A Plea for Spelling Reform

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F. Pitman, 1878 - Spelling reform - 326 pages
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Page 169 - A more lying, roundabout, puzzle-headed delusion than that by which we confuse the clear instincts of truth in our accursed system of spelling was never concocted by the father of falsehood.
Page 77 - The true question then is not, whether there will be no difficulties or inconveniences; but whether the difficulties may not be surmounted; and whether the conveniences will not, on the whole, be greater than the inconveniences. In this case, the difficulties are only in the beginning of the practice; when they are once overcome, the advantages are lasting.
Page 59 - As it is usually managed, it is a dreadful task indeed to learn, and, if possible, a more dreadful task to teach to read, With the help of counters, and coaxing, and gingerbread, or by dint of reiterated pain and terror, the names of the four-and-twenty letters of the alphabet are, perhaps, in the course of some weeks, firmly fixed in the pupil's memory.
Page 78 - In short, whatever the difficulties and inconveniences now are, they will be more easily surmounted now than hereafter; and some time or other it must be done, or our writing will become the same with the Chinese as to the difficulty of learning and using it...
Page 60 - There are many carefully worded rules in the spelling-books, specifying before what letters, and in what situations, g shall vary in sound, but unfortunately these rules are difficult to be learned by heart, and still more difficult to understand. These laws, however positive, are not found to be of universal application, or at least a child has not always wit or time to apply them upon the spur of the occasion. In coming to the words good gentleman, get an ingenious grammar, he may be puzzled by...
Page 134 - English language would he broken by the adoption of phonetic spelling, and that the profession of the etymologist would be gone for ever ? I say, No, most emphatically, to both propositions. If the science of language has proved anything, it has proved that all languages change according to law, and with considerable uniformity.
Page 59 - ... letters of the alphabet are, perhaps, in the course of some weeks, firmly fixed in the pupil's memory. So much the worse : all these names, will disturb him if he have common sense, and at every step must stop his progress.
Page 11 - For any one who believes in the civilising power of letters and often talks of this belief, to think that he has for more than twenty years got his living by inspecting schools for the people, has gone in and out among them, has seen that the power of letters never reaches them at all and that the whole study of letters is thereby discredited and its power called in question, and yet has attempted nothing to remedy this state of things, cannot but be vexing and disquieting. He may truly say, like...
Page 132 - Is every English child, as compared with other children, to be mulcted in two or three years of his life in order to...
Page 78 - People would long learn to read the old writing, though they practiced the new; and the inconvenience is not greater than what has actually happened in a similar case in Italy. Formerly its inhabitants all spoke and wrote Latin ; as the language changed the spelling followed it. It is true that at present a mere unlearned Italian cannot read the Latin books, though they are still read and understood by many. But if the spelling had never been changed he would now have found it much more difficult...

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