Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)
Sawyer, W. C.
Letters an embarrassment to literature, pp. -55 PDF (1.9 MB)
54 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. present difficulties, this method enables a student to make a far wider acquaintance with literature, and to give a better authority to his authorship, than if he should read altogether by the delib- erate examination of every page and word. The mechanical difficulty of rapid writing also, troublesome in every literary pursuit, is peculiarly so in the higher education. The use of lectures, in university instruction, is embarrassed so much bv the necessarily slow and burdensome process of writing out the lectures of the professors that we cannot afford to make that use of lectures which is so popular in Germany, and which, but for this obstacle, might be very useful in our own educational methods. Only five or ten years ago, spelling reform was looked upon as the impracticable notion of a few dreamers. At present, it has the support of the leading philologists of England and America. Indeed, the only work in this interest which is likely to abide, has been done by our foremost linguistic scholars. Reports very fa- vorable to this reform have-been made by committees of both the American Philological Association and the National Educational As- sociation. Some special organizations have been formed, both in this country and in England, to promote this same end. The Germans also have taken active measures to correct the compara- tively few and slight orthographic defects of their language. The Royal Commission, appointed by Minister Falk, reported such modifications as violate the historic spelling just about as often as they violate phonetic principles. Such a compromise, though now the law of the Empire, could not hope for great popularity; but it is noteworthy that the complaint that reaches our ears is chiefly on account of the half-way character of the reform, rather than because the sacred order of the letters has been disturbed. Under such sentiments, a Reform League has been formed in Germany aiming to complete the reform, and introduce it into common use. They make a forcible showing of some of the advantages of the reform, in the following mathematical fashion: "If, after the adoption of phonetic spelling, each child at school were to save only one lesson in spelling every week, that, for sixty millions of Germans, would amount to a saving of five million
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