Thursday, April 19, 2007

More "redd"

From the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society:

"When we did this we found that we could make these words regular in most cases by changing only one letter. These you can see in our book called Bridges to Old Spelling. Here is a sample line from that book:

good new spelling: hedd bredd redd (p.t.) dredd reddy.

bad old spelling: head bread read dread ready.

But why, you may ask, use double-d? Why not bred, red, led? For two reasons:

1. If you read red, led, bred, in a sentence they suggest a quite different meaning. In new spelling we save every semantic difference just as we do in old spelling.

2. Our experiments prove that the eye stumbles when it runs across a word with one letter missing. But good reading forbids stumbling, it demands instantaneous comprehension."

TR was an advocate of phonetic spelling:

"During his presidency, Roosevelt tried but did not succeed to advance the cause of simplified spelling. He tried to force government to adopt the system, sending an order to the Public Printer to use the system in all public documents. The order was obeyed, and among the documents thus printed was the President's special message regarding the Panama Canal. The New York World translated the Thanksgiving Day proclamation:

When nearly three centuries ago, the first settlers came to the country which has become this great republic, that confronted not only hardship and privashun, but terrible risk of their lives. . . . The custom has now become national and hallowed by immemorial usage.

The reform annoyed the public, forcing him to rescind the order. Roosevelt's friend, literary critic Brander Matthews, one of the chief advocates of the reform, remonstrated with him for abandoning the effort. Roosevelt replied on December 16: 'I could not by fighting have kept the new spelling in, and it was evidently worse than useless to go into an undignified contest when I was beaten. Do you know that the one word as to which I thought the new spelling was wrong — thru — was more responsible than anything else for our discomfiture?' Next summer Roosevelt was watching a naval review when a launch marked 'Pres Bot' chugged ostentatiously by. The President waved and laughed with delight."

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