Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The imperfections of the Roman alphabet may be 
remedied in various ways, but the fundamental considera¬ 
tion is whether to confine ourselves to the existing letters 
or to form new ones. The objections to the second 
alternative are evident. New types are costly; they dis¬ 
turb and complicate the existing founts ; and there is often 
a difficulty in providing suitable script forms. If, on the 
other hand, we keep to the old types, we can reform 
our orthography without expense or disturbance of the 
existing machinery of the printing-offices, and what is of 
extreme importance, we are provided with a script al¬ 
phabet of a thoroughly practical character. The practical 
experience of Mr. Ellis is important on this point. After 
expending much time and money in elaborating a new- 
type alphabet—the ‘ phonotypy ’ of Mr. Pitman—he has 
entirely abandoned the new-type principle as impractic¬ 
able. He excludes even letters with accents and diacritics, 
which, being only cast for a few founts, act practically as 
new letters. 
If then we exclude new letters as impracticable, we 
are obliged to fall back on digraphs, which are already 
largely employed in English and most other languages. 
The obvious objection to them is that they violate the 
natural principle of denoting every simple sound by a 
simple sign. In a rational alphabet such as Visible 
Speech, this principle is carried out consistently, the con¬ 
sonants of she and the, for instance, being denoted by 
single letters just as that of see is. But with the Roman 
alphabet, which does not claim to be rational and con¬ 
sistent, this principle cannot be carried out : our business 
is to make the best use of the materials we have, and if 
we can make a convenient and unambiguous symbol for


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