Aims and Objectives of the English Spelling Society.


1. To raise awareness of the problems caused by the irregularity of English spelling.
2. To promote remedies to improve literacy, including spelling reform.


A. To publicize the unnecessary difficulties of English spelling and the benefits that its simplification would bring.

B. To raise awareness of the alphabetic principle, its corruption during the long history of written English, and its more rational application in other languages.

C. To promote research and debate on ways of reforming English spelling, and to prepare a graded set of proposals for relating word-forms more predictably to speech-sounds.

D. To help co-ordinate proposals for English spelling reform across both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries.

E. To persuade the public, opinion-formers, policy-makers and relevant agencies of the need for and practical possibilities of reforming English spelling.

Six Axioms on English Spelling.

1. The letters of the alphabet were designed to represent speech sounds; that is the alphabetic principle.

2. The alphabetic principle makes literacy easy, allowing the reader to pronounce words from their spelling, and the writer to spell them from their sounds.

3. As pronunciation changes through the ages, the alphabetic principle tends to be corrupted; the spelling of words then needs to be adapted to show the new sounds.

4. Unlike other languages, English has not systematically modernized its spelling over the past 1,000 years, and today it only haphazardly observes the alphabetic principle.

5. Neglect of the alphabetic principle now makes literacy unnecessarily difficult in English throughout the world, and learning, education and communication all suffer.

6. Procedures are needed to manage improvements to English spelling as a world communication system.

In 1992, the aim in the constitution was amplified by Bob Brown, then SSS secretary, amended by the committee and published in Newsletter N4. A slightly shorter version was included in the earliest Personal Views.

In 1993, the 10 axioms were devised and published in Newsletter N5.

In 1997, the aims were revised by the committee, on lines suggested by Chris Upward, in Newsletter SS1, resulting in the version above.

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