culture, schools, Uncategorized

UM is the commonest word

Australia’s worst and commonest word is – UM.

Listen on radio – most women are much worse UMers than men, and it gives the impression that they have greater inadequacy.

Please give all speakers instructions to mind their UMs, ers, you-know, like, sort of. Let them look at transcripts and replays of what they have said in the past, full of shoddy speech, and see how they can improve. It only needs a little thought.  I improved two women’s public speaking by showing them my record on a clipboard of how often they said UM in their talks. They became eminent politicians – once they never said UM again.     And one had scored 81 UMs in one talk before that!

Teachers who have poor class control or lose attention should look to their UMs.  They should learn not to UM in teacher-training, as a matter of urgency. Most children’s inattention is due to their teachers’ poor clarity and diction – shouting is no use compared with clear speech.

To be effective at stopping the UM habit you have to focus on something else – something positive that you can do, as an alternative to UM’ing. That alternative is chunking. Chunking is talking in short chunks of words with breaks in between the chunks. When you chunk you get into a rhythm: burst of words/break/burst of words/break….Focus on that rhythm and your UM’s will go.

Well, UM, yes, I do say UM too.  And it has been a handicap

books, children, illiteracy., innovation, literacy, spelling

VY’s publications on Spelling – select list

Some publications relevant to Spelling and spelling reform 1971-2010

Valerie Yule.

A list is at



  1. (with Angela Ridsdale and Ian MacFadyen) The Magic Bag. Parts 1 and 2.Books accompanying the television literacy series. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Commission. 9+ reprints.


  1. Orthography and Reading: Spelling and society. Thesis for doctorate degree, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia,. With chapters on human engineering for writing systems, applying knowledge about other writing systems to improve the design of English spelling, the politics of English spelling, spelling and society, social reforms and revolutions and writing system reforms, child development and spelling in learning to read, use of spelling by skilled readers, theories of reading processes and teaching spelling, and problems of research on the design of English spelling, series of experiments in the design of English spelling, particularly surplus-cut reforms, how the methods of teaching reading could be improved by English spelling reform. (Printed copies available from DISSERTATION ABSTRACTS, UMI Dissertation Services, University Microfilms International, A Bell & Howell Information Company 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor Michigan USA 48106.   800-521-0600 or 313/761-4700.   1416. Thesis date 1992
  2. The Book of Spells & Misspells. Lewes, UK: The Book Guild.
  3. Writing Systems and how they change: with particular reference to English spelling. ISBN 978-1-742842-07-03 (pbk)     560 pp  Indexed. Illustrated.

Brisbane, Q: Book Pal,


Chapters in books

  1. Articles reprinted in Tune, N W. (ed.) Spelling reform: A comprehensive survey. California: Spelling Progress Bulletin. (The etymological argument, The implementation of spelling reform, Let us be practical about spelling reform, Spelling and Spelling reform, arguments pro and con, A transitional spelling reform.)
  2. The design of spelling to meet abilities and needs of adult readers. In P. H. Peters (ed.) Frontiers of Style. Dictionary Research Centre. Macquarie University 1995. The politics of spelling. In D. Myers (Ed.) Reinventing Literacy: the Multicultural Imperative. Brisbane.: Phaedrus Press. pp 135-142. distributor Central Queensland University Press. ISBN 0646256718 (on computer sites downloads as a word document)
  3. The politics of international English spelling. In The politics of Literacy in Australia and the Asian-Pacific Region. ed. David Myers & Nicholas Walker. Northern Territory University Press. pp 41-48.





1971 Leaflets, spelling games, and Poket Gyd to Instant Speling

1972 Causes of illiteracy and recommendations for action. For a Melb literacy campaign.

  1. Illiteracy- and a problem we refuse to face. Three articles in The Melbourne Age. June 16, August 14 and 21. Over 250 responses came from the public ‘spelling as you would like to spell’ . Possibly the first public experiment in spelling reform.

1974 Spelling reform. Learning Exchange.

1974 The child who is failing. The Educational Magazine. 32.2.

1974 Dyslexia. Spelling reform. Two papers in The literate Australian. Council of Adult Education. July 23-25. (The first published suggestion to attribute problems of dyslexics to the task, not the learner’s defects.)

1974 Illustrations and test material. Torskript Spelling (Vic Paulsen, CA USA)

1974 Children’s reading and writing. Learning Exchange. June.

1974 Material on spelling and spelling reform for Council of Adult Education, Melbourne.

  1. “The Causes of Illiteracy & Recommendations for Action”. Spelling Progress Bulletin,Winter. XV, no. 4. 3- 10. (sp1975causes of illiteracy.PDF)
  2. “Spelling & Spelling Reform: Arguments Pro & Con.” Spelling Progress Bulletin 1976 spring edition Volume XIX, No.
  3. (Two articles about spelling) The Melbourne Age. March 1, March 15.

1977 Three Go-On Radio Shows. Access Radio 3ZZ 3CR. Reprinted in Harry Lindgren’s Australian journal Spelling Action. (other articles in Spelling Action are in general not listed.) The miggrant who spelt licky an angle. Onky upon a Timmy , A miggrant’s traggerdie .PDF

1977 SSS The evidence for Chomsky’s interpretation of English spelling. Spelling Progress Bulletin. xviii. 4.10-12.

1977 (with F. McBride) The need for spelling reform. Scotsman. August 21.

1977 SSS(Ed. with F. McBride.) Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on spelling, Northampton, U.K. Published by Spelling Progress Bulletin. vol 19.

  1. “Is there evidence for Chomsky’s interpretation of English spelling?” Winter 1978 Volume XVIII, No. 4 (sp1978chomsky.htm and PDF
  2. Let us be practical about spelling reform. Spelling Progress Bulletin. 19.1.7-9
  3. A transitional spelling reform for adults and learners Spelling Progress Bulletin. xx 3.7-10.

1980 Etymological arguments for spelling reform. part 1 .S.P.B. xx. 4.4 . (

  1. [Spelling Reform Anthology §7.1 pp109-111] Anthology Section 7. Ways of implementing Spelling Reform. “How to Implement Spelling Reform”

  1. Fowler’s English Usage revisited. S. P. B. xxi 4.4-7. (This pioneer paper suggests grammatical language reforms for English.) Volume XXI, No. 4.
  2. Etymological arguments for spelling reform. part 2. S.P.B. xxi 3. 7-9.

1981 Two position papers on i.t.a. and on spelling reform. S.P.B.

  1. Review of Frith, 1981. Spelling Progress Bulletin. Spring
  2. Education and spelling.(Published with title ‘Many ways to look at vowel sounds’!) Times Educational Supplement Scotland. 18.9. p 18
  3. An international reform of English spelling and its advantages. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses. Tenerife. 4.1982. 9-22.(The international angle for English spelling reform)
  4. Spelling as Technology. (rewritten by a hostile technical editor and published as ‘Shorter words mean faster reading’ – which is not true as a generalisation. vy) New Scientist. 9.12. pp. 656-7. The first published article for the general public on surplus-cut spelling and research in spelling design. But even the graphs were wrong. The editor refused to publish my letter of corrections. Today they do admit errors.

