In 2001 the New York Times published a favorable interview with a person in favor of “free spelling”, the art of spelling words any way you like. The article presented all the pros and none of the cons. I was quite annoyed, but pleased that the NYT published my response. I’d like my letter to be more accessible than the Time’s archives, so here it is (my version minus their minor edits, by the way):
Thi articl on fre speling presented the advantajs but glosed ovr thi disadvantajs. Al this cant - spel the wa it saunz and yus no puntashn - can produs riting hard tu understand. A nashun of fre spelers wil be unabl to red Shaksper, Tuane and othr grat awthrz. Evn if thi clasiks r translated into fre spel, meni wil onli b abl tu red if the spelin matchs thar on pronunseashn. Rejunl pronunseashns and varying methuds of speling wil be the bugubu of fre spel.
Uf cors we wil not discrimin8, we wil allaw even thos with spech defex and axents to spel as tha spek. "Sankyu, I nao ve shud claos du doa bfoa ve gao tu Nyorlns," 4 xampl. Thi Estrn Penslvanya wa of saing "kno" iz perhaps best spelt "nayo". A Nuhampshran wud rit "doa" but a Nu Yorker mit rit "doer" (thats "doe-er", not "due-er"). Evri2 mispels wrds sumtim, and mispelings bud male compreheshun evr mot difiklt. Dsiding hau to sho wich vowls r lang and wich are rele long e saunz wil be trike.
Im sori this e mal has rechd u so lat, but I orijinli sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and et wuz retrnd to me undlivrd.