Frith's Plot for an Anglish Spelling

From The Anglish Wiki

This is an Anglish spelling reform that I hope will get wide use. I disagree with the philosophy of zero use of innovation used by Yose and Hurlebatte, as I think it creates an artificially archaic system with a mixture of older systems (in our timeline replaced by a foreign system) that likely would have been replaced by another native system without foreign influence. As such, I add in a small number of innovations to create a highly elegant symmetrical system. Nevertheless, it is fairly similar to Hurlebatte's and Edwin's systems. A variant I find interesting is replacing ee with é_e and oo with ó_e (or e_e and o_e, with ea and oa becoming æ_e/ä_e and å_e instead).

Palatalization: c, g, j, ch
Old New When Examples
‹c› ‹s› [s] cinder > sinder, hence > hense, once > oanse
‹k› and ‹ck› ‹c› or ‹cc› [k] kin > cin, sky > scy, back > bac, backing > baccing, bake > bace, baking > bacing
‹gu› ‹g› [g] guest > gest, guild > gild, tongue > tung
‹ch› and ‹tch› ‹ch› or ‹tc› [tʃ] chin > chin, latch > latc, latching > latcing, each > eche, bench > bench
‹j› ‹gh› [dʒ] jade > ghade, jot > ghot, major > maghor
‹dge› and ‹ge› ‹gh› or ‹dg› [dʒ] edge > edg, edging > edging, cringe > cringh, cringing > cringhing
Fricatives: f, v, th, s, z, gh
Old New When Examples
‹gh› ‹h› Ø might > miht, though > ðoh, through > ðruh, thought > ðoht
‹gh› ‹f› [f] draught > draft, tough > tuf, cough > cof, coughing > coffing
‹th› ‹ð› [θ] or [ð] the > ðe, other > uðer, writhe > wriðe, wither > wiðer
‹v› ‹f› or ‹ff› [v] give > gif, giving > giffing, never > nefer, over > ofer, vane > fane
‹z› ‹s› or ‹ss› [z] dizzy > dissy, graze > grase, buzz > bus, buzzing > bussing, zoom > soom
Vowels: ou, ie, u
Old New When Examples
‹ie› ‹ee› [i] thief 🡆 theef, field > feeld (or feld?) (lied > lied)
‹ou› and ‹ow› ‹ue›, ‹u_e›, or ‹u› [aʊ] loud > lude, cow > cue, plough > pluh, hound > hund
‹oo› and ‹ou› ‹ue›, ‹u_e›, or ‹u› [u:] in ME room > rume, brook > bruke, soup > supe
‹ou› ‹oo› (irregular) [u] ouzel > oosel, couth > cooð
‹o› ‹u› [ʌ] some 🡆 sum, come > cum, son > sun (done > doen)
‹u› and ‹ue› and ‹u_e› ‹eu›, ‹ew› or ‹yoo› [ju] hue > hew, yule > yool, rue > rew, ruing > rewing
‹ea› ‹e› [ε] dead > ded, death > deð, meadow > meddow (meddw?)
‹ea› ‹e_e› [i], [e] beat > bete, beaten > beten, speak > speke, break > breke
‹oa› ‹o_e› almost always boat > bote, boating > boting, foam > fome
Other: qu, le
Old New When Examples
‹qu› ‹cw› [kw] queen > cween, quell > cwell
‹le› ‹el› final [ɫ̩] or [əl] beadle > beadel, nettle > nettel, simple > simpel (simply > simply)


