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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: Spelling reform – a lesson from the Greeks
Author: Michael Bulley
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; Writing Systems
Subject Language: English
Greek, Modern
Abstract: Every now and again a call goes up for the reform of English orthography to make it more user-friendly. After all, it is said, the Spanish, the Germans, and even the French, have accepted changes to their spelling systems. By way of comparison, we could think of the suggestion that the Greeks should abandon their alphabet and adopt the Roman one, to come into line with most other European countries. Thankfully, there seems no serious possibility that this will happen. The reasons against it are solidly linguistic and not ones prompted by blind tradition. The same sorts of reasons should prevail for English. The Greek case, though, can provide some lessons. For there have, in fact, been changes to Greek orthography in recent times. An important one was in 1982, when the variety of diacritic signs was reduced to a single accent.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 27, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .



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