Ben Franklin's Amazing Alphabet


Ever wonder why spelling in English is so difficult? Ben Franklin sure did, and he attempted to do something about it! Did you know that in 1768, Ben Franklin invented a new English alphabet that could make spelling easier? It did so because each letter in Ben’s alphabet represented exactly one sound! Widely known today as “Benjamin Franklin’s Phonetic Alphabet,” Franklin’s proposal did away with the consonants c, j, q, w, x, and y, which he thought were redundant. It also introduced six new letters to differentiate sounds he felt were not well represented by the alphabet we know today, like the difference between the "long o" in “own” and the "short o" in “pond”. Ben’s reasoning was that if letters more closely represented a single sound, spelling would be a lot easier! His alphabet never really caught on, but if it had, we might all find spelling a lot easier today!

For more information on Franklin’s alphabet and a sample of text written in it, click here! For AADL books on spelling for kids and the history of English spelling, click here!