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Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project, in chronological order, most recent first, from the commencement of the project on June 1st, 2004 thru January 2017; and here for words added from February 1st, 2017 onward..
Click here for an index to words discussed throughout this project from A-M, and here for an index to words discussed throughout this project from N-Z, in alphabetical order.
Update, September 9th, 2017: I briefly considered ending this project, which I began on June 1st, 2004. I am 72 years old, and, tho I have time for this project, for being fully retired, I am seriously lacking in energy. I have a comprehensive spelling reform to which I am devoted (see http://http://fanetik.tripod.com/), and I need to add recent improvements to that system. But I'll keep working on this project, and have finished all of June 2017. That does not remotely bring it up-to-date, but it cuts the backlog a bit. I will be adding four days a day until I am caught up, and will be removing older discussions every few days, but they can all be found in the quarterly archives.
(Within the webpages noted above are clickable links to all the discussions, organized by quarter year.)
here for a list of possible future
Click here for the principles that govern the selection of words for this project.
Click here for a list of words rejected for this project because of those principles.
Click here for links to other websites concerned with spelling.
(In general, only the base form of a word to be revised is given,
but closely related forms, such as inflected variants of a verb or a noun
created from the verb take the same change (e.g, the reform of "saturate"
to "sachurate" carries over to "sachuration", "sachurated", and "sachurating";
"abizmal" carries over to "abizmally"; and so on.)
The distribution of words that require reform is wildly uneven from one initial letter of the alphabet to another. Ordinarily, we have considered one word a day for each initial letter, but we have just about run out of words in various parts of the alphabet, so will treat of the letters that have many, many words (e.g., C, D, P, M, and S) on multiple days in a row before moving to the next letter in alphabetical order.
Friday, June 30, 2017: "meuz" for "mews"
Today's word looks like a plural, but is really not, but refers to (Dictionary.com) "(formerly) an area of stables built around a small street" (and housing created from those stables): "meuz".
Thursday, June 29, 2017: "memmorabillea" for "memorabilia"
In today's word, there are two short vowel sounds followed by single consonants that should be doubled to show that the preceding vowels are short. Further, the IA at the end should be pronounced with a long-I, as in "hiatus", "diagram", and "Mariah". But it's actually pronounced with a long-E, so should be written with an E: "memmorabillea".
Wensday, June 28, 2017: "meggalomanea" for "megalomania"
A single-G is ambiguous as to the vowel before it. Is it long? Is it short? Here, it's short, so we should show that unambiguously by doubling the G. The second issue in today's word is the IA toward the end, which should be pronounced with a long-I, as in "diatribe" or "diatom". The sound is actually long-E followed by schwa, so let's use an E. The schwa will be plain from the final position of the A: "meggalomanea".
Tuesday, June 27, 2017: "meel" and "meely" for "meal" and "mealy"
EA could be pronounced in two syllables, as in "area" and "rhea". Here, however, the sound is just one vowel, long-E. So let's replace the EA with EE: "meel" and "meely".
Munday, June 26, 2017: "marriner" for "mariner"
Today's word appears to be an inflected form of "marine". But "marine" is pronounced ma.réen, whereas "mariner" is pronounced máa.ri.nèr. We need to make that clear: "marriner".
Sunday, June 25, 2017: "marriculchur" for "mariculture"
We have today a specialized term for agriculture, of mollusks (such as mussels or oysters) and kelp for human consumption, in seawater. AR is ordinarily seen as having a "broad"-A, as in "father" (the same sound as short-O), but that is not the sound here. Rather, it is the regular short-A, as in "arrow" and "arrogant". To show that, we need to double the R. The second problem with today's word is that T does NOT spell the CH-sound as in "church". CH does. A third problem is that URE should be said with a long-U, as in "endure". Here, the sound is short-U, so the E has got to go: "marriculchur".
