Advocates are pushing for changing English spelling to a simpler system (Broken link, active July 6, 2006); they want all English words to be spelled the way they sound. Here’s an example:
“Lurning English reqierz roet memory rather than lojic, he sed.”
The translation: “Learning English requires rote memory rather than logic, he said.”
Actually, learning English spelling does require rote memory as well as logic. It is a misconception that English spelling is irregular. If English phonics is truly understood as a combination of the phonics of English and Latin, then the phonics and the spelling becomes completely regular. Margaret Bishop has outlined the regular phonics of English in her indispensible reference, The ABC’s and All Their Tricks.
Later in the article: “But education professor Donald Bear said to simplify spelling would probably make it more difficult because words get meaning from their prefixes, suffixes and roots. ‘Students come to understand how meaning is preserved in the way words are spelled,’ said Bear, director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno.”
This is the other reason to keep English spelling the way it is; the roots, prefixes, and suffixes (most of which are from Latin) give English words their meaning, and the meaning can be deciphered from the spelling.
I think a better idea would be to educate the simplify English spelling folks so that they understand the science of English phonics and spelling.