English as a Second Language Wikibook

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Simplified Spelling

Rule Examples
final double consonant drop the last letter,
but with –ll only after a short vowel,
and with –ss only in monosyllables
add→ad, bill→bil, bluff→bluf, doll→dol, egg→eg, loss→los, glass→glas
But all [ɔ:l], roll [rɔul], needless
ae (æ) and oe (œ) pronounced [ə / ɪ] use e aesthetic→esthetic, foetus→fetus,
alumnae [ə'lʌmnɪ:] (unchanged)
bt pronounced [t] use t debt→det, doubt→dout
ch pronounced [k] drop silent h
except before e, i, y
character→caracter, school→scool
But chemist, architect, monarchy (unchanged)
silent and misleading –e drop the e are→ar, give→giv, have→hav, were→wer, gone→gon, examine→examin, practise→practis, definite→definit, active→activ, involve→involv, serve→serv, achieve→acheev, leave→leev, freeze→freez, gauze→gauz, sleeve→sleev
ea pronounced [e] use e head→hed
ea pronounced [ʌ] use a heart→hart
eau and eaux pronounced [ɔu] use o bureau→buro
ei pronounced [ɪ] use ie conceit→conciet, deceive→deciev
ey pronounced [ɪ] use -y chimney→chimny, money→muny
gh pronounced [f] use f cough→cof, laugh→luf, enough→enuf
gh pronounced [g] use g aghast→agast, ghost→gost
-gm pronounced [m] use m apothegm→apothem, paradigm→paradim
gue after a consonant, a short vowel or a digraph representing a long vowel or diphthong drop silent –ue catalogue→catalog, league→leag, prologue→prolog tongue→tung
But not in rogue, vague, a.s.f.
ise and –yse pronounced [aɪz] use –ize advertise→advertize, analyse→analize, rise→rize
mb after a short vowel use m bomb→bom, crumb→crum
But not after a long vowel as in comb, tomb, a.s.f.
oe pronounced [ɔu] drop silent e,
except in inflected forms
foe→fo, hoe→ho
foes, hoed (unchanged)

Respelled Words

tho, thru, thoro, burocrat, frate, harth, herse, staf and telegraf

  • ache → ake1)
  • against → agenst
  • aghast → agast
  • axe → ax (Spelt æx in Old English and ax until about two hundred years ago. Today's spelling has no grounds.2))
  • build → bild
  • cinder → sinder (Wrongly thought to be from the French cendre, hence the c- at the beginning. In truth it comes from Old English, and its old spelling sinder yet fits.3))
  • could → coud (The "l" was not in the word at first, and was put in through likening with would and should. Take it out to give coud.4))
  • court → cort
  • crumb → crum
  • delight → delite (the earlier form of delight (Oxford English Dictionary).)
  • entice → entise
  • friend → frend
  • guess → gess
  • hearth → harth
  • heifer → hefer
  • island → iland
  • money → muny
  • numb → num
  • race → rase
  • ready → redy
  • rhyme → rime
  • scythe → sithe (This word was thought to be akin to Latin scindere meaning 'to cut', but is in truth from Old English siþe. It ought rightly be sithe.5))
  • some → sum
  • stead → sted
  • threat → thret (it was also in use, now obsolete)
  • tongue → tung
  • trough → trofe
  • thumb → thum (The Old English spelling was þuma and so the new spelling, without the -b is thum.6))
  • whore → hore (The Middle English word did not have w- at the beginning, and the right spelling, then as now, is hore.7))
  • wonder → wunder (In Old English the word is wundor, and maybe this is another shift from -u- to -o- so the word would not be misread. Anyway, it is best spelt wunder.8))
  • yield → yeeld
  • jeopardy → jepardy

1) "The current spelling ache is erroneous; the vb. being historically ake, and the n. ache, as in bake, batch, speak, speech. About 1700 the n. began to be confused in pronunciation with the vb., whence some confusion in spelling between ache and ake; and finally instead of both being written ake—the word that has survived,—both vb. and n. are now written ache—the word that has become obsolete. That is, the word ache has become obs. and been replaced by the word ake, while the spelling ake has become obs. and been replaced by the spelling ache. For this paradoxical result, Dr. Johnson is mainly responsible: ignorant of the history of the words, and erroneously deriving them from the Gr. ἄχος (with which they have no connexion) he declared them ‘more grammatically written ache.’"(Oxford English Dictionary).
2), 3), 4), 5), 6), 7), 8) The First English Stead: New Spellings.


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