All progress depends on the unreasonable man
September 23, 2003 10:04 AM   Subscribe

The Alphabet: Meaningless shapes arbitrarily linked to meaningless sounds. When George Bernard Shaw died in 1950, his will provided for the development of a new alphabet for the English language, an alphabet of at least forty letters that could be used to write English without all the oddities of our traditional spelling. Learn more about the history and origins of The Shaw Alphabet, and look at some of its competitors, including the initial teaching alphabet, Inglish Simplifíd Speling and The Unifon Alphabet - a 40 character alphabet resulting from the Shaw alphabet competition. Or, read what Mark Twain had to say on the subject.
posted by anastasiav (10 comments total)
Related MeFi discussions on Spelling Reform and Freespeling.
posted by anastasiav at 10:05 AM on September 23, 2003

Thanks anastasiav - I read about the Shavian alphabet some time ago, and was fascinated by concept but couldn't find any more detail on it. Thanks for finding these.
posted by plep at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2003

For even more writing systems, see Omniglot. (I really like the Yi syllabary.)
posted by SealWyf at 10:27 AM on September 23, 2003

Let's face it: we can't even switch to the metric system, people.
posted by squirrel at 10:33 AM on September 23, 2003

"Language is a virus".

"We must find out what words are and how they function.
They become images when written down,
but images of words repeated in the mind
and not of the image of the thing itself."
- W.S. Burroughs
posted by m@ at 10:59 AM on September 23, 2003

I dig the Deseret alphabet devised by Brigham Young myself, if only because it seems like more of a tool for social control than an experiment in graphological efficiency.
posted by snarkout at 11:21 AM on September 23, 2003

posted by yhbc at 11:41 AM on September 23, 2003

Why not a metric alphabet?
posted by tomharpel at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2003

Thanks, SealWyf, for the link to Omniglot.

Now, I am doomed.
posted by majcher at 8:13 PM on September 23, 2003

Interesting links - especially the one to Twain's thoughts on the subject.

On that page, the claim is made that English students of German can spell in German better than in English. I can attest to this. Once you learn the sounds assigned to the letters, you can easily spell amost every German word, no matter how long.

My German spelling ability is 10X better than my German speaking ability.
posted by syzygy at 4:00 PM on September 24, 2003

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