Saturday, June 24, 2017: "malodorus" for "malodorous"
In this four-syllable word, there is only one problem, an OU where there is no OU-sound: "malodorus".
Friday, June 23, 2017: "moffea" for "Mafia" of "mafia"
The present spelling of today's word is Italian, not English. Tho people born into the tradtionally English-speaking countries are accustomed to the innumerable, and unforgivable, impositions upon them to cope with foreign spellings, people in places like China need to rely upon spelling to tell them how to pronounce English words, so spellings like "Mafia" MUST GO: "moffea".
Thursday, June 22, 2017: "mailstrom" for "maelstrom"
There is no good reason to distinguish the first syllable of this word from the frequently-occurring word "mail": "mailstrom".
Wensday, June 21, 2017: "le" for "lee"
We don't need a second-E in "he" or "she", so don't need a second-E here: "le".
Tuesday, June 20, 2017: "laconnic" for "laconic"
A single-N allows people to misread this word as having a long-O. The O is actually short. To show that unambiguously, we need merely double the N: "laconnic".
Munday, June 19, 2017: "kanona" for "kanone"
This is a ridiculous spelling for an "expert skier". It derives from Italian "cannone", which would be said ka.nóe.nae, thru German (thus its K). Let's keep the K but change the final-E to A, to show plainly that the sound is schwa: "kanona".,
Sunday, June 18, 2017: "katsenjammer" for "katzenjammer"
When I was a small child, there was a hugely popular cartoon strip in newspapers called "The Katzenjammer Kids". We didn't really know what "katzenjammer" meant, narrowly,* but got the sense of uproar in the household. There is only one problem with this four-syllable word, a Z for an S-sound. That is easily fixed. Just replace the Z with S: "katsenjammer".
* Dictionary.com: "1. the discomfort and illness experienced as the aftereffects of excessive drinking; hangover. 2. uneasiness; anguish; distress. 3. uproar; clamor".
Saturday, June 17, 2017: "Judeyize" for "Judaize"
Today's word means "to conform to the spirit, character, principles, or practices of Judaism", but is spelled misleadingly. The sound in the second syllable is not an A not long, not short, nor even a schwa but long-E. To show that, we need to replace the A with E, and add a Y-glide before the following-I: "Judeyize".
Friday, June 16, 2017: "ignominny" for "ignominy"
The ambiguous present spelling has led to a second pronunciation, with stress on the second syllable, but the correct pronunciation takes primary stress on the first syllable and secondary stress on the third. The presence of only single consonants in the traditional spelling also leaves unclear which vowels might be long, and which short. The only syllable with anything like a long vowel is the last, which contains a long-E. To show that the third syllable contains a short-I and takes seconday stress, we need only double the N: "ignominny".
Thursday, June 15, 2017: "ideel" for "ideal"
Altho some dictionaries suggest that today's word is three syllables, that has become pretentious, and almost everyone says it as two. So let's get rid of the pretentious spelling with EA and replace it with a more indicative spelling of the way the word is now said, with EE: "ideel".
Wensday, June 14, 2017: "harmoneum" for "harmonium"
This term for a type of musical instrument ("a free-reed organ") has only one small problem in its four syllables, an I for a long-E sound toward the end. That is easily fixed: "harmoneum".
Tuesday, June 13, 2017: "halceon for "halcyon"
YO is ambiguous. The Y could be said as long-I, or the consonant Y, as well as the sound here, long-E. To clarify that the sound in today's word is long-E, let's just write E: "halceon".
Munday, June 12, 2017: "jentillity" for "gentility"
There are two problems with today's word. First, the first letter is wrong. It's a G, but should be a J. The second problem is that there is only one L, which does not tell the reader whether the preceding vowel is long or short. It's short. To show that unambiguously, we should double the L: "jentillity".
Sunday, June 11, 2017: "gocha" for "gotcha"
We don't need three letters, TCH, to convey the CH-sound. Two will do nicely, as they do in "which" and "rich": "gocha".
