This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
A SYSTEM OF ORTHOGRAPHY, whereby superfluous letters could be dispensed with, educational reformers have long sought to introduce. Of these, the following method of Spelling by Sound was published some time since by the Hon. Joseph Medill, editor of the Chicago Tribune, its advantage over the strictly phonetic system being that the same alphabet is employed as that in general use, which makes it much easier to introduce. It is at the same time more agreeable to the eye. By this system the student can spell any word after learning the sounds, and the reader can readily pronounce any word when reading. The great advantages gained are less space used in writing, less time, correct pronunciation, and correct spelling.
The application of this system of spelling is shown as follows:
The extreme iregularities ov our orthografy hav long ben a sours ov inconveniens and anoians. Men eminent az skolars and statsmen hav often pointed out theze absurdities ov speling. Yet the eVil remanes. It encumbers our primary educasion and robs our yuth ov yeres ov time that shud be devoted tu the acquizision ov nolej. It impozes a burden upon the literary man thru life in the use ov sliperfluus leters, and compels meny persons tu study speling from the cradle tu the grave or fale tu spel corectly. It iz a fereful barier tu formers hu wish to lern our langwaje; and wors than aul, it hinders thousands ov persons from lerning tu rede and rite, and thus largly augments the ranks ov ign6rans and depravity.
Theze eVils ar so enormus in the agregate that we fele compeled tu en-dors the words ov the distinguished President ov the American Fil61ojical Asosiasion, Prof. F. A. March, uzed in hiz opening adres at the last anual meting ov the S6sfety :
"It iz no use tu try tu caracterize with fiting epithets the monstrous speling ov the English langwaje. The time lost by it is a larj part ov the hole skule time ov the most ov men. Count the ours which ech person wasts at skule in lerning tu rede and spel, the ours spent thru life in keping up and perfecting hiz nolej ov speling, in consulting dicshunaries - a work that never ends - the ours that we spend in riting silent leters; and multiplying this time by the number ov persons hu speak English, and we hav a total ov milyuns ov yeres wasted by ech jenerasion. The cost ov printing the silent leters ov the English langwaje iz tu be counted by milyuns ov dolors for ech jenerasion."
"Suner or liter English orthografy must be simplified and reformed." - Benjamin Franklin.
"I fele very hopeful that a begining wil be made before long in reforming, not indede everything but at lest sumthing in the unhistorical,unsis-tematic, unintelijible, unteliable, but by no menes unamendable speling now curent in England." - Prof. Max Muller.
In speking ov the disgrdsful state ov English orthografy and the best mode ov reforming it. the grate American lexicografer, Dr. Noah Webster, in the introducsion tu hiz Quarto Dicshunary, says :
" Nothing can be more disreputable tu the literary caracter ov a nasion than the history ov English orthografy, unles it is that ov our or-th6epy."
"Dr. Franklin compiled a dicshunary on hiz skeme ov reform, and procured tipes tu be cast, which he ofered tu me with a vu tu engaje me tu prosecute hiz dezine. This ofer I declined tu acsept; for I wos then, and am stil, convinsed that the skeme ov introducing nu caracters intu the langwaje is nether practicable nor expedient. Eny atempt ov this kind must sertenly fale of sucses."
"The mode ov asertaning the pr6nunsiasion ov words by marks, points or trifling olterasions ov the present caracters, semes tu be the Only won which can be recused tu practis."
" Delitful task ! to rere the tender thaut, Tu tech the yung idea hou tu shute, Tu pore fresh instrucsion o'er the mind, Tu brethe the enlivening spirit, and tu fix The jenerus purpos in the gl6ing brest."
"O, thautles mortals ! ever blind tu fate, Tu sune dejected and tu sune elate."
" Worth makes the man and want ov it the felo; The rest is aul but lether or pnunela."
Where there iz a wil there iz a wa; and while the evil continues the ne-sesity for orth6grafic reform wil never cese. If there ar eny among us hu hav tu litle regard for there 6ne children tu smuthe for them the path on which there infant fete must stumble, we conjure them in the name ov God and humanity tu beware ov the grater sin ov crushing by opozing inflfiens the rising hopes ov milyuns les fortunate, hu hav nether mony nor time tu squonder, but hu nede aul the ades posible tu endble them tu take a pozi-sion among the intelijent, vertflus and hapy sitizens ov our grate and gl6rius cuntry.
The foregoing will suffice to represent Mr. Medill's idea of simplified orthography. It is almost phonetic and yet preserves most of the analogies and peculiarities of the English language. He retains the general rule that e ending a word and preceding a consonant indicates that the vowel is "long." Thus he spells such words as believe, receive, release, fierce, repeal, feel, sleeve, league, beleve, reseve, relese, terse, repele, fele, sieve, lege, guide, course, pique, chaise, paid, repair, gauge, pear, gide, corse, peke, shaze, pade, repare, gage, pare, prove, proof, through, school, door, four, boar, blow pruve, prufe, thru, skule, dore, fore, bore, blo.
Where the e sound does not indicate the long vowel sound, he proposes to use accented vowels, viz.: a, 6, i, 6, u, and for the sound of u in full, should, etc, he uses u: thus, ful, shud. For the broad sound of a heard in ought, caught, awful, all, broad, he employs au and spells them out; caut, auful, aul, braud, etc. For the terminals tion, sion, cian, scion, etc., he uses sion. He retains ed as the sign of the past tense, and s as that of the plural of nouns and singular of verbs. Ble as a terminal is also retained. K is written for ch in all words in which ch has the sound of k. Ex.: arkitect, monark, skule, etc. All double consonants are reduced to single ones, as only one of them is heard in pronunciation. In all words now spelled with ck, as back, beck, lick, rock, luck, he drops the c as being wholly superfluous. In words ending in ous, he omits the o, as in curius, spurius, and when ou has the sound u he also drops the o, as in duble, jurny. He retains y at the end of nouns in the singular, as copy, foly. He writes f for ph in alfabet, fonetics, flosofy, etc. He omits all silent vowels in digraphs, and writes head, earth, though, phthisic, hed erth tho, tizic, said, heifer, leopard, cleanse, sed, hefer, lepard, clens, tongue, sieve, built, myrrh, tung, siv, bill, mer.
The proposed system is very easily written. After an hour's practice the pen runs naturally into it. The plan is one which would cost adults scarcely an effort to learn to write, and no effort at all to learn to read it. He thinks it is the simplest and most rational compromise with existing usage, prejudice, and etymologies, which can probably be devised with any hope of acceptance, and if accepted and adopted it would secure to the Anglo-American race throughout the world one of the simplest and best orthographies in existence.