2012-04-26

To the Washington Post

Over the centuries English has evolved slowly. I would like to suggest a mechanism to facilitate and accelerate such changes, using the Internet. It starts with a panel, or several panels, of language experts, drawn from universities, the media, authors and consultants from various trades and professions. They would conduct Internet forums in which interested parties offer suggestions for improving English. The forums would function as a catalyst to facilitate the changes English speakers find attractive.

Some examples of changes to consider: Move toward phonetic spelling (thru for through); simplification of grammar (like Esperanto, the international language); useful Twitter abbreviations; and problems with new language items, e.g., contract legal terms.

The forums would not have language-control authority the way the French Academy controls the French language. It would only incubate new ideas. Some ideas would flourish, and others would die. The forums would report on the more successful ideas. Publishers, editors, communicators, etc. could monitor the ideas and use what they like.

Jan Polissar, Bethesda