If we can’t reform the written language can we at least get rid of silent letters?
Here’s the beauty: as they are silent they won’t change the word at all, just make it easier to spell.
We can’t confidently spell our own language, even fluent, native English speakers.
What purpose does the spellcheck on your computer serve other than to help you spell words that you are unsure about?
And if you’re computer savvy there’s a fair chance you are a reasonably high-functioning, literate person, rather than someone living nude in the bush with only dreadlocks and animal fat for warmth.
It would be understandable to hold dear to the traditional spelling origins if we were engaged in a cultural identity crusade like speakers of Flemish or Gaelic.
But if English is the world’s language now should it not more accurately reflect “now” considering that Geoffrey Chaucer has been dead for quite a while.
Having a medieval, dysfunctional written language (dysfunctional spelled with a Y instead of an I – convinced yet?) as the common tongue (spelled tongue, pronounced tung) for global business is neither efficient or practical, yet we’re told such attributes are held in some esteem by business.
The horse and carriage served us well when the English we know today was taking shape, then the steam train, car and aircraft were progressively embraced as more beneficial modernisations.
Meanwhile in 2016 physical is still spelled using PH for F, quite oblivious to the fact that the language has an F, and a Y for an I, for reasons not governed by anything more rational than just the habit of history and the fact that no-one has bothered to update it.
It is the archaic interpretation of a people who boasted a literacy rate of about 1 per cent and thought nothing of emptying bed pans out the window before dealing with the witches in their midst.
If we can congratulate modern society on its, er, modernity, then surely we should also have a language that reflects the move from bear-baiting and open sewers.
If written English is so difficult that school children still compete in spelling contests to see who best can master the absurdities and inconsistencies of the language transcribed, how do those for whom English is a second language cope?
Whether they are our fellow citizens, tourists, or foreign trading partners, going about our business in a language that spells similar sounds as rhymes – because without the H it’s incomprehensible right? – can only be a needless and serious impediment.
Come on: comb needs a B? Receipt needs a P? The H in thyme? Queue needs two Us and two Es to spell a one syllable word that appears in another context as cue?
Plaque with a Q and U and E instead of a K? Then why don’t duques quaque?
Would the walls come tumbling down if we dropped the P from psychiatry and pneumonia?
Without the pointless, silent E in does it would sound slightly more like it’s pronounced, and not be exactly the same spelling as a group of female deer.
If it’s risk why is it wrist? It’s subtle, like scuttle, yet the latter seems to have been left none the worse for not having a B jammed in the midst of it.
Lime makes sense, but we put a B on it for limb as if that shortens the vowel, until you put a C at the front for climb to lengthen it again – the silent B is just a novelty hat that serves no purpose: a door to nowhere but confusion.
And solemn and column with an N at the end? Of course.
How many of those with reading and writing difficulties – and all that entails for their future prospects – would have found reading and writing easier if it was made easier by removing the difficulty and complication?
Silent letters add nothing and detract much - tyme to be wrid of themn.