  • sh is maintained due to k being dropped from spelling. cg/gc are unfounded spellings that did not make sense during Old English (should have been gg) and were probably based on cc for ch, which is now used to make short vowels after /k/.
  • To make words shorter, ea and oa are written as e_e and o_e when possible. Alternatively, ee, ea, oo, and oa could all be assigned their own letter for use with silent e, probably with ea and oa getting the unaccented e and o. The acute accent represents a higher tongue position than the lack thereof, and ee and oo are rarer than ea and oa. This would create some more consistency in the vowel system. Using silent e for ea is ideal because many modern ea come from lengthened short e (whereas ee from lengthened short i is not very common), and pairs like "speak" and "spoke" where the k shifts position between related words are undesirable, but more common in the current system with ea than ee. In any case, "we", "be", "to", and "do" should probably be left without accents. Long vowels do not need to be marked in any system when they come at the end of a word, as short vowels are not allowed (except interjections like "uh") at the ends of words in English.
  • It is still difficult to say what to do with long vowels that come before two consonants, which are marked very irregularly in current English ("roast" and "most" rhyme but are written different). It'd be reasonable to continue using digraphs for these, such as "least" and "moast" for least and most. Alternatively, silent e could be used, but that leads to problems with the derivational endings -ed and -ing. "once" (now "onse") is a particular issue, since one is spelled with a long u, but an e generally always follows an s ending a cluster to show it is not a plural form.
  • Long u is pronounced /u:/, or /o:/ before r with the poor-pour merger, when after y, or before k, f, p, or m (so "brook" can be written as bruke). However, it would also be reasonable, but slightly less etymological, to drop this distinction, although it appears to be maintained in Scots.
  • Most irregularities are removed, although these were already fairly rare in native words. A few remain, mostly relating to an ambiguity between ee/ea and oo/oa (such as to vs do, which are kept the same), keeping very common words short ("this" and "if" are maintained with -s and -f instead of -ss and -ff, "body" as body (this could even be generalized, if oa is extended further), and "even" as efen or éfen - words with a long vowel before a consonant and a reduced syllable are fairly rare, as they tended to resist open syllable lengthening. "beetle" is another, but could be written as bétel).
  • Vowels following w followed some regular, but narrow shifts. It would be reasonable to reintroduce ‹wu›, as along with the spelling changes to "some" and "come", it was only removed to make words look more legible in older fonts. Some other regular, but narrow shifts (such as the long u quasi-irregularity discussed above) could be maintained in spelling as well.
  • A few other etymological changes could be considered, such as splitting ey/ei and ay/ai, as well as phonetic changes, like changes said to sed, or length-reduction changes, such as all/will to al/wil, but these are not listed.
  • All doubled letters are used to denote vowel length (as opposed to fricative voicing, as in French for ‹s› and ‹ss›, Potentially, there could be an exception for fricatives at the ends of words: -s could be voiced, and -ss unvoiced, and similarly for -f and -ff. There are no such pairs for -ð, so this would probably never be doubled except to show vowel length.
    • give, gave, given, giving, gives, and gift: gif, gafe, giffen, giffing, gifs
    • rise, rose, risen, rising, rises: rise, rose, rissen, rising
    • live, alive, life, living, lived: lif, alife, life, liffing, liffed
    • other, wither, hover, love, loving, puff, puffing uðer, wiðer, hufer (or huffer), luf, luffing, puff, puffing
  • /k/ and /tʃ/ have been fully separated into ‹k› and ‹c› (although doing "ck" for "kk" and "tc" for "cc" would be fine). This is because English clearly has and had been drifting in favor of ‹k›, and probably would have completed this like every other Germanic language has if not for the imposition of the Norman soft/hard c distinction. Further, splitting up ‹c› and ‹k› makes related words like "cat" and "kitten" or "can", "ken", and "know" look unrelated, which is undesirable. Also, Welsh started off using ‹k›, but switched due to English influence. Using false vowels would be possible, but also less like non-Romance languages and more confusing. Additionally, the rule ‹c› can't appear at the end of morphemes seems to have no basis.
  • ‹gh› is probably based on ‹ȝh›, a spinoff of using ‹ȝ› for /x/, a spelling convention linked to the Norman invasion. However, dropping the historical /x/ results in many words merging completely and destroys etymology, which wouldn't be ideal. Thus, a native, shorter, alternative for /x/ should be used: ‹g› or ‹h›. However, most ‹g› became /j/ or /w/ instead, and using it would make writing some loanwords impossible. As such, ‹h› is preferable. Despite this, in the interest of regularity, the minority of ‹gh› words that now have an /f/ should probably be changed to use f, although to keep the etymology, a ‹fh› or ‹hf› could potentially be used.
  • With the loss of ‹hr› and ‹hl›, ‹hw› being changed to ‹wh› to match ‹wr› and ‹wl› is aesthetically pleasing, and fits the timeline of English sound changes. This could be reconsidered if ‹hr› (or ‹rh›) and ‹hl› (or ‹lh›) were put back into English spelling.
  • Unlike ‹j›, ‹dg› seems to be unrelated to foreign influence, and matches the use of ‹tc› for the unvoiced version of the affricate.
  • ‹ƿ› and ‹þ› are runic letters that don't fit well into the Latin alphabet, looking too much like p and b (with þ being an unusually tall letter). In fact, ‹w› and ‹th› were used in English orthography before French influence. ‹j› could be totally removed from English, and replaced with ‹dg›, potentially: "jaw" becomes "dgaw", and "singe" becomes "sindg(e)". Similarly, ‹tc› could replace ‹ch› and ‹tch›, if the use of ‹k› (in favor of ‹c› for /k/) is highly undesirable.
  • ‹ð› seems to have lost out to ‹þ› a century or two before ‹þ› lost out to ‹th›. However, ‹ð› fits better in the Latin alphabet. Icelandic only uses ‹þ› initially, aside from a handful of loanwords, and Faroese has no ‹þ› at all. English has voiced many of its initial dental fricatives, so using ‹ð› makes even more sense.
  • ‹sc› could be a good alternative to ‹sh›, but ‹sh› is slightly less confusing, and it doesn't appear to be caused by French influence.
  • Potentially ‹æ› (or ‹ä›) and ‹å› vowel pairs could be reintroduced (no -> nå, dead -> dæd, mead -> mæde), but it changes texts to look increasingly un-English. Some have proposed only using them for the descendants of OE long vowels, but this adds a lot of complexity, and the main benefit to their use would be the existence of a short ‹ä›, writing "dead" as "däd". But that has very marginal benefit if ‹ea> is written as ‹e_e›.
  • I also recommend reversing the ei/ai merger (day stays day, but way becomes wey), and reverting other miscellaneous unetymological spellings.
  • I don't oppose spellings to introduce perfect phoneticism, like "wun" for "one", "too" for "two", and "stopt" for "stopped", but have left them out as I don't think English benefits from changing them either.


