NuEnglish (from New English) is a proposed form of written English spelled phonemically. That is, NuEnglish has a perfect one-to-one correspondence between the spoken units (phonemes) and the written units (graphemes). It is intended to replace traditional English spelling, to aid all English language users: illiterates, native English-speaking children and adults, and people learning English.

NuEnglish uses the traditional Roman alphabet, with optional macrons (long marks) over the vowels. NuEnglish spelling is similar to traditional spelling, so that proficient English readers are able to learn the new spelling system in five minutes, and regain their former reading speeds in a few months. [Cleckler, Bob C.: "Let's End Our Literacy Crisis", pages 10 and 172, American Book Publishing, 2005]


Bob Cleckler became passionately concerned about illiteracy in 1985. He first described NuEnglish in his book, "Instant Literacy for Everyone" in 1993. To present the problem and solution of illiteracy more clearly and forcefully, Cleckler wrote "Let's End Our Literacy Crisis" in 2005.

NuEnglish spelling rules

NuEnglish will not change how you speak English, only how you spell it. Every syllable of every word is to be spelled as you pronounce it, unless you feel that your readers will not understand what you write, in which case you should spell according to "Standard Broadcast English" pronunciation (the way radio and TV announcers and newspeople pronounce).

1. Each letter or combination of letters has only one sound, as follows:

5 short vowels: use A, E, I, O, and U for the more-often-used sounds, as in “That pet did not run.”

5 long vowels: use macrons [mākronz] (lines over vowels) for the less-often-used sounds, as in “Thā ēt frīd tōfū" ("They eat fried tofu"), or add an E to the vowels (AE, EE, IE, OE, or UE) if macrons are not available, as in “Mae Green tried roe glue”.

(Note: "short" and "long" as used here are traditional and popular, but not phonetic, terms.)

4 other vowel sounds: use AU, OO, OI, and OU for the sounds in “Haul good oil out.”

18 consonant sounds represented by a single letter: use the letters that are used most often as in “Yes, Val 'Zip' Kim hid our big fan-jet win.”

6 consonant sounds represented by digraphs (two letters): (1) use TH and TT for the sounds as in "then" and "thin", respectively; (2) use C ONLY in CH as in "chip"; (3) use SH and NG for the sounds in "wishing"; (4) use ZH as in "muzhik" (= a peasant in czarist Russia), for the sound of Z in "azure", of S in "treasure", and of G in "massage".

Use Q ONLY as follows: use Q (not QU) for the KW sound as "qit" ("quit").

Use X ONLY as follows: use X for the KS sound of "exit", as in "suxes" ("success") and for CS, which has a KS sound, as in academic subjects: "fizix", "mattum*atix", and "ekon*omix" ("physics", "mathematics", and "economics"). Use KS instead of X for plurals and possessives ending in K, as in "duks" and "duk's" ("ducks" and "duck's").

There are two "long U" sounds in English, as in "fuel" and "sue". To distinguish them, NuEnglish spelling of the English word "fuel" is "fyūl". This is equivalent to adding the sound of the letter F before the English word "yule".

Some speakers pronounce the digraph WH as HW and others as merely W. Because the H sound is barely audible to some, and inaudible to others, WH in English is written W in NuEnglish, for simplicity, as in "wīt", "wich", and "wethur" ("white" "wite", "which" "witch", and "whether" "weather"). If there is doubt that--in the present context--a word might be misunderstood, you can use the WH spelling even though you may not pronounce the word that way yourself.

2. There are no silent letters and no double letters that make a single sound, except OO and TT—and EE if macrons aren't used.

3. All sounds must be shown, except for the NG sound in NK and NX, as in "bank" and "jinx".

4. For consistency, the "-able" and "-ible" suffixes are always written "-ubul" in NuEnglish, as in "kāpubul" and "terubul" ("capable" and "terrible").

5. So that no words seem foreign, all words, including proper names and trademarks such as “Jon” and “Drānō" (“John" and "Drano"), are spelled phonemically.

