Fun and Games with Spelling
28 March 2007

I think it was Winston Churchill who described the English and Americans as 'two peoples divided by a common language'.

We have just gone through a process of updating our style guide to reflect as much as possible 'international English' - things like writing recognize instead of recognise. So the following email raised a smile, which I thought I would pass on:


The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5year phase-in plan that would become known as 'Euro-English'.

In the first year, 's' will replace the soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of 'k'. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replaced with 'f'. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' with 'v'.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining ou, and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united Urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.



Thank you very much for such an interesting and funny article. It will be well used by the students of the school I work at. A great fun.
Ademar de Broutelles, 28 March 2007

Your quotation at the start is usually attributed to George Bernard Shaw not to Churchill.
michael henderson, 08 April 2007

Would this be anything to do with April Fool's Day?

Hope so! If not, then I would not want my taxes to be paying the salaries of EC employees dreaming up such an idea.

Donald Morton, 09 April 2007

Unless stated otherwise, all content on this site falls under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence 3.0