Happy Birthday Isaac Asimov, Supporter of English Spelling Reform

Posted on 2nd January 2009 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior,science holidays

The Science Fiction author, author of over 500 SF and general science books, Vice President of Mensa, and President of the American Humanist Society would be 88 today.

Isaac Asimovr

Isaac Asimov
Credit: Rowena Morrill

An interesting fact about Asimov and other great minds like Richard Feynman, was that they were supporters of reforming the spelling of English words. Asimov argued that the inconsistent and non-phonetic way we spell words in English contributes to illiteracy in American children.

Why don’t “comb,” “tomb,” and “bomb” rhyme/rime? Why do “they,” “say,” and “weigh” rhyme/rime? Our children don’t have difficulty learning to read and write because they are lacking in intelligence or proper study-habits, they have difficulty because they are learning a spelling system maintained by idiots.

Here’s a fantastic video illustrating the preposterousness of English spelling (ht oranchak).

The Spelling Society works to raise awareness of the problems caused by the irregularity of English spelling and improve literacy through spelling reform.

1 Comment

  1. It is constantly frustrating to have to teach Iris all the irregularities of English, especially when she is otherwise consistent with her conjugations and pronunciations.

    “I readed the book.”

    “I sleeped for a long time.”


    I wonder if there is any demonstrable benefit to all the irregularities in English. I suppose the historical nuances provide some “flavor” or “culture” to the language. Is it worth it?

    Comment by Dave — January 6, 2009 @ 9:16 am

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