Are You Still Using Objections That Were Disproved in 1909?

Posted by on July 2, 2012 in blog | 0 comments

As a means of resisting change, people can usually think of objections to almost any change suggested—even changes that would be an obvious improvement. The objections raised to ending English illiteracy by simplifying English spelling is a case in point. Almost any linguist will tell you that the problem of learning to read English is not the grammar and syntax of English (which is easier than that of many other languages). The problem is the spelling. English spelling is the most confusing, illogical, and chaotic spelling in the world. Due to its extent and seriousness however, ending English illiteracy deserves careful attention.

There are many objections that people can raise to spelling reform, of course. Only a few of these objections are reasonable. What almost no one realizes, however, is that all reasonable objections to spelling reform have been thoroughly debunked many times—even as far back as 1909. In 1909, the book, English Spelling and Spelling Reform, by Thomas R. Lounsbury, LL.D., L.H.D., emeritus professor of English, Yale University, was published. The last chapter of this scholarly, well-researched book answered point-by-point every conceivable objection to spelling reform that had any validity.

Nevertheless, even so authoritative and respected a source as Encyclopedia Britannica, in an edition from a few years back, still listed some of the objections to spelling reform disproven by Dr. Lounsbury. Evidently, little attention was given to Lounsbury's book by anyone other than his peers. In 1909, of course, there were a wealth of manual labor jobs available which did not require literacy. Furthermore, Lounsbury harmed his cause by not proposing a specific spelling system.

In 2012 there are very few, if any, jobs available which do not require literacy. Even some janitors have been fired when it was found that they could not read an after-hours note from their boss giving them specific clean-up instructions.

Unlike Lounsbury's book, Let's End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition proposes a specific spelling system—a spelling system that is so easy to learn that present readers can learn to read it in less than ten minutes and return to present reading rates after only two or three months of using the new spelling system. Furthermore, the spelling system proposed in Let's End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition is so simple, logical, and consistent that many beginning readers may be able to learn to read the new spelling system, NuEnglish, in a week, as Dr. Frank Charles Laubach predicted for a perfect one-spelling-for-one-sound system such as NuEnglish.

Dr. Laubach taught adults around the world to read fluently in well over 300 languages. He prepared reading primers for 313 languages and even invented spelling systems for 220 languages that had no written language. Any student except the most seriously mentally handicapped will certainly be able to learn to read NuEnglish in less than three months, as students in about 98% of the languages in which Dr.Laubach taught were able to do.

The easiest objection that anyone can come up with is to claim that the effort to change the way that hundreds of millions of people spell English words is "too radical." There are two very important reasons why making English spelling logical and consistent is necessary. First, it has been proven that 48.7% of U.S. adults cannot read and write well enough to hold an above-poverty-level-wage job and can therefore be classified as functionally illiterate, and that 31.2% of U.S. functional illiterates are in poverty and are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined. Second, absolutely nothing done in the last 90 or more years has improved the U.S. literacy rate. Changing to a logical, consistent spelling—which has been proven effective in over 300 language groups by Dr. Frank Laubach—is not only not radical, it is positively imperative if we are to compete with the many third-world nations which are rapidly becoming more competitive.

See the humanitarian project of Literacy Research Association, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. (two non-profit educational corporations) for ending English illiteracy. To see proof that the spelling system proposed in Let's End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition is the optimum spelling system for ending English illiteracy, click here.

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