1982 (Ed.) Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on spelling. Edinburgh. Spelling Progress Bulletin. Serial publication.

  1. A transitional reform for English spelling. In Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on spelling. Edinburgh. Spelling Progress Bulletin.

1982 Summary of Prof. Vassiliev’s Russian monograph on his scheme for English spelling reform. Spelling Progress Bulletin.

  1. If you can’t change the children, change the problem. Australian Journal of Remedial Education. 13. 1 and 2. 75-80. (has been scanned in 9/2/07)
  2. SSS Conference 3: Development of Improvement in English Orthografy “A Research-Developed Reform for English Spelling”
  3. The information technology of reading. Reading. 16.3.162-8. (not complete Reading is now called Literacy.
  4. Whizz-bang-Sparkle Year. (IT Year) Primary Education. May-June 12-14.

1982 (or 3?) Simplified spelling would stimulate intelligence. Age.

1982 Boothroyd, Basil. With Captions for the Hard of Spelling. London Punch. A take-off of the travesty of my article in New Scientist, 1982.

  1. The Simplified Spelling Society Newsletter November 1983 part 3. “AN ACCOUNT OF EXPERIMENTS BEING UNDERTAKEN”
  2. English as an international language, and its spelling. Language Monthly. 8. 24-25
  3. Learning English as a double language. Language Monthly. 13. 23-24
  4. Must reading and writing be so difficult to learn? The Age, 24.4.
  5. Research and development in spelling reform. Spelling Progress Quarterly, 1.2. 6-13 (file on comupture in sites/dowlnloads)
  6. A roman script as an alternative script for Indian languages. Paper for First roman Lipi Sammelan. Bombay. Dec

1985 Testing adults’ adaptation to reformed spelng. J S S S Society. Autumn. p 7

  1. Review of A. W. Ellis. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 2. 28-29

  1. abstract only of “literate adult’s reponse
  2. Considerations for the alphabetisation of Mandarin Chinese. Xin Tang. No. 7. 40-47. University of Pennsylvania.
  3. The design of spelling to meet needs & abilities. Harvard Educational Review. 56.3. .278 – 297. (on computer in downloadspdf valerieyule) ) Fall 1986 Issue >

  1. (with S. Greentree.) Readers’ adaptation to spelling change. Human Learning. 5.229-241. The first publication in a learned journal of an experiment in support of spelling reform. (Some earlier experiments were published by the SSS and SPB, including John Beech’s comparison of modified spellings. Beech’s original design was adapted for this experiment. However this has replicated less dramatically without reaching levels of significance.)
  2. English spelling and Pidgin; Examples of international English spelling. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 3. 25-28. Reprinted in English Today
  3. Roman script in India. Education Age. 15.6. p 4.
  4. Style in Australia. Review of Style Council 1986. J. Simplified Spelling Society.3.25-28.

  1. Orthography. In D. Unwin and R. McAleese (eds.) The encyclopaedia of educational media communications and technology 2nd edition. New York: Greenwood Press.
  2. Teach yourself to read by video. Australian Journal of Remedial Education 20.1. 20-25. The first publication in a learned journal on the potential of cartoon video for a literacy. overview.
  3. I was a dyslexic bookworm. Success story 1. Aust J Remedial Education . 20.2.3-5.

on computer in sites> downloads

  1. 1988. I was a dyslexic bookworm. Success story 2. Aust J Remedial Education. 3. 22-25.
  2. The importance of spelling for English culture. J Simplified Spelling Society. 2.2. 29-31.
  3. Review of ‘Dictionary of Simplified American Spelling by E. Rondthaler and E. Lias, Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 2.3.32.

  1. Reasoning and learning to read. Education Extra p 2. The Melbourne Age. 15.6. p2.

1989 Children’s Dictionaries: Spelling and pronunciation. English Today. 17.1, 13-17.

  1. Two experimental versions of ‘cut spelling’. J Simplified Spelling Society. 3.2.30

  1. Style Council 1988 in Melbourne, Australia. J Simplified Spelling Society. 1.31

1990 Fast forward to teach yourself to read. International Literacy Year. Melbourne Education Age, May 1.

  1. The design of spelling to meet abilities and needs of adult readers. In P. H. Peters (ed.) Frontiers of Style. Dictionary Research Centre. Macquarie University
  2. Indonenglish. English Today. 26.7. 42
  3. Learning to read without effort. Reading (U.K.) 26.2. 12-16
  4. Children’s abilities and ‘surplus-cut’ spelling reform. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 6.2. 3-8. (based on thesis.)

  1. Improving English spelling for readers: the necessity for research. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society. 7.1.10-18.(based on thesis.)
  2. July. Spelling for the new millennium. Paper at the International Reading Conference, Melbourne, The Australian Reading Association.
  3. Radio talk-back, John Faine’s talkback 3LO in connection with the conference paper.
  4. Experiments in public response to surplus-cut spellings in texts. J S S Society. 1. 7-16.

  1. Spelling and Society: Orthography and Reading – summary of a research thesis. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society 2. 7-16.

1994.Problems that face research in design of English spelling.Visible Language.28:1. 26-47 (PDF on OzIdeas)

  1. Teach yourself to read at home by video – problems and promises. Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society 1. 11-18.

  1. Finding, developing and testing materials on spelling reform. J S Spelling Society 2. 26.
  2. Spelling needs research and research needs replication. J S Spelling Society. 20: 1 13.
  3. Take-Home Video for Adult Literacy. International Review of Education. UNESCO. 42 (1/3): 187-203.
  4. Teaching reading and spelling reform. J Simplified Spelling Society 21. 1. 10-12
  5. International English spelling and the Internet. JS S S . 23. 1998/1. 8-13
  6. Personal View 10. 1999.
  7. Everyone an Independent Scholar. Review of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia. 1.2, 25-27.
  8. Writing systems of Japan, China and Korea. ABC Radio National on Lingua Franca.
  9. Why English spelling has resisted reform since 1755. Australian Style. 9.1.4. (see Folder.vy)
  10. Letter calling for research. retitled ‘Eazi Spelings’ . New Scientist 13.10.2001, p56.

2001/1. How people spelled when they could spell as they liked. J S S S y. 29. 34-37.

  1. Ockham’s Razor talk reprinted in Tirra Lirra, Autumn 2002.12.3.25-27.
  2. Interview on Dave Richards show ABC Northern Territory, following Ockham’s Razor.

2002 ‘It’s the spelling that’s stupid, not me’ Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 5 May—not-me/3505566

  1. English spelling for international communication. J30 2002/1 p28.
  2. English spelling and comparative literacy. J30 2002/1 p26.

