Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Sep 28, 2011

Better to be a butterfly than learn English .

You know when was the best time to write in English?

Answer is astonishing. 

It was in Shakespeare's time. There were hardly coorect and incorrect spellings.
His own name had  41 spellings and he himself used 5 of them.

God forbid, we are told that root of the problem is the first bible in English language.  About 500 years ago, one was to read it only in Latin and  one can be punished for printing or keeping English version.

So the first bold step was to print it in Germany where people knew very little English.

It was a first ever book for most of the people and it became the sole primer for their reading, writing, and we are bearing the brunt today of those uncorrected prints.

In spoken English today , 

  • there are some 43 sounds as against around 50 in European languages . 
  • But funnily enough , there about  185 spellings for 43 sounds and children have to learn this. 
  • More than 100 words have same spellings 
  • About 70 English spellings have more than one pronunciation and as a result about 2,000 words become totally un-decodable! 
  • There are about 100 words where pronunciation changes with their context and again , 
  • about 370 words  obey the doubling rule and 
  • some 380 words  disobey it and finally, 
  • the silent letters are just the last straw on the camel’s back.
Generally, it takes about ten years of practice to be a good English speller or speaker. 

Now we know it and must pity them if they are still learning – or admire them if they have learnt it.   

Imagine the plight of about 250 million  users of  Facebook, MSN Messenger and Twitter and add further a few hundred  millions who use SMS or text messages on their cell phones ! No wonder the following parallel NETLINGO spellings are going around in great volume :

  • CUZ-Because  /  CWOT-Complete Waste Of Time /   CWYL-Chat With You Later /  CX-Cancelled / 

  • CY-Calm Yourself / 

  • CYA-See Ya / C

  • YE-Check your Email / 

  • CYL-See You Later / 

  • CYM-Check Your Mail / 

  • CYO-See You Online / 

  • CYT-See You Tomorrow / 

  • D&M-Deep & Meaningful / 

  • d/c-disconnected / 

  • DLTM-Don't Lie To Me / 

  • DMI-Don't Mention It / 

  • DNBL8-Do Not Be Late / 

  • DNC-Does Not Compute / 

  • DND-Do Not Disturb / 

  • ...etc 


    luv U, cant w8t 2C U l8r - love you, can not wait to see you later / 
  • which 1 of my kdz do U wnt? - which one of my kids do you want?/ 

  •  IM@wrk - I am at work / 

  •  ayt – are you there? / 

  • aisi – as I see it / 

  •  btw – by the way / 

  •  ILU – I love you / 

  •  ruf2t – are you free to talk? / 

  •  rntuaqt – aren’t you a cutie / 

  • etc, etc

  • With thousands of radio messages broadcast every second by aviation and military personnel round the world, with many accents too difficult for the non-natives, we have ended up with PHONETIC / SPELLING ALPHABET 


    LetterCode wordPronunciation
    AAlfaAL FAH
    BBravoBRAH VOH
    CCharlieCHAR LEE
    DDeltaDELL TAH
    EEchoECK OH
    FFoxtrotFOKS TROT
    HHotelHOH TELL
    IIndiaIN DEE AH
    JJuliettJEW LEE ETT
    KKiloKEY LOH
    LLimaLEE MAH
    NNovemberNO VEM BER
    OOscarOSS CAH
    PPapaPAH PAH
    QQuebecKEH BECK
    RRomeoROW ME OH
    SSierraSEE AIR AH
    TTangoTANG GO
    UUniformYOU NEE FORM
    VVictorVIK TAH
    WWhiskeyWISS KEY
    XX-rayECKS RAY
    YYankeeYANG KEY
    ZZuluZOO LOO

    With all these headaches in spoken and written communication, one day we should not be surprised that more people will turn towards the SIGN LNGAUGE used by the hearing-impaired people. But here also there will be spelling problems. So, perhaps the best option could be "Hieroglyphs" or logograms representing words using graphical figures such as animals, objects or people, used by Egyptians some 5,000 years ago.

    Or better still, would be to observe total silence as Hinduism, Buddhism and other eastern religions preach.

    Or best of all would be to be born as a star or a butterfly or a flower – I suppose.


    Tips for the budding writers, published 142 years ago !

