English spelling reform? A waste of time

Nathaniel Swain
The Conversation 2 March 2015

My 11-year-old student sighs. How can the same letters make so many different sounds? We are looking at the letter combination “ough”. which can be read in seven different ways: “through”, “thorough”, “although”, “plough”, “thought”, “cough” and “rough”.

Certain movements around the English-speaking world think our spelling system is just too difficult. In the UK, the English Spelling Society has renewed calls for spelling reform. They want to change words with extraneous letters and make it easier to spell.

The society proposes spellings like “wensday”, “crum”, “cof”, “distres” and “milenium”. For some, including me, these suggestions produce a visceral reaction; others may see this as progress.

This isn’t the first time groups have sought to artificially alter the spelling of English, and it won’t be the last. But these attempts are counter-productive to improving the literacy skills of struggling students.

Read more at The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/trying-to-change-englishs-complex-spelling-is-a-waste-of-time-38027