2004 Could English spelling be made regular without drastic change? J32 2003/1 pp15-19.2004 Sharing Knowledge with learners. Self-Help in learning to read

Ockham’s Razor, Radio National 29 February.—self-help-in/3406522

  1. Barriers to access to print literacy. ‘The First Necessity: Access to learning in the 21st century.’ Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, 38-42 (sp2004acesslliteracyISAA.PDF)
  2. A Wave of Spelling. Australian Style, 12.2.5.
  3. Spelling improvement is possible: a response to Robert Dessaix. Re-titled, ‘Does English have to be so hard to spell?’ Lingua Franca, ABC Radio National, February.5
  4. Paper presented to the Australian Style conference.16 October “Pronunciation Guides in Children’s Dictionaries”
  5. An international English Spelling Commission. Summary of paper. Spelcon 2005:International English for Global Literacy. Simplified Spelling Society Conference Report, University of Mannheim, July 2005. pp 46-47.

2007 Can literacy be made easier? The Psychologist. 20.4.212-214.

2007 Lyubomir Ivanov (Sofia) & V. Yule (Australia) Roman phonetic alphabet for English. Contrastive Linguistics. 32. 2. 50-64

2008 The Simplified Spelling Society is a hundred years old this year. Broadcast as Spelling still not simple. Lingua Franca. ABC Radio National, 31 May.

2008 The economic costs of spelling 28 June   Lingua Franca

  1. An audit for educational disadvantage. 15 August


Language and literacy. 8 September for International Literacy Day

2011, ‘Recent developments which affect spelling. On the possibility of removing the unnecessary difficulties in English spelling, while leaving the basic appearance of English print intact.’  English Today, 107, vol 27, No 3. Sept 2011, pp 62-67

2011/12 Sacrifice for the poor (spelling) Coracle issue 4/50 winter 24-5

2012 Experiment in Education, Psychology and Lingustics to solve a social problem. ISAA Review, Vol ll, no 1 2012 , pp 16-19

2014 A literacy experiment to try (parallel texts) The Psychologist, 27.1.January

2014 The truble with spelling

  • 2014 Review of Horobin’s Does Spelling English Today , Volume 30 / Issue 04 / December 2014, pp 59-61


20.7.1983. Preparing to read through play. Aberdeen University Television. VHS 83/042T. Formerly obtainable through Aberdeen University Library. Children in a nursery-school with everyday play activities and innovatory play materials that lead into learning how to read.

  1. Teach yourself to read or find out where you got stuck. The world’s first computer-animated cartoon take-home video for adults and children to watch at home, that gives an overview of what it helps to know to learn to read.   Plus script manual and picture manual. (Pilot version 1984 in UK)

2005- More professional version of ABC Go! Help Yourself to Read online at, plus DVDs.


Innovatory materials and methods for learning to read

using the alphabetic principle

ABC picture-chart with playtray and multi-coloured plastic letters, with ways to play with them; Word jigsaws; Dubl-dekr reading books; Multi-level reading books; Turnabout reading books; Spelling Brain-games; Aladdin’s Wonderful Grammar; plus charts, teachers’ materials. See ozideas website literacy pages.


Pages on Writing Systems- /writsys.htm August 25 2000

Writing systems – alphabetic

Writing systems – Chinese

Writing systems – Introduction

Writing systems – Japanese

Writing systems – Korean

Writing systems – problems

Writing systems – recently invented

Writing systems – syllabic

Writing systems and societies

Writing systems non-reform -India

Writing systems of the world

Writing systems reform

Writing systems reform – Dutch

Writing systems reform – Greenland

Writing systems reform – Hispanic

Writing systems reform – Japan

Writing systems reform – Korea

Writing systems reform – Portugal

Writing systems reform – Russia

Writing systems reform – Turkish

Writing systems reform -China

Writing systems reform -Spanish

Writing systems reform- Indonesia/ Malaysia /writalfa.htm /writchin.htm /writintro.htm /writjap.htm /writkor.htm /wrintprob.htm writnew.htm /writsyll.htm /writsoc.htm /windref.htm /writsys.htm /wrintref.htm /wdutchref.htm /wgreenref.htm /whispanref.htm /windref.htm /wkorref.htm /wportref.htm /wrussref.htm /wturk.htm /wchinref.htm /wspanref.htm /wmalind.htm


Pages on Spelling on Web-Site /spelling.htm

Spelling principles for reserch

16-Word Spelling Test

principles to improve spelling

Bibliografy for spelling reform

Criteria for spelling improvement

English Spelling – International use

English spelling reform

How people spelled when they could spell as they liked

Improving English spelling

Improving spelling for learners

International English Spelling Day

Spelling & Ockham’s razor

Spelling for international use, Pt 2

Spelling for international use, Pt 3

Spelling games

Spelling ideas – Goodwin

Spelling in the future

spelling reform to help readers

Spelling reform to help writers

Spelling vowel chart

Surplus letters & spelling reform

The spelling system in a half-page

Spelling – an index page

Spelling for international use, Pt 1

Improvements to English spelling /spprinc.htm

http:// /16sp.htm /sp7rul.htm /srefrens.htm

/sration.htm /sintrnt.htm /spelref.htm /spfree17c.htm /slernsp.htm /spday.htm /spockham.htm /intspel2.htm /intspel3.htm /spgames.htm /goodwinsp.htm /sfutspe.htm /sreadsp.htm /swritsp.htm svowchart.htm /ssurplu.htm /spelsys.htm /intspel.htm /sfastrs.htm

May 10

2002.Sept 2

Sept 1

May 19

May 19

May 19

May 15

April 25


May 19

May 19

Sept 2

May 19

Jan 17

Jan 17

May 19

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Feb 26

May 19

May 19

May 19

M 19 02

May 19

Sept 5

Jan 17

Aug 26

HOW I would see my original contributions to spelling reform

The concept of cutting out surplus letters as a systematic reform (apart from some rather erratic 16th-19th century suggestions)

The concept that a spelling reform that capitalised on the morphemic qualities of the English language was possible (making English spelling more like Chomsky says it is)

The concept that spelling reform could progress quickly in a few transitional stages, rather than one great change or many small steps, and could do this by acceptance in dictionaries of modified spellings as alternative spellings, for trial by popular acceptability.

Campaign for academic and applied research into the design of better spelling, rather than rely on armchair arguments and attempts to push untested proposals that may be theoretically logical and seem ideal.

Asserting principles of human engineering and user-friendliness to apply to the writing system, to meet needs and abilities rather than all efforts into trying to get adoption of armchair-planned reforms that were theoretically logical and ideal. (George O’Halloran had similar ideas here.)

Challenging assumptions that a simple phonemic reform was the only route.

Stressing the international aspects of English spelling as a spur to reform, and a factor to be included in the design of a reformed spelling

Looking at other writing systems for what they can tell us about meeting and not meeting human needs and abilities, and about matching language and writing system

Writing on society and spelling – the political significance of spelling – (including evidence from writers on the history of spelling, and Veblen’s concept of English spelling as conspicuous consumption)

The idea that television subtitles would be the best way to experiment with spelling reforms and introduce them to the public.

