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Thus spake John Holmes:
So what? Those who advocate spelling reform of some kind, ... grammar) reform has indeed been done on a major scale.

Do you mean Indonesian?

He's talking about Norwegian.

Simon R. Hughes
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.

It doesn't follow party lines,
or the traditional left-right distinction.
However, a good conservative is always against,
Jan
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Thus spake J. J. Lodder:
And liberals are all for spelling reform? I don't think so.

It doesn't follow party lines, or the traditional left-right distinction. However, a good conservative is always against,

You are confusing political conservatives with linguistic.
Simon R. Hughes
What you mean "we," paleface?

Paleface? I for one, would vote that word out all together! I find it extremely politically incorrect. :0
Have you thought about what it takes for a reform to take hold? Have you ever noticed that some new things are mocked and resisted, while others are embraced eagerly? Have you ever thought about those mechanisms?

The reforms that are embraced are generally the ones that make sense.
Trying to come up with spelling reform that would be agreeable to the UK as well as the US (not to mention other English-speaking countries) seems way more impossible than focussing on the US alone. (Which is unlikely enough.)

There's something wrong with the phrase "more impossible"... I don't think either way is impossible. A really radical spelling change is probably not practical, though. We probably need a conservative approach to get anything accomplished. Oh, there I go using "we" again. I guess I mean "we English-speakers" or maybe just "we who are reading this"?
I agree with the idea of unified reforms for all English-speakers in the world. One of the goals of reform should be easier communication between anyone who uses English.
Since there seem to be several native Dutch speakers in this thread, I'd be interested in an opinion on the ... about the history, don't read really old literature, and don't have a feel for obsolete grammatical forms. True or false?

While we're waiting for native speakers to either confess they don't know much as they'd like, or brag that they know more than average, may I ask how we are to determine what it means to "know much"? In comparison to whom? Parents and grandparents? Or residents of other countries?
How do, say, Australians do with knowing history, reading really old literature, and having a feel for obsolete grammatical forms? Which Australians? How do you know?
I've also been told that there's starting to be a communications gap between the young and old in some parts of Belgium, as the schools are training children out of using the dialect of their own region. Again, true or false?

And we separate this from a more broad-based generation gap how, exactly?
Not easy questions, Peter. I think your hypothesis is that spelling reform causes a cultural divide, and it may be true, but I don't know how you show it.

Best Donna Richoux
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Sure, a language treaty between at least the US and ... same spelling is a precondition for any useful reform proposal.

Precondition? Well, that will kill it right there. You're not going to get people in the US to agree to ... (not to mention other English-speaking countries) seems way more impossible than focussing on the US alone. (Which is unlikely enough.)

There are two useful features of current English spelling which a reform would lose, and which I think are worth far more than a reform would gain. The first is that English spelling contains fossil clues to etymology which help us to understand unusual or novel words. The second is that changing spelling would make the writing of past centuries less accessible.

Chris Malcolm (Email Removed) +44 (0)131 651 3445 DoD #205 IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK (http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/)
Let me be more specific. There are two sorts of ... 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 ... indeed, changing colour to color is a good example of one of those trivial changes that should never have happened.

But having happened does nobody any harm. Unfamiliar vocabulary and idiom is far more of an impediment to reading cross-pond writing than spelling or punctuation differences are.
And if the government decided that a meter was exactly ... 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?[/nq]Because each of us is outvoted three hundred million to one. And each of our states is outvoted forty-nine to one. Because the people who really care about getting a regulation passed (or the form it takes) are typically willing to spend considerably more time, effort, and money to get it passed than those of us merely affected by it. Because the fact that the federal government has had to and has been willing to use the threat of withdrawl of funding to force states to enact legislation shows that there is a history of mandating things in the face of broad (if local for values of "local" that include "substantially bigger than many countries") opposition.

And because the government has, in fact, tried to mandate some really idiotic and poorly-thought-out things, backed by what was perceived as popular support, which it later realized (due to widespread popular opposition) it should repeal.
spelling reform is possible only when there is broad support for it.

