According to Kate, If we don't make our spellings "phonics friendly" we will eventually lose phonics entirely.
SB: Language continues to change so 200 years from now there will be even fewer overlaps between the spoken and written word ...unless spelling is updated. Spelling reform means to realign the written and spoken word.
Spelling reform could be far short of a dictionary key. By one measure English is 7% phonemic compared to Spanish (85% phonemic). By simply dropping superfluous letters, English could come close to being 40% phonemic. A basic codes approach would respell only those words that did not conform to the 4 most frequent spelling patterns. If a spelling pattern was used over 10% of the time in the dictionary, it would not be dropped. Currently English has about 14-15 ways of spelling a phoneme. Reducing this to an average of 4 ways would be a significant improvement in regularity.
The reason for reform is to reduce the time it takes for illiterates to become literate.
Italians could still be writing Latin and speaking their regional dialect. The only downside would be that this divergent code would take over ten times as long to learn.
The Italian writers supported reform because it gave their works a much larger audience. It takes much longer to learn a written code for a language or dialect that you do not speak. It only takes 3 months (2 hrs.per day) to teach someone to read a highly phonemic code that accurately records the language you speak. Laubach teachers could teach illiterates to read a newspaper in 95% of the 30 written languages they worked with in 3 months. They were not that efficient when it came to teaching French or English.
Chris: Kate Gladstone, a handwriting expert, fears that if we don't sooner or later make our spellings "phonics friendly" (as most other phonics using nations and languages have done ) we will eventually lose phonics entirely.
KATE: Folks - If memory serves, it takes kids in Finland or Italy or Russia
about 4 - 5 months to learn to read. Then they can read anything accurately, they can spell anything accurately, and they can understand anything written down that they'd understand if they heard it spoken.
In our own language (with its more complex spelling) even with the best teaching it takes quite a bit longer than 4 - 5 months to get kids to that point.
In places like China (where the form of the written language prevents applying phonics), from what I hear it takes 10 years to get people that far - IF they ever get that far.
Most of us here (as I recall) agree that, the more easily/simply phonics applies to a written language, the more quickly a person taught with phonics will become full master of that written language. Most of us here also know that applying phonics to English has become harder and harder over time: as sounds and sound-sequences have changed over time, the task of applying the code to those sounds and sound-sequences has become more and more complex.
For instance, 600 - 700 years ago the "a" in "sane" stood for the same vowel-sound as the "a" in "sanity"- the "i" in "sign" stood for the same vowel-sound as the "i" in "signature," - the "k" and the "gh" in "knight" and similar words stood for actual consonant sounds - and so on and so forth. Now that people talk quite differently, we have a lot more to learn in order to decode and spell "sane/sanity," "sign/signature," "knight/knee/through," etc.
The system has become more complex - phonics teaching has therefore also had to become more complex and far more time-consuming than in the "olden days," so that we can continue to ensure that children learning phonics continue to learn ALL of phonics, continue to master ALL of the encoding/decoding system, however complex both time and chance have made it. Right?
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According to Kate, If we don't make our spellings "phonics friendly" we will eventually lose phonics entirely. SB: Language continues ... of phonics, continue to master ALL of the encoding/decoding system, however complex both time and chance have made it. Right?

Wrong. This kind of drivel arises about once every ten years when we suddenly have a 'crisis' in reading standards or, more to the point, the Government of the day needs to be doing something about education! There is no reliable evidence at all to suggest that our language is any more difficult to learn in spoken or written form nor that phonics is the way to teach reading. There will always be good readers and poor readers just as there will always be good teachers and poor teachers. The best readers in fact bypass method altogether, recognising intuitively that there is almost no direct relation between written and spoken language as 'codes', and certainly are not aided by phonics.
According to Kate, If we don't make our spellings "phonics ... however complex both time and chance have made it. Right?

Wrong. This kind of drivel arises about once every ten years when we suddenly have a 'crisis' in reading standards ... there is almost no direct relation between written and spoken language as 'codes', and certainly are not aided by phonics.

Moreover, a fully phonetic language is a crutch for those weak-minded buffoons incapable of remembering that "sacrilegious" isn't spelled like "religious." It would destroy the variety and intricacy of our language, one steeped in history and built from a patchwork of foreign tongues.
Much the same way today's public speakers butcher the spoken word, so would phonetics butcher the written one.
Our language is being steadily perverted by cell phone text messaging and instant messaging as it is. We certainly don't need zealous phonetics activists further diluting its integrity.

