Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So what if he can't spell...

...he sure can cook!

This recipe arrived yesterday from one of my favorite readers. He is a creative cook as well as a creative speller. With no intention of embarrassing him, I present it to you exactly as I got it.

home made chicken fiehetas(?)

take a plain pre cooked rotissery chicken from the store
and shred the breasts put it in a bowl beside the stove
in a skillit or on the flat griddle slice red bells and onions splash them with oil and simmer them on a medium heat till they start to fall apart warm your tortillas and add your chicken as soon as the chicken has warmed up serve with guac dip

take a big bite and wipe your chin
enjoy Jme

Now, I'll bet you shook your heads over the spelling but be honest, you had no difficulty understanding how to make this dish, did you? As long as you understood it you can cook it- right?

There is a whole school of thought that says free spelling should be promoted. After all, just who said there was only one way to spell words in English let alone Spanish words like fajitas! Just a bunch of supposedly learned men(rarely women) who wished to impose their rules upon the rest of us. And even they couldn't agree.

Take for instance this information most of which comes from "Written Dialects" by Kenneth Ives. (Scrabble players take notes some high point words in this.)

"In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 new spellings, and began promoting their use:
ar catalog definit gard giv hav infinit liv tho thru wisht

Then, as Ken Ives notes, "Also in 1876, an `International Convention for the Amendment of English Orthography' was held in Philadelphia, during the Centennial Exposition. This developed into the Spelling Reform Association."

In 1879, the British Spelling Reform Association was founded. In 1886, the American Philological Association (which had earlier proposed 11 new spellings) came out with a list of 3500 spellings.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began promoting a list of 12 spellings. They were:
tho altho thru thruout thoro thoroly thorofare program prolog catalog pedagog decalog.

The Simplified Spelling Board was founded in the U.S. in 1906, and had a list of 300-plus spellings. One of the founding members was Andrew Carnegie, who donated more than $250,000 over the next several years. The Simplified Spelling Society was founded in the U.K. in 1908, as a "sister" organization.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt also promoted simpler spellings. Initially, he ordered the Government Printing Office to use the Simplified Spelling Board's 300 or so proposed spellings. This order was issued on August 27, 1906 (while the U.S. Congress was in recess). There was resistance from the Government Printing Office and others who were to carry it out, and when Congress re adjourned that fall, they set to revoke Roosevelt's order.

Congress ... voted, 142 to 24, that "no money appropriated in this act shall be used (for) printing documents ... unless same shall conform to the orthography ... in ... generally accepted dictionaries."

Thus, it ended up that simplified spellings were used only in written items coming from the White House itself, and at that, only 12 were used. "

Take another look at those lists of words. How many are still spelled that way?

In another work Ives wrote:

As early as the 1870s, the Chicago Tribune began using reformed spellings. Joseph Medill, editor and owner, was a member of the Council of the Spelling Reform Association. In 1880 the Chicago Spelling Reform Association met at the Sherman House and read letters approving the Tribune's efforts.

About 50 years later, under Medill's grandson, Robert H. McCormick, and editor James O'Donnell Bennett, the Tribune began a new effort. This "practical test of spelling reform" started in January 1934, and continued for 41 years, with various changes.

An unsystematic list of 80 respelled words was introduced in four editorials over a two month period, and used thereafter in the paper, which had the largest circulation in Chicago. On January 28, "advertisment, catalog," and seven more "-gue" words were among those shortened. The February 11 list included "agast, ameba, burocrat, crum, missil, subpena."

{YT note: I noticed Sage got a bunch of junk mail last month while I was staying at his house. Included were catalogs, cataloges, and catalogues!}

On February 25, "bazar, hemloc, herse, intern, rime, sherif, staf," were among those introduced. On March 11 an editorial reported that "short spelling wins votes of readers 3 to 1."

On March 18, the final list included "glamor, harth, iland, jaz, tarif, trafic." An editorial that day, "Why dictionary makers avoid simpler spellings" claimed that they dare not pioneer, "prejudice and competition prevent it."

On September 24, 1939, the list was reduced to 40, but "tho, altho, thru, thoro," were added. Addition of "frate, frater" came on September 24, 1945. Changing "ph" not at the start of a word to "f" came on July 3, 1949, with "autograf, telegraf, philosofy, photograf, sofomore."

My mother always wrote tho and of course I picked it up from her. Naturally, the Sisters of Mercy and later the Sisters of St. Joseph disagreed. I learned to write though on school papers but I still frequently use tho in letters.

My father, Old Newsie, the newspaper editor, presented me with two books when I was in high school, the Chicago Tribune Style book and the New York Times Style book. They often disagreed with each other, yet many Americans learned to read and spell by reading those newspapers. I got in trouble for using some of the writing advice given by those esteemed authorities too, because he often proofed my term papers for me. To make matters worse he still edits things I write and lets me know when I've broken a spelling rule. (And we won't go into contractions will we Dad? It's a losing battle when the language can't control it's usage.)

The debate over the spelling of the English language has been going on for close to 130 years and that does not include the sub topic of English English vs American English. It's really quite fascinating to read about and you can by clicking here. See which side of the aisle Mark Twain was on.

But my question today is simply this (and yes I know we aren't supposed to begin a sentence with but; at least we weren't supposed to in the olden days):

Would Jme's fiehetas taste any better if they were spelled

Fajitas ?

I'm hungry.

See ya down the road,


~loneduck~ said...

Wondr full I have been saying for years that " if you understand me it must be spelled right." (by the way you need a comma after the second but in your last paragraph.)
Luv ya

Geezerguy said...

Does this mean we get fajitas or faihitas for supper?

Speaking of spelling's today's word of the day...entedler: a person who entedles people to get things. eg "I was entedled to get food stamps, because the entedler said so."

Geezerguy said...

...sorry, fiehetas. I never was much of a speller.

spiritualastronomer said...

And then you have the new "texting" spelling.

Old Newsie said...

When I digest all this stuff, I may write a blog about contractions and how things were said to me in England back when the limies were my hosts a few years last century, (or is it sentree?)

Jaimie Hall-Bruzenak said...

BTW, I was going to say what spiritualastronomer said- with Twitter and texting, we are shortening things up even more.