Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thru agin Through


Warning: Simplified (and smarter) spelling ahed! 
Lately I'v run up against the thru / through debate again. It mainly swirls about whether thru can be noted formally, that is, whether it can be written in academic papers, newspaper or magazine writs, or in books. The short answer, without nay, is YES! 

Let me say at the outset, that this is mainly for those who write in the style of American-English (AmE) rather than British-English (BrE). The British think of thru as an Americanism and likely heretical; the Oxford Dictionary Online labels it as chiefly N. Amer. and, not amazingly given their slant against American fonetic spellings and  that they like their French rooted spellings such as -ough cluster of words, tags it informal. (Merriam-Webster does not tag it informal). As far as I know, thru is seldom seen, even informally, in BrE tho, I’v read, it is at times seen from American companies doing business in Britain. 

I should also say that this goes for the other smarter spellings like altho, tho, thoro, thoroly and all the sundry spinoffs made with them.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty. I take most tags, like informal, non-standard, asf with a grain of salt. After all, they can shift at the whim of the editor. The proof is the pudding … the note of the word. 

Why would anyone want to write thru in the first place? 
1. There is no nay that thru is fonetic whereas the -ough variant is not. The -ough cluster has no less than eight ways to say it. 
2. There is no nay that thru is shorter and cleaner. 
3. There is no nay that thru is more etymologically sound (see the after-writ below if you don't believ that).
4. There is nothing elegant or even smart about the -ough variant; indeed, many find it ugly and I even call it a stupid spelling which riles up a few folks.

However, there are clerisy snobs, made up mainly of gatekeepers (editors, publishers, and often teachers) and pedants who cling to to these stupid spellings. That, in itself isn’t bad. I truly don’t care if they want to type more letters. But what is bad is how they gnash teeth, wail and moan about thru. Others get downright snitty. They not only snarl, rant and rave against thru and but also often against the folks calling them lazy, illiterate, asf.

The -ough variant of thru is one of the snob spellings; it is a shibboleth. Since the -ough givs no clue to how it is said and since it is needlessly long, then the -ough variant must be memoriz'd. It’s one brick in the barrier of written words that the clerisy snobs believ not only sunders them from the herd but also sets them abuv it. For them to yield to it would lower their haughty, self-perceiv'd status. This is eathly seen on the net nowadays. Often in the comments below a writ the folk write with thru. But for a gatekeeper, pedant, or one of the clerisy to do that … well, they shudder at the thought. They can’t bring themselves to write thru as that would, in their eyes, be beneath anyone of learning and knowledg. It must be said that not all of the clerisy are snobs. For many of them, the spelling thru recks not. But not so for the snobs.

Before the worldwide web, the gatekeepers could keep a tight lid on the herd. In his forward to The Sources of Standard English (1873), Thomas Laurence Kington-Oliphant wrote:

The printers have been good enough to let me write rime in the English, and not in the Greek, way. But I may mention that they have in general struck out z in favour of s; thus they have printed civilise instead of the civilize I wrote. ... I give this as an instance of the shifting that may be remarked in the history of the English tongue: some change or other is always at work. Caxton and his sons have ruled our spelling for the last four hundred years; … 

And so it was until worldwide web freed the folk from the gatekeepers and this has made for an almost hateful backlash from many of the clerisy snobs. They often strike back in the only way left open to them … scolding, browbeating, and bullying. They come out guns blazing even saying that it is slang or even it’s not word. Well neither of those hold up at all so they fall back on either it’s informal or it’s non-standard therefore it shouldn’t be noted in any kind of formal writing. None of which are true.

One debater, grasping at straws, even tried to say there can only be ONE formal shape of word and therefore all others must be informal. This is witless nonsense. There has never been any such rule and doesn’t hold up to scrutny anyway. We need only to look at the words judgment, judgement. Both are fully acceptable in any kind of formal writing.

It is eathly shown that thru has been noted for over 100 years in formal works. Before we stroll thru byspels (examples) of such works, let’s stop for a bit and take a look at how this began.

In 1876, the American Philological Association (APA) took up 11 spellings, and began touting them: ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, and wisht. Two years later the Philological Society of England (PSE) joind the work. By 1886, the list had grown to 3500 words.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association (NEA) began touting a list of 12 spellings: tho, altho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, thorofare, program, prolog, catalog, decalog, and pedagog … all of which are still found today. That’s right folks, the National Education Association at one time fully backt these spellings. When and why they backslid, I do not know.

All three groops (APA, PSE, and NEA) gave thru and others their full backing. These words were in no way taggd as informal only. They were meant to fully be noted insted of the other variants in every way. Thus for over 100 years now, thru been noted in books, academic papers, and writs of all kinds. We can scan thru history and find many such times.

1910, Handwork in Wood, William Noyes. This was book “intended primarily for the teachers of woodwork”. Here we find not only thru but also altho, tho, thoroly, and thruout: Then with a hastening rush the top whistles thru the air, and tears thru the branches of other trees, and the trunk with a tremendous crash strikes the ground. (p11)

1915, The Michigan Technic - Volumes 28-29: So we will have the discharge taking place thru an orfice. (p53)

1920, The Modern English Verb-Adverb Combination, Arthur Garfield Kennedy: About, across, around (or round), at, by, thru and with have, as a rule, about the same meanings in combination that they possess as prepositions. (p19)

1930, Story of the Drama, Joseph Taylor: It tells the complete story of the drama in a scholarly yet simple way from its origin thru its evolution, analyzing each phase of life and civilization presented thru the medium of drama down the ages, to the period of the Commonwealth.

1990, Operator's, Organizational, Direct Support and General Support Maintenance: Excess returns to tank thru secondary bypass line 7.

2007, Sideways Thru Time, Frank Menser

2010, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, National Defense, Pt. 700-799, Revised as of July 1 2010: … may be obstructed at the following angles relative to the LCAC's heading, from 37.00 degrees thru 90.00 degrees …

So, we can see that thru has been noted for over 100 years—and is still—noted formally in the US. 