    Tips for the budding writers, published 142 years ago


    WHATEVER you have to say, my friend,

    Whether witty, or grave, or gay,
    Condense as much as ever you can,
    And say in the readiest way;
    And whether you write of rural affairs,
    Or particular things in town
    Just take a word of friendly advice-
    Boil it down.

    For if you go on sputtering over a page
    When a couple of lines would do,
    Your butter is spread so much you see,
    That the bread looks plainly through.
    So when you have a story to tell,
    And would like a little renown,
    To make quite sure of your wish, my friend,
    Boil it down.

    When writing an article for the press,
    Whether prose or verse, just try
    To utter your thoughts in the fewest words,
    And let them be crisp and dry;
    And when it is finished and you suppose
    It's done exactly brown,
    Just look over it again, and then,
    Boil it down.

    For editors do not like to print
    An article lazily long,
    And the general reader does not care
    For a couple of yards of song;
    So gather your wits in the smallest space
    If you'd win the author's crown,
    And every line you write my friend,
    Boil it down.
     (Writer Unknown)

    - Published very prominently on page 1 in the top left hand corner. – much to the editor’s delight -  on Thursday, 16th December 1869 in QUEANBEYAN AGE (established in 1860), published from  New South Wales, Australia . 

    And now the coincidence: 

    About 39 years later, in the same news paper  dated Friday, 15th May, 1908, the following witty piece was published as a dialogue between a writer and his editor - perhaps unknowingly - using  the title of the above poem printed  in 1869 !

    "But," protested the space writer, " perhaps you could use this article if I were to boil it down?"
     "Not at all;" rejoined the blue pencil: 

    "if you were to take a gallon of water and boil it down to a 
    pint, it would still be water."

    The (con)fusion version of English Language for Europe !

    The European Commission has just announced an agreement that English will be the official language of the EU - rather than German (the other possibility). 

    As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement, and has accepted a 5-year phase-in of new rules which would apply to the language and reclassify it as EuroEnglish.

    The agreed plan is as follows:

    In year 1, the soft c would be replaced by s Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard C will be replaced by 'k . This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan now have one less letter. 

    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome ph is replaced by f This will reduse fotograf by 20%.

    In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. 

    Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. 

    Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent 'e's in the language is disgrasful and they should eliminat them.

    By year 4, peopl wil be reseptiv to lingwistik korektions such as replasing th with Z and w with v (saving mor keyboard spas).

    During ze fifz year, ze unesesary o kan be dropd from vords kontaining ou and similar changes vud of kors be applid to ozer kombinations of leters. 

    After zis tifz year, ve vil hav a reli sensibil riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer.

    Ze drem vil finali kum tru!! 

    ( This or a similarly written  piece is attributed sometimes to anonymity or even Mark Twain. 
    But  it seems that the basic source of these anonymous articles  is a piece by a writer named 
     W. K. Lessing (under the pseudonym Dolton Edwards), 
    called "Meihem in Ce Klasrum", first published
     in a U.S. magazine called Astounding Science Fiction in 1946) His articles begins like this: (EXTRACT)

    First published: 1946
    MEIHEM IN CE KLASRUM by Dolton Edwards

        BECAUSE WE ARE STILL BEARING SOME OF THE SCARS OF OUR BRIEF SKIRMISH with II-B English, it is natural that we should be enchanted by Mr. George Bernard Shaw's current campaign for a simplified alphabet.

        Obviously, as Mr. Shaw points out, English spelling is in much need of a general overhauling and streamlining. However, our own resistance to any changes requiring a large expenditure of mental effort in the near future would cause us to view with some apprehension the possibility of some day receiving a morning paper printed in-to us-Greek.

        Our own plan would achieve the same end as the legislation proposed by Mr. Shaw, but in a less shocking manner, as it consists merely of an acceleration of the normal processes by which the language is continually modernized.

        As a catalytic agent, we would suggest that a National Easy Language Week be proclaimed, which the President would inaugurate, outlining some short cut to concentrate on during the week, and to be adopted during the ensuing year. All school children would be given a holiday, the lost time being the equivalent of that gained by the spelling short cut.

        In 1946, for example, we would urge the elimination of the soft c, for which we would substitute "s." Sertainly, such an improvement would be selebrated in all sivic-minded sircles as being suffisiently worth the trouble, and students in all sities in the land would be reseptive to- ward any change eliminating the nesessity of learning the differense be- tween the two letters.)