Saturday, June 10, 2017: "jimnosperm" for "gymnosperm"
This Science Saturday, let's address the bad spelling for a type of tree that bears cones. G is the only letter in English that spells the G-sound, also called "hard"-G, as in "game" and "guywire". That should be the only sound we put upon that letter, but it's not. There are also a great many occurrences of "soft"-G, which is another name for the J-sound. We have a different letter for that sound, J. Let's use it.
The other problem with today's word is that there is a Y midword that represents not long-I, which the reader has the right to expect midword (compare "byte" and "tyrant"), but short-I. Thus Y is misleading. We should replace it with I: "jimnosperm".
Friday, June 9, 2017: "jiggolo" for "gigolo"
Why would we write a J-sound with G? We shouldn't, but should write J. There is an alternate pronunciation with a ZH-sound for the G, but not all dictionaries recognize it, so we don't have to accommodate it. Besides, if people do want to convey that pronunciation, they can write "zhigolo". But for the great preponderance of speakers of English, the spelling should employ a J. A second small problem is that a single-G after the I renders unclear whether the I is long or short. It's short, so to show that, we should double the G: "jiggolo".
Thursday, June 8, 2017: "goucho" for "gaucho"
AU in English generally takes, not surprisingly, the AU-sound, as in "caught" and "automobile". That is not the sound here, which is the Spanish pronunciation, equivalent to the English OU-sound. Thus, "gaucho" is an exact rhyme for "Groucho" (Marx). Let's spell it like that: "goucho".
Wensday, June 7, 2017: "fooh" for "fou"
Today's word is a Scottish term for "extremely drunk" (Dictionary.com). If the word is Scottish, why is it written with a French-OU? It shouldn't be. The sound is long-OO, so we might write it simply as "foo". But the Microsoft Encarta dictionary says that "foo" is a (rare) word already, meaning "a term used as a universal substitute for something real, especially when discussing technological ideas and problems (slang)". But if we add an H, as in "ooh" or Winnie the Pooh, we get a unique spelling that is unambiguous: "fooh".
Tuesday, June 6, 2017: "fijjit" for "fidget"
DG is an absurd, ambiguous (compare "endgame"), and inefficient way to spell a simple J-sound, which is the sound today. We have a letter just for that sound, which expresses it clearly and efficiently J. Let's use it. Actually, in today's word, we need a double-J, to show that the preceding-I is short. So let's write a double-J. The other problem with today's word is that the second syllable contains an E, but the sound is short-I. Let's write I: "fijjit".
Munday, June 5, 2017: "fettid" for "fetid" and "foetid"
A single-T leaves unclear whether the preceding vowel, esp. as given the alternate spelling OE, is long or short. It's short. To show that, we need merely double the T: "fettid".
Sunday, June 4, 2017: "fandanggo" for "fandango"
The two-letter consonant sequence NG has at least four common sounds, (1) the NG-sound by itself, as in "ring" and "bang"; (2) the NG-sound plus a ("hard"-)G sound, as in "finger" and "jangle"; (3) the two separate sounds of its constituent letters, N and G, as in "ungainly" and "ingredient"; and (4) the two separate sounds, N and J (thought of as "soft"-G), as in "ingest" and "pungent". Here, the pronunciation is the NG sound + a (hard-)G sound. To show that unmistakably, we need merely double the G: "fandanggo".
Saturday, June 3, 2017: "fentanil" for "fentanyl"
This Science Saturday, let's reform the spelling of a chemical compound used in anesthesia and as an illicit drug. Many people might expect a chemical name to employ PH for an F-sound, but that's not the problem here, because the F-sound is written properly, with F. The actual problem with today's word is the same as in yesterday's two related words, a Y used midword for a short-I sound, whereas the reader has the right to expect a Y midword to be pronounced as long-I ("dynamite", "myopia"). So let's change the Y to I: "fentanil".
