Second thoughts on i.t.a.

  • John Downing


As has been shown in the previous chapter, the traditional orthography of English is highly complex. So complex, indeed, that professors of linguistics disagree about how the orthography is related to the English language. This complexity has led to many proposals for reforming the orthography. In 1949 and again in 1952 Dr Mont Folick proposed a parliamentary Bill to reform English spelling. Neither Bill became law, but the second received such strong support that it caused the Minister of Education to promise official recognition for an experiment to test the educational effects of simplifying English orthography. In 1960 the National Foundation for Educational Research and the University of London announced their intention of carrying out the experiment in state schools in Britain. The principle of simplified spelling was represented in the experiment by the Initial Teaching Alphabet that had been devised by Sir James Pitman (Pitman & St John 1969). We shall describe this alphabet in more detail later when we have completed this brief summary of the history of this experiment on the effects of simplifying English orthography.


Poor Reader Literacy Acquisition School Council Spelling Ability English Orthography 
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Copyright information

© John Downing 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Downing
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaCanada

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