Fonetik Spelin, Or, Reading is Fnu.

Phonetic Reading in 1860 and 1960

Words fail me. Certainly words like ‘ritten’ and ‘alfabet’. Mangled spellings abound in both of these well-meaning text books published a hundred years apart. The first is a very rare early example of a phonetic alphabet published by Pitman in 1860. Pitman was already synonymous with shorthand and there are a fair few squiggles in this lexicon as you can see from the front cover. I’d be the first to admit that English letters carry inconsistent sounds, but it seems to me that the solution is to press on rather than to learn a whole new alphabet and then un-learn it and learn… well, the one you could have learnt in the first place. The second book, a century later, is a great example of ‘nothing new under the sun.’ The Teddy Robinson stories were first published in normal; this school version comes to you courtesy of jorj g. harrap and cumpany, of lundon torontoe wellinton and sydny. Having said all that the lack of capitals stands out and I suspect they may well eventually evolve out of our written language.

1860, Pitman, 1961, Harrap.. First edition.