So why this latest spewing of frowardness, often hatred, by the clerisy snobs? After a littl delving, I found that the writing of thru, in books, hit a low spot about the mid-90s. Likely the clerisy felt that they had held the spred of the word to small things like drive-thru at restaurants, at times a letter to the editor, and writing in the police, military, or technical fields which they grudgingly yield as “special uses” that, for som unknown reason, cannot be noted outside of these narrow confines. That is, of corse, bunk which only highlights the weakness of their argument, that is, it can be noted formally only in “special” ways. 

However, about this time, the web truly came into its own and the blogosphere burst forth. No longer did the folk need to go thru a gatekeeper. Notwithstanding that many folks make a good income from blogging, the clerisy at once steppt forth and tagg'd all such writing as informal. After all, in their eyes, if there is no gatekeeper, then it must be informal. Not true. Many blogger write amazingly well and their writs are as good as any writ found in a newspaper, magazeen, or any other work that might be thought of as "formal".

I don't think that it is the blog-world itself that bothers the clerisy snobs so much as they think of bloggers as the herd rather than the clerisy. But the blog-world is a token of a rising groundswell and this time it a bottom-up swell rather than top-down when the National Education Association first put its list out and the note of thru in books has been steddily climbing. This has likely caught their eye and worries them.  

And worry'd they should be. They may not yet know it, but they’re alreddy fighting a reargard action. It won’t happen anytime soon, but the thru does not “hurt the eyes” of most Americans. We see it daily from drive-thru to thru-hiking. We see it in sundry shapes thru, []

My rede to those who wish to write with thru in a “formal” writ is to let the gatekeeper know ahed of time. Thruout my university years both as an undergraduate and graduate student, at the outset, I let my teachers know that wrote with altho, tho, thru, thoro, asf. Somtimes I would get a frown and even a slight … tsk, tsk. I think only once did I hav to pull out my pocket wordbook and say, “They‘re in the dictionary if you want to see them.” They knew they had no grounds to refuse me … if one had tried, it would hav gone at once to the dean’s offis. So, knowing beforehand that they would see these spellings, it was no problem.

At the Sheriff’s academy, we were told to write thru on all our reports. 

In the corporate world I met no resistance whatsoever when writing formal reports with thru.

I hav also found that at times it helps to do as I do on this blog … put a warning that smarter spellings are to be found in the writ. Then folks will know beforehand that they will see simplified, cleaner, and smarter spellings.


After-writ – The history of the thru.

Many folks say they write with the -ough variant owing to it is “traditional”. They hold the mistaken belief that this is how the word has always been spelt. Professor Walter Skeat, writer of An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, once said:

It is surely a national disgrace to us, to find that the wildest arguments concerning English spelling and etymology are constantly being used by well educated persons, whose ignorance of early English pronunciation and of modern English phonetics is so complete that they have no suspicion whatever of the amazing worthlessness of their ludicrous utterances."

And so it is with the -ough variant of thru. For true, it is so with the whole -ough cluster of words. First let’s look at how this cluster came to be. In OE, thru was spelt þurh ( þ=th ). Liken German durch. It wasn’t until later that the and u swappt spots … which often happens in words. 

So whence the -ough? After the Norman-French Takeover in 1066, the French scribes began shaping English words to fit French spelling ways. The u was shifted to the French ou (liken OE wund, wunde to today’s spelling of wound [harm, injury]); the h was shifted to gh. Their reasons for doing so were weak and not well thought out so we don’t need to delve into them. Thus, the truth is that the -ough variants are mongrels; they’re nothing more than French bastardizations of English.

There was no royal decree that went out to set the spelling of these words ... William was French and spoke French as did most of the nobles to whom he handed out land. He didn’t care. But the French scribes did hav to work with the English speaking folk of the land. As time went on, their bastardize spellings took root. That’s not amazing given that French was spoken and written by the hierarchy. Given the sundry dialects, it came out a true mishmash:

tho - OE - þêah I. (ê) conj. and adv.; ME also thou(g(e, thouh(e, thouhg, thouth(e, thouw, thouf, thuf &  tho, þho, thoch, thof, thof(f)e, thog, ðhog, thogh(e, þhoh, thowe

thru / thoro ... OE - þurh   ME - thurgh (prep.) Also thurghe, thurght, thur(g, ðhurg(e, thurgth, thur(o)we, thouro, thoru(e, thorug, thorugh(e, thoruh(e, thorough(e, thorouh, thor(r)ou, thorogh, thoro(g, thor(r)owe, thorgwe, thorw(h)e, therwe, toru & thrugh(e, thrught(e, thru(g, throu(gh(e, throuh, throgh(e, throth, throwe, threu, threwe ...

By the way, thoro is only a later, otherly shape of thru; it was spelt þuru as early as in Havelok, 631, and þuruh In the Ancren Riwle, p. 92, 1. 17. ( þ=th )


So, you can see, there is no true historical or etymological basis to call the -ough variants “traditional” even if this were a good excuse—Does any still write queene? The -ough variants were only one of many variants until the printing press came and Caxton printed the first book in England with it. He pickt the spellings that he lik't and as Kington-Oliphant wrote: Caxton and his sons have ruled our spelling for the last four hundred years; … 


The Word Gringo

Warning: Simplified and/or fonetic spelling ahed!

Once again I hav heard yet another folktale of the upspring of the word gringo. Truly tho, it was only another take on the one that I had heard before but the guy strongly believd it was true.

There are two things we need to look at here and they are somwhat akin to one another.

1. The rise or upspring of the word.
2. Is it only for Americans?

First, the the upspring of the word. The latest one that I heard was that the word gringo is from Mexicans saying “green go” to American soldiers when Pershing was roaming about Mexico looking for Pancho Villa. That was in 1916 … Well, the timeline wrong, the word had alreddy come into English in 1849 so that dog didn’t hunt. 

The other take that I’v heard is that it happend in the Mexican War. That would fit the timeline better but the troubl with that one is that the Americans wore blue uniforms, not green. 

Both of these also assumes that Mexicans, in mass, lernt the English word green (for verde) and the imperativ command go. But then, why not lern and say, “Go home!” or “Go back!”? 

There’s a third take and that is that a few Mexicans heard some Irish-American soldiers singing “the green grass goes”  and got gringo from that. That’s a bit of a stretch to say the least tho there is, for true, a slender link to the Irish and the word gringo but it comes well before this time.