Exploring some original ideas of alphanumeric reform including a Korean-style possible improvement for the roman alphabet.

Devising some original ways to experiment in spelling reform. See thesis

Seeing the potential of animated-cartoon take-home video for teaching literacy and promote independent reading for adults and children. (Interactive CD Rom is the next step – but not as electronic worksheets.)

Production of innovatory teaching materials to help learners and teachers understand English spelling – and so that they could realise that spelling could actually be cleaned up, instead of thinking it a mystery that cannot be touched.   Giving them an understanding of the underlying spelling system will make it easy for them to read and write a more sensible modified spelling.

Design of 8 Principles to maximise the advantages of present English spelling and reduce its disadvantage, together with earlier explorations such as Interspel and FASTR Spelling for International English Spelling.

Spelling Rules on one page, with minimum change to spelling, for maximum aid to those who find present spelling too difficult.

Spelling crib to accompany normal spelling as aid to learners



2014 The truble with spelling





Online is the home page.

English spelling –   Many pages link from this. Free online overview to copy (Creative Commons copyright) shows children playing in a Scottish nursery school, and

shows developmental stages in children playing with plastic letters on an alphabet picture chart.

2008 The Centenary of No Spelling Reform – the Simplified Spelling Society is a hundred years old this year. Broadcast as Spelling still not simple. Lingua Franca. Radio National

Saturday 31 May 2008. Listen Now – 31052008 | Download Audio – 31052008



JOURNALS and other publications WRITTEN FOR ON SPELLING.

Australian Journal of Remedial Education.

Australian Style (Macquarie Dictionary Centre)    

English Today.    

Harvard Educational Review  

Human Learning.

International Review of Education.

Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society

Language Monthly  

Learning Exchange. 1974.

Melbourne Age (Melbourne)

New Scientist.

Reading (UK, Journal of the united kingdom reading association).

Review of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia.

Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses. (Tenerife)

Roman Lipi Sammelan (Bombay)

The Psychologist

The Scotsman

Spelling Action (Australia)

Spelling Progress Bulletin.

Spelling Progress Quarterly  

The Educational Magazine

The Encyclopaedia of Educational Media Communications and Technology

The literate Australian. (Council of Adult Education conference papers)

Times Educational Supplement Scotland.

Visible Language

Xin Tang (China)

Yule, V.  See Book, Newsletters, Media, Personal View 10, Anthology, Bulletins, Web link.

– Literate Adults’ Response to Spelling Reform. Abstract J1 1985 p7.

– reviews Ellis, A W. ‘Reading, Writing & Dyslexia’ J5 1987/2 pp28-29.

– English spelling & Pidgin: examples of international English spelling J6 1987/3 pp25-28.

– Style in Australia: current practices in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, capitalisation J7 1988/1 pp28-30.

– Reply to Sue Palmer The importance of spelling for English culture J8 1988/2 pp29-31.

– reviews Rondthaler, E. ‘Dictionary of Simplified American Spellings’ J9 1988/3 pp32-33.

– Style Council 1988 in Melbourne Australia J10 1989/1 p31.

– Experimentl Versions of Cut Spelling – CS1 & CS2 J11 1989/2 p30.

– Children’s abilities & ‘Cut’ spelling reform J13 1992/2 pp3-8.

– Improving English spelling for readrs J14 1993/1 pp10-18.

– Public response to surplus-cut spellings J16 1994/1 pp7-16.

– Spelling & Society: Orthography & Reading – summary of a research thesis J17 1994/2 pp13-20.

– “Teach yourself to read at home by video” – problems & promises J18 1995/1 pp11-18.

– Finding, Developing, & Testing Materials on Spelling Reform J19 1995/2 p26.

– Spelling Needs Research and Research Needs Replication J20 1996/1 pp12-13.

– Teaching Reading, and Spelling Reform J21 1997/1 pp10-12.

– International English Spelling and the Internet J23 1998/1 pp8-13.

– How people spelled when they could spell as they liked. J29 2001/1 p34.

– Its the spelling that’s stupid — not me. J30 2002/1 p4.

– English spelling and comparative literacy. J30 2002/1 p26.

– English spelling for international communication. J30 2002/1 p28.

Spelling Progress Bulletin articles. Summary not made. See Tess website.


aboriginal, children, culture, future, knowledge, population, the past

Australian aboriginal culture

In July, 2014 p 9) the last tracker is retiring from the Queensland police force, which highlights the fact that few of the younger aboriginal generation are learning aboriginal culture – which includes tracking, spatial know-how, finding desert food and water, making temporary shelters, weaving dillybags, knowing the southern stars – all of which are more important for the future of white as well as black than being good at football and painting pictures for white buyers, and specific aboriginal languages.

This is the aboriginal culture that can be taught by aboriginals to whites, thus raising their self-esteem. The time will come when we will be glad of it.

The very terms <indigenous> and even <aboriginal> cannot be spoken by aboriginals, much less written by them.

Aboriginal children stupefied by white imports of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, petrol for sniffing, and gambling cannot benefit from white imports of education. Fetal alcohol syndrome produces a next generation that is not capable of either aboriginal culture or white culture.

Different languages are claimed to be important, as they are dying out. Their importance is really how they carry practical as well as legendary knowledge which is dying out.

Different aboriginal ‘nations’ have different knowledge which should be kept.

Even the older white records are being lost, which record some of it – .e.g. how to make and throw boomerangs – a better weapon than guns which require a supply of bullets.

At present the aboriginal settlements in the far outback are losing the ability to survive in it without constant supplies from the white shops. At the same time, they are not keeping their numbers down as in the past to the numbers that can survive in the desert and semidesert; they multiply, when in the past they kept their numbers stable.

They eat out the traditional foods, like turtles and fish.

They have far too many among them, from babyhood to adulthood. who are disabled by white imports, Diabetes and other disorders they never had before have been imported or developed in response to white food, as well as diseases like trachoma which are eradicated elsewhere in Australia, but the young aboriginals still catch to make them blind.

Parts of the old culture which are harmful still remain. Mothers in Palm Island still tickle straws in babies’ ears to quieten them – and introduce germs for deafness. Then the deaf or semi-deaf children cannot respond to teaching, either white or black.

Who can do anything about this? The aboriginal elders that are recognized by the aboriginal people themselves, who may even have some of this passing knowledge themselves. The aboriginal leaders that are recognized by the white people. The publishers of books for the youth and educational market, white and aboriginal. The remaining custodians of the aboriginal culture, who will die out within a generation unless they can transmit it now.

Aboriginal children still attend kindergartens in Western Australia who if asked where they live can point accurately in the right direction while their white peers can give an address, but do not know where it is.

There are still blackfellers who can sleep out in the cold of a desert night without suffering, and who can find water where nobody else can.

