Sunday, January 15, 2006

I esteam hym ne moore than a pygge

The New Statesman has introduced a 'backward glance' feature that reprints articles from its back catalogue. I suppose it is chepaer than paying contributors.

This week's offering in an article 'On Spelling' by Hilaire Belloc. As one who consistently laments the poor standards of spelling and grammar among my fellow Focus editors, Belloc's article gives me pause for thought. He writes:

'What fun our posterity will have with our ridiculous worship of spelling!'

He praises previous generations for whom:

'When they said of a man "I esteam hym ne moore than a pygge" one knows what they meant and one feels their contempt vibrating. Put into the present stereotyped form it would far less affect, or effect, us.'

Would any readers like to take up Belloc's challenge and show how anachronistic spelling might increase the impact of a political message today?

No comments: