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Well that would get the federal government out of paying ... libraries with books the students wouldn't be unable to read.

It need (and shouldn't) be that drastic.

How else could it work? Either the textbooks need to be changed or the students will learn the old spelling from the old ones. Either they'll still have to learn the old spelling in order to read the books in the library (meaning that they'll need to learn two ways to spell many words) or they'll only learn the new spelling and won't be able to read old books, which will have to be replaced.
Thereby making it look to the general public as though the government can't spell.

Correct spelling will then be what the government says it is.

Riight. Why is that, exactly? The government couldn't get people to stop calling white chocolate "white chocolate" or stop "xeroxing" documents. Why, precisely, do you think people are going to take them seriously when they say that "night" is "correctly" spelled "nite" or "laugh" is really "laff"?
And publishers of dictionaries will go along with it, for it's a great way of generating new sales,

And publishers of everything else will decide whether to publish their newspapers, journals, novels, and such in "official" spelling or the spelling familiar to the vast bulk of their potential customers. I know which side my money's on.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >This isn't good. I've seen good,
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >and it didn't look anything likePalo Alto, CA 94304 >this.

(650)857-7572
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So it's much easier to do things on a small ... that didn't should be expected to bite you in spades.

The US is smaller scale than the Netherlands and Belgium, in the way of language.

In what sense? Number of speakers? Geographic distribution of speakers? Number of dialects with pairwise-mismatched phoneme inventories? Number of students? Number of curriculum-deciding bodies? Number of governments involved in educational policy? Number of publishers? Number of daily newspapers? Number of published works in libraries? Number of books in print?
What's the order of magnitude of the number of books in Dutch that were accessible to native speakers of Dutch who learned before the spelling reform which would be difficult to read for those who learned afterward? How does that situation compare with English?

And what would be the point of reforming English spelling in the US alone? Surely you'd want to include Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa while you're at it. Otherwise you're unilaterally widening the gulf between us and them.
I could see using a "simplified spelling" for young children first learning to read. *If* I wasn't in the process of teaching my five-year-old son to read and seeing how quickly he's picking it up. Unlike the situation with non-native-speakers, the basic rule of "You know all these words; if you sound it out and it doesn't sound like a word you know, try a different rule" works really well. There are some pitfalls he first read "wondered" as "wandered" yesterday, but recognized it the second time he saw it but it manifestly doesn't seem to be all that difficult, and both his set of "chunk pronunciation" rules and sight words are growing daily.

Simplifying the spelling would only be holding him back. (On the other hand, I agree with his teachers that there's no reason at this point to be correcting his spelling when he's writing; that will come after he's a more fluent reader and is writing words he's comfortable reading.)

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >If all else fails, embarrass the
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >industry into doing the rightPalo Alto, CA 94304 >thing.

(650)857-7572
http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
It need (and shouldn't) be that drastic.

How else could it work? Either the textbooks need to be changed or the students will learn the old spelling ... they'll only learn the new spelling and won't be able to read old books, which will have to be replaced.

You mean English students can't read American books because these spell 'color' instead of 'colour'?
Correct spelling will then be what the government says it is.

Riight. Why is that, exactly?

Because by hypothesis, spelling reform is what has been decided upon.
The government couldn't get people to stop calling white chocolate "white chocolate" or stop "xeroxing" documents. Why, precisely, do you think people are going to take them seriously when they say that "night" is "correctly" spelled "nite" or "laugh" is really "laff"?

The government could require use of the new spelling in all official publications, and in education.
Dictionary makers will follow,
for that generates new profits in a saturated market. That does it, in the long run.
And publishers of dictionaries will go along with it, for it's a great way of generating new sales,

And publishers of everything else will decide whether to publish their newspapers, journals, novels, and such in "official" spelling or the spelling familiar to the vast bulk of their potential customers. I know which side my money's on.

You have no idea what 'the customers' will do,
again given the hypothesis that there is sufficient political support for spelling reform in the first place.
You are arguing in circles, assuming what you want to show.

