Re: New phonemic writing system and IPA usage

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Aug 23 1999 - 08:54:06 EDT

Ar 20:12 -0700 1999-08-22, scríobh
> >>The reason English is interesting to learn is not any
> >>fundamental property of English, more that there is a huge
> >>amount of _written_ information and literate people, in
> >>English. Changing English orthography would break that.
> >As I state earlier, regularizing it with minor corrections
> >according to Wijk's very sensible scheme would not.
> But making as drastic a change as to adopt CC would!

Yes, which is why it is unsuitable and therefore (with all due respect to
its enthusiastic creator) a waste of time.

Anyone looking into the subject of orthographic reform of English who does
not want to be just another wheel-inventer must read Axel Wijk's work. Wijk
describes in meticulous detail in his 350-page book precisely why
"phonemic" attempts to reform English have always failed, and outlines the
only credible solution (which leaves at least 70% of the vocabulary
unchanged), as well as a plan for actually carrying out the reform.

I don't know whether or not the book is in print, but I found it easily at
the Advanced Book Exchange, a network of used and rare book dealers
( It is a pity the text is not available

Axel Wijk. 1959. Regularized English: an investigation into the English
spelling reform problem with a new, detailed plan for a possible solution.
(Acta Universitatis Stockhomiensis, Stockholm Studies in English VII)
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiskell.

My view: the solution to the problem (apart from doing nothing and ignoring
the problem) has been worked out Wijk. People interested in the problem
should read Wijk and work for his solution if they are interested in doing
anything that has even the ghost of a chance of succeeding.

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478 2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478 2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn;  Baile an Bhóthair;  Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:51 EDT