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14.8 Spelling: Fun With Grammar

A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling
by Mark TwainMark Twain

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet.

The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.


You can also find online a more thorough (and somewhat more serious) essay by Mark Twain on this subject, "A Simplified Alphabet," which was written in 1899.


Think of a line from a popular song, an advertising jingle, or a famous quotation. Develop a logical, consistent spelling system for English, or adopt Mark Twain's. Write the line you've chosen using your new spelling system. Trade results with several friends and, after you've deciphered (desifurd?) each other's lines, discuss which system is a) easiest to use, b) makes the most sense, c) is the most fun.

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