Let's Spel Þiñz Rait!
say, "Don't fix what's not
hey, face the facts now in detail.
"broken" ship has surely sailed.
fact, it's been at sea for agesǃ
ever since the printing press,
has been such a messǃ
speech has evolved along on its way
those medieval days.
why must old Chaucer keep on holding sway
what's on the page?
shoe, two, flew,
do, and through too.
how do you say "ooh"?
I've had enough, it's the truth.
shout, own, town,
quite a plight,
let's spel þiñz raitǃ
our good friend Mr. Spellingǃ
waitǃ He's too
stoned, and not on
least that explains his schizophrenia,
how he can often be so cruel
foreigners and natives, too.
no 'e' in "heart."
it out. It plays no
do we "break bread"?
words always tease my head.
then must we "bake a big cake"
to "gain lots of weight"?
no 'i' in "friend."
can't spelling just make more sense?
My name is Gregory H. Bontrager, composer of the above verses (intended
to match the tune of "Loser Like Me" from Glee)ǃ I'm a
27-year-old graduate student in linguistics at the University of
Florida, and I also hold a Bachelor's degree in Spanish from Florida
Gulf Coast University. In addition, I have what I like to call a solid
foundational knowledge of French, Italian, Latin, German, and classical
For the past couple of years, I have been active in the cause of
English orthographic reform. When it comes to spelling, I
believe that etymology should be left to specialists and that the
written word should provide a reliable guide to pronunciation rather
than word history. The notable retardation in learning to
read and write among native English speakers is simply not worth the
pedantic embellishments of the current system. Furthermore,
traditional spelling perpetuates myths about the English sound system
that have few or no analogs in other languages. For instance,
did you know that there are actually two sounds associated with 'th,'
as different from each other as /s/ and /z/? If this
surprises you, it is most likely because they are never distinguished
Some may insist that there are logical rules to traditional spelling,
but those rules tend to be either poorly enforced or lacking in
justification for their very existence. For example, 'oa' is
usually used as an alternative for silent final 'e' to lengthen what
would otherwise be a short 'o,' as in "cot" versus "coat."
"Most" and "post" look like they should rhyme with "cost," so
should they not be rendered instead as "moast" and "poast"?
Also, returning to the silent final 'e,' why do we use it in
"give" and "have," in which the preceding vowel is short?
According to defenders of the traditional code, it is because
English words are forbidden from ending with the letter 'v.'
The problem is that English has no trouble ending words with
the sound /v/, regardless of the symbol representing it, so there is no
phonetic justification for this purely orthographic rule.
Restored Latinate Spelling is my own contribution to the pool of
proposed spelling systems that attempt to either streamline current
spelling or replace it altogether. It's an example of what
written English could be if we as a language community were to take a
bold step forward! For
further exploration, I
highly recommend visiting the Saundspel
newsgroup at Yahoo or the SpellingReform.Net
forum. For questions or feedback on RLS, please
also feel free to e-mail