The truth is that gringo is an older word from Spain and is thought to be only a slight twisting of griego ‘Greek’. The Spanish hav the phrase hablar en griego ‘to speak Greek’; much like we say in English … It’s all Greek to me. From that it came to mean anyone who babbls in an outlander tung and thus is an outlander. 

From the Diccionario General de la Lengua Española Vox:
ETIMOLOGÍA Alteración de griego en el sentido de ‘lenguaje incomprensible’ y, aplicado a quien lo hablaba, ‘extranjero’. — Alteration of griego in the sense of ‘incomprehensibl language’ and put to those who speak it, ‘foreigner’.

When is it first seen in Spanish? Way back in a 1787 wordbook … even before there was a Mexico and France still wielded the land (Louisiana) that was between the Spanish and the newly born United States of America. There we find Esteban de Terroros y Pando wrote: 

... gringos, llaman en Málaga a los extranjeros, que tienen cierta especie de acento, que los priva de una locución fácil, y natural Castellana; y en Madrid dan el mismo, y por la misma causa con particularidad a los irlandeses. — gringos is what, in Malaga, they call foreigners who hav a certain kind of accent that prevents them from speaking Castilian easily and naturally; and in Madrid they give the same name, in particular, to the Irish.

Once again we hav that slender thred to the Irish. It could be that the Irish are indeed at the root of the twisting of griego into gringo. It could be a Spanish play on the words green (meaning the Irish) and griego by blending them into a new word for the Irish. But that would be nothing but a gess. There is no proof of that whatsoever. 

It is also likely that since this word was known in Madrid that it would hav been known by the upper class scions that came to the New World and would hav been put to any other-than-Spanish caucasian in the New World as well.

The rise of the word has nothing to do with neither Mexico nor Americans.

Next, does gringo only mean Americans? The short answer is no. 

Here is what the Spanish wordbooks says:

Amér: Que es de origen extranjero, especialmente el estadounidense o de rasgos anglosajones – One of foreign origin, especially the US or the Anglo-Saxon race.

Arg, Urug: Que es extranjero o de ascendencia europea, excepto los españoles. – A foreigner or of European ancestry, except the Spanish.

Chile: Que es extranjero, en especial de origen anglosajón o germano – A foreigner, especially of Anglo-Saxon or Germanic origen.

hacerse el gringo Chile coloquial Querer dar la impresión de que no se entiende del tema sobre el que se está hablandoMake like a gringo Giv the impression that one doesn’t understand the theme about which one is speaking

BUT, it is a widespred word for Americans and you can see abuv that Americans are singl'd out and the main reason for that is geography.

In English, German, French, Russian, and, as far as I know, every other tung besides Spanish (and maybe Portuguese?) the word America is understood to be short for the United States of America (USA) and American (noun) means someone from the USA or (adj) something of or about the USA ... Made in America. ... American English. Nowadays it is politically correct to giv lip service that it could mean anyone from the Americas and you will even fine the singular America in the wordbook meaning the whole western half of the world. The other 99% of us don’t even think about it and America means the United States of America.

In English, North America and South America are two sunder continents and together they make up the Americas (that is with an s). Thus, anyone living north of the Panama Canal is a North American (Central America is a region, not a continent, and is part of North America) and anyone living south of the Canal is a South American. Thus, there is never a muddling of the words nor the meanings. No one outside of the few who kowtow to political correctness would even think for a half-second that America means anything other than the United States of America and American means other than the folks of the United States of America or, as an adjectiv, of or about the USA.

While som may say that the Panama Canal is a fake line, I’ll mind you that the Panama Canal is shorter than the Suez Canal and no one thinks of Africa and Asia as one continent … or that Europe and Asia are one continent … or that Europe, Asia, and Africa are all one continent. The truth is that there are two landmasses, North and South America, that are, more or less, evenly split and both taper to narrow, 50-mile spot and barely tuch. These two landmasses share less land than does Asia with either Europe or Africa so there is no good reason to think of them as one landmass.

However, this is not so in Spanish. Why is this? In the Spanish sight or outlook, North and South America are not two continents but one ... name'd America. Therefore, in their eyes, everyone from the ice of northern Canada to Tierra del Fuego is an Americano. Think of it this way, every one from Europe is a European ... no one land can call themselves Europeans. That’s the way the Spanish speaking world sees the western half for the world.

For them, South America, América del Sur, North America, América del Norte, and Central America, América Central are regions of one continent call'd América and the folk are all Americanos.

Only to befuddl things a bit more here, there is an university in Chile call'd La Universidad de las Americas — University of the Americas (rather than, as one would expect, University of America. So it isn’t unheard of in Spanish.

But what to call someone from the USA? Now we come to the pith of the troubl. Nothing works truly well. The politically correct word is estadounidense. As you can see, that is a mouthful, seven syllables, even for Spanish speakers. Narrowly speaking that could be said for Mexicans as well since they are the Estados Unidos de México but they don’t get upset that the word estadounidense is put to someone from the Estados Unidos de América but they don’t want to call anyone from the USA an Americano.

An aside here, the shortening of Estados Unidos de América in Spanish is not EUS as one might think but EEUU ... I reckon they don’t even like the name America in the shortening.

The next best thing is norteamericano but then again, even if they think of Mexico as Central America (in English, it isn’t) that still leaves the Canadians who are north of the USA. So, narrowly speaking, norteamericano should also be for Canadians. Besides, it’s a mouthful too ... also seven syllables.

So what does that leav? You gesst it ... gringo. Gringo is a short, fast way to put a word to Americans without giving in to the moniker Americano

Not amazingly, in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean lands, most of the caucasians are from the USA; thus, most of the gringos are Americans. But this doesn’t mean that the word gringo is only for Americans. There is a German with a website call'd Gringo Alemán (German gringo). While not all gringos are Americans, all Americans are gringos!

Truthfully, in Mexico and in English overall, Americans hav taken ownership of the word gringo. Not only do they call themselves gringos, they also note it to sunder themselves from the not-gringos even in the rest of the word. In short, Americans are spreding the word about the world. Here is a quote talking about embassy security in Iraq:

They were using puffers and swabs at the embassy in Baghdad (metal detectors too, but that was for the Iraqis - us gringos were armed to the teeth) and that was fine.