Aaron
http://www.fisheyegallery.com
http://www.singleservingphoto.com
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Moreover, a fully phonetic language is a crutch for those weak-minded buffoons incapable of remembering that "sacrilegious" isn't spelled like "religious."

Would you complain if the language were hypothetically phonetic, but everyone was taught that the word's roots are found by splitting it sacri-legious rather than sac-religious(sic)?

Is it the state of being phonetic that you dislike, or the change towards being phonetic that riles you?
It would destroy the variety and intricacy of our language, one steeped in history and built from a patchwork of ... phone text messaging and instant messaging as it is. We certainly don't need zealous phonetics activists further diluting its integrity.

I'm not sure English, any variety, has ever had anything which might be called 'integrity'. It's always been a scruffy mongrel. Some have been able to get it to perform clever tricks occasionally.

However, I do agree with your disdain for messagingisms.

Phil

"Home taping is killing big business profits. We left this side blank so you can help." Dead Kennedys, written upon the B-side of tapes of /In God We Trust, Inc./.
According to Kate, If we don't make our spellings "phonics ... reduce the time it takes for illiterates to become literate.

(snip)
Wrong. This kind of drivel arises about once every ten years when we suddenly have a 'crisis' in reading standards ... reliable evidence at all to suggest that our language is any more difficult to learn in spoken or written form

True, more or less.
nor that phonics is the way to teach reading.

False, more or less.
There will always be good readers and poor readers just as there will always be good teachers and poor teachers.

Faulty logic.
The best readers in fact bypass method altogether, recognising intuitively that there is almost no direct relation between written and spoken language as 'codes', and certainly are not aided by phonics.

Do you have any evidence to support those claims?
From what I have seen and read, I'd claim the following:
1. Phonics is probably the best available method for teaching children toread.

2. The irregularities of Written English do not prevent the use of phonics.
3. Whatever method is used, intensive remedial work rapidly increases achild's reading age.

4. Most dyslexia is simply the result of a poor education and/or upbringing.

1&2: http://www.ruthmiskinliteracy.com /
http://www.syntheticphonics.com /
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4584491.stm http://www.dfes.gov.uk/highlights/article12.shtml
3&4: http://www.everychildareader.org/
http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/childrensservices/reading/default.asp http://www.channel4.com/community/showcards/D/Dispatches - Dyslexia.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/parents/story/0,,1564251,00.html

Adrian
Academically speaking, English is a derivative language and thus can lay no claim to the same historical and classical integrity that a language such as Italian can. At the same time (and perhaps this is what you meant by "clever tricks"), reading speeches and letters written by Abraham Lincoln (himself home schooled, to thicken the soup we're brewing), or by Thomas Jefferson, must cause a modern English-speaker to wonder how we've slipped so far.

Flip to C-SPAN on any day of the week and you will witness the verbal fumblings of our leaders as they attempt to glue words together that produce even the most superficial meanings. Heaven forbid they be called upon to express any loftier ideas, as their meager vocabularies and awkward turns of phrase would surely fail them.

There was a time not so long ago when writing and oration were not merely tools for the expression of thought but also art forms, crafts in and of themselves. It seems that those goals have been eschewed for direct, utilitarian, and naked expression. There is no inspiration or chilling imagery in these words, only the occasional weakly constructed metaphor.
It is shameful.

Aaron
http://www.fisheyegallery.com
http://www.singleservingphoto.com
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I'm not sure English, any variety, has ever had anything ... been able to get it to perform clever tricks occasionally.

There was a time not so long ago when writing and oration were not merely tools for the expression of ... expression. There is no inspiration or chilling imagery in these words, only the occasional weakly constructed metaphor. It is shameful.

Worse than that - its like a thing that went all crap.

Phil

"Home taping is killing big business profits. We left this side blank so you can help." Dead Kennedys, written upon the B-side of tapes of /In God We Trust, Inc./.
(snip)

I need no edivecne ohetr tahn the fcat taht you are radenig tihs snetcnee wtih no oviuobs lsos of fcltaiiy to povre taht pnihocs pyals no prat in a sllkied radeer's pctarcie of the art of rineadg, and taht iertptrenig wettrin wrdos is an eritnely dfifrnet slikl to irtninetrepg skoepn wrods!
According to Kate, If we don't make our spellings "phonics friendly" we will eventually lose phonics entirely. Right?

No. Phonetic spelling has been propsed, and failed, for generations. English is the "lingua franka" for no other reason than the Internet. One thrid of all non-native Engish speakers are trying to learn English.
Anyone who undertakes to learn a foreign language, other than English, with no intent to use it in the near future is wasting his time.

Hey, don't blame me! Just the facts.
GFH
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