REFORM OF ENGLISH
English has many irregularities that inhibit its acceptance as a World Language.
We have a lot of dumb things in English. This is among the reasons that so many have attempted suggest simplifications. But are we to establish a governmental body to establish standards? The French take international words from the new American dominated fields of computer and internet and "create" a Gallic version that writers must use. How stupid. The goal is simplification, not change for the sake of change or national pride.
All conditions where a teacher has to explain an irregularity should be considered for regularization.
The problem is that the uneducated and immigrants often follow the regular rules where there are irregularities in proper English. Thus knowledge of the irregularities is a mark of education and standing. To regularized English will make the newly regular forms seem illiterate. To do ==> do, doed, will do. After a lifetime of learning good English to suddenly are expected to use "doed"? Difficult task.
Verbs, Past Tense
WORD IRREGULAR REGULAR Or Perhaps
Be am, are, be, is be is
Be was, were beed was
Come came comed
Do did doed dod
Get got getted ged
Give gave gived
Go went, gone goed
Have had haved had
Keep kept keeped
Let let letted let
Make made maked
Put put puted put, pud
Send sent sended
See saw seed
Say said sayed said
Take took taked
Adverbs are often formed by addition of -LY. But, occasionally it is formed by -ALLY.
Why this violation? What good does the the extra syllable provide ?
WORD ADVERB WHY NOT?
automatic automatically automaticly.
basic basically basicly
Archaic Past Tense
In Basic English works, most of which were written in 1930's British, I routinely change the past tense "-t" to "-ed" (burnt, burned) as a contribution to the world. This irregularity serves not purpose. Many words have both forms in use, certainly delete the irregular "-t" where an "-ed" form is available in usage. (Make a list - - it may be long and not found anywhere, but must be compiled by hand.)
WORD PAST "-t" REGULAR "-ed"
Bend bent bended
Build built builded
Burn burnt burned
Buy bought buyed
Catch caught catched
Creep crept creeped
Deal dealt dealed
Feel felt feeled
Learn learnt learned
Lead lent lended
Light lit lighted
Awkward examples -- this will be most likely be found from recognizing not-natives using a regular form that sounds "strange" to the native ear.
WORD PAST "-t" REGULAR "-ed"
Get got getted
Keep kept keeped
Lose lost losed
Mean meant meaned
Send sent sended
Shoot shot shooted
Sleep slept sleeped
Sit sat sitted
Spend spent spended
Teach taught teached
Think thought thinked
AGREEMENT. Why must we relocate the "s" to maintain agreement
between subject and verb on making the slightest wording change?
The boy jumps. The boys jump.
Our tour guide in Holland insisted on referring to flocks of ' sheeps.'
This caused much merriment among the educated Americans. Yet he is the one most logical.
deer, fish, police, sheep
THE ONE DOING : -er versus -or.
The form "-er": comes form old English. The form "-or" comes from old French. This shows the multi-source
nature of modern English. Is it about time to regularize this form? Changes will include:
actor , competitor , conductor , creditor , denominator , debitor , director , divisor , educator , governor , insulator , inventor , operator , processor , sailor , sensor , separator , tailor
Questionable : anchor , neighbor , vapor , warrior ,
Bonus : Removal of "-or" from the "one doing " list will ease the burden on removing the extra "u" so often
seen in the suffix-like form "-our" as in -- ardor, armor, color, endevour, favor, labor, honor, labor, rumor, savior.
Progress has been made : these words are always without the extra "u" : error, liquor, pallor, terror.
Much is made that English spelling and pronunciation differ. How valuable if sight and sound agreed?
Answer -- a lot.
Private and NGO's have attempted some things, most notably the Chicago Tribune and they gave up after 40 years of perseverance, 1934-1975. One or more of the education societies did, too.
"Thru, til, and nite " are semi-acceptable, but " iland, kof, and ruf " did not catch on.
Formal phonetic language has 60 sounds and special symbols for them Many have no discernible difference; regional accents far exceed the range of exactitude of the formal phonetic alphabet and therefore make it a mockery out of teaching English to non-natives. Conventional phonetics is too complete/complex for practical usage.
On this subject, the beloved webmaster of the Basic English Institute applied simplifications using principles of which
Ogden would approve and created an alphabet from sounds that start with our existing
31 letter alphabet and establishes a Basic phonetic pronunciation with only 44 sounds that, in common usage,
requires only 23 letters of the existing alphabet. Every student learns "ŏ" and "long ō" that has a bar over it,.
"The boy made a bŏw to the queen while holding his bōw and arrow ." "There was a red bow on the
bow of the ship."
Yet is displayed everyday as simply "o".
As example of phonetic spelling convention. The "middle vowel" sound is represented in spelling by every
possible vowel or combination of vowels when it is actually the position of the voice when in transition between other more significant sounds. [ "America" has two such, beginning and ending syllables.]
In the trade, this middle vowel is expressed as the Latin letter "schwa" ,"ə ", that looks sort’a like an "italic a". Good grief, the simplification principle says use an "italic a" in pronunciation guides ; don't add a new letter to the alphabet or keyboard. And, in common usage, simply as an "a". Creation of a "schwa convention" in common usage of simply "a" will alone generate great simplification and ease of teaching English.
If the phonetic conventions are sufficiently English-like, then why not use the phonetic spelling in everyday writing ? Just drop the bar over the "ō" and the italics from "a."
WORD WHY NOT? Question
Children learn whatever they are taught ; they can read new English at school and online and still read their parent's books in old 20th Century English with no more difficulty than we have with " shoppe, programme, and plough." In a generation, they will be wondering why we put up with the old irregularities.
twelfth twelvth Why change 'f' to 'v'?
pronounce pronunciation What's with the 'o?
Please note : Ogden created Basic English to be conventional English including complete acceptance of the irregular nature of full
English. There are not modifications required to make Basic work . It is totally acceptable English and NO unlearning is required to proceed to full English. He resisted his sponsors interests to make Basic a vehicle for reform. This continues as the policy of the Basic English Institute. However, anybody interested in the subject is aware of weaknesses in English.
It is fun to consider what English contains.
Back to Basic English Institute.
About this Page: reform.html - About Reform of the English Language -- incomplete first draft.
Last updated July 17, 2008