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For a Rational Orthography.
A. ODELL, SALINAS, CAL.
In Hamilton Hall, Columbia College, N. Y., a number of authors, educators, editors, and literary men in general, met on the last day of May for the purpose of discussing the subject of spelling reform.
The call for the meeting says that the irregularities of English orthography “are an inconvenience to all who read and write our language, a burden upon education, and an obstacle to the spread of Anglo-Saxon thought;" that "opposing views have been expressed as to the propriety of attempting to remove these irregularities; but eminent scholars affirm that the sentiment in favor of simplification is now stronger than ever before, while opposition from experts has long since disappeared."
The call was signed by William Hayes Ward, editor of The Independent; Prof. Brander Matthews, of Columbia College; Benjamin E. Smith, editor of The Century Cyclopedia of Names, and managing editor of The Century Dictionary; W. D. Howells, of Harper's Magazine; Joseph B. Gilder, editor of The Critic; Frederick A. Fernald, associate editor of The Science Monthly, and Robert M. Pierce; and letters were read at the meeting from Alexander Melville Bell, the eminent elocu. tionist and author; Theodore L. De Vinne, the printer; F. A. March, Professor of Literature in Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.; William Dean Howells, Benjamin E. Smith, William Hays Ward, E. L. Goodkin, L. E. Eggleston, Henry Holt, Brander Matthews, and others.
After discussion, the convention organized an association, adopting for its name “Orthographic Union," and elected a president, a number of vice-presidents, an editor, a secretary, a publication committee, a membership committee, and a finance committee.
The president is Thomas K. Lounsbury, of Yale College; and the vice-presidents are William R. Harper, LL. D., President of the University of Chicago; William T. Harris, LL. D., U. S. Commissioner of Education; Charles G. P. Scott, Ph. D., editor new edition Worcester's Dictionary; G. Stanley Hall, President of Clark University; Francis A. Walker, LL. D., President of Massachusetts University of Technology; Francis J. Child, LL. D., of Harvard University; Brander Matthews, William Dean Howells, Francis A. March, LL. D., William
Hayes Ward, LL. D., Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Alexander Melville Bell, and Andrew D. White.
This array of eminent literary talent is a sufficient guaranty that the movement is in earnest, and that something will be done for this much-needed reform.
While the East is struggling with this problem shall California be silent? I trust not.
The enterprise, the aggressive spirit characteristic of the Golden State shall certainly not be found wanting in our literati in regard to this the most momentous educational movement of the age,-momentous because of the vast number of people to be affected thereby,-momentous because of the immense saving of money and of time in education, -momentous because of the better education of English-speaking people that will result therefrom,-momentous because of the great impetus that the reformation will give to the spread of the English language and free Anglo-Saxon thought.
What would be more appropriate than that the Empire State of the Pacific Coast should clasp hands across the continent with her sister Empire State of the Atlantic Coast in the effort to remove this incubus from education, to lift from the shoulders of the millions of little children now in our public schools, and the countless millions to follow them, this enormous burden.
Why not bave a convention called at some early date and convenient place, for the purpose of discussion and organization, and sending to the sister society our congratulations and offers of coöperation ?
Perhaps it would be well to wait until the meeting of the State Association and have a portion of the time of the Association set apart for that discussion, or have the meeting for this purpose as an annex of the Association proper.
Let us hear the opinions of the literati throughout the State.
What Shall We Write About ?
BY PROF. E. KNOWLTON, SAN FRANCISCO.
The title question bothers both pupils and teachers, perhaps, as frequently and as persistently as almost any they encounter. As a partial aid in answering I have jotted down half a hundred topics, some
old, some new and all timely, which may serve and please interested parties. In that hope I submit them, as follows :
Is Football Brutal ?
31. When and How I Learn my Les2. Slang.
sons. 3. The Half Million Club.
32. What One may Do at the Park. 4. What Can we Teach a Dog? 33. A Day on the Beach. 5. Yatching on the Bay.
34. Rainy Saturdays. 6. The "Hoodlum." What He is and 35. The Uses of Forests. Why He is.
36. Is Country Life or City Life the 7. When We Must We'd Better.
Happier? Why? 8. Music at the Park.
