Because we are still bearing some of the scars of our brief skirmish with sophomore-year English classes, it is natural that we should be enchanted by Mr. George Bernard Shaw's campaign for a simplified alphabet.
Obviously, as Mr. Shaw points out, English spelling is in much need of a general overhauling and streamlining. However, our own resistance to any changes requiring a large expenditure of mental effort in the near future would cause us to view with some apprehension the possibility of some day receiving a morning paper printed in (to us) Greek.
Our own plan would achieve the same end as the legislation proposed by Mr. Shaw, but in a less shocking manner, as it consists merely of an acceleration of the normal processes by which the language is continually modernized.
As a catalytic agent, we would suggest that a National Easy Language Week be proclaimed, which the President could inaugurate by webcast, outlining some shortcut to concentrate on during the week, and to be adopted during the ensuing year. All school children would be given a holiday, the lost time being the equivalent of that gained by the spelling shortcut.
In 2004, for example, we would urge the elimination of the soft "c", for which we would substitute "s". Sertainly, such an improvement would be selebrated in all sivic-minded sircles as being suffisiently worth the trouble, and students in all sities in the land would be reseptive toward any change which eliminated the need the learn the differense between the two letters.
In 2005, sinse only the hard "c" would be left, it would be possible to substitute "k" for it, both letters being pronounsed identikally. Imagine how greatly only two years of this prosess would klarify the konfusion in the minds of students. Already we would have eliminated an entire letter from the alphabet. Typefases, input devises and voise rekognition systems kould all be built with one less letter, and all the effort and materials devoted to the making of "c"'s kould be turned toward raising the national standard of living.
In the fase of so many notable improvements, it is easy to foresee that by 2006, "National Easy Language Week" would be a pronounsed suksess. All skhool shildren would be looking forward with konsiderable exsitement to the holiday, and in a blaze of national publisity it would be announsed that the double konsonant "ph" no longer existed, and that the sound would henseforth be written as an "f" in all words. This would make sush words as "fonograf" twenty persent shorter in print.
By 2007, publik interest in a fonetik alfabet kan be expekted to inkrease to sutsh a point that a more radikal step forward kan be taken without fear or undue kritisism. We would therefore urge the elimination of al unesesary double leters, whish, although quite harmles, have always ben a nuisanse in the language and an obvious deterent to akurate speling. Try it yourself in the next leter you write, and se if both writing and reading are not fasilitated.
With so mutsh progres already made, it might be posible in 2008 to delve further into the posibilities of fonetik speling. After due konsideration of the reseption aforded the previous steps, it should be expedient by this time to spel al difthongs fonetikaly. Most students do not realize that the long "i" is pronounsed as two letters "ai" - as it is writen in "aisle" - and that the long "a" in "fate" is in reality the difthong "ei", as in "rein". Although perhaps not imediately aparent, the saving in taime and efort wil be tremendous when we leiter elimineite the sailent "e", as maid posibl by this last scheinge.
For, as is wel known, the horibl mes of "e's" apearing in our writen languag is kaused prinsipaly bai the present nesesity of indikeiting whether a vowel is long or short. Therefor, in 2009, we would simply elimineit al sailent "e's", and kontinu to read and wrait merily along as though we wer in a post-atomik ag of edukation.
In 2010, we would urg a greit step forward. Sins bai this taim it would hav ben four years sins anywun had used the leter "c", we would sugest that the "National Easy Languag Wek" be devoted to th substitution of "ek" for th leter "x" - whitsh would instead b used in pleis of "th". To be sur, it would tak som taim befor peopl would bekom akustomed to reading xeir websaits and boks wix sentenses sutch as, "Xeodor xaught he had xre xousand xistles xrust xrough xe xik of his xumb." Wixin th year, however, you kan be sur we wil katsh on.
In xe seim maner, bai meiking eatsh leter hav its own sound and xat sound only, we kould shorten xe languag stil mor. In 2011, we would elimineit xe "y" - but in 2012, we kould us xe leter to indikeit xe "sh" sound, xerbai klarifaiing words lik "yugar" and "yur", as wel as redusing bai wun mor leter al words laik "yut", "yor", and so forx. Xink, xen, of al xe benefits to be geind bai xe distinkyen whity wil xen be meid betwen in words laik "oyean", "mayin", "reiyial", "tiyu" and "atenyon". Al suty divers weis of wraiting wun sound would no longer eksist - and whenever wun kaim akros a "y" sound, wun yould know exaktli what to wrait.
Kontinuing xis proses, jear after jear, we would evenyuali hav a reali sensibl writen languag. Bai 2015, we ventyur tu sei xer wud bi no mor uv xez teribli trublsum difikultiz, wix no tu leters uzd to indikeit xe seim noiz, and laikwaiz no tu noizez riten wix xe seim leter. Evin Mr. Yaw, wi beliv, wud bi hapi in xe noleg xat hiz drimz fainali keim tru.
This page is essentially a mirror of http://www.grrr.net/spelling.html.
This article is a slightly modified version (updated by grrr.net) of an essay attributed to Isacc Asimov.
The essay was reportedly published around 1959 in The Golden Years of Science Fiction, 4th Series (I have not confirmed this myself).