History of Reform of English Spelling (HOROES)

Educational Linguistics educational_linguistics at hotmail.com
Sat Oct 19 03:27:09 UTC 2002

After a long silence, some people might want to be involved in a concrete
project work. The following is a serious suggestion:

History of Reform of English Spelling (HOROES)

>>From Ormulum to Shavian: Eight Centuries of English Spelling Reform

English spelling per se is a linguistic problem (phonology/morphology), but
it has often become an education issue (literacy). However, reforming
English spelling would be a sociolinguistic matter, in which factors far
beyond the language per se have to be taken into account, and this is
probably why English spelling remains largely unchanged despite various
attempts to reform English spelling over the centuries.

As English is now entering a globalizing age, it would be very timely for

1) to review what our predecessors attempted and why they failed(?);
2) to analyze different factors in reforming English spelling;
3) to predict what could be done in order to stand a better chance of
reforming English spelling for the benefits of present and future
English-language teachers, learners and users worldwide.

This project will be able to make original contributions to:

1) English Language: When many people’s attention tends to have moved from
phonetics to pragmatics, relatively little effort has been made to save this
problematic and yet often neglected aspect of the English language so it
would be very important to "revive" this issue in English (historical)

2) Education: When more and more English-speaking people, both native and
non-native, have been struggling with English spelling in one way or
another, it would be necessary to draw education and language professionals’
attention, again, to English spelling reform in (the history of) language

3) Academia: Although there are publications, both online and printed, on
English spelling and its history, there does not seem to be a book length
treatment of the history of English spelling reform from Ormulum and
Shavian, so this would be a much needed, even if not unique, publication
developed out of this project.

If any individual or institution is interested in this project, please state
what kind of contribution you are prepared to make. For example,

1) Literature: Are you able to collect most if not all of the primary and/or
secondary sources on English spelling reform?
2) Expertise: Do you have any expertise in any particular period or aspect
of English spelling reform?
3) Resources: Can you provide human and/or material resources in support of
this project?
4) Funding: Are you able to fund this project, its research and/or
5) Dissemination: Can you contact any scholar or institution with a possible
interest in the project?

This could be a project for the humanity at large! Hope to hear from any of
you in due course.

*Please note that this is purely for academic/professional purposes.*

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