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Spelling Reform Bee

Orthographic oligarchical oppugnancy
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A spelling bee where contestants are given a difficult word to spell, and instead of spelling the word as it is in the dictionary, come up with a simplified spelling. A panel of linguists determines if the provided spelling is close enough in pronunciation to the original word to be acceptable—if it's not, the contestant is out.

If the word is acceptable, it is then given a score based on what it would be worth in Scrabble (so less common letters are worth more points). The next contestant may either request a new word to spell, or may “challenge” and attempt to further simplify the previous word. If the contestant provides an acceptable word with a lower score, the challenged contestant is eliminated. If the word is not acceptable, or scores the same or higher, then the challenger is eliminated.

ytk, May 30 2014


       I can't see this being much of a challenge. Given any word, the simplest reasonable spelling is fairly self- evident.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2014

       The scrabble points thing works against you. Spelling reform would alter letter frequency which is the basis for scrabble letter values, so the advantage is with the status quo.   

       Scissors (10 pts)   

       Sisorz (15 pts)   

       Scissors wins, but sisorz is easier to spell, so no reform.
the porpoise, May 30 2014

       The simplespelling may be self-evident, but it will be differently evident to everyone depending on their accent or dialect. For example, Sisorz is manifestly unacceptable, Sizuz is much closer. Still loses on scrabble points though.
pocmloc, May 30 2014

       Avoiding uncommon letters is a way of simplifying, though. It's better to repurpose letters for multiple sounds where possible, since that way if you're trying to spell a word and you aren't sure if a letter should be an “s” or a “z”, you can go with the “s” and you're more likely to be correct.   

       So in that sense “sisorz” isn't really an improvement over “scissors”, but “sisers” is. Hmmm. Seems to me that making words easier to spell doesn't necessarily make them easier to pronounce when written. Interesting.
ytk, May 30 2014

       //Scissors wins, but sisorz is easier to spell, so no reform.//   


       No points for anyone. "Sisorz" would logically be pronounced with a soft "s" in the middle (to rhyme with "pisserz", or "vicorz"). "Sisers" would logically have two soft s's to rhyme with "dicerse".   

       "Sizrz" or "sizuz" would be logical but unfamiliar. "Sizzerz" would win, and would also score the most scrabble points (except I don't think there are three z's available).   

       In any case, if you're going to reform the language, you would do far better to start by using the phonetic alphabet - otherwhys thair wil orlwayz bee rume four argyoumeant.   

       Another advantage of using the phonetic alphabet is that it makes it perfectly clear that regional accents are simply wrong.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2014

       //I can't see this being much of a challenge. Given any word, the simplest reasonable spelling is fairly self-evident.//   


       //No points for anyone.//   

ytk, May 31 2014


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