Another aside here, while it mostly is put to caucasians, it is also noted for other Americans as well. In a 2008 writ, it is made clear that Obama is a gringo.

Pero la realidad es más terca que la corrección política, y el hecho real es que Barack Obama, próximo presidente de los Estados Unidos, es un gringo, y es un negro. O, si se prefiere así, es un negro, y es un gringo. ... Antonio Caballero, “El negro gringo (o el gringo negro)”, Semana, 2008 [But the reality is more stubborn than political correctness, and the true fact is that Barack Obama, the next president of the United States, is a gringo, and is black. Or, if you so prefer, is a black, and a gringo.]

Be warnd tho, once you get below the equator, it is less likely to mean an American by default. So while one can say, soy gringo in Mexico and they will likely understand that to mean I’m American, that doesn’t work so well in Argentina ... I know, I’v seen it.

Is it derogatory? By itself, no. It’s all in the tone. So if somone in Mexico is talking about you to somone else, he might say, Está mi amigo. Él es un gringo. And not mean anything derogatory at all. It is the same in English with Mexican. I can say that he is a Mexican in a frendly way or I can say, “He is a Mexican.” It’s all in how it is said and not the word itself..

Also, in Brazil, they'v borrow'd the word into Portuguese. As noun, it means foreigner. As an adjectiv, it can mean foreign or (slang) cool, fashionabl.



Stupid Spelling: A Token of Snobbery

Warning: Simplified (and smarter) spelling ahed! — Would one expect anything less in a writ about spelling?

In the forward to Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw writes:

The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it. They cannot spell it because they have nothing to spell it with but an old foreign alphabet of which only the consonants – and not all of them – have any agreed speech value. Consequently no man can teach himself what it should sound like from reading it … Most European languages are now accessible in black and white to foreigners: English and French are not thus accessible even to Englishmen and Frenchmen. 

When I say stupid spelling, I’m not talking about the way some kids write for fun by mixing big and small stafs (or staves) and often along with fonetic spelling: dA PhAt gUrL hAz pUrtY Eyz. That’s stupid writing, not stupid spelling.

Truthfully tho, the spelling itself (da phat gurl haz purty eyz) is less stupid than:

Though the rough cough and hiccough plough me through
O'er life's dark lough I ought my way pursue.
— 1842, Horace Mann, first Commissioner of Education of Massachusetts/ He publisht this to show the problems of spellings the -ough sounds in English.

It hasn’t been until the last few years that my interest in spelling reform has truly kickt into high gear. Aside from being a bit of a rebel and always noting tho, altho, thru, and thoro thru high school (thru undergraduate, graduate, the military, law enforcement, and corporate worlds), I’v mostly stuck to conventional spelling of words even if they didn’t make much witt (sense). I shruggd my shoulders and kept going. I simply didn’t want to waste the time to do battle over spelling other than handing them my pocket wordbook that listed altho, tho, thru, and thoro … and stedfast.

I’v always been a good speller but many spellings hav always irkt me. They didn’t make any witt at all. I hav workt with smart folks with high degrees who hav had a hard time with spelling. In the fore-spellcheck, mainframe days, I spent a lot of time righting the spelling of my bosses and coworkers. That was time that could hav been spent doing other, more productiv things. They were not dumb nor illiterate nor unlern'd folks, they only hadn’t wasted their time to lern (from Middle English [ME] lernen) the stupid spellings. I’v known geniuses in Mensa that couldn’t spell … Why? … Forwhy English spelling not only isn’t wit-crafty (logical) but it’s not steddy (consistent) either! 

English spelling is NOT a token of intelligence or literacy but only a token of a willingness to waste time that could be better spent lerning sumthing more fremful (effectiv, useful) than archaic stupid spellings

One would think that if so many folks hav problems then spelling would change … but it doesn’t. Or rather, it does so slower than a snail’s pace.

So what chanjd for me? Well, I hav more time on my hands these days. With the Gutenburg Project (and others) I’v been reading a bunch of old books. I’v even gone back to Middel and Old English writs. What hav I found? Well, I found a lot of other spellings and a lot of them make more witt than what we do now. It’s a true wunder (Old English [OE] wundor/wunder) that English has pickt up sum truly odd spellings along the way … and more of a wunder that we’v stuck with them!

I gess (ME gessen) we shouldn’t be too amaz'd since one of the most screwd up spelling ways (orthographies) in the world is that of French and French has had more sway on English than any other tung (OE tung/tunge). Indeed, the French rooted spelling of colour (Old French colour) has become a point of honour by many Brits.

Not only that, but we seem to be going backwards. Dialog (without -ue) until the year 2000 dominated. But in the 2000, it droppt off and the ugly dialogue shot up. Why? I don’t know. I can only gess that a lot of editors and publishers suddenly went back to the old, stupid spelling.

The other thing is that I tutor a lot of ESL (English as a Second Language) students. I’v had to try to tell them how to deal with English spelling which is tuff enuff for English speakers! I often end up writing words out in a more fonetic way for them and often afterwards wunder why we don’t spell the words that way insted. English is the tung of the world for many reasons but easy writing is not one of them! I’v spoken with many outlanders who, while finding English grammar to be rather easy, are dumbfounded and unharten'd when trying to read and write in English.

I feel their pain. Many years ago I stoppt studying French for that selfsame reason. I went on to lern Russian, German, and Spanish well enuff to be conversant in them but French … blah. Sadly for English, it was the Norman-French who took over the land of the Anglo-Saxons and their scribes began noting French spelling ways with Saxon words which brought about the screwing up English spelling too!

For a background of how we got here, read this.


Why do we do it? — Snobbery

So why do we hang on to unfonetic spellings hwen (OE hwænne), in the bygone days, they were spelt more fonetically? Snobbery. It’s a kind of elite speak or rather, elite write. That’s hwat (OE hwæt) it comes down to. For many it is fear of ridicule by the snobs. They fear being thought of as illiterate.

Kenseek (research) into the social aspects of linguistics givs us more background. One is that hard spelling splits the learnd n leisurely from the rest of society. In other words, it makes sum folks feel abuv others after they hav wasted a lot of time to lern unfonetic spellings. And since they hav wasted their time, then they think the everyone should acknowledg this wastefulness. 

