Archives for les ltrs

Outside the Box 3/03/09

Producer/Host: Larry Dansinger

Outside The Box # 84 les ltrs

Greetings fr anuthr edishun of “Outside th Bx,” whar yu ar seing how th English langwj sumtimes suks–bigtime.

Today’s topic is: Enuf iz tu mch

Last week I describd how th English langwij is so ridld wth xceptions to th rules that lerning to read is realy a chaleng fr mny students and thos whos first langwij is nt English. Wen yu look at how a wrd is speld, yu can’t tel how it is pronouncd, and vice vers.

It has becom a burdn to our cuntry, since an estimatd 40 milion pepl in th US ar functionaly iliterat. A reserchr estimatd tht childrn can take up to THRE mre yers to lern English thn simplr langwjz.

But, therz anothr problm wth English: ther ar a lot of letrs tht just don’t ned to b ther. Wen I caled todaz topic, enuf iz tu mch, I ment tht th wrd “enuf” is a perfct xampl. Wy spel it “e-n-o-u-g-h” whn “e-n-u-f” wil do just fine, thnk yu vry mch? Wy hav those to xtra leters fr NO reson?

I’m riting this ntire feture wth fewr letrs. It’s just as ez to undrstand th wrd “riting” wthout th “w” as wth one. Letrs: “l-e-t-r-s.” Feture: “f-e-t-u-r-e.” Ez: “e-z.” Xampl: “x-a-m-p-l.” It’s an otomatik ten tu fifteen persnt savngs.

It’s ez to tak out mny vowls, sch as “v-o-w-l-s.” Or mny, “m-n-y.” Thre ar mny timz wen two vowls ar uzd wen one wil do, like “people,” “p-e-p-l,” or “rough,” whch coud be “r-u-f.” Besides th smplicity of using an “f” insted of “gh,” it also saves a leter. Of corse, you can’t always tak out th vowls, or els cares, “c-a-r-e-s” bcumz cars, “c-a-r-s.”

Th next tim yu ar writng or typng on a cmputer, se how ez or hard it is to chanj th spelings to cut out uneded leters. It wil prob take a litle whil to ajust, but I’l bet it wil get ezer wthin a week, or a few weeks, dpending on how ofen yu rite or type.

Yu don’t hav to make th chnge al at once eithr. Yu can strt by just taking out som obviously xtra vowls, then take out som repetd consonents, like th xtra “l” in speling, then move onto cmbinations and biger wrds.

Somtimes th context may make it prety obvious wht th wrd is, whatevr th speling. Or, a wrd like “bigr,” speled “b-i-g-r,” coud also be pronouncd “BIgr,” but ther isn’t any sch wrd, so it HAS to be “bigr.”

Ther is evn a “Cut Spelling Handbook” availabl on th internt at www. Tht cn get yu startd. Th handbk duzn’t care about having cnsistnt rules, whch I talkd about lst week. It just cares about uzing fewr letrs.

If yor a stikler fr th dictionry nd won’t go beond tht, ther ar a few shortend wrds yu can uz, lik “d-o-n-u-t” fr “doughnut” nd “r-e-v-u-e” for “review.” “T-h-r-u” mite work for “through” also.

Mny yungr lisenrs may also recgnize tht text mesaging ofen uzs fewr letrs nd mor shortcut terms, so nstant comunication can be evn more instantaneus.

My “e-z” speling of ez is th sam as sme text mesengrs. Se ya may be speled “c-y-a.” Or, “b-t-w” is by th way (by th way), “b nd th numbr 4” insted of b4, “l-th numbr 8 nd r” for latr, nd “p-r-o-b” for “probably.” “The” can be just “t-h.” What’s “w slash e?” Don’t no? Wel, whatevr.

If yu want a larj list of shortnd wrds tht ar ofen text mesajd, try Lingo2Word, speled wth th numbr 2 insted of “t-o,” at

Do I hve th nrve to spel wth fewr letrs when I’m riting nd sending that to othrs? I’l hav to do it slowly, gradaly. How about yu? Woud yu b corajus enuf to spel wth fewr letrs, nowing som hu get it mite be bafld at first?

I rote ths fetur wth fewr letrs. If yu want a copy, cntact me or chek th radio stashun’s web site to view it.

I’m Larry Dansinger, nd here’s wishing yu grat succes tuda in braking th spel of unesesary letrs.