37. My Motto and What it Meaus. 9. Climbing Mountains.
38. The Advantages of Good Writing. 10. Up in a Balloon.
39. The Life of a Nickel, Told by Itself. Mind Your Own Business.
40. Could we Better Spare Gold or Iron ? The Boy and the “Bike."
41. The Follies of Fashion. 13. The Coming Girl.
42. Different Furs and Where They 14. The Golden Gate.
Come From. 15. What Causes our Summer Fogs? 43. The Making of a Steel Pen. 16. At the Cliff House.
44. What the Man in the Moon Sees. 17. Is the World Growing Better? 45. The Best Kind of Corporal Punish18. The Isthmus Canal.
ment. 19. What California Needs.
46. My Favorite Game. Why? The Valley Railway.
47. Advantages of Studyivg History. 21. Lightning in Harness.
48. Guesses at What we may See in 1925. Value of a Good Memory.
49. Some Miseries of School Lise. 23. Our Treatment of the Indiaps. 50. The Evils of Carelessness. 24. The Coming Boy.
51. My First School Book. 25. Different Ways of Travel.
52. The Uses of the Ocean. 26. A Woman on a Wheel.
53. Things which Hinder Study. 27. The Best Book I ever Read. 54. Some Good Rules for Deportment. 28. My Favorite Newspaper. Why I 55. How I Spent Last Vacation. Prefer it.
56. What I Intend Next Vacation. 29. Street-Car Manners.
57. “A Perfect Gentleman." 30. The Most Desirable Business. 58. Black Your Heels-Be Thorough.
Many of these suggest others, similars or opposites. Some may furnish themes for discussion or debates. They furnish variety enough to suit both sexes, any age and any grade. An excellent plan has proved to be letting a pupil do the best he can in a week on any theme, lay it aside for a year, or a less time if preferred, then try it once more and see how much more the writer has learned about it, and especially how much better he can say what he has known all along. Work of this sort sets up land-marks or mile-stones wbich pleasantly show the youthful traveler his mental progress, and make the goal seem nearer.
Girl.-Yes, the world is wide
And tue sky never ends
Have need of their friends
Here heaven bends
-AARON W. FREDERICK, Burough, Cal. Vertical Writing.
J. D. Bond, supervisor of writing in the St. Paul public schools, writes to the editor of the Penman's Art Journal:
"I am testing the vertical writing in about fifty class-rooms, and in all grades, and have arrived at the following conclusions-viz: It's all right, this vertical style, if taught from the lowest primary grades, and carried along as the pupils advance in the grades, but it's very unwise to try to change pupils' handwriting in grades above the primary if pupils have learned to write fairly well the slanting hand, as 50 per cent. of the pupils in all city schools leave school at the end of the fourth year, and if we change the pupils' writing the last year in school they go out into the world with a mixture-worse, ten times over, than even the poor scrawl of the right oblique.
There is another place in our schools where the vertical might be taught to some advantage, and that is in the eighth grade, where pupils have acquired correct forms of letters and skill in movement. Here the slight change in position required for the vertical, or slightly left oblique, can be made without playing havoc with their penmanship; and in this grade good to some pupils may, yes, does result from instruction in the vertical style. In this higher grade the pupil should be given a choice between the slanting and the so called vertical; compulsion would, in 50 per cent. of the cases, ruin the pupil's handwriting
Then the vertical, properly taught, has its proper place in the lowest primary grades and in the highest grammar grades, but in the latter it should never be made compulsory. So much for my experiwith the vertical writing.
I have thus far been unable to have pupils using the vertical write with the same speed as with the right oblique--about one-fourth more time is required for my pupils to write the vertical. Had these pupils been instructed in the vertical through all the grades, I doubt not they would have written it with equal rapidity with the slapting writing.
I notice that the Boston School Board have thrown out vertical writing after a trial of eight months. I predict the same fate for other cities where wholesale vertical writing has been made compulsory. The idea is absurd, to think that years of practice on slanting writing, resulting in correct writing and unconscious action, which make habit, can be changed in eight months or a year, or even changed at all, by