The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The English Alphabet Should be Re-Written

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,307 times Debate No: 18554
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




The English language has evolved from numerous other languages and has been adapted over time as has been needed. However, one problem with this method for creating a language is that there is no formal review process to create the most effective and efficient language. Re-writing the alphabet would make English both more efficient to write and easier to learn. The following are some current problems with the English alphabet as it stands now:

-Letters, such as K, Q, and X, are completely unnecessary. All words in the English language could be written without them. All they do is make English more complicated.

-Letters make different sounds depending on their context. This itself is one of the most difficult aspects of learning English. All letters should be assigned one particular sound, and new characters should be created for common sound variations.

-Capitalized letters are unnecessary. Capitalization does not add any new information into a piece of writing, making it completely irrelevant.


Hello, and thank you for beginning this debate. I will be arguing the position that the English alphabet should not be re-written.

=Rebuttal 1=

Although the consonant sounds of the letters 'K', 'Q', and 'X' do have alternative letters that could reproduce the same sound, these letters are more efficient and straightforward in their direction of pronunciation. For example:

The word 'Kite' is pronounced with a hard 'C' sound. If we were to change it to the letter that makes the same sound ('C'), we would have 'Cite', which holds a different meaning. The 'K' sound is more direct in its pronunciation as the hard 'C'. As this is not the only example of an alternative letter creating a confusing homonym, I will conclude that the exchange of letters would be unnecessary and overwhelming.

=Rebuttal 2=

This ties into Rebuttal 1. Since some letters do make different sounds, the 'extra' letters you mentioned earlier would need to be in place. You argue that we have extra letters that could easily be exchanged with a different letter, but now these different letters can only hold one pronunciation, effectively necessitating the 'extra' letters. These two arguments cannot be claimed in their current form.

=Rebuttal 3=

Capitalization is necessary to retain conformity and ease of reading. The University of South Carolina says it best, "rules regarding the capitalization of certain words ... are driven by our desire to maintain readability, clarity, and consistency."[1] Capitalized letters denote significance within the English language. They even help define titles. Take the following:

"I read before sleep."

Did you mean you read before you fell asleep, or did you read the book "Before Sleep"?[note 1] Italicizing or underlining may help in a certain situations, but you could be stressing the preposition. Capitalization is necessary.




Debate Round No. 1


On the topic of capitalization, you actually make some very valid points, and I must slightly revise my argument in that sense. Capitalization, as you pointed out, does have some legitimate purposes. However, in the case of alphabetic characters, the method we use to indicate capitalization is overcomplicated. Wouldn't it be simpler, instead of having separate characters for capital and lowercase, to just make all capitol letters exactly the same, just bigger? Or, better, indicate them with an added ^ or other symbol above them? Therefore, I still hold my point that alphabetic capitalization should be revised.

As to adding characters, it is true that the more letters would be added to the alphabet. However, the fact that each character contains one and only one sound in every circumstance, I argue, would simplify English phonics more than added characters would complicate it. Keep in mind that the extra letters would only apply to vowels and several letter combinations such as 'ch', 'oo', 'sh', etc. Things like 'qu', 'wr', 'ei' and silent e's would be completely eliminated.

Also, having one sound per letter would NOT create heteronyms, like the 'cite' example, but would instead remove them entirely. In this system, 'C' would ONLY make the hard C-sound and the alternative, S-sound, would be made by the character 'S'. So the only way to read "cite" would be "kite" as it is pronounced now. This system would actually eliminate the hundreds of confusing and pointless heteronyms that already exist in the English language.


Thank you for your speedy response, and, similarly, I apologize for my slow response.

==Rebuttal 1==
I'm glad that we can both agree that capitalization has significance. I do, however, believe that having separate capital characters for each letter increases readability and clarity. Capital letters with a different form (A&a, B&b, D&d) are easier to discern as capital letters than the ones that have a larger version of themselves. For instance, I would prefer E&e over ℮&e. As to your second proposal, writing a circumflex over capital letters, this already has many uses[1] and would get extremely confusing to foreign languages. Whatever your remedy, it will not change the fact that a capital letter is easier to discern when it is different form rather than just increased in size (which could possibly be due to handwriting issues as well).

==Rebuttal 2==
Let us first define homonym and heteronym.

Homonym: One of two or more words that have the same sound and often the same spelling but differ in meaning[2]
Heteronym: One of two or more words that have identical spellings but different meanings and pronunciations[3]

In my example, we dealt with two words, 'kite' and 'cite'. We both agree that 'kite' would become 'cite' in this new alphabet you have proposed. However, 'cite' would become 'site', and our word 'site' would become ... 'site'. As both 'cite' (in this new alphabet, 'site') and 'site' are pronounced the same, they would be homonyms. I stand by what I said earlier, this would be confusing.

As for "each character contains one and only one sound in every circumstance," this would mean more than double the characters just for our vowels. If this is not overwhelming and unnecessary, I do not know what is. And, of course, this goes for several of your ideas.

If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Debate Round No. 2


awesomeperson forfeited this round.


Well, thanks for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by blackhawk1331 5 years ago
What happens to the billions of people that have learned English with the current alphabet? As an english speaker, am I now expected to re-learn the only language I am fluent in? Wouldn't this open up the possibility for millions to be totally unable to communicate in an actual language? Personally, I had no trouble learning english.
No votes have been placed for this debate.