a) Masha Bell's idea
b) Dr. Yule with my twist on it
c) Iezy Ingglish




When one thinks about it, even the word "English" does not follow a major spelling rule: all sounds (or phonemes) should be represented by a letter or a group of letter! That's right! "English" is misspelled!  It should really be spelled "Ingglish"! It should also be spelled with an "i" like "in". It is the only word in the language where "en" sounds like "in"! Confused? Now, you know how kids feel! How, you, may have felt when you were trying to learn English?

In the reform movement, there are 2 systems I particularly like: Masha Bell's and Dr. Yule's! (BTW, this movement is not new! G. B. Shaw, Carnegie, Roosevelt, and many others after that have tried to make it better.)

Masha Bell's approach is --from what I gather-- more traditional. She looked at the all the rules/patterns and wants to keep all or most of them, removing all (or most of) the irregular words that do not follow those rules. Once you know the 91 rules, you should be able to read any word by yourself, after 1 year (probably a little bit more since there are 2 times as many as there are in other languages). Her new coding is regularising the system as much as it is possible.

Dr. Yule's Interspel system is also looking to regularize matters, but in a different manner.

a) Masha Bell's Idea

Essentially, Masha Bell's idea is to keep the spelling rules, but to regularize a lot of them, and make a few other changes as well.
  • No (limit) "ea", but use the "ee" or "eCe" pattern!
  • Double those consonants for short vowels sounds, regularly.
  • Eliminate the double consonants when they are not needed.
  • Change "gh" to "f".
  • Redundant final "e" are indeed redundant!
  • Past tense "ed" changed to "t" or "d", when the preceding syllable does not end with "t" and "d"
  • Short "e", written as "e",is regularized. So, bed, but sed for said, hed for head, eny for any, frend for friend
  • Short "u", written as "u", is regularized. So, cut, but cuple for couple, cum for come, cumpass for compass)
  • Using the "oo" digraph is problematic because there are so many alternatives (ou, o, u, ...). No definite solution offered.

b) Dr. Yule's Idea

I am using the first stage of Dr.Yule's interspell system and making it my own.

I urge you to skip this section and go to the Wikipedia's article on her system. It is far better an explanation. However, in the first stage of her system, she advocates that the magic "e" be either added to the vowel that it "controls" or "influences" or put an accent on top of those vowels. So, the long vowels would look like this.

long a :  ae or à / to make: pale -----  pael or pàl:

pael or pàl for pale

While Dr. Yule prefers the use of diacritics, I think the "added e" idea is very easy to learn and to teach. It is easy to type as well. It is also present in a lot of words in English.

ie: grief, fief, field, niece, piece, ...
ee: very common
oe: foe, goes, toe, woes,...
ue: blue, fuel, glue,...

 (ae: obscure or non-existant)

Of course, a lot of words would look odd if we were to generalize this across the lexicon.

piel or pil (with an accent) ... for pile
peech or pech (with an accent) ... for peach
poel or pol (with an accent)  ,,, for pole
cuet or cut (with an accent)  ,,, for cute

Of course, this looks odd to us because we are used to the spelling we learned.

This would be a very compelling system because it is highly predictable and reliable in terms of finding the correct spelling (add "e" if it is a long vowel phoneme)! No need to remember that one has to add an "i" to an "a" to make words like "bait", or an "e" after the consonant like in words such as "bate", or an "u" to make words such as "cause". Here, simply add "e"! Period! It will be easy to read as well, of course!

BTW, Dr. Yule recommends that 31 words remain written as they are now because these would make texts less different as these words are ubiquitous in many texts. This idea flies against my idea of making a new system free of the influence and the constraints imposed by traditional speakers (as I believe it should be introduced in schools, phased in that way for 15 years or so), making both systems living side by side. Refer to the main page for a more complete explanation and implications of what would that entail.

I would remove "are" from that list, as it is a word that rimes with "am" and as (az), at, hat, ....

