Phonetic Spelling Language Reform @BBCR4 @stephenfry

Yes, some alternate spellings are genuinely redundant or a result of artificial introduction of combinations Germanic, Romance and Classical Latin “corrections” to pre-existing phonetic words (multiple ill-fitting trousers), before most people were dealing with the written word, but there are two kinds of spelling being overlooked. One that different words have and do come from different languages and preserved spellings reflect historical roots, and many so called similar pronounced sounds are similar but not actually the same for those accents that care to preserve their differences.

One value of language is to maintain our history and geography in view, not just maximum communication efficiency here and now. Obviously if we reduce the purpose of language to the latter, all bets are off, though it does ring fence us into narrower view that may miss future opportunities – being tidy is not good for evolution. (No reason not to tolerate simplified / abbreviated spellings in fast communications – as we do, always have – but the formal written form shouldn’t lose its history, its etymology. There are narrow measures and broader qualities of literacy; and measures make bad objectives.)

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