Friday, June 2, 2017: "encript" and "encription" for "encrypt" and "encryption"
Why would we spell a short-I sound midword with a Y? That makes no sense. Y, midword, should ordinarily be pronounced as long-I, as in "hydro", "dynamic", and "pyromaniac". Here, the sound is short-I, so we should write an I: "encript" and "encription".
Thursday, June 1, 2017: "eemyu" for "emu"
Rarely can we know for certain how a long-U is to be pronounced, with or without a leading Y-glide. This is one of the (many) problematic issues in English spelling that make it hard to use English, esp. for people outside the traditional English-speaking world. But even people WITHIN the English-speaking world have multitudinous problems with idiotic spellings. Unclear spellings lead to multiple pronunciations. It's not as tho different people just decided, of their own accord and for no particular reason, to pronounce the same word diffently. Rather, an ambiguous spelling led some people to say the word one way, but led other people, who saw the same spelling as indicating a different pronunciation, to say it differently.
Here, there is only one correct pronunciation for the name of a large, ostrich-like, flightless bird of Australia: ée.myu. That pronunciation is not clear from the present spelling. Let's make it clear: "eemyu".
We are running low on, or have already run out of, words in need of reform that start in I, J, K, L, N, O, Q, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. If readers see the need for reform of words that start in any of those letters, and which have not already been used (as recorded in this project's chronological archives) or rejected for this project files, please suggest reforms. But we need not change spellings unless the present spelling is inadequate or misleading, or there is more than one spelling and we need to settle on only one.
Please bookmark this page and stop by regularly. Tell your friends. Tell your teachers. Tell the world!
Tho it would be neater to change all words of a pattern at the same time (e.g., all -OUS endings to -US), that is implied in the change of individual words of that pattern. But traditional English spelling isn't consistent, which is why it is so hard to master. Some words that sound the same are spelled differently (there, their, they're); some words that are spelled the same are pronounced differently (refuse as verb and noun). To impose complete consistency on English without radical reform is impossible. Short of radical reform, then, we can either reform some words or surrender to spelling chaos and do nothing.
English spelling didn't become crazy all at once, but one word at a time. Old English was phonetic, and such variations in spelling as occurred reflected variations in pronunciation. New words have come into the language one by one, with their own individual spelling, sometimes quite unreasonable. In like fashion, we can change some unreasonable spellings to reasonable, one word at a time, inefficient tho that approach may be. See below for radical reform that does address all the issues at once.
* SSWD is a project of L. Craig Schoonmaker, Newark, New Jersey, United States, creator of Fanetik: Reformed (Phonetic) Spelling - at Least for Teaching. [NOTE: On April 5, 2017, I corrected the link above, and the two below. They had pointed to a website I was paying for, but the Australian webhost proved unreliable. So I moved the key files to the free webhost Tripod, which is compensated for its webhosting by ads atop each hosted webpage. These links now point to my free Tripod website.] Phonetic pronunciations on this site are rendered in Augméntad Fanétik, which employs accents for syllabic stress. For information about other ways to change irrational spellings, search the Internet for spelling reform.
Comments? Suggestions? If you have suggestions as to words to reform, please check first if they have already been used or have already been placed on the list of words to be addressed in the future or words that have been considered but rejected. Please also check the principles that control whether a word will or will not be offered. Once you have done that, or for any other purpose, please write to Fanetiks@aol.com. Because, for reasons I do not understand, some people have written under temporary email addresses that are abandoned before I can reply, I will not make personal replies to anyone who (a) does not request reactions and (b) does not provide a valid return email address (which will be checked, before I write any substantive reply, by a test email). And if you'd like credit on this page for any suggestion you make that is used, please provide a name and location (city, state/country) for that credit. Absent a personal name, credit will be given to an abbreviated form of the email address, without the at-sign or domain information (e.g., if the email address is "email@example.com", credit might be made to "mjmart...")