I don’t know about you guys, but for me personally, the cool thing about language is its utter resistance to standardization or any kind of forced change. As a linguistics student and a huge grammar nerd, it was difficult to come to terms with the fact that it is impossible to fight language change, but I was always happy to realize that those people who get all up in arms about how difficult English spelling is and aim to radically change it will never actually accomplish anything. (The thing that really gets me about that link, by the way, is that the lady from the Simple Spelling Society is not a native English speaker. Go ahead and complain about how difficult English is all you want, you are definitely entitled especially if it’s not your native language, but you can’t just show up late to the party and be like, “Yo, we need some change up in here because your spelling system sucks.” Just…no.)
I think if I had the chance to rearrange the English alphabet, I would maybe—maybe—get rid of the letter c, since both its sounds, [k] and [s], are covered by…well, the letters k and s. And of course this is assuming immediate adoption of the system, which is all but impossible. Otherwise, I would leave everything exactly the same, because it’s impossible to force change on a language anyway, and I love English the way it is. And also, I somewhat agree with the comments at the end of this article…
What would you do? Would you try to change English to make spelling easier? Or perhaps another language that you speak? Does anyone know if this stuff goes on with other languages as well, or is it just English?
- David Crystal: the story of English spelling (guardian.co.uk)
- Spell It Out: The Singular Story of English Spelling by David Crystal – review (guardian.co.uk)
- English And The French Language (thinkingbookworm.typepad.com)
- Estonian as an example for spelling in English (shaan.typepad.com)