Let's Make English Spelling Simpler!

No diacritical marks!

Posted by Massimo on July 4, 2009

Well … after some consideration I decided not to introduce any diacritical marks in my project of English spelling, because it would mean changing keyboard layouts all over the world. English is one of the few languages that use Latin alphabet without any diacritical marks (except loan words such as café or résumé); that is why English texts can be typed in any standard English / Latin keyboard. However, more consistency should be imparted to English spelling system. As for the above-mentioned problem of doubling consonants in words such as other, brother, etc., this problem can be solved by spelling such words as uddher, bruddher, etc. Why not? Similarly, words such as don’t, host, most, post, ghost can be spelled as doan’t, hoast, poast, goast. And words such as  behind, kind, mind, find, pint can be ritten as behiend, kiend, miend, fiend, pient (and words like believe, field, fiend, piece could be spelled as beleeve, feeld, feend, peece).

However, I am currently considering the experience of Romance languages such as Italian and Spanish which use accent marks to distinguish homonyms, e.g. Italian e “and” and è “is” or Spanish “you” (singular) and tu “your” (singular). As we can see, an accent mark (grave in Italian and acute in Spanish) is used when one of two homonyms is in a stressed position in a sentence and is not used when a homonym is in an unstressed one. Accent marks might as well serve to distinguish English words like to, too and two, which could be spelled too, tóo and tóo respectively. The same can be said of for and four, which would become for and fór respectively (and their homonym fore could probably remain as it is).

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One Response to “No diacritical marks!”

  1. Brother Ben said

    I often think of the dh sound as best spelled (for reading not necessarily for space) as “dth.” Perhaps you could incorporate that spelling when consonant doubling. After all, “Matthew” uses TTH for the same purpose. We’d have “Udther” and “Brudther”

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