I        am, waz, wil
You  ar, wur, wil,...
S/he  is (iz?), waz
We    ar, wur,...
You   ar, wur
They ar, wur

That is so logical and so beautiful! The "is" with an "s" pronounced like an "z" is problematic and I would rather change it to "z", but that's because Dr. Yule's intent is to "appease" the purists and to implement the change among the literate English-speakers of this world! I would be just as happy to have both systems live side by side. In time, traditional spelling would "vanish", although I am sure some people will be interested in being "bicodal"!

I recommend that you follow the link to her website for other explanations as her system is made up of 3 levels.

The inconsistent use of the single vowel with a consonant like in words like be, we, she, he, do, by, ... is problematic. While we might want to refer to Masha's research and side for "ee" (and perhaps "e", in monosyllabic words), because more words are spelled with "ee" (in her list of common words), "ea" words might be more frequent.

Not many words end with an "i" and if they do they have a final "e" like in die, lie, pie, tie, vie,... Often the "y" is used to make the alphabet i: by, my, why, guy, ...  exception: hi, dye, buy, bye... Again, consistency would help. Using the "y" is a bit counter-intuitive because "y" is used for the ending of adverbs and there are many of those. I think adding the "e" to the "i" (to make the "i" phoneme in by). So, by and buy would be spelled "bie"! I know ... I know it would look weird! But, die, lie, pie, tie, vie don't!

What to do With Those Exceptions?

Sight words or common words are notoriously irregular (and in even  more perverse ways than others exceptions). Just think of these pairs: am/are, one/won, be/see, glue/few

I suggest we change them slightly, in keeping with the above structure.

Here is the complete list of these "pests".

1) are, as, was, half 

2) all, almost, always 

3) a, an, among  

4) come, some

5) could, should, would 

6) pull push put

7) know, of, off 

8) one, once

9) what, 

10) want 

11) two, to, who

I suggest we respell some of these words for consistancy.

1) am, as, was, at ------ drop the "e" -- ar (are) and haf (half), az, 
2) all, almost, always ------ ol, olmost, olways (or olwaez)
3) a, an, among -----  u, un, umong (like in fun, sum, luck,...)
4) come, some --------  com, som or cum or sum
5) could, should, would --------- cued, shued, wued
6) put, push, pull --------  puet, puesh, puel**
7) know, of, off ----------- kno, ov, of
8) one, once ----------- wun, wuns
9) what --- what (it does sound differently than the a in am, as, and at), but I suspect the w makes it so.
10) want ------- want (here the n makes the a sound like a nasal vowel)
11) two, to, who ------- tue, tue, hue

c) Iezy Ingglish

3. The diaphonemes in this chart and this one MUST BE used (unless parties can agree to another scheme).

There is one exceptional rule. The "y" ending on adverbs stays as "i" or "ie" would not have made sense. It is an easy rule. It helps know where the adverbs are.


In a nutshell, hundreds of groups of university students would do the selecting. The way I envisione the selection of a new system is that a linguistic professor for each advanced educational institution (we could select all institutions or we could select institutions in a random fashion) would be in charge of answering questions related to linguistic questions posed by the diverse students (this is a project opened to all kinds of students, not just linguistics or arts' students). I --or others-- would create a PUBLIC website in which I --or others-- would present the code of the spelling reformers using a very uniform and specific format for all, allowing students to compare schemes (advantages and disadvantages). The format could be something that should be discussed with all individual reformers who would like to showcase effectively their spelling scheme. Students would analyze the schemes, critically, and discuss the worthiness of each scheme, as part of some kind of a paper (perhaps). After class discussions or group discussions would hopefully be part of the course (or of the meetings). If this could be part of a legitimate university course, then this could be a plus for everyone. Students would feel they would be working for something useful and earn credits towards their degrees. Linguistic professors would hopefully feel the same way. At the end of the course or discussion, students would be voting (online and paper version for control) for one or two schemes they like. The votes of all students would be analyzed and schemes that are winners would be declared winners. We (spelling schemers) could vote on one voting scheme, as it is found in traditional election systems ( I guess we would have to find a voting system to vote, first! :) Or we could use different voting systems, as chosen by the institutions. Or we could make it a random voting system,, if we don't have a consensus, reached by a set date. So, after all of those university groups have studied, discussed, analyzed all of the new proposed spelling systems, they would vote. We would get a result delineating which systems has the strongest appeal and go with that selection. With one or a few spelling system-winners, we could start lobby the establishment (the Commonwealth). Again, we would need to have a consensus (or a few ideas) on how it would be done (would this be phased-in, imposed on all,... or not? We could ask student groups to vote for a method as well. Again, the central idea of this method is to decentralize and delegate the decision to third-party groups that don't have a vested interest in any of the proposed schemes. By using many groups, we reduce the possibility of interference as well. We also increase the possibility of having this idea be accepted. I have already addressed in more detail the reasons behind this way of doing things. I will let sociology or political science professors or other and more competent people (if they are interested) to tweak this idea.