There are librarians and scientists who have collected bodies of knowledge that should be more widely known.

There are gardeners now interested in aboriginals’ plant foods that were extirpated by our cattle.

Who is collecting this knowledge?


When I was a child in Blackburn, then a rural suburb of Melbourne, there were aboriginal campers up on the hill at the end of our street. We were taught to keep clear of them – nobody thought they could teach us anything. Now they are gone – and what they knew then, nobody knows now.

aged, children, death, parent, population, the past

Past solutions to the problem of the aged – Japan

Past solutions to the problems of the aged


In the past, how did tribes solve the problem of their aged?

The nomads left them at the rivers that they could not cross.

In settlements, at constant edge of survival, what did they do with unproductive old folk?  As in many undeveloped countries today – what might they do?

They did not have the resources of modern medicine to keep them alive longer than they remained healthy enough to stay alive – though as Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare’s Ages of Man show, the elderly did not enjoy life, and suffered the slippered woes of The sixth age that shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank;
and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everyt

The Ballad of Narayama” is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty, in our eyes, about life trying to survive in a medieval village. The village kept itself off starvation by a tradition- among other strategies- that people over seventies went up the mountain of Narayama to die. Seventy was the latest age to remain healthy at that time. Almost everyone, including the elderly themselves, accepted this.  The film showed an elderly woman planting out seedlings before she was willingly carried up the mountain by her loving son. Her only hope was that it would snow, so she would die quickly. She had had a long life, with everything she had lived for, and needed to live no longer.

The Ballad of Narayama” is a 1958 Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens up between its origins in the kabuki style and its subject of starvation in a mountain village!  It shows among other things the village enforcing the tradition of carrying those who have reached the age of 70 up the side of mountain and abandoning them there to die of exposure.

Orin, a 70-year-old widow has resignation in the face of her traditional fate is in stark contrast with the behavior of her neighbor Mata, who protests violently against his fate. Their family attitudes are similarly opposed; while Orin’s son Tatsuhei loves his mother and doesn’t have any desire to carry her up the mountainside, Mata’s family has already cut off his food, and he wanders the village as a desperate scavenger; Orin invites him in and offers him a bowl of rice, which be gobbles hungrily.

In contrast with her resignation and her son’s reluctance to carry out her sentence, Orin’s vile grandson Kesakichi  can’t wait to be done with the old woman, and begins singing a song mocking the fact that she retains, at 70, all 33 of of her original teeth. This is taken up by the villagers, who materialize as a vindictive chorus, their song implying she kept her teeth because of a deal with demons. Eager to qualify for her doom, Orin bites down hard on a stone and when they see her again her mouth reveals bloody stumps. The fearful neighbor Mata appears soon after bound head and foot, dragged protesting by his son (“Don’t do this!”).

The sets and backdrops reflect the changing seasons with lush beauty: Spring, summer, the red leaves of autumn, then the wintry snows on the slopes of Narayama. On the mountaintop, blackbirds perch on snowy crags as the camera uses lateral moves to sweep across the desolate landscape. Finally depositing his mother in an empty place on the mountain, Tatsuhei greets the snow with relief: She will freeze more quickly. This he can sing only to himself, because the journey up the mountain has three strict rues: (1) you must not talk after starting up Narayama; (2) be sure no one sees you leave in the morning; (3) never look back. His adherence is in contrast with the adventures of the fearful neighbor Mata, who appears soon after bound head and foot, dragged protesting by his son (“Don’t do this!”).

Orin’s goodness and resignation are at the center of the story. In particuar, notice her kind welcome for Tama (Yuko Mochizuki), a 40-year-old widow she has decided will be the ideal new wife for her widower son. Known for her ability to catch trout when no one else can, she leads Tama through the forest on a foggy night and reveals a secret place beneath a rock in the brook where a trout is always to be found. This secret was never revealed to her first daughter-in-law. She even wants to die before her first grandchild arrives. She wants to rid the village from a hungry mouth.

Tatsuhei’s second bride Tama tells him: “When we turn 70, we’ll go together up Narayama”,

Some will find Orin’s behavior strange. So it is. Perhaps, in the years soon after World War Two, she is intended in praise of the Japanese ability to present acceptance in the face of the appalling. You can attach any set of parallels to the parable and make them work, but that seems to fit.

This scenario fitted the Japanese willingness to sacrifice for the good of everyone else, which is also seen in the kamikazi suicide flying in the 2nd world war.

The Japanese are very pragmatic, and have a history of self-sacrifice and stoicism.  Their attitude to death is not that of the West.

They may well solve their ageing population now not by increasing the total population with more young people to care for them – a growth policy which must reach disaster point at some time – but by decreasing the numbers of the elderly, who must be cared for, as a source of employment by the younger group.

Decreasing the numbers of the elderly could be by the voluntary deaths of the demented and painfully-dying, two very costly groups. The Japanese people could very well be willing to do this for themselves – (and bring the numbers of adult nappies in landfill down to the numbers of child nappies.)

Up to 1950, Japanese population was under 90 million. I was there in 1950, and the place seemed just right regarding population, ability to feed itself after the war, and beautiful countryside. What further population did it need?  Now in 2015, 65 years later, the population is 127 million.  Will the growth stop at any time?

books, children, future, illiteracy., imagination, library.knowledge, literacy, schools, spelling, stories

Think about spelling – the beautiful princess

Think about spelling

Do not simply try to remember spelling


  1. Which are the most common words?

36 irregularly-spelled words make up 12% of almost every text. Which appear here?

Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.


Answer: 27 very common words are here: 14 words in bold print are difficult to spell.

Once   a     the   of   a   more to put   her   through   when it is said in you       your because she I most   that   could make   in   two too.


  1. Which letters are not needed in words?


Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.


beautiful   daughter more pearls treasures through centre when answer you   might your heart’s laughed because doubted instead business colour perceive   certainly wholly white thought could buy two lovely

But this is hard to do without 3. Which letters are misleading in words?



  1. Which letters are misleading in words?


Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.


Once     beautiful   daughter   of     great       wanted   more pearls to put   among   treasures. “Look through     centre of     when   is blue,” said   mother ianswer to you   might  your heart’s desire laughed, because   doubted these words. Instead used   moved into   business took of colour I perceive certainly     is     wholly white thought could   enough money I   eight months to buy two lovely new.


  1. Which letters are missing from words?


Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.

put       might   find         used   imagination moved   most   almost       also       huge


  1. How would you spell this story?


Once upon   a   time,   the   beautiful   daughter   of   a great   magician   wanted   more pearls to put   among   her treasures. “Look through the centre of the moon when it is blue,” said her mother in answer to her question. “You   might   find   your heart’s desire.” The princess laughed, because she   doubted these words. Instead, she used her imagination, and moved into the photography business, and took pictures of the moon in colour. “I perceive most certainly that it is almost wholly white,” she thought. She also found that she could make enough money in eight months to buy herself two lovely huge new jewels too.



