Alternative Handwriting


“Most alternative systems write words the way they sound, not the way they are spelled. English spelling is so quirky that winning a spelling bee is a major achievement, and even the champs falter at some point. While the Phoenicians may have needed only 26 symbols to represent their speech sounds, English has from 32 to 50 speech sounds depending on who’s doing the counting, and using only 26 letters to represent them just doesn’t cut it.

To make up for the missing symbols, several letters are often combined to represent a sound. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was any consistency involved, but as all children and ESL students know there isn’t, as English is only about 40% phonetic (which is to say 60% of common words have irregular spellings). For example the “sh” sound can be spelled 13 different ways: ocean, machine, special, pshaw, sure, schist, conscience, nauseous, she, tension, issue, mission, nation.”

Eric Lee
The not complete-idiot’s guide to Alternative Handwriting
and Shorthand Systems
for Dummies