Many languages have had reforms (check it out (Spelling reform - Wikipedia (Spelling reform - Wikipedia))) and many were successful. The better ones did not expect current learners to learn the new system. Moreover, today, we have computers, smart phones, AI,… In other words, many paradigms have shifted. In fact, many paradigms have shifted in the last decade or two and at increasing speed. Are the naysayers keeping up with those? Are they shifting with the shifts? I don’t think so. Their paradigm has not shifted. It is the old arguments given again and again. Why are they so reticent? No one who loves to read this will be asked to learn a new system, as I will explain. Why would they want to subject others —including kids— to mental torture because the reality is that the MAJORITY of kids struggle, the MAJORITY of citizens struggle, the MAJORITY of foreigners struggle. While the naysayers love exceptions, the evidence is there: no matter how you look at it, it is a mess. (This neurological research might explain why some people are reluctant. It is not so much the people as it is how some brain works! To be sure, people whose identity is shaped because they know English and can earn a living might have an even stronger reaction, but I will prove that there is nothing to be feared about. Change can be a win-win proposition if done with respect and intelligence.)

But, how could we do it? There have been a few attempts to try to reform the English spelling system. The most serious one came to an abrupt end 100 years ago. President Roosevelt had initiated. His friend, Carnegie, who had been delegated the task of looking into it, believed that we should not force people to spell and read differently as his board had decided. He preferred a more informal and timid reform where people could decide to adopt the changes or not. (Simplified Spelling Board - Wikipedia) Purists, vested interest groups (publishers), and political games did the rest. (German and French reforms of recent times have suffered similar fates. By trying to appeal to the general population, by making minimal changes, they opened themselves to criticisms for being superfluous or a lot of trouble for nothing.) The main issue, however, is the idea of forcing people to adopt the changes or hoping that people will do. All of this would make a holder of an MBA laugh as both approaches are ineffective. In the case of English, there might be a cultural aspect to this as well. The British culture is know for their ability to manage adversity by keeping a stiff upper lip and avoiding reality by going to bars, as this question demonstrated: What are some dark sides of the UK? Not sure if having to learn to spell and read such a complex system is one of the reasons for these types of behaviours, but it might make them less interested in changing matters.They are proud of their culture and their language, like most people are. That is to be admired, of course. But, this is not about culture. It is not about language per se. It is about a spelling system. Times have changed. Times are changing. There is Quora and we can discuss things. Today, we also know more about management of changes. People are texting now. Computers were introduced 30 years ago and everyone seems to have a smartphone in their hands now. One billion Chinese are soon to be a force to be reckoned with. Which international language are they going to speak? Chinese? Many paradigms have shifted. Not sure what is going to be the tipping point. But, things have evolved.