Indeed, if there is no support for spelling reform then there is no support for spelling reform,
Jan
On 02 Dec 2003 14:49:48 -0800, Evan Kirshenbaum
(On the other hand, I agree with his teachers that there's no reason at this point to be correcting his spelling when he's writing; that will come after he's a more fluent reader and is writing words he's comfortable reading.)

Witrh luck, you shouldn't have to; once he's a fluent reader, he'll simply absorb the correct spelling in the process of reading the words.

Katy Jennison
spamtrap: remove number to reply
On 02 Dec 2003 14:49:48 -0800, Evan Kirshenbaum
I could see using a "simplified spelling" for young children first learning to read. *If* I wasn't in the process ... set of "chunk pronunciation" rules and sight words are growing daily. Simplifying the spelling would only be holding him back.

It's been tried, and it did. The "Initial Teaching Alphabet", was a kind of highly simplified IPA inflicted on British schoolchildren for a couple of year in the 1960s. Most of the material on the web is by enthusiasts still trying to promote it, but
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1523708.stm is interesting.

Don Aitken
Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
How else could it work? Either the textbooks need to ... to read old books, which will have to be replaced.

You mean English students can't read American books because these spell 'color' instead of 'colour'?

Let me be more specific. There are two sorts of reforms: the ones not worth doing because the spellings don't actually cause people any real difficulty and the the ones that will have the sort of problems I brought up. If you're only talking about changing trivial things, I really don't see what the point is.
Riight. Why is that, exactly?

Because by hypothesis, spelling reform is what has been decided upon.

And if the government decided that a meter was exactly twelve (current) inches long, we could just substitute "meter" for "foot" and we'd be metric. Or maybe people know better. The government deciding that the way that people do things is "incorrect" doesn't carry all that much weight here.
The government couldn't get people to stop calling white chocolate ... "night" is "correctly" spelled "nite" or "laugh" is really "laff"?

The government could require use of the new spelling in all official publications,

And thereby make itself look foolish.
and in education.[/nq]You keep using the phrase "the government". You do realize that when it comes to educational policy, there ain't no such animal, right? Do you mean the federal government? The State of Califoria? The Mountain View/Whisman school district? Or the principal of Monta Loma Elementary School? All of these (and, of course, the teachers) have a say in what gets taught in Josh's school. At the moment, in California, the most important level for making such decisions is probably the State of California, although such a pronouncement not backed by local school districts wouldn't have a hope in hell of being enforced.

In different states it will fall at different levels. When I was growing up in Chicago, most curriculum decisions were made at the school district or school level. In no place that I know of does the federal government have much of a say. They'd have to really* *really care to pull the sort of strings and engage in the kind of blackmail that would be needed to ram something like this through without the support of the states.
And publishers of everything else will decide whether to publish ... their potential customers. I know which side my money's on.

You have no idea what 'the customers' will do, again given the hypothesis that there is sufficient political support for spelling reform in the first place.

If there's "sufficient political support for spelling reform in the first place", the government needn't do a thing. People will just change the way they spell. Or some group will come up with a plan and people will say "great idea".
What I do see is that there might at some time be political support for some vague notion of spelling reform, sufficient for the federal government to appoint some body to decide how it should work and for the government to mistakenly attempt to enforce that body's recommendations. It's under this sort of a scenario that I can see the government making a fool of itself and people in general largely ignoring it.
You are arguing in circles, assuming what you want to show.

Funny. That's exactly what it sounded as though you were doing by saying "This is the way it would work assuming that people wanted it to work this way". I'll accept that that's not the way you intended it to sound.
Indeed, if there is no support for spelling reform then there is no support for spelling reform,

So how exactly did there come to be widespread political support for spelling reform in the Netherlands and Belgium?

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >Of course, over the first 10^-10
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >seconds and 10^-30 cubicPalo Alto, CA 94304 >centimeters it averages out to

(650)857-7572 > Philip Morrison

http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
(On the other hand, I agree with his teachers that ... more fluent reader and is writing words he's comfortable reading.)

Witrh luck, you shouldn't have to; once he's a fluent reader, he'll simply absorb the correct spelling in the process of reading the words.

