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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/277

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273
SPELLING REFORM

that has been distinctly perceptible during the last half century may be expected to continue, but at a diminishing rate if nothing is done to accelerate it. All fashions tend toward fixity; and unless change is urged by those who are willing to appear at times a little odd, the old absurdities will for the most part continue indefinitely. The language is not going to change itself as a result of being proved inconsistent. No fashion is ever changed except by the exercise of personal initiative, but to secure change regard must be had for the difficulties experienced by the reader. The writer who adopts the simplified spelling has to be continually thinking of his spelling until new habits are formed, and his reader has to experience a succession of shocks that are at first irritating. The amount of friction in the complex thought machine is decidedly increased until it becomes worn smooth by such friction. Each advocate of improvement must use his own judgment as to the extent of his violation of conventional forms, but such violation must be perpetrated by him just so far as may be consistent with sane recognition of the conservation of energy.