One of the ideas (which is closer to Carnegie's thinking) is that we should NOT try to “force” people who know the current system to learn the new one. However, we have pushed that idea to its extreme. It is our contention that no one, unless they wanted to, should learn to spell using the new system unless they desire it. It is our contention that the key to making a reform work should be to introduce it methodically and slowly in schools first and only in schools. That does not mean that we would introduce bits of the new spelling system to all grades. It will be ALL of the new spelling system starting with the Grade 1 kids, as a wave. Of course, this plan would need to be approved by the government and the people. There will be a congress next year during which a group of linguists and professors at the English Spelling Society will decide which is the system(s) that they recommend. I believe we should use a system that is based on a general dialect that has some, but not all the features of any of the dialects. I am talking about the vowel diaphonemes found on this page. I am including a reformatted sample to give an idea. The multiple dialects that the original chart has have been removed because the idea is that the diaphonemes will be used as the pronunciation guide to be used with whatever spelling system will be chosen. So, in Iezy Ignglish, in all Commonwealth countries “trap” words will now be pronounced with the /ae/ and spelled with an “a” as “trap” and “bath”/”father” words (if the /a:/ is used) will not be spelled baeth/faether (faedher)), and so on and so forth. Btw, this is one diaphoneme that would require an agreement on as it has 2 possible phonemic representations. All others are straightforward. The match with the new spelling system (whatever it is) will be 1:1.

Beyond that, it is our view that a reform should take place in all schools once teachers have been trained. It should be starting with a group that has not learned to read and write: 6 year old kids. The rest of the school children would be taught the old system. It might be wise to start teaching these children bits of the new system. Again, the government will look at the recommendations and decide what they feel is best. The next year, the second cohort of new grade 1 kids would start school learning the new system while the older Grade 1 would move into Grade 2, continuing to learn to read and write using the new system. Tablets will be given/lend to all students (school and home) to access information from the internet or other sources, except that this information would be instantly transcoded when they need it, like it happens with Google translate. I think that by the time this happens, most tablets will be very inexpensive for schools so that all students will have one. (Dana Smith felt free tablets should be given to needy families, but I think these should be loaned like textbooks are/were.) They will be like those textbooks that were given to us at the beginning of the year. Btw, transcoding is much faster and more accurate than translating. Eventually, after a few years, some of these cohorts will be taught the basics of English 2.0: how to read street signs, store signs,… They would not learn how to spell using English 1.0, but they will learn to decode a basic set of words and, especially towards the end of their schooling, how to read English 1.0 words of their trade. There might be a need for them to have a slightly different accent depending on how standardized English 2.0 will be, which might depend on which countries decide to participate in the reform. This reform will take 12 years to works its way out, but it will take years to make it occur. Convincing the population will take years and then politicians more years. But, if and when it is approved, the 12 years will give even more time for society to get ready. Free transcoders (programs that can transcode between English 1.0 and English 2.0) will be available for all. This will be very simple to do. In fact, some reformists have made some of them. When these cohorts exit the school system, they will try to find work like all students or they will go to university. Books and manuals should be available in both codes. This should not be so hard for publishing companies and digital copies of these should available for download into tablets. We would hope that by that time students’ books would all be the digital type. Again, these are recommendations.

Will a reform be perfect? Is anything perfect? Is the English spelling system now perfect? Why are those lovers of perfection in love with imperfection? There are thousands of imperfections now and they are fine with those? Be coherent! The system will no doubt be much easier to learn and to teach. That is self-evident, as demonstrated earlier. Something is simpler to learn than something that is complex.

Will some dialects need to re-align some of the pronunciation of a few words? Probably unless they want to develop their own English 2.0 or unless their kids can be bilingual in both Singapore English which pronounces some words that have a short /a/ as /E/ and the new English 2.0 (an international version). I believe kids have that capacity. Up to them to pronounce it the way they want. We would suggest they teach in school the right way and enforce the change in the media. When there is 250 years of laissez-faire, it is necessary to take extraordinary measures, but it will be up to Singapore and other dialects to align themselves with the diaphonemic spelling that is as impartial as one can make it. Accents will be preserved in many instances though, but they will less … pronounced in some cases. But, bad should not be spelled “bed”. Multiple spellings of words could be allowed, but whenever it is feasible. IN some sense, a re-alignment will nt be bad for those “rogue” dialectal words and speakers. It will allow to be understood by more people in the Commonwealth. Is it that bed? I mean “bad?

But, there are many excuses given to not change things. Please, follow this link to see how those could be dealt with.