When the federal government mandated that food quantities be listed in metric units and liquor be sold only in round metric quantities, it did so in spite of a lack of any sort of "broad support". If spelling reform is ever pushed seriously in the federal government here, that's the way it will happen.
And thereby make itself look foolish.

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

Trust me. The American government would be perceived as foolish if its documents appeared to the general public tobe "misspelled" in any significant manner. If it merely adopted British spellings (although why it should go that way rather than the other, I have no idea), the spellings would be familiar enough that it would merely look pretentious.
You keep using the phrase "the government". You do realize ... have a say in what gets taught in Josh's school.

Look above. It is you who is constantly talking about 'the government'.

I didn't bring it up. You were the one who said that the government could simply mandate it and that would make it "correct".
But no matter how you turn it, 'government' at all levels sees a sizable part of the GNP passing through ... of the business associated with that should be conducted using a standard spelling does provide leverage, in the long run.

That's assuming that there is a long run. Without some miraculous "broad popular support" for the specifics of the changes (assuming which, the government need do nothing), it wouldn't have one.
At the moment, in California, the most important level for ... 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.

Alright. So let's just say that we agree that it's an impossibility in the US and be done with it.
If there's "sufficient political support for spelling reform in the ... 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.

Why? Was there some body that needed to decide that from now on we'd change "catalogue" to "catalog"? Or "draught" to "draft"? Or "oeconomy" to "economy"? Of course not. Certain spellings became fashionable for one reason or another, publishing houses gradually picked up the new spellings and stopped using the old ones, which never completely die out. If there was "consensus about the need for change", we'd see a lot more of that, with different publishers (and, now, websites) using different rules for a very short time, while people said "That one's silly, stop it; That one makes sense, I'll use it." Until you eventually wound up with a new de facto standard (or three).
Some body should be set up for that. Under the national academy of science, for example.

We're still in the conditional, right? This is exactly what I meant, though, when I said
What I do see is that there might at some ... fool of itself and people in general largely ignoring it.

Being convinced that "English spelling is too chaotic; we should simplify it" is simple. Accepting a particular proposal is a whole 'nother matter.
Requiring everybody who works for the government (directly or indirectly) to write in the standard spelling is by itself already ... employer. You wouldn't want to educate the kiddies in a way that disqualifies them for a government job, would you?

Of course not, but kids don't get jobs from the government, so I'd probably leave it to high school and spend a couple of weeks on "silly government spelling". ("They spell 'laugh' as 'laff'.")

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1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 > If they're doing something youPalo Alto, CA 94304 > don't understand, it's either an

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Thus spake John Holmes:

Do you mean Indonesian?

He's talking about Norwegian.

Does Turkish count? They changed the whole writing system. Of course it could be argued that the institution of Simplified Chinese was the only reform on a truly "major" scale. Of course for the people instituting that reform, the fact that newly educated people would have a hard time reading books printed before the reform wasn't exactly seen as a bad thing. (We'll print a new edition of anything you need to read.)

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >I like giving talks to industry,
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >because one of the things that I'vePalo Alto, CA 94304 >found is that you really can't
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
There are two useful features of current English spelling which a reform would lose, and which I think are worth ... understand unusual or novel words. The second is that changing spelling would make the writing of past centuries less accessible.

There are a few other features that would be painful to lose. The first is that the spelling indicates morphology even when the pronunciation changes. For example, in "walked", "pinned", and "minded", the "-ed" is pronounced differently in each, but it's read transparently as "past tense". Second, the current spelling emphasizes the relation of words that are derived from one another, even though the spelling changes, e.g., "electric", "electricity", "electrician".
Third, and perhaps most important, the current spelling is very good at distinguishing common homonyms. Unlike many other languages, English has a large number of (often monosyllabic) words that are perceived of as being pronounced the same (in one dialect or another). While many of them are spelled identically and this doesn't cause problems and I wouldn't propose coming up with new spellings just for this reason the ones that are spelled differently are an aid to reading once the spellings are learned.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >So when can we quit passing laws and
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >raising taxes? When can we say ofPalo Alto, CA 94304 >our political system, "Stick a fork

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