H.L. Mencken > The American Language > Subject Index > Page 245
H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).  The American Language.  1921.

Page 245
Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association, it has done much to reform scientific orthography. Such forms as gram, cocain, chlorid, anemia and anilin are the products of its influence. 38 Its latest list recommends the following changes:

  1. When a word begins with œ or œ substitute e: esthetic, medieval, subpena. But retain the diphthong at the end of a word: alumnœ.
  2. When bt is pronounced t, drop the silent b: det, dettor, dout.
  3. When ceed is final spell it cede: excede, procede, succede.
  4. When ch is pronounced like hard c, drop the silent h except before e, i and y: caracter, clorid, corus, cronic, eco, epoc, mecanic, monarc, scolar, school, stomac, technical. But retain architect, chemist, monarchy.
  5. When a double consonant appears before a final silent e drop the last two letters: bizar, cigaret, creton, gavot, gazet, giraf, gram, program, quartet, vaudevil.
  6. When a word ends with a double consonant substitute a single consonant: ad, bii, bluf, buz, clas, dol, dul, eg, glas, les, los, mes, mis, pas, pres, shal, tel, wil. But retain ll after a long vowel: all, roll. And retain ss when the word has more than one syllable: needless.
  7. Drop the final silent e after a consonant preceded by a short stressed vowel: giv, hav, liv.
  8. Drop the final silent e in the common words are, gone and were: ar, gon, wer.
  9. Drop the final silent e in the unstressed final short syllables ide, ile, ine, ise, ite and ive: activ, bromid, definit, determin, practis, hostil.
  10. Drop the silent e after lv and rv: involv, twelv, carv, deserv.
  11. Drop the silent e after v or z when preceded by a digraph representing a long vowel or a diphthong: achiev, freez, gauz, sneez.
  12. Drop the e in final oe when it is pronounced o: fo, ho, ro, to, wo. But retain it in inflections: foes, hoed.
  13. When one of the letters in ea is silent drop it: bred, brekfast, hed, hart, harth.
  14. When final ed is pronounced d drop the e: cald, carrid, employd, marrid, robd, sneezd, struggld, wrongd. But not when a wrong pronunciation will be suggested: bribd, cand, fild (for filed), etc.
  15. When final ed is pronounced t substitute t: addrest, shipt, helpt, indorst.
Note 38.  The Standard Dictionary, published in 1906, gave great aid to the movement by listing the 3,500 reformed spellings recommended by the American Philological Association in 1886. The publication of the Standard are also the publishers of the Literary Digest, the only magazine of large ciraculation to adopt the Simplified Spelling Board’s recommendations to any appreciable extent. It substitutes simple vowels for diphthongs in such words as esthetc and fetus, usest in place of the usual terminal ed in addrest, affixt, etc., drops the final me and te in words of the programme and cigarette classes, and drops the ue from words of the catalogue class. See Funk & Wagnalls Company Style Card; New York, 1914. [back]


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