See Anglish Spelling.

Miscellaneous Changes[edit]

Old New Influencer
whore hore/hoar None
whole hole/hoal None
hole holl None
scythe siðe Italic
island iland Italic
accursed akursed Italic
allay alay Italic
afford aford Italic
affright afriht Italic
anneal aneal Italic
tongue tung Italic
Rhine Rine Greek
rhyme rime Greek
ghost goast Flemish

Common Respelled Words[edit]

Out of date.

Old New Reason
the ðe Shorter, consistency with f
to oo becomes ó
you yu Shorter, etymology
that ðat Shorter, consistency with f
are ar Shorter, phonetic
with wið Shorter, consistency with f
they ðey Shorter, consistency with f
be ee becomes oo
have haf Shorter, etymology
ðis ðis Shorter. Regular version: ðiss
some sum Shorter, etymology
we ee becomes é
can kan Etymology, avoid useless letters
out ute Etymology, avoid unused long u
other uðer Phonetic. Possibly uððer or óðer
were wer Shorter, phonetic
all al Shorter, two l's can be used for /æl/
there ðere Shorter, consistency with f
use euse (Loanword) Phonetic
your yure Etymology
how hu Etymology. Common, so ignores three letter rule
thou ðu Etymology. Common, so ignores three letter rule
each ece Simplification of c/k, ea -> eCe
which whic Simplification of c/k
do oo becomes ó
their ðeir Shorter, consistency with f
will wil Shorter
about abute Etymology
many meny Phonetic
then ðen Shorter, consistency with f
them ðem Shorter, consistency with f
would wold Shorter. Or phonetic wóde
thing ðing Shorter, consistency with f
could kóde Shorter, phonetic, etymology
come kum Shorter, simplification of c/k
sound sund Shorter, etymology
most moste Consistency with "more"
people pépel (Loanword) Phonetic
over ofer Etymology
water watter Phonetic
call kal Simplification of c/k, no useless letters
who Shorter, consistency with how -> hu
down dune Etymology
now nu Etymology. Common, so ignores three letter rule
any eny Phonetic
work werk Etymology
place plase (Loanword) Phonetic
live lif Shorter, etymology
back bak Shorter, phonetic
little littel Phonetic, etymology
only onely Phonetic, etymology
round rund (Loanword) Phonetic
year yére Split up ear/eer depending on pronunciation
came kame Simplification of c/k
every efry Etymology
give gif Shorter, etymology
our ure Etymology
through ðruh Etymology
hinge hindg? Phonetic, no soft consonants
edge edg? Shorter, no soft consonants
much muc Simplification of c/k
right riht Etymology
even éfen Etymology
here hére Etymology
high hih Etymology
done dóen Etymology, consistency with does
gone goen Etymology, consistency with goes


Ðe Norð Wind and ðe Sun wer scwabbeling abute whitc was ðe stronger, when a weyfarer came along wrapped in a warm shrude. Ðey setteled ðat ðe one ho first ofercame in macing ðe weyfarer tace his shrude off shuld be seen as stronger ðan ðe uðer. Ðen ðe Norð Wind blew as hard as he cood, but ðe more he blew, ðe more tihtly did ðe weyfarer fold his shrude abute him; and at last ðe Norð Wind gafe up þé bid. Ðen ðe Sun shone ute warmly, and at onse ðe weyfarer tooc off his shrude. And so ðe Norð Wind was bund too acnolledg ðat ðe Sun was ðe stronger of ðe two.