A Simple Phonetic Respelling for the English Language

Scope and Purpose of This Website

The traditional English spelling system is afflicted with exceptions and conflicting rules, making writing and reading texts unnecessarily hard.

Lytspel is a proposal for reforming the English spelling in order to establish a predictable relationship between written letters and spoken sounds. Lytspel (for «lytwait speling» or ‹lightweight spelling›) not only creates an unambiguous mapping between the sounds used in English and their written representations, it also indicates which syllable in each word is the stressed one. See Idea and Motivation for more on why this makes sense and how it would make everyone’s life easier.

In addition to the online converter found above, this website also contains a short and a detailed explanation of the rules of Lytspel. We explicate how pronunciation differences between regional varieties of English are handled and discuss a few inevitable limitations of the dictionary used by the online converter. Additionally, we explain how to install the converter on your own computer if you prefer to do that.

This website also contains several sample texts, showing traditional and reformed spelling side by side: the last chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll; Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As required by law and recommended by common sense, this website has a privacy policy. You are welcome to contact us if you have questions, ideas for improvement, or any other feedback.

Update (2021)

Lytspel made it into the shortlist of six spelling reform proposals considered in the final round of the International English Spelling Congress organized by the English Spelling Society. The final winner was Traditional Spelling Revised (PDF), a conservative proposal that eliminates the worst exceptions, but still allows various spellings for most sounds, meaning that each word has to be essentially memorized. While TSR would be a clear and considerable improvement over the status quo and I therefore support its adaptation, I still think that a principled solution such as Lytspel is ultimately preferable, since it would largely eliminate the need for memorization and make English truly follow the alphabetic principle.