|Homepage||When Is Your Writing Right?||Orthography|
In the same place in my German web site you could find my opinion on the reform of the German orthography until some years ago. This reform has raised a lot of frowning and protest in at least four fifths of the population of Germany. The reformers' chief concern has been to simplify orthography so that more German pupils have fewer difficulties in writing correctly.
Consequently, English and other foreign words must now be spelled according to "German" rules, i.e. together (as a compound word) or with a hyphen or both is possible. In a few years, when the pupils start learning English at school, they will come across a third variant where they used to have only one. Another simplification is what the reformers call "root-writing": Pupils now have to think about which root an adjective is derived from in order to know if e. g. it has to be spelled with a normal vowel or one of those umlauts that you can't find on an English keyboard.
Err, wait a minute did I say "simplify"? Obviously, a lot of Germans would rather do without such "simplifications", and so would I. While the German spelling system has been improved in some parts, it has become worse than before in others, which is why I fight this reform. Spelling, I think, should not be changed in general, but some rules should if the people agree. A lot of facts and my views on German orthography can be found on www.schriftdeutsch.de.
But I don't want to bother you with problems which are not yours: Don't you think the English spelling, which was once determined by the old (and French-speaking) Normans, should at last be reformed? Well, some people with a great deal of humour have chosen this approach:
|The New English Orthography|
Nu OrzografiIn the first year, s will be used instead of the soft c. Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard c will be replased with k. Not only will this klear up konfusion, but type writers kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the second year, when the troublesome ph will be replased by f. This will make words like "fotograf" 20 per sent shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent es in the language is disgrasful, and they would go.
By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing th with z, and w with v.
During the fifz year, ze unesesary o kan be dropd from vords kontaining ou, and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.
After zis fifz yer, we vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.
Ze drem vil finali kum tru.
Amusing, isn't it? On the other hand, good jesters do not necessarily make good linguists:
the letters v and w e. g. do not represent the same sound no native speaker of English
would pronounce vary and wary in the same way!
|© Hans-Jürgen Martin, 1st October 1997 |