6. When proper nouns and trademarks are first used, for clarity and legality the traditional spelling will appear between square brackets after the proper noun or trademark, as in " Mattyū [Matthew] " and " Tīlunaul [Tylenol] ". The only exceptions are the names of the months and days ("Janyūarē", "Mundā", etc.), and proper nouns used as common nouns, as in "Mok" ("Mach" number).

7. An apostrophe (*), pronounced “star”, immediately precedes a primary stressed vowel(s) or semivowel, as in “qōt*āshun”, “sur*ound”, “dāb*yū” (“quotation”, “surround”, “debut”), unless the primary stress is on the first syllable, as in "hapē" ("happy").

8. Compound words (words composed of 2 or more words) are hyphenated, as in "hot-daug" and "finggur-print" ("hotdog" and "fingerprint"). A prefix is considered a separate word when its meaning is clear and the meaning of the rest of the compound word is clear also, such as “a-“, “anti-“, “be-“, “dis-”, “non-“, “re-“ and “un-“ in “ā-mōrul”, “antī-statik”, “be-frend”, “dis-up*ir”, “non-profit”, “rē-dū” and “un-butun” (“amoral”, “antistatic”, “befriend”, “disappear”, “nonprofit”, “redo” and “unbutton”). This special consideration for prefixes will improve sight understanding, and may not burden a word with more punctuation, as the hyphen may substitute for a star. Care must be taken with “re-": meaning “again”, it is written with a long E and hyphen, as in “rē-dū” (“redo”), whereas with a derivative meaning, it is written with a short E and no hyphen, as in “rem*embur” (“remember”). Chemical names hyphenate all prefixes, such as “polē-tetru-flōrō-ettilēn” (“polytetrafluoroethylene”).

9. Use an apostrophe to show contractions, as in "kan't" for "kan not", or possession, as in "Tom'z" ("Tom's").

10. The only deviation from phonemic spelling is for numbers of less than a million. Thus: "U 3-fōld inkrēs", "1 and 1 iz 2", "Sum-1 iz at thu dōr", and "Ī'l bē u-wā fōr 4 dāz". The reasons are because numerals are universally understood, are very compact, and are easily distinguished from "won", "to", "too", "for", "fore", and "ate". Ordinal numbers are written as a numeral plus "tt" or "ett": "4tt", "10tt", "100tt", "20ett", "30ett", excepting "1st", "2nd", and "3rd", and the pronunciation of "5tt" (fiftt). The use of numerals instead of spelling the numbers is optional and should not be used when filling out forms such as bank checks which specify spelling out the numbers, or whenever the number 1 could possibly be confused with the letters I or L, or when the letter O could possibly be confused with zero.

ample text

From the Gospel According To St. John, New King James version

Thu Good Nūz uv John [Jon]

In thu beg"ining wuz thu Wurd, and thu Wurd wuz witt God, and thu Wurd wuz God. Thu sām wuz in thu beg"ining witt God. Aul ttingz wur mād bī Him, and witt-out Him wuz not enē tting mād that wuz mād. In Him wuz līf, and thu līf wuz thu līt uv men. And thu līt shīnett in dorknus, and thu dorknus kompreh"endud it not.

Ther wuz u man sent frum God, hūz nām wuz John. Thu sām kām for u witnus, tū ber witnus of thu Līt, that aul men ttrū him mīt bel"ēv. Hē wuz not that Līt, but wuz sent tū ber witnus uv that Līt.

That wuz thu trū Līt, which lītett evrē man that kumett in-tū thu wurld. Hē wuz in thu wurld, and thu wurld wuz mād bī Him, and thu wurld nū Him not. Hē kām unt"ū Hiz ōn, and Hiz ōn res"ēvd Him not. But az menē az res"ēvd Him, to them gāv Hē pouur tū bek"um thu sunz uv God, ēvun tū them that bel"ēv on Hiz nām: wich wur bōrn, not uv blud, nor uv thu wil uv thu flesh, nor uv thu wil uv man, but uv God. And thu Wurd wuz mād flesh, and dwelt um"ung us, and wē beh"eld Hiz glōrē, thu glōrē uv thu ōnlē beg"otun uv thu Fothur, ful uv grās and trūtt.


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