Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/276

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fied spelling, given to the public printer at Washington, was not a surprising development. The sudden adoption of two or three hundred changes at one time was too strong a jerk on the big' congressional pendulum. But all these simplified forms will quite surely be incorporated in the great American dictionaries at an early day in their lists of alternative spellings. The public printer will thus be free to secure their gradual use in documents issued by the government. .Readers of periodicals in which the simplified forms have already been in use, such as The Literary Digest, find no difficulty in taking in ideas, even if such forms as 'tho,' 'thru' and 'prest' are occasionally encountered. These periodicals are quietly doing effective work by dispelling the novelty of the improvements. In deference to public prejudice such forms as 'thru' are perhaps best neglected for the present, while 'tho' is used, since consistency is of little importance in comparison with tact. The Simplified Spelling Board can only recommend; the public will do the adopting in response to gentle and well-timed persuasion, and reasonable respect will be manifested toward the conservation of energy.

In conclusion the following propositions are presented by way of summary:

1. Inability to spell conventionally is not necessarily or deservedly an index of illiteracy.

2. Conventional spelling is a mere fashion, worthy of no respect when it implies the sacrifice of economy. In judging economy we must consider ease in the transfer of ideas. That spelling is best which is most readily intelligible.

3. Nobody can be reasonably expected to adopt more than a few changes at a time. A writer occupies himself with ideas rather than verbal forms. The simplified forms must be applied chiefly in the printing office, where forms are all-important. Change of habit must result chiefly from the unconscious training received by the eye in reading such simplified forms already in print.

4. Children should be taught simplified spelling. They will additionally learn the old conventional forms outside of the school-room, and should be free to exercise their own preferences so long as they are consistent in the employment of either system.

5. The simplification of our spelling does not imply the adoption of a new alphabet, or indulgence in objectionable phonetic eccentricities. All improvements are initially unfamiliar, and those who advocate them may be temporarily considered unfashionable, but reason in fashion has a better chance to prevail in America than in England, or in any other country where our common but necessarily variant language is spoken and written.

6. For the improvement of spelling there is always the need of moderate and practical reformers. The same slow process of change