Keith Gascoigne

Contentious Blog Post


My English Language

I am English but I choose to use Noah Webster’s simplified English spelling, popularly known as ‘American English’ because I think that the English English spelling is idiosyncratic, difficult to remember and takes teachers and learners too much time, which would be better devoted to something else more useful such as grammar or learning how to think for themselves.

I joined a campaign for simplified English some years ago but I didn’t think that they were going about it the right way by trying to change things from the top. George Bernard Shaw couldn’t change the silly English spelling and no-one will by using authority. The only way we can simplify the spelling of English English is to use it.

Of course, there are words that I prefer to spell in the English way such as ‘cheque’ and ‘(car) tyre’ but I am idiosyncratic up to a point as well.

I dislike double consonants that serve no useful purpose and as far as I see it we simply add ‘ing’ to the end of words to produce the continuous present tense. ‘Travel’ should become ‘traveling’ and not the English English ‘travelling’. It is that simple.

When I see words like ‘through’ ‘cough’ ‘plough’ I want to scream ‘No not like that!’ but some people like this sort of silliness.

‘Occasionally’ is another horror with inconsistent and unnecessary duplication of consonants. There is a new language that uses simplified spelling and that is the new Turkish language which uses few if any double consonants and each vowel has its own sound.

I now use Noah Webster’s simplified spelling in all of my books. If you are English and if you agree that we should use a simplified spelling then start to change the way English English is spelled simply by using it.

We can only change society by changing how we people act and live.


Class: Language

Tags: language use, simplified spelling.

Published: 2014-01-21.