Why hasn't American had a reform in spelling ? Usually Americans are quick to adopt innovations and new ideas. Why is "laugh" spelled in such an archaic way ? Even comic strips sometimes spell it, "laf". Maybe the new text message written dialect will eventually incite a reform in spelling.
Maybe 700 years ago in Middle English the "gh" in laugh was pronounced in a gutteral Germanic asperated "ch" as in "ach". The printing press froze those archaisms into the spelling, but in oral speech, they are long gone. Noah Webster started a break from English spelling in the late 18th century and over the 19th century many American spelling simplifications were adopted, such as public for publick. Another successful change our revolutionary ancestors made was to get rid of the "u" in words like colour, making it color. But many, many suggested spelling reforms died stillborn.
About 80 years ago in his fine book, "The American Language", H. L. Mencken traces American spelling and shows how a large number of reforms were adopted, but said that Anglophiles, pedantics and schoolmarms inhibited the adoption of new words, grammars and spelling. He also shows that in Britain, adoption of American spelling reforms was inhibited by Ameriphobes, pedantics and schoolmarms. Sheesh.
Early last century, a Simplied Spelling Board subsidized by Carnegie was active, making many spelling reform suggestions. Very few seem to have been adopted.
Langauges like German and Polish had spelling reforms after World War II (German was as recent as 1996). Why not American ? Sheesh, are we being out-innovated ? America is supposed to be modern, innovative, using concepts and creating new ideas, uses and things. Why don't we reform spelling ?
Words like laugh, slaughter, daughter, eight, and on and on.
Let's start with the obvious, easy ones.
Laugh -> laf.
Slaughter -> slauter
daughter -> dauter.
Eight -> ate. [upon reflection, "ait" works better, as in wait, bait]
Foot -> fut to follow put. That's how the texters spell is now anyway.
Well, I'm running out of time, but I'll post many more suggestions later. And any "good" suggestions from readers are welcome & I'll post those, too.
Word of the Day
"Orthography" - noun [$10]
Orthography means 1(a) correct or conventional spelling 1(b) spelling with reference to its correctness (dreadful orthography); 1(c) the study or science of spelling; 2(a) perspective projection used in maps and elevations in which the projection lines are parallel; 2(b) a map so projected.
Sentence: Reform in American orthography in coming, led by the new text message written diglossia. Bunkerman is calling for a commission to Simply American Spelling, or perhaps a global convention to simply spelling of the American-English language.
La Parola della Settimana
"Bere" - verb, irregular
Bere means to drink.
La frase: Adesso bevo il caffé.
Sentence: Now I am drinking coffee.