  1. Is this spelling easier to read? Could you make it easier?


Ons upon   a   time,   th   butiful   dautr   of   a grat   magician   wonted   mor perls tu puut   amung   her tresurs. “Luuk thru the centr of the moon wen it is blu,” sed her mothr in ansr to her questn. “u   mit   find   yur hert’s dezir. Th prinsess lafd, becos she   douted thez werds. Insted, she usd her imajinatn, and muvd into th fotografy biznes, and tuuk picturs of th moon in culr.”I percev most sertnly that it is almost holy wite,” she thaut. She also found that she cud mak enuf muny in ait munths tu by herself 2 luvly huj nu juwels too.


Australian industry, cars, economick, employment, future, innovation, transport, waste

The value of a small car as a second car

The case for an Australian-made small second car

Eighty percent of homes in our street have two cars.

Eighty percent of cars that drive along our street have lone drivers.

Eighty percent of drivers would not or could not ride bikes.

If all the two-car homes had one of the cars as a small car for single-driver trips, many problems would be solved – such as use of petrol, carbon emissions, traffic congestion and parking. Australia could well make such cars. The one question to solve is feelings of safety – Sixty percent have big cars thinking they are safer in our traffic, and so make the problem worse.

The single-occupant car

The single occupant car is a symbol of death

It knows not where it goes

It tramples live animals and birds beneath it

It is out of all human contact that is not artificial

It spends the resources of the earth in its making and in its driving

It emits pollution to all around and to the air above

Mad Car Disease

If we were not all mad,, we would drive around, when we had to, mostly in very small cars for 1-3 people, using family size cars only when needed. The main reason we do not is speed. If city traffic was slower, very small cars would be safer. People would not buy 4WD tanks to feel safe in the suburbs. A household would have a cheap very small car as an accessory along with bicycles.

But because we are mad, the next generations will have no more fossil-fuels millions of years old, and more of our pollution and consequences of pollution than we have any right to bequeath.

Rolls-Royces are two tonnes. To transport one person, wastes fuels millions of years old.

Small auxiliary cars can help to slash the environmental hazard of the motor-car

Very small cars for two-car households, to be used as the second car would makes environmental good sense. Their main problem is safety in traffic. This can be solved and benefit everyone except the speed hoons.

More than half of Australian households are likely to have more than one car. Up to 80 per cent of cars on the road carry just one person. Australian-made small “second-cars” for city travel could help solve 3 problems.

For our security and future economy, Australia must maintain a sustainable heavy industry, basic manufactures,, and skilled tradesmen. Innovation is needed to reduce the present reliance of the automotive industry on producing uneconomic and environmentally unsustainable large cars, without scrapping all the factories, equipment and workers that make them.

Single-occupant private cars contribute significantly to carbon emissions and other pollution, resource depletion and other global problems related to climate change and future shortages. And their usual size increases traffic congestion.

A visitor from Mars would be astonished that to go anywhere one person takes around with him a tonne of metal. Buck Rogers future-comics never imagined this form of transport. There is a story of aliens who assume that cars are the main players on earth; humans are merely objects needed to steer them.

Large second cars have been the automatic choice when petrol costs, carbon emissions, climate change, traffic congestion and pollution were not anything to worry about. But no more.

Australians could produce light, cheap two-seater citicars as second cars for households. There are also large potential markets for small cars for older drivers and for young adults on tight budgets, who can borrow or rent a larger car when needed.

Smaller cars reduce parking problems, including at public-transport connections.

Problems and possible solutions

The major problem for small cars is the real and perceived dangers in traffic.

City roads would need to have speed limits under 50kph, and “safe lanes” on urban freeways where heavy trucks and 4WDs had to take special care about visibility of small cars.

It may be time to tax urban-based 4WDs to extinction so that small cars were less at risk. 4WDs have poor visibility when it comes to spotting small vehicles, and typically drivers are less skilled than truck-drivers. The main reason cited for the urban use of 4WDs is that it provides a feeling that it is safer driving a two-tonne monster. “Personal tanks” do seem to increase personal safety but they reduce the safety of others: they cause more third-party accidents through obscuring other drivers’ views, both when they are parked as well as when they are being driven on the roads.

Drivers of small cars have their vision impeded by large 4WDs in car parks and at crossroads; 4WDs cause more congestion, waste more fuel, and as recreational vehicles, are spoilers of bushland, creeks and other on-road and off-road rural environments.

To make small vehicles more visible some aerial might be needed such as carried by some scooters.

It is also time for cultural change to courtesy on the roads from in driver attitudes of insolence and aggression and to appreciate the value and rights of all other vehicles that do a public service by reducing congestion. This is feasible, believe it or not, and relates to a general cultural change that is needed in definitions of what is a “mature adult”.

The business of so much heavy freight on suburban roads has yet to be tackled. Freeways and interstate highways, which must be shared with speeding interstate freight, are inevitably more dangerous for small vehicles. Indeed, to substantially replace long solo car trips, it is time that rail transport was extended, that tickets for groups were cheaper than group travel by cars, bus links at stations were improved, and car-rent facilities were on-call and bookable at major stations.

As the law stands, two-seater cars would not be suitable for carrying children under eight, and hence would be of no use to ferry them to school. But it is high time for many reasons, including children’s health and education, that education facilities for young children were always available in their locality, and could be reached safely by foot, bicycle and public transport, or car-pooling.

What sort of Australian-made small citicar?

Small cars are ideal for modern energy-saving forms of power There are now many types, models and dreams of small-cars world-wide, including the predecessors such as the old baby Austins, bullnose Morrises with dickey seats, Minis and Beatles, and futuristic bubble-cars in comics. They can be cheap, durable, reliable, easily maintained and repaired, run on little petrol or a range of more environmentally-friendly power sources such as solar, electric and hydrogen-fueled. They are more weather-comfortable than motor-scooters especially for the older driver. They take up less space in traffic (but are not suitable for fast traffic), and take up smaller parking bays.

One example could be the lightweight four-seater Indian Tato Nano which could possibly sell for as little as A$2,850 plus charges and taxes. It has a rear-mounted 623cc two-cylinder 25kW engine, an overall length of 3.1m, a four-speed gearbox and manual steering, claimed fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100km, and top speed of 105km/h. The body is sheet metal and air conditioning and an airbag will be optional in the luxury version. It is regarded as sparking a rethink in manufacturing strategies and costs among rival manufacturers in first-world markets.

Two-seater hatchback cars need not have Tata’s primitive features, and could be smaller still.

Much single driving is short trips which do not require high speeds. Safe fuel-saving top speed can be set to under 120kph, or for cheap little non-freeway cars under 100kph. This is also an advantage for the elderly, who may find fast driving stressful because we tend to have slower reaction times, Traffic conditions that allow us to drive safely and to be tolerated on roads enable us to continue to be independent – reducing the great public expense when the elderly can no longer care for themselves. Speed limitation is also a safety advantage for P-plate drivers. Production lines for small cars can be more easily and cheaply modified for innovation. Innovative small cars are also more easily exported than large cars.