I find that for myself that works up to a point. Words that are spelled in differentiable "chunks" are easy, so I almost never confuse "ight" for "ite" or "f" for "ph", for example, but I'm hopeless at deciding between, say, "-or" and "-er" or "-ant" and "-ent". I suspect that this says something about the way the words are actually indexed in my memory.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >Yesterday I washed a single sock.
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >When I opened the door, the machinePalo Alto, CA 94304 >was empty.

(650)857-7572
http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
Well, they could try. It is inconceivable that the political will exists for this.

At present, certainly. The extreme conservatism which is now dominant in the USA may not last forever.

And liberals are all for spelling reform? I don't think so.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
You mean English students can't read American books because these spell 'color' instead of 'colour'?

Let me be more specific. There are two sorts of reforms: the ones not worth doing because the spellings don't ... problems I brought up. If you're only talking about changing trivial things, I really don't see what the point is.

Worthwhile changes will always be somewhere in between. And even quite minor changes (like the recent German one) wil always cause lots of very vocal opposition by some. You would almost think that all of German culture is treatened by changing 'schiffahrt' to schifffahrt. And indeed, changing colour to color is a good example of one of those trivial changes that should never have happened.
Because by hypothesis, spelling reform is what has been decided upon.

And if the government decided that a meter was exactly twelve (current) inches long, we could just substitute "meter" for ... better. The government deciding that the way that people do things is "incorrect" doesn't carry all that much weight here.

Again around in circles.
Why is it that Americans always tend to see 'government' as some evil outside agency doing things 'the people' doesn't want? spelling reform is possible only when there is broad support for it.
The government could require use of the new spelling in all official publications,

And thereby make itself look foolish.

Never noticed the Dutch government looking foolish for that particular reason.
and in education.

You keep using the phrase "the government". You do realize that when it comes to educational policy, there ain't no ... Elementary School? All of these (and, of course, the teachers) have a say in what gets taught in Josh's school.

Look above. It is you who is constantly talking about 'the government'. But no matter how you turn it,
'government' at all levels sees a sizable part of the GNP passing through its hands.
Insisting that (even only poart) of the business associated with that should be conducted using a standard spelling
does provide leverage, in the long run.
At the moment, in California, the most important level for making such decisions is probably the State of California, although ... the kind of blackmail that would be needed to ram something like this through without the support of the states.

This is becoming tiresome. Goverment at all levels must cooperate, on basis of solid political support from below for spelling reform to be possible.
You have no idea what 'the customers' will do, again ... sufficient political support for spelling reform in the first place.

If there's "sufficient political support for spelling reform in the first place", the government needn't do a thing. People will just change the way they spell. Or some group will come up with a plan and people will say "great idea".

It doesn't work that way. Even if consensus about the need for change were to exist it would still be necessary to settle on a standard. Some body should be set up for that.
Under the national academy of science, for example.
What I do see is that there might at some time be political support for some vague notion of spelling ... a scenario that I can see the government making a fool of itself and people in general largely ignoring it.

Requiring everybody who works for the government (directly or indirectly) to write in the standard spelling is by itself already substantial leverage, since the government is by far the largest singele employer. You wouldn't want to educate the kiddies in a way that disqualifies them for a government job, would you?

That is a long story, going back a long way in history. When the Dutch language became standardized it was given (by some overzealous linguists) a grammar
that was inspired by Latin and German.
(and as complicated as present day German still is) It didn't have much support in the spoken language, and only schoolmasters and professional writers
were capable of using it correctly.
So a reform of the grammar,
and the spelling features that depended on it,
became very desirable, and perhaps even unavoidable. So pressure groups arose advocating changes.
(educators and linguists mostly)
This led to several reforms.
The second historical root lies in the 'language struggle' (taalstrijd) in Belgium. The Flemish, in liberating themselves from more than a hundred years of French oppression, saw a standardized language as a necessary weapon in their battles with the 'franskiljons'. They are the driving force for spelling changes that reduce even the appearance of French influence on Dutch.
Nowadays the proces has bogged down, and little support for it remains. But the procedures have become entrenched in bureaucracy, and spelling reforms (like the minor 1996 one), just happen.
The attitude of most is indifference.
Best,
Jan
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