Short Answer:

MAIN SINE QUA NON CONDITIONS for a reform (Short “how” answer)
  1. No current population will be required to learn the new spellings. It will not be necessary.
  2. Introduce the new system in whole to new students in level 1 (primary classes) called cohort 1 (or C1) and phase it in, one year at a time, thereafter.
  3. C1 students and all future cohorts will be given bilingual, bicodal courses in the old system. They will be bicodal to some degree.
  4. Other (English 1.0) students will get some instruction with the new system, but increasingly so for the cohorts that are closer to the new system’s cohort .
  5. Use diaphonemes (average of phonemic variations of main dialects) or some kind of agreed average depending on which Commonwealth countries (their citizens) are interested. The diaphonemes are the start of the discussion and there would be a time limit for discussion (6 months). If no agreement, the diaphoneme chart will be used.
  6. Use an extremely systematic and phonemic scheme with virtually no exceptions. No compromise.
  7. Keep local, dialectal spoken/speech
  8. Use computer technology to transcode material. Writers will see their work published in two varieties, or as desired by the customer using a free transcoding program.
  9. No loss of jobs. Translators/interpreters will still be needed for the current population.

Many languages have had reforms (check it out) 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,… the paradigm has shifted. Are the naysayers living in the Dark Ages? Why are they so reticent? No one who loves to read this will be bothered. Why would they want to subject kids to mental torture because 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.

But, how could we do it? There have been many attempts to try to reform the English spelling system, but the most serious one came to an abrupt end 100 years ago. Carnegie 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 changes or not. (Simplified Spelling Board - Wikipedia) It is hard to know which approach would have worked the best, but 100 years have passed. Times have changed and the paradigm has shifted as a result. No more so that when computers were introduced 30 years ago. 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. No one, unless they want 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 diaphonemes found on this page. 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. 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. We would suggest they teach in school the right way and enforce the change in the media. 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.

Let me address the most common objections that are often used to prevent any change.