This direction in Australian manufacture needs urgent exploration, setting the possibilities for drivers’ information, arousing awareness, and gauging and increasing potential markets.

and see

future, Muslim

Saudi influence through paying for schools and mosques

How many of the young second generation Muslims of the West joining in IS jehads attended schools and gorgeous mosques donated by the Saudis and preaching Wahhabi Islam? Many of these places are actually named after the Arabian king who gave the money.


Many of the mosques in Australia are more splendid than the churches, and many of the Islamic schools are pretty fine institutions. They have been built with Saudi money and have Wahhibi principles. That is one reason why the young second-generation Muslims are more jehad-oriented than their parents

books, children, future, imagination, innovation, knowledge, stories

Inside Children’s Minds

Do you know anyone or anywhere can publish a review?

INSIDE CHILDREN’S MINDS, edited by Valerie Yule, Queensland: Bookpal. 2014.    Illustrated with children’s drawings, 470  pages,

Children’s stories told about their drawings.  The children tell  how they see  the world, the effects of physical and mental disorders, delinquency, rejection and despair, their imagination about war in fantasy and experienced in reality, and their re-telling of fairy stories and their common symbols.

It is a selection with their drawings from thousands of stories told to me by children, when I was a clinical child psychologist and schools psychologist, and took their stories down in shorthand. It includes research on children’s language.

Are there differences between girls’ and boys’ imagination according to their social condition?  What leads delinquents to their antisocial ends?  Why do later adults act against their own interests? What different pictures of the world do children bring to adulthood?  What insights are there to Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom?

The stories in this book show the world as children see it, and how they can imagine things they cannot see – a world of work and play, fairy-tales and space adventures, success and failure, war and ways of living.  The differences between the stories told by fortunate children and those who are disadvantaged reveal the impact on the imagination of a child of stresses, in economic circumstances, war, family breakdown, physical and mental disabilities, and learning difficulties.  As adults try to meet children’s physical needs and cope with their behavior, they may see only the outward life and actions of a ‘problem child’, missing the vivid imaginative life that can hold the key to the child’s future.

The life themes a child develops may be expressed in their stories through symbols such as fire, snow, sinking ships and repetition of disaster. Many stories seem to foreshadow their teller’s adult prospects, and a child of six may already be preparing to hope or give up.

While violence and suffering continue amid Western affluence, we must listen to children, because so many already seem destined to be the villains and victims of the next generation.

Psychiatrist Russell Gardner observes, ‘We use stories about ourselves to guide our every action’

“These stories not only give the reader much delight but also a rare and special insight into how children think.”  Dr Dorothy Rowe.

“Your spirited treasury is full of delights and wisdom, as I’d expect,” Marina Warner.

“I’m immensely impressed by the range and detail of the material. This must surely be a work of value to educators and psychologists .” Dr June Factor.

 The book is the fruit of 40 years of research during the author’s work as a clinical child psychologist, schools psychologist and academic, in Australia, Scotland, England and Belfast.

This book is for the general public, psychologists, educators, and literary specialists.

$31.95.and special price at amazon over the holidays.

ISBN 13: 9781742844299 ISBN 10: 1742844294. Available from Bookpal, online booksellers and Australian bookshops like READINGS, Carlton


books, children, future, innovation, knowledge

Human Rights read by all

Human Rights understood by all

The UN Declaration of Human Rights as it stands is short and intelligible enough for educated people, but language and length are still too hard for everyone. A shorter, simpler version could be understood by all, and be a ready reference.  It could be part of the humanist curriculum for schools, and agreement with it part of the admission to citizenship.

The 30 clauses, set out in around 950 words, could fit on one page, or in large print, on two sides of one sheet.  Its vocabulary should be known by all, because these words are at the heart of democracy. The 30 rights can also be set out as slogans, short enough to list on passports as reminders of what nations require of their citizens.

Our multicultural societies risk division by segregation. New immigrants need more help to adapt, as they must. The whole population needs to know how to help, and to pull up their own socks. Migrants may bring with them values, beliefs and practices that downgrade or restrict women, deny religious freedoms, or youth that has been accustomed to violence. All these problems are in our own past, and latent still.

The Declaration consists of Rights, Freedoms to and Freedoms from, and Responsibilities. Here is a shortened version, with Parallel Text to help students with literacy problems:

RIGHTS. All citizens could all be expected to understand and accept that all people are born free and equal, and have the same rights without discrimination – political rights to life, liberty, justice, fair trials, privacy, security of person, and recognition and protection by the law, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and to be given asylum from persecution; the right to a nationality, and to take part in their government; rights to a decent standard of living, work, a fair wage, join a trade union, own property, marry and have a family, social security, education, rest and leisure, and to participate freely in their community and enjoy the benefits of our progress, in an international order that makes these possible to realise.

FREEDOMS TO” are freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and freedom of movement.

FREEDOMS FROM include freedoms from slavery, servitude, torture, and arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

RESPONSIBILITIES. With these rights go duties to the community, in order to be full citizens. No one has the right to destroy any of these rights or freedoms for others.


Here is a very quick summary of what could be the equivalent of a bill of rights and citizenship test for every country of the world. Since even in Western countries they are not all taken as manifestly accepted, everyone is asked to think about each clause.


The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
For each item, think, Do you agree?  If not, think why not.

  1. All people are born free and equal
  2. Everyone has the same rights without discrimination
  3. Right to life, liberty and security of person
  4. No slavery or servitude
  5. No torture
  6. Recognition as a person in law
  7. Protection of the law
  8. Right to justice
  9. No arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
  10. Right to a fair trial
  11. Innocent until proven guilty
  12. Right to privacy
  13. Freedom of movement
  14. Right to asylum from persecution
  15. Right to a nationality
  16. Right to marry and have a family
  17. Right to own property
  18. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  19. Freedom of opinion and expression
  20. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
  21. Right to take part in government
  22. Right to social security and the benefits of society’s progress
  23. Right to work, a fair wage, and to join a trade union
  24. Right to rest and leisure
  25. Right to a decent standard of living
  26. Right to education
  27. Right to freely participate in their community
  28. Right to an international order in which to realise these rights
  29. Everyone has duties to their community
  30. No one has the right to destroy any of these rights or freedoms.

Summarised by Bruce McCubbery 1999


A short 950-words version -one page of small print, one double-sided sheet of larger print – of the full Declaration is suitable for schools, new immigrants and all citizens, as well as for international use. It can be found at and in an earlier version of this article on Online Opinion, Jan 17 2008, at

As an example of my right to free speech, add The right to literacy should be added to these rights.  ‘Everyone has the right to free access to literacy, anywhere, anytime’.  An implication of this is that writing sistems must and can be made as user-frendly as possibl, while remaining close to the appearance of present print to maintain easy acsess. Lerning literacy must also be made as easy as possibl, including simpl methods of self-help: See.


