Written by Select Distinct
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Topics: Language, English

Thursday, 25 November 2004

image for Wide Sweeping Changes Made to American English Spellings
American English: Shaak_n Uhp

The Modern Language Association announced today it has devised and will implement several major reforms to the idiosyncratic and often hard to memorize spellings of American's English words.

The reforms mark the largest and most radical set of changes ever made to American English spellings. They are the first deliberate changes to spellings made since Noah Webster's reforms early in the 19th century. The spelling changes are intended to be non-mandatory, and will serve primarily as an alternative to the confusing and difficult traditional spellings.

While the suggestions come from an influential standards-setting body, it is not certain how soon they will be adopted universally by institutions such as educational institutions, governmental and legal organizations.

Changes to Spellings

First among the changes is the replacement of the "ough" letter combination in words such as bough and through with a triple "o", turning them into booo and throoo. This does not apply to words such as rough and tough which will now be spelled "ruff" and "tuff".

As if this weren't enuff, the MLA has suggested that we apply the letters "ae" in spelling any "a" sound in words like "cat" (now "caet") and "bat" (now "baet"). Aet laest we haeve ourselves a clear way to distinguish between the vowel sound in "aents" aend "aunts", aend between "lah dee dah" aend the law of the "laend".

The word "you" will from now on be caepitalized in its use mid-sentence, which is a new form of conventional respect You should appreciate greatly, thooo it may take You some time to grow used to it.

All "o" sounds in words such aes "boat" aend "throat" are now to be spelled as "ow". Sow "boat" becomes "bowt" aend "throat" becomes "throwt". While many now doubt will find this change to be confusing the MLA howpes You wown't be. The changes considered aes a whowle are deemed consistent and haeve been introwduced to improve ease of use.

According to the MLA we haeve return'd to the owld apostrophe - d form of the paest tense.

The vahwel "ah" in "lot" becomes "laht", the vahwel "ih" in "lit" becomes "liht" aend the vahwel "uh" in "cup" becuhms "cuhp". Guhd for You ihf the owld spehlings dihd naht serve you wehl.

New learners uhv Amaerican Ihnglihsh wihl be pleas'd aend reliev'd to learn thaet "schwah" sounds will be chang'd to uh "_" spehll_ng, aend thaet word-fin_l "e" spell_ngs aes in "fine wine" wihl bee replaac'd wihth uh double-vahwel c_nvehntiunn aes ihn "fiin wiin", aes will all "long vahw_ls" incluud_ng w_rds liik "week" (daa uhv week) aend "week" (naht strong).

Hihstorihc_l Prehc_dehnts

Nowah Wehbst_r ihs faamuhs for spehl_ng reeforms hee maad in th_ uhrlee 19th cehnt_ree, for hihs traenslaation uhv th_ Biib_l aend for th_ dihctiuhnaeree thaet baers hihs naam.

Wehbst_r's chaang_s ihncluud'd th_ muuv_ng uhv th_ "e" fruhm the Brihtihsh "centre" to "center" (now "cehnter"), th_ chaang fruhm "our" to "or" in w_rds like "favour" (now "faavor"), uhmuhng uth_r sihgnihfihc_nt chaang_s.

Suhmwuht iirahnihc_lee, mehnee, ahlthooo naht ahl, uhv hihs sihmplihfihcaatiuhns fehl ihntuu cahm_n uus_g uhlongsiid th_ orihgihn_l v_rsiuhns, reesuhlt_ng ihn uh sihtuuaatiuhn eev_n mor cuhnfuus'd thaen beefor.

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