1. There are too many accents (AKA dialectal variations in pronunciation).
  • Dialectal accents are started to be “learned” or “perceived” by the age of 2, BEFORE children can link phonemes, allophones, with any spelling, phonemic or not. Here is the research.
  • We know that children (their brain, really) have the capacity to learn many languages, many accents. In Italy, for instance, it is common to hear people know a dialect (usually oral) and speak/read/write the standard Italian as well. We suggest that the only reasonable way to deal with this issue is to make all Commonwealth children bilingual by starting to learn another standard dialect by Grade 1 and maintain the dialect of the region until the old generation passes away.
  • To avoid political issues and help make English a true lingua franca, it would be wise to use the diaphonemes used on the International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects - Wikipedia or some other agreed form. This will avoid the dialectal issues altogether. If some populations of certain countries or region not be interested, they would have the option of staying with the status quo or reform their dialect as they please.
  • This would not be the Armageddon, the end of English as we know it, an incredible loss of culture,… This is about spelling, not language.
  • The internet, public education for all, social media,... are helping standardizing many accents and, if it were to be reformed in this manner, it will be much easier.
2. I do not want to learn a new system.
  • You won't have to. That is our pledge. I do not want to either. This reform is not for me, you, but for the next generation.
  • The change will occur in schools, starting with as many Grade 1 classes as it is possible. Opting out will be possible. In year 2, another group of Grade 1 will start to learn the new system. The first group will go in Grade 2 and will keep learning the new system (or rather learn using the new system since they will have it mastered decoding and spelling already).
3. There will be a need for some people to learn the new system.
  • The 20 to 40 will need to be familiar with the new system, but free programs will be able to transcode from the current system to the other and vice versa, seamlessly and fast. Transcoding is much faster than translating. It is also much more accurate.
  • The cohort that will go into the labour force after 12 to 16 years will speak the same language. Speech recognition software and transcoding programs will do the rest.
4. Street signs and vendor signs will need to be respelled/respelt.
  • No. The new spellers will be able to decipher the old system.
5. ALL documents will need to be reprinted.
  • No. Digital documents will be transcodable.
  • Should a citizen be interested or be in need to read printed documents, I am sure we can figure out text-to-speech recognition software to deal with that issue or have someone read it to him or her.
6. Will translators lose their job?
  • No. A good segment of the population will still function in the current system.
  • No. The new spellers will need translation as much as the older generation.
7. Will teachers lose their job?
  • If a Grade 1 teacher were incapable or unwilling to teach the new system, they could be given the task to teach those children who are opting out.
  • There will be a 4 or 5 year preparatory period to start the transition (Year 1/Grade1) which should give people plenty of time to shift.
  • Unions will be consulted and a system will be put in place to facilitate the transition for all
  • Retirement by attrition would be one of the ways used to replace teachers.
  • Grade 1 teachers are often able to teach other grades.
  • New students will need a few teachers to teach the old system as a second-language mode.
8. The language will lose the morphological links between words that will be lost or reduced with a new more phonemic system.
  • Everyone knows the link between language and linguistic, for instance. Both words resemble each other, but the link is not automatic. A more phonemic system will sometimes improve the relation and sometimes obscure it. At the end of the day, some of the words that are linked by how they look, require the learner to remember the pronunciation of the words and less the spelling of the words. On the other hand, a more phonemic system will require the learners to commit to memory the meaning of more words. A newer system will improve the link between words that are spoken and words that are written/read. The current system obscures the link between words that are spoken (heard) and words that are written/read.
  • Furthermore, Is ready about reading? Is readjust about reading well? There are lots of false positive in that sense in the lexicon. Lots.
9. Is it worth it?
  • Illiteracy rates in the 30% levels in most Commonwealth countries will drop with a simpler system.
  • A simpler system will be MUCH cheaper to teach (fewer specialist teachers will be needed).
  • Fewer kids will be pulled out and shamed as reading disabled.
  • Less crime as more people will be able to read and write. (Robots will do the menial work that illiterate people sometimes must do).
  • Happier labour force.
  • Better educated/literate labour force.
  • Better economy.
  • More people around the world should be able to learn an easier system.
  • Easier travelling and understanding between people.
  • More people will be able to read books written in the new code. Higher profits for English-speakers.
10. Which industry will lose?
  • Publishing houses will benefit. Lots of material will need to be digitized in the new code.
  • Teachers (attrition and re-assignment will need to be addressed)
  • tutoring agencies and tutors could lose out.
  • Psychologists who assess students’ reading and writing abilities/intelligence.
11. What do these new spelling systems look like?
  • Some are using most of the spelling rules that exist now. They are just regularizing many of the patterns. (Masha Bell has one system.)
  • Others attempt to maximize the opportunity as a second shot at this will prove unlikely. Iezy Ignglish is such a system. It attempts to systemise the easiest pattern, the vowel+e pattern found in many words (friend, clue, foe, larvae,…). The vowel+e pattern is easier to learn and to decode than the vowel+consonant+e pattern (late, cute, core, mite, mere). The simpler pattern would do away with the cumbersome doubling of the consonant rule to change the vowel value: pat/patting, mate/mating.
  • Others can be found on the English spelling society website.
12. Will communication between the ones who know the new system and the ones that don’t be affected?
  • The language/speech/conversations will be the same.
  • The only communication mode that will be affected is the written mode, but is there anyone who thinks that most people will not have smart phones or tablets or computers to allow this?
  • The internet will need transcoding work, but programs can easily be created I am told by programmers. These programs will be able to transcode tons of material and will do it faster that any translation program (and much better).
Did I miss any? Of course I did.
Please provide problems and come up with solutions to problems. However, if you are going to show one word or a few that could be problematic, please offer a complete and BALANCED analysis. We will want to know what is the ratio of words that could have problems. One word or two or three will be treated as insignificant. The lexicon has hundreds of thousands of words.

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