Short version for general use

Freedom, justice and peace are founded on the inborn dignity and equal rights of all human beings, protected by the rule of law.

Article I. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They have reason and conscience to act to each other as brothers and sisters.

  1. These rights and freedoms are for everyone, no matter what race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth or birth, and in all countries.
  2. All have the right to life, liberty and personal safety.
  3. No slavery in any form.
  4. No torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

6-8. Everyone is equal before the law, to have the equal protection of the law to maintain their basic rights.

9 No arrest, detention or exile without just cause and public knowledge.

  1. Fair and public trials.
  2. The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty. No-one can be held guilty of a penal offence that was not an offence at the time, or given a heavier punishment than what was legal at the time.
  3. The right to the protection of the law against all arbitrary interference with privacy, or attacks on reputation.
  4. Freedom to move within the borders of each state, and the right to leave any country, including your own, and to return home.
  5. The right to seek and find in other countries asylum from persecution (except for non-political crimes or acts against the principles of the United Nations.)
  6. Everyone has the right to keep their nationality or to change it.
  7. All adults have the right to marry and found a family, with rights to free consent to marry, and equal rights within marriage and in its dissolution. The family is protected by society and the State.
  8. The right to own property, and not have it arbitrarily taken away.

18 The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, with freedom to change religion or belief, and to follow your religion or belief in public and private.

19 The right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to seek and give information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

  1. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association with others. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

21 The right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. The right to equal access to public service. The will of the people is the basis of the authority of government. This will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, by universal and equal rights of adults to vote by secret vote or equivalent free voting.

  1. Everyone has the right to social security and the economic, social and cultural rights essential for dignity and free development of personality, through national effort, international co-operation and according to the resources of each State.
  2. The right to work, with free choice of employment, with just and favorable conditions of work and protection against unemployment. The right to equal pay for equal work. The right to just and favorable pay for work, to ensure that everyone and their families can live with dignity, supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions to protect their interests.
  3. The right to rest and leisure, with reasonable working hours and regular paid holidays.
  4. The right to a standard of living good enough for health and well-being, including food, clothes, housing medical care and necessary social services, and with security if jobless, sick, disabled, widowed, aged or with other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control. Special care and help for mothers and all children, regardless of birth.
  5. Education. The right to free, compulsory elementary education. Technical and professional education must be generally available and higher education shall open to all on the basis of merit. The aims of education are the full development of human personality, respect for human rights and basic freedoms, and promoting understanding, tolerance, friendship and peace among all nations, races and religions. Parents have the right to choose their children’s education.
  6. The right to join in freely in the cultural life of the community, enjoy the arts, and share in scientific progress and its benefits. The right of protection of moral and material interests for anyone’s scientific, literary or artistic work.
  7. The right to live in a social international order with these rights and freedoms.
  8. Duties. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.   In exercising their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be limited only by the legal requirements to recognize and respect the rights and freedoms of others, and the just requirements of morality, public order and everybody’s general welfare in a democratic society.
  9. These rights and freedoms may never be exercised against the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

No State, group or person has any right to do anything aimed at destroying any of these rights and freedoms. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying that they can.

Short history of our declarations of rights

OUR HISTORY. The history behind the UN Declaration is a way to teach world history and the foundations to our own history, showing what hard struggles have obtained these precious rights and freedoms, not to be given up lightly. “History” in our schools should include its background.

Magna Carta is the Charter of 37 rights that the English barons forced King John to sign in 1215. It became the basis for English rights, including protection from arbitrary detention (habeas corpus) and arbitrary taxes.

The American Declaration of Independence, 1776, famously states that all humans are created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  And we add, the pursuit of truth.

Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood was the hope of the French Revolution 1795.

The Four Freedoms set out in 1941 during World War II, following Churchill and Roosevelt’s Anglo-American Atlantic Charter, are Freedom from hunger, Freedom from fear, Freedom of speech, and Freedom of worship.

History also shows us no steady progress. There are repeated roll-backs. Few countries today would score 30 out of 30. An annual Human Rights Ladder could/should be as publicly competitive as national medal scores in Olympic Games.

We can monitor our own legislation for how it matches up, or falls away, and why. Eroding basic freedoms attacks other freedoms. The foundations of all freedoms in the U N Declaration are freedom from fear and from want. Who are the fortunate and free, and what can be done about the unfortunate?

  1. The right to literacy should be added to these rights.  ‘Everyone has the right to free access to literacy, anywhere, anytime’.  An implication of this is that writing systems must be made as user-frendly as possible, while remaining close to the appearance of present print to maintain easy access. Lerning literacy must also be made as easy as possibl, including simpl methods of self-help. –

*  Using modern comunications such as TV, online and DVD –

* Improved dictionary pronunciation gides, based possibly on

* ‘Triple-line’ books that lead from sound-simbol correspondence to full texts on the same page.

The rules of English spelling could be reduced to one page, eliminating unnecessary unpredictable spellings. All that is needed is thinking inovativly.


children, illiteracy., innovation, literacy, spelling

Experiment with spelling aid for poor readers

Anyone can try this experiment:

Put a crib of Spelling-without-traps next to any page of normal spelling, and see who are helped. There are three traps in normal spelling–

  1.  38 very common words that cannot be learned by reasoning or phonics, but have to be learned by rote because they are so important in everyday text, making up 12% of it.  (Research with flash-cards has found that most people can lern up to 40 words – it is hundreds that confuse them.)  These 38 common words are: – ALL ALMOST ALWAYS AMONG AS  ARE COME SOME COULD SHOULD WOULD HALF HAVE KNOW OF OFF ONE ONLY ONCE OTHER PULL PUSH PUT THEY THEIR TWO AS WAS WHAT WANT WHO WHY, WORD and word-endings -ION/-TION/-SION.

Other words have two types of letters that are traps – the letters that are not needed for pronunciation or meaning, which are 6% of all letters in everyday spelling, as in GUARD,  and the letters in words that are misleading, which are 4% of all letters in everyday spelling, as in WOMEN. Omit the surplus letters and change the misleading letters.

Anatoly Liberman =   gives the facts and figures

Normal spelling                                     A crib for poor readers    (silent e kept here)

Other words have two types of letters that are traps – the letters that are not needed for pronunciation or meaning, which are 6% of all letters in everyday spelling, as in GUARD,  and the letters in words that are misleading, which are 4% of all letters in everyday spelling, as in WOMEN. Omit the surplus letters and change the misleading letters.  

Other words hav tuw tipes of letters that

ar traps – the letters that ar not needed for pronunsiation or meaning, which ar 6% of all letters in everyday spelling, as in GUARD, and the letters in words that ar misleading, which ar 4% of all letters in

everyday spelling, as in WOMEN. Omit

the surplus letters and chanje the misleading letters.