According to the Society, "Like all languages with phonetic writing systems, a reform would do away with those wasteful spelling classes for children learning English. The effects of dyslexia are made worse by the chaotic English spelling. The Spelling Bee is unknown in countries with phonetic (or should that not be "fonetic"?) spelling. The updating of English spelling would be of benefit to many more than just the Anglo-Saxon world, but also the world of TEFL where other languages are spoken in addition to English.
"Phonetics is seen as the key to improving literacy and spelling. Learning a phonetic system is easier and allows the children of today to be more productive than we could ever be, releasing them to learn other essential skills in a fast moving world. There would be no more difficult words."
Hmmm... I'm not sure what to think about this. I understand that this is definitely not a new idea. After all, the Society is almost 100 years old. And after further research, I learned that Benjamin Franklin proposed a phonetic spelling system in 1779. So, given the duration and attention this topic has achieved, I suppose we cannot disregard it as irrelevant. But to me it sounds a lot like, "If the test is too hard, make it easier!" Isn't the path to improving literacy one of education? I find it hard to believe that no child ever benefited from all those "wasteful spelling classes". I know that some things will and have changed (i.e.: colour to color), but it's hard to fathom a completely phonetic English language system. I think I'd miss our ph's and nonsensical ough's. Admittedly, I am a native English speaker to whom many of these subtleties have come naturally.
Anyone have any thoughts?
Until we get this all sorted out, here's a comical piece by Mark Twain entitled "A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling":
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.