I heard recently about some attempts to further reform English spelling in America. The particular mention was about spelling reform -- the effort would make American English spelling completely phonetic. I suspect that the U.S. is one of the worst nations presently to try such reform in -- radical individualism seems to, sadly, be at the heart of our culture (on the plus side, it would amuse me to anger the extremists who think the United Nations and UFOs are in cahoots to rule the world). It may be interesting to try it though. I would probably be more interested in changing some other parts of the English language to simplify it. Below are some ideas -- any comments or additions are welcome on this entirely theoretical list (specifically NOT the list of things that we Communists will use when the revolution comes.. honest.. hehe.. fnord)
- Use simpler ordinal forms, ideally more directly related to the number. Right now for 1, we have first/1st, 2: second/2nd, 3: third/3rd, 4: fourth/4th, and so on. We'd need to find something that isn't awkward to say and doesn't overlap other words. Maybe first, twost, threst, fourst, fivst, sixst, sevenst, eighst, ninst..?
- Use an infinitive form for verbs that does not add an extra word. "To N" has always struck me as an awkwardness in English. We could either use what is presently the "bare infinitive" or add an ending (I suggest -an), e.g. "I want to eat" becomes "I want eatan" and "I can eat" becomes "I can eatan".
- Depluralise. Unify plurals and singulars into the singular form
- Capitalise all things used as nouns. This makes sentence structure more apparent at a quick glance, especially as we grow more likely to nounify verbs and verbify nouns.
- Adopt an official and distinct 2nd-person plural. Being from the south, I have "Y'all" -- We are willing to share. While we're at it, a form of first-person plural that is inclusive of the lister is needed. "Wen" sounds kind of nice.
- Return use of "one" to popularity as a gender-neutral pronoun
- Introduce "positional" variables (like American Sign Language has) into the language as an alternative to pronouns
- Eliminate Count Nouns. Eliminate collective nouns that add no content, e.g. "gaggle of geese".
- Eliminate traditional quote rules, adopt Japanese-style quoting