Correct spelling and pronouncing of English words are very hard because words are not spelled as they sound. This is due in part to the eclectic nature of English and its readiness to accept loan words from other languages. This is also due in part to the age of the language. Over time, the pronunciations of words change, and it is often difficult for a writing system to keep up. But for the most part, British intellectuals intentionally made spelling difficult in order to use language as an instrument of class stratification. The gulf between the educated and uneducated classes was deliberately widened by tying spelling to forms that were historic rather than phonetic.
As an American, I find this intolerable. We want to eliminate the gulf between the educated classes and the uneducated classes by means of universal literacy. The difficulty of spelling lies in direct opposition to our goal.
The problems with spelling are intensified by the new role of English as an International Language. English is the language of commerce, law, science, technology, and entertainment. Much of the world is now learning English, a process made unnecessarily difficult by the difficulty of spelling.
I think this is a good time to look again at Spelling Reform. Spelling Reform is a lot of work, but much of the work can be done now by computers. Virtually all textual information is now stored in, is processed by, or is available to computers. Computer software can be developed that will significantly reduce the time and expense of Spelling Reform by providing automatic respelling services.
Spelling Reform is not a new idea. It has been going on for centuries. It is the process by which colour became color and through becomes thru.
I took a look at American English, at the sounds that we use when we speak, and at the letters that we have to spell with. I decided not to increase the basic set of 26 letters, and not to add accents or diacritical marks nor other special punctuation or signs. Those sorts of changes have a larger impact on keyboards, typing skills, sign machines, and sorting systems. The only change I am proposing is that words be spelled as they sound with the letters at hand.
In Nuspelynh, there are no silent letters. A letter is written into a word only if it produces a sound. In contrast, I determined that in the old spelling there are cases where all 26 letters can be silent. Nuspelynh uses the letters more efficiently, so words tend to be a little shorter. The first impression is a bit startling because the frequency of the letters is so different. Fortunately, you can get used to it very quickly.
What is spelled wxt, not what, because that is how most Americans pronounce it.
Doubled letters occur only when both letters are pronounced, so cattle becomes kctl, but cattail becomes kctteil.
Hyphens can be used to disambiguate letter pairs, so pothead becomes pat-hed, the hyphen indicating that the t and h are not pronounced as th. Snowy becomes sno-i. Naïve becomes nai-iv. Hyphens for splitting a word for text layout can be inserted anywhere in a word. If you break a word at a hyphen, then double the hyphen or replace it with an equal sign.
Contractions are spelled without an apostrophe ('), so can't becomes kcnt. Possessives are written without an apostrophe, so the dog's ball becomes dhx dagz bal. You no longer have to distinguish between its and it's. Both are spelled yts.
There are cases where a single old spelling word can become two or more Nuspelynh words. So record becomes rekxrd (noun) and rikord (verb). Bass becomes beis (music) and bcs (fish). Read becomes red (past) and rid (present). Present becomes pryzent (show) and prezynt (now, gift).
Words that sound the same are now spelled the same. So cue and queue both become kyhu. I'll, aisle, and isle all become ail. O, oh, and owe all become o. One and won both become wxn. Two, to, and too all become tu. Four, for, and fore all become for. Eight and ate both become eit. Write, right, rite, and wright all become rait. Plain and plane both become plein. Flower and flour both become flcur.
Insignificant vowel differences are not distinguished. So caught and cot both become kat. Poor, pour, and pore all become por. Their, there, and they're all become ther.
The first person singular pronoun is not normally capitalized, so I becomes ai (as do eye and aye).
Many loan words (words adopted from other languages) are mispronounced in English because of the deficiencies of old spelling and not because they have incompatible spellings or contain sounds that are difficult for English speakers to pronounce. The transition to Nuspelynh gives us an opportunity to reconsider the pronunciation of such words. So visa could becomes visa, not viza, and potato could become potato instead of pxteito, and banana could become banana, not bencne.