from Proto-Germanic *segithoz (cf. Middle Low German segede, Middle Dutch sichte, Old High German segensa, German Sense), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)). The sc- spelling crept in early 15c., from influence of Latin scissor "carver, cutter" and scindere "to cut." Cf. French scier "saw," a false spelling from sier
Maia Cmaiac on February 13th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
I never see the argument against simplified spelling that immediately occurs to me: It would make previously published books as inaccessible to future readers as The Canterbury Tales is to (most of) us. Unless an author was popular or "important" enough to be transcribed into simplified spelling and republished, their works would be lost to future generations.
El Coyote Gordo: thumbsupergee on February 13th, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
That too.
Dan Blumtool_of_satan on February 13th, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC)
I am told that this has happened to Dutch; there was a spelling reform sometime in the 20th century (I forget the details, obviously) which made all earlier Dutch books very hard to read.
et in Arcadia egoboo: Sacred Chaoapostle_of_eris on February 13th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, "phonetic" only works if you can mimic the accent of the writer . . .
eub on February 14th, 2014 10:16 am (UTC)
Right now writers use nonstandard spellings that don't change the standard pronunciation, like spelling /was/ as "wuz", when they want to signal that they look down on a person but can't be bothered to identify a reason why. With phonetic spelling maybe this obnoxious practice could no longer exist!

El Coyote Gordo: buckysupergee on February 15th, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
That would be burning down the house to roast the pig.