Spelling Reform in English. And the Plain Language Movement. The First English Spelling Reformer: Orm’s Orrmulum (ca. 1175-1200). Long (20,000 lines!) poem, versified homilies on stories in the four Gospels, relating to the life of Christ and the acts of the Apostles
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And the Plain Language Movement
Affterr þe flæshess kinde, flesh’s; nature
Annd broþerr min i Crisstenndom
Þurrh fulluhht, annd þurrh trowwþe, baptism; belief
Annd broþerr min i Godess hus
Ʒet o þe þridde wise, third; reason
Þurrh þatt witt hafenn takenn ba we; both
An reʒhellboc to follʒhenn - rule-book; follow
Unnderr kanunnkess had annd lif, canons’ order
Swa summ Sannt Awwstin sette - just as St. Augustine established
Icc hafe don swasumm þu badd, just as you asked
Annd forþedd te þin wille. furthered for youOrrmulum, ll. 1-12
I shotte at a butte and hitte the pinne, and fell flatte upon the bottome of a tubbe.
I shot at a but, and hit the pin, and fel flat upon the botom of a tub.
It conceals the origin of English words
Bullokar didn’t care - objected to etymological spellings
Kenneth H. Ives, Written Dialects n Spelling Reforms, History n Alternatives (Chicago: Progressive Publisher, 1979) - Ives uses [n] for ‘and’ and [ħ] for ‘the’ throughout - beware!
• origins: consumer activism of 60s and 70s
• an attempt to simplify the language used in legal documents, labor contracts, instructions, forms, business contracts, etc.
• gathering strength since late 70s - adopted by governments, banks, legal institutions
• main characteristics:
simple words instead of complicated
using active voice
close to speech (end sentence with a preposition, use ‘you’ rather than ‘clients, employees, customers’)
Name of Tenant Business
The said Lessee covenants, promises and agrees that it will not carry on or suffer to be carried on any business in the herein designated premises under a name or style other than the name of the said Lessee as designated herein nor call or suffer the herein demised premises or any business carried on therein to be called by any name other than such name, without the written consent of the lessor first had and obtained.
You must not carry on business or let business be carried on in the leased premises by any name other than your own (as described in this lease), without first getting our written consent.