Don't believ me? Here is a May, 2014 qwote from a blog from on which somone nam'd Luna writes in opposition to spelling reform: 

One of my reason for opposition is that it would make those who knew the previous, appropriate spellings feel uneducated and or lazy. Yes, it does take a long time to master English, but that mastery sets people apart: it can raise people from the slums or lower them to trash. (Emphasis mine.)

So, according to Luna, if you hav trubbel with English spelling, you must be trashy, unlern'd, and/or downright lazy! He wants to you to acknowledg HIS wastefulness hwile (OE hwīl) he looks down his nose at you!

Another problem is the rize (Spencer writes rize in the Faerie Queene) of the doctrin of correctness in usage (see the Sumner qwote below), hwich (OE hwilc) involves elitism, class snobbishness, and authoritarian teaching. Again, it is the same ol' story. “By God I lernt it this way and so can yu!” It must be the student’s fault that he has trubbel lerning such a kaotic system.

Hwy (OE hwī, hwy) chanje?

There are 561 spellings in an abridged dictionary for the 40 common sounds of English, or about 14 per sound. If we take only the 10,000 most common words, as found in a sample of 100,000, there are still 361 different spellings, or 9 per sound. … In an abridged dictionary there are 43 spellings for "schwa". (Dewey, 971; 8, 110-1)

But this snobbery comes at a cost. Over 40 years ago, back in the 70s, it was reckon'd that the MINDOM (minimum) cost was $1 for each one of us … man, woman, and child …, per year for school tax funds that was the straightforward cost of keeping archaic spelling in our schools. That’s a lot of money that could be spent on teaching sumthin' more fremful like math or science.

Further back in 1925, a study likend the reading ability of Puerto Rican children lerning to read in Spanish, a fairly fonetically written tung, with New York City children lerning to read in English. Puerto Rican children were about a year ahed in the content of their reading than English speaking American children! Hence one observer (Wijk, 1969; 55-6) notes:

If an orthographic system for English could be devised which would be just as simple, regular and logical as those found in most other European languages, it would be possible for all English-speaking school children to save at least one year’s work.

See that he said "most" other European tungs … French is far from fonetic.

Here we are, nearly 100 years later and still stuck on stupid; still writing many truly unfonetic, ugly stupid spellings like through or dialogue rather than the cleaner thru and dialog.

A study from 50 years ago show'd that Soviet (Russian) children were far ahed of English speaking children in mastering of reading wordstock and academics at the same ages. While English speaking children were still reading babyish primers, the Soviet children were handling material of a kind that English speaking children did not reach until years later. … Trace, Arthur S., Jr. What Ivan Knows that Johnny Doesn’t

The American Literacy Council writes that in 2003, a sample of adults in the U.S. were given a reading proficiency test and only 13% were rated proficient (that's 87% NOT proficient). Amazingly, only 30% of adult college graduates scored as proficient in literacy on the test. 

Taxpayers are paying more and kids are taking longer to lern only for that pedants and snobs not only refuse to giv up the archaic and downright stupid spellings, but hav the gall to ridicule those (w)hu write with the better spellings! … Or I should say, they hav the gall to try. It doesn’t work well with me since they cannot defend the stupid spellings with anything more than: that’s they way they were taught and had it beaten into them.

Timeline of reform

In 1569, John Hart made a fonetic alphabet. 

A century later, John Milton, a well-known poet, "deliberatly noted spelling to convey the sound and meaning of his words." (Darbishire, 1952; xi) which has been somwhat followed by others such as Edmund Spenser who wrote The Faerie Queen:

1. dropping final silent e: climat, temperat, doctrin, determin, fertil
2. apostrophe for indistinct vowel after soft g or long vowel before final d: bridg'd, proov'd
3. dropping e from -ed endings wher the apostrophe was not needed as in #2 abuv: armd, dismayd, heapt, turnd
5. dropping some other silent letters: forren, iland, lept, suttle
6. other fonetic spellings: moov'd, proov'd (Spenser)

The first true, widespred, successful reform came with Noah Webster's reforms tho not even all of his reforms were widely adopted and even the ones he put out took a long time to become the better like'd ones in the US. Truth be told is that many of his "reforms" were only bringing back older more fonetic spellings like aker for acre.

In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 spellings, and began promoting their noting: ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, and wisht. Two years later the Philological Society of England joind in the work.By 1886, the list had grown to 3500 words.

In 1879, the British Spelling Reform Association was founded.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began touting a list of 12 spellings: tho, altho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, thorofare, program, prolog, catalog, decalog, and pedagog … all of hwich are still found today.

The Simplified Spelling Board was founded in the U.S. in 1906, and had a list of 300+ spellings.

The Chicago Tribune began noting smart spellings as far back as 1870. In 1941 it gave it another valiant, real-world try for 41 years with a few simplified, smart spellings. The paper began with writing catalog and other former "-gue" words. They wrote agast, ameba, burocrat, crum, glamor, harth, iland, intern, missil, subpena. Later they added tho, altho, thru, and thoro. They tried frate, frater for freight, freighter and changing ph not at the beginning of a word to f such as autograf, telegraf, philosofy, photograf, and sofomore. Sum of these stuck and are still seen. So we see, it can be dun. Sadly, and somwhat ironically, the Tribune itself has backslidden to noting many stupid spellings. Why? Forwhy teachers had gone back to the stupid spellings and were whining that the students pointed to the Tribune as a justification for their smarter, fonetic, and cleaner spellings. (Remember, the NEA started it in the first place in 1898). Sadly, the editors at the Tribune cave'd in.

So hwer to do we stand now? 

First we must acknowledg that English never has been and never will be perfectly fonetic. Also, ther are sundry dialects and words are said otherly. However, we shouldn’t let that stop us from fixing the easy ones and even going after sum of the harder ones. It’s not about reaching perfection; it’s about improoving and bettering hwat we hav now so that kids don’t hav to waste so much time lerning the 561 ways to spell 40 sounds. 

Back in 1887, William Graham Sumner, a sociologist, put the problem in more personal terms when he wrote:

I have two boys who are learning to spell. They often try to spell by analogy, thus using their brains and learning to think. Then I have to arrest them, turning them back from a rational procedure, and impose tradition and authority.

