Anglish Spelling

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Anglish Spelling is a system I hope will be accepted as Anglish's official but optional spelling reform. I think this system is worthy of that because I specially designed it to approach spelling reform the same way Anglish approaches vocabulary; only foreign influence was targeted, and it was only reverted when I felt there were practical spelling conventions to return to.

What to Change

FROM TO WHEN EXAMPLE
qu cw [kw] queen > cween
u / ue / u_e oo historically [u] yule > yool
u / ue / u_e ew historically [ju] true > trew
gu g when /g/ guest > gest
ou / ow ue / u_e [aʊ] loud > lude, cow > cue
c s [s] cinder > sinder
ie ee [i] thief > theef
th þ optional the > þe
  • ‹qu› could also be reverted to ‹kw›, but ‹cw› aligns better with Modern spelling, which uses ‹cr› and ‹cl›.
  • ‹ou› and ‹ow› being reverted to ‹u_e› does not imply words like snow, own, cough, ought, and dough should be touched. Such words belong to a different category.
    • Some words like plough, drought, and tough have a long or short u in their pronunciation, but since many arise from an Old English ‹o›, we give them the benefit of the doubt and do not change them (however, some words spelled with -igh- came from Old English ‹e›).
  • Thorn seems to have been knocked out of the alphabet because the printing presses imported to England were based on foreign alphabets which lacked the letter, but it should be noted that ‹th› has been used since Old English.
  • Additionally, change: scythe to sithe; tongue to tung; Rhine to Rine; ghost to goast; island to iland.

What to Leave

  • Don't revert French ‹ch› to ‹c› unless you're also willing to innovate. Old English got by fine having ‹c› make both /k/ and /tʃ/, but today that would cause confusion in spellings like cat and coke.
  • Don't revert French influenced ‹sh› to ‹sc› unless you also revert ‹ch› to ‹c›. This is because ‹sh› came from ‹sch› which was apparently modeled on ‹ch›. So it would be weird to change one and not the other.
  • Don't revert ‹gh› to ‹h›. In Old English, words like toh were sometimes written like tog, and this was the basis for later spellings like toȝ after Normans caused ‹g› and ‹ȝ› to split into standalone letters. Next, one starts to see ‹ȝh›, then finally today's ‹gh›. Although foreign influence was clearly at play throughout this transition, it's very hard to make a ruling on how foreign we should consider ‹gh›.
  • Don't revert ‹w› to ‹ƿ›. Both were used in Old English (although ‹w› back then was still a digraph or ligature rather than a full-fledged letter), and there's no particular reason to think English settling on ‹w› was due to foreign influence.
  • Don't revert ‹th› to ‹ð›. ‹ð› seems to have simply lost a popularity contest with ‹þ›, which as far as I can tell had nothing to do with foreign influence. Note that ‹þ› and ‹ð› were used interchangeably for both the voiced and unvoiced dental fricative in English. They did not have independent jobs as in Icelandic.
  • Don't revert ‹wh› to ‹hw›. While some claim ‹hw› became ‹wh› under influence of ‹ch›, it's possible that the native ‹wr› and ‹wl› spellings served as the basis for ‹wh›, especially after the loss of ‹hr› and ‹hl› made ‹hw› an oddity.
  • Don't remove ‹z› and ‹v›. The adoption of these letters into the English alphabet seems to have been part of a Europe-wide trend, not an imposition.
  • Printing press spellings like come and done, or other unphonetic spellings like are or were, weren't due to French influence, and so shouldn't be changed, at least on that ground alone.