We all know that the english language does not always make sense. It’s not surprising then that there have been attempts to reform spelling rules. Apparently Andrew Carnegie [wikipedia entry], the steel tycoon and philanthropist, was a proponent of these reforms. He wrote a scathing attack on “ough” words in the New York Times in 1906 [pdf]. What I found most interesting is that Carnegie saw this as a step toward world peace. His reasoning was that english was emerging as a worldwide language, and that non-native speakers would resist learning english due to its inconsistent spelling rules. That’s quite a contrast from what the U.S. does now in the name of world peace.
Inspired by Neatorama
Article on Carnegie from the Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society