They ask me, 'Why?' 

I answer, 'Because your father and others who have lived before you have never had the courage and energy to correct a ridiculous old abuse, and you are now inheriting it with all the intellectual injury, loss of time, and wasted labor which it occasions. I am ashamed that it should be so.
(Robertson and Cassidy, 1954; 363) *doctrin of "correctness in usage" see abuv.

Nuthin' has chanjd in over 100 years. Do YU hav the boldness to right this wrong? 

How does a teacher get a child to understand why the diphthong ou is noted to show six otherly sounds, as in the following sentence?:

The tourist, poor soul, had recourse to roulette, but found he could double only his troubles.

In tourist the ou is like the u in pull. In soul it is like ow in bowl. In recourse it is like the o in horse. In roulette it is like the oo in fool. In found it is like ow in how. In double and trouble it is like u in but.

How should one teach a child to read the following simple sentence, in which o is said in eight stark ways?:

The poet did nothing to remove from his record the blot of the wrong his tongue had once done Woman, that is, all women.

In poet the o is said like oa in boat. In nothing, from, record, tongue, done it sounds like u in mud. And hwat is the use of the the ue in tongue (shood be tung; liken lung)? In to remove it is like oo in fool with an unneeded e to boot! In blot it is like the a in hwat. In wrong it is like the a in all. In once it is like the wo in wonder. In Woman it is like the u in full. In women it is like the i in is.

No letter should be let to stand for eight otherly sounds as o does in the above sentence.

In the following swatch we find nine ways of writing the sound shown by sh:

Sure enuff, after his first parachute jump, the nation’s precious pensioner was sentient and anxiously conscious of pressure on his gunshot wound.

Here the sh sound is written: ch, ci, s, sci, si, ss, ti, xi, and sh; another flagrant violation of the elementary rule that each sound of a tung should hav one steddy way of writing it

One would think that English must be poverty stricken if it has to make one blend of two letters stand for so many vowels. But that is not the hitch. For it seems that we hav at least 10 ways of spelling the vowel sound of ai in jail:

Inveighing in the same vein, the great broad-gauged dictator made it plain that during his reign the way to stay out of jail was to obey without feigning and pay without complaining.

Here a, a-e, ai, au, ay, ea, ei, eig, eigh, and ey are all said alike. It is hard to think how any system of spelling cuud be worse. 

The ough anomaly is outstanding. A combination of letters that shood not be at all is noted and said in so many nother ways as to bewilder most folks. In the following sentence there are eight ways:

The slough, made by the lough, was like dough, but with a laff and a cough the tough driver got team and wagon through without a hiccough, as he said he ought to do.

In slough the ough can be like uff in buff or oo in shoot. In lough it is said as lokh. In dough it is like oa in boat. In cough it is like off in scoff. In tough it is like uff in stuff. In through it is like oo in shoot. In hiccough it rimes with up. In ought it is sounded like aw.

Everyone who learns to read English must sumhow struggel with this among other mindless, stupid spellings. Hwile it is true you will not oft find so many stupid spellings in one sentence, is it any less bothersum to be beset piecemeal by them? 

English spelling is so far from fonetic or even steddy as to be sumthing between a joke and a crime. The hardness of learning to read and write English with our spelling is said to be the main reason for the dropping out of a great tale of our school children before getting thru high school. Even English majors in college hav trouble with spelling, and candidates for a PhD in English philology can misspell a word. Why should a teacher with a PhD need to waste time fixing spelling on papers given by college students? The rules for spelling in English ought to be straightforward and clear enuff to make this unneeded. The word siege, for byspel, is often misspelt owing to that there is more than one way of writing each sound of the word. It ought to be seej without any other way to spell it.

Reform is slooooowly coming along (sked is now in the OED) but I think it is picking up for two reasons. 

1. Electronic media like the web and texting are helping to speed up the work. Not only are folks more willing to write the simplified, smart spellings but ther are “gatekeepers” … teachers, editors, pedants, and snobs … that would hav otherwize stoppt them as in days gone by. Anyone, like me, can post a blog noting hwatever spelling, words, or even grammar that he or she wishes. That an arcade business calls itself The Time Masheen doesn’t even slow us down … That is, not most of us aside from the pedants and snobs whu get workt up over it.

The web is also helping those whu believ in and support spelling reform to link up; unlike years ago hwen I wunderd if I wer the only one whu thought that English spelling stunk. Spelling reformers ranje from the American Literacy Council and the British English Spelling Society to the more outlandish freespelers

2. English is the worldwide tung of business. Ther are more outlanders speaking … and writing … English than nativ speakers. They will push edge. For byspel, in Malay, garage is spelt garaj. That makes good witt! The word raj is in the wordbooks and is said the same way as the -rage in garage, so hwy not write garaj insted of garage? At least they don’t befuddl the sounds of garage with rage … or page … or sage … or age. They also write mesej (see after-writ B below for more). But this highlights hwat can happen if nativ speakers don’t reform English spelling on their own. Outlanders will do it for us and it could come out looking sumthing like this: link to freespelers

Nicholas Ostler, a linguist whose insights are often brilliantly surprizing (so says the writ), said that" 

“… the peculiarly conservative, and hence increasingly anti-phonetic, system is another facet of English that bears a resemblance to Chinese”, and “as has happened with Chinese … the life of English as it is spoken has become only loosely attached to the written traditions of the language.” (Emphasis mine.)

However, unlike Chinese, English can and is being shapen by others. Madhukar Gogate, a retired Indian engineer, has come up with sumthing he calls Globish. It notes fonetic spellings to build what he believs is a cleaner shape of English.

Hwer to go from here? 

Small steps. Don’t try to spell every word perfectly and fonetically. For true, I strongly recommend that yu don’t! Yu need to take it slo and slide into it not only for yurself but for kith and kin as well! Don’t overhwelm them a bunch of chanjes all at once. Tell them that yu intend to shift yur spelling ways so that they’r not shockt when they see it. See how I started off this writ with only a few spelling chanjes and added more in as I went along. Giv their eyes time to tweak themselves to the smarter, cleaner, and better spellings.

Again, don’t try to chanje them all. Insted, only try to be more consistent. For byspel, ea should be noted for the ē sound like in bead or meat. For sum words this is eath, for others not so much. Go BACK to older spellings of sted for stead, as in stedfast; reddy, redi, or reddi for ready; and so forth. 

If ther are only a few words that yu want to swap to a the simplified, smart spelling like thru. Then do it. Yu don’t hav to go whole (hoel) hog. As I said, I put forth that yu don’t. But if yu do, try the ALC's Soundspel … aside from dropping k rather c (a mistake I ween) and a few others that I didn’t like, it’s a fairly good way to go. Yu can write "yu" and "yur" or "yu" and "your". But hwatever simplified, clean, smart spelling that yu choose, stick with it thru thick and thin.

Don’t go all "linguistic" by trying to get every sound just right. Does it matter that ther are two sounds for th? Naw. Most folks don’t even notis nor do they care. More meaningful is that folks want simpler, not more complex. Having to figure hwich th letter to write for hwich th sound will make them overlook it altogether. Think about it, the sound shapes itself naturally hwen saying th. It’s not meaningful to hav th and dh. Irish munks introduc'd the letter eth (ð) trying to sunder the two sounds by writing thorn (þ) for one and eth (ð) for the other. It didn’t work. Saxon scribes swappt them at will. 

Always keep in mind that the old n new spelling systems will be side-by-side for many years to cum. The newer generation will write with the simplified, clean, smart spelling hwile the older generation will likely stick to the archaic, unfonetic spellings.

Don’t fear the pedants and snobs.

Much of English spelling is not only indefensibl fonetically, it is indefensibl historically. Island was a wrongheaded try to link iland to the Latin isle (Latin lovers strike again). I’v alreddy shown how the Norman-French scribes messt things up and, over the centuries, French luving snobs hav stuck with the ugly, archaic French wrong-spellings for that it seems more “worldly” to write the French wrong-spelling (along with French words and phrases). Make them defend the archaic, stupid spelling. They can’t! They will, invariably, fall back on sum version of: That’s the way I had it beaten into me and, by God, that’s the way it should be! Pfft … Blo 'em off and keep going.

If yu’r in academics or even in the corporate world then go to yur teachers or bosses with a wordbook that has any of the simplified, clean, smart spellings or link to the spellings online and tell them that yu’r a freespeller (ƒ). Tell them that as long as the word can be found in a wordbook (printed or online), yu intend to write it for papers and such. That’s hwat I did for the FEW, and only a few, whu challenjd me for writing altho, tho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, and stedfast. I simply handed them my pocket dictionary with the spellings and said, “It’s in the dictionary, it’s good to go.” 

Sum Spelling Reform Foresets 

Ther are many more thoughts but these shuud get yu started. Keep in mind that one can pick and choose. Brook sum, none, or all!

* Drop ~ough for ~o, ~u, ~uff, asf (tho, altho; thru, thruout; thoro, thoroly; enuff, asf)
* Drop the -ue off ~gue and -que words: catalog, dialog, prolog, synagog; (asterisk was first written asterique in 1674!)
* Drop the silent e if the vowel before is short unless it affects the consonant before it as well such as else (it stretches the s sound; els is not said the same as else tho one cuud write elss).
>>> ~ve > ~v hwen the vowel before is short: giv, hav, liv, and so forth (but behave, alive … the vowel is long)
>>> ~ine > ~in: engin (or better, enjin), determin
>>> ~ite > ~it: opposit, favorit — like hermit, edit, orbit, prohibit, asf)
>>> ~ive > ~iv: fugativ (or fujativ), defensiv
* g > j where befitting: serjeant (better sarjant), jeneral
* ch > sh, k/c, or kh hwen where befitting (masheen, shef, karacter or kharacter if yu want to stay truer to the translit of the Greek root, lokh, asf). Sked is now in the Oxford Dictionary.
* Drop 'ou' for 'o', 'u', or 'oo': corse (ME cors), cuntry (O.Fr. cuntree), groop, asf. Keep it for the 'ou' in about … thus southern becomes suthern but south stays the same since 'ou' sounds like the 'ou' in about.
* 'o' back to 'u': abuv, luv, munk, sum, wunder, wunt (insted of wont … which isn’t won’t) asf
* Note -ed, -d, or -t as befitting the sound in the bygone tense (pok't, prodded, prickt, swabbd)
* "ea" = ē as in seat, meat, feat, thus: "ea" ≠ ē > e: sted, stedfast, steddy, reddy, brekfast, dremt/drempt (like kempt, tempt), lept (like keep > kept, weep > wept), erly, ernest, asf
>>> Overall, short vowels, huru in words of more than one syllable, shuud be followed by twain consonants (bubbl, suppl, Fred > Freddy, dad > daddy, mom > mommy, eddy, bed > bedded, beddable, get > getter, grammar, beggar, bonny, laddie, button, asf or ~ck and ~dg, as in chicken and badger). Compound words of two one-syllable words (stedfast = sted+fast) need not follow this rule. This isn’t strictly follow'd but keep it in mind as a guide.
* This is a little bolder, but try shuud, wuud for should and would. Hwy not oo? Ther ar three sounds (loop, book, floor) for oo and this gets about that.

Sum things to keep in mind

The -tion ending is almost always said as shun (mention being an outlier - men-chen) … so leav it. It’s steddy — It may not be fonetic, but it is mostly consistent. 

The 'k' in kn~ words are consistently silent so it’s okeh to keep it if yu want (same for gn~ words) and they sho the otherness between night and knight.

The -igh always shows the long 'ī': sigh, bight, light, asf. It’s steddy. Tho one cuud drop the 'g' with no loss: biht, liht, niht (OE liht, niht).

The -aught, -ought are mostly consistent and need not be swappt. However, if one wishes to make them more fonetic, it could be done mostly by dropping the the 'g' and maybe the 'h' as well: Sometimes the -ought is more of a long ō. Thus daughter could be dohter (OE), dauhter, dauter, or dawter. (Swapping to -auht, -aut, or -awt / -oht for the ō). 

The 'wh' is mostly consistent for 'hw' (whore and whole being outliers) but if yu want to be bold and fonetic, swap it to 'hw' … hwat, hwen, hwer, asf.

The qu for cw or kw is less consistent and with the inflow of Spanish words like quesadilla, queso blanco, and other words like piquant, where it is k. It is likely to become even more inconsistent over time. So again, if yu feel bold, yu can swap in cw, kw or even qw for the words with the w glide and k for the hard sound … thus cwick, kwick, or qwick for the w glide and boukay/bookay for bouquet.

Endsay

We don’t make our kids walk to school only for that we did; or make them do math without calculators for that is we didn’t hav them and that’s how we lernd; … Yet, we think it’s okay to saddel our children with an archaic, unfonetic, writing system only for that is how we lernd it!

We try to unladen from our children any burdens that we might hav had as children but yet we still fordeem them to spend hours lerning an archaic, stupid way of spelling.


Acknowledgements:

Ives, Kenneth, Written Dialects N Spelling Reforms: History N Alternatives, 1979 PROGRESIV PUBLISHR, ISBN 0-89670-004-6

Kimball, Cornell, The History of Spelling Reform 


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After-writs:

Onhenge A. Byspels

Abuv all, stick to yur guns. If anyone asks, tell them that yu are a freespeller and that yu note the simpler, cleaner, SMARTER spelling shapes rather than the ugly, archaic, "stupid spelling". Yu might be better off leaving off the "stupid" unless yu’re trying to pick fight! … Folks get workt up even if yu’r right. Sum folks hav an emotional attachment to stupid spelling and will even tell you that all those extra letters sumhow make it more "elegant". Uh-huh, right. After all, they wasted a lot of time lerning them and want to sho off their snobbery by making certain that everyone is aware of that. They will resort ad hominem attacks by saying only trash and illiterates would note such spellings. Not true of corse, follow the links that I hav given on some of the words and where yu'll see byspels. Keep 'em handy!

A few lines from Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene, (with v swappt for u when befitting) to show better spellings and sum of the ones that hav been cleand up since he his time:

Thus ill bestedd, and fearefull more of shame [the cleaner bestedd for bestead; and fearefull is one that has now been cleand to fearful]

So been they parted both, with harts* on edge … 

At her so pitteous cry was much amoov'd
Her champion stout, and for to aide his frend,
Againe his wonted angry weapon proov'd:
But all in vaine: for he has read his end

Great God it planted in that blessed sted

That life nigh crusht out of his panting brest

*Hart is the more common spelling; but e before r was generally sounded a, as in clerk. This fact is recognised in the modern clumsy spelling of heart, which contains both the e and the a … — Morell, A Biographical History of English Literature, p126 (Emphasis mine.)

Milton, Paradise Lost, Book XI

Against the Syrian King, who to surprize … line 218
Of us will soon determin … 227
His starrie Helme unbuckl'd … 245
… and his scatterd spirits returnd, … 294
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam'd … 296
(for I have drencht her eyes) … 367
to life was formd. … 369
Sunk down and all his Spirits became intranst: … 420 (entranced)
… compassion quell'd … 496
… then first to marriage Rites invok't; … 591
Judg not what is best … 603
but they his gifts acknowledg'd none. … 613
For that fair femal Troop thou sawst, that seemd … 614
in Array of Battel rang'd … 644 (Battle ranged)
and by imprudence mixt, … 686
Flood overwhelmd … 747
His Children, all in view destroyd at once; … 761
Man is not whom to warne: those few escapt … 777 
When violence was ceas't, … 780
Of them derided, but of God observd … 817
Wrinkl'd the face of Deluge, as decai'd; … 843 (decay'd)
Of Paradise by might of Waves be moovd …  830
Fast on the top of som high mountain fixt. … 851
… late repenting him of Man deprav'd, … 886

Onhenge B. A few byspels of how the French scribes changed the spelling.

Old English (OE) spelling > Norman French influenced spelling > sum went back to the old spelling

OE u/y (y=ü) > o

abuf(an) (abuv) > above
clys(an) > close
clysing > closing
cum > come
dumb > dombe > then back to dumb
hand > hond > hand
land > lond > land
luf(a) (luv) > love
munec > monk
sum > some (thus somedeal insted of sumdel/sumdeal; something > sumthing; hearsome > hersum/hearsum)
sun > sonne > back to sunne > sun
sun(u) > son
sūþ (sūth) > south
sūþerne (suthern) > southern 
sundor > sonder > sunder
þurh (thurh) > through
tunge, tung > tongue (the French note ue … as in prolog(ue) … to show a hard g; this is not needed in English)
þu (thu) > thou (still said as thu; saying it as ow as in now came later with pronunciation chasing spelling as part of the Great Vowel Shift)
wund > wound (the injury)
wundor > wonder
cw~ > qu~ (thus cwic > quick; cwēn > queen; cwēm > queem; asf)
hw~ > wh~ (thus hwā > who; hwæt > what; hwæl > whale; hwǣt > wheat; hwæþer > wheþer > whether; asf)
Later, we also lost three letters þ (thorn), ð (eth), and æ (ash). Æ is sometimes still seen but not for the sound it was ment. It should be for the a in ash, thus æsh (ash), bæd (bad), bæk (OE bæc [back]) or as a long ā as in OE mægen, ‘bodily strength, might, 'main' force, power’ …  today’s main.

Onhenge C. More Malay spellings (hat-tip to The Spelling Blog)
• ... nibble on a biskut 
• ... put your car in the garaj
• ... buy a ticket at the kaunter
• ... be late for your English kelas (class)
• ... buy a new komputer
• ... take a mesej for someone (message; I put forth messej for English reform) 
• ... try to understand a sistem
• ... take a teksi
• ... watch televisyen, or
• ... visit a muzium

Onhenge D. More alternativs for aught/ought (edshapen = reshapen)
brought - OE broht … edshapen spell - broht, brauht
daughter - OE dohter … edshapen spell - dohter for |dôtər| or dauter for |dätər|
naught - OE nauht, noht … edshapen spell - nauht, naut
slaughter - ME slaht(er) … edshapen spell - slauhter, slauter
taught - OE tæht … edshapen spell - tauht, taut (taut is another word from ME tought)


Onhenge E. Not reddy for prime time.

According to Kenneth Ives, author of Written Dialects N Spelling Reform, these hav gotten a negativ reaction:
th or Ћ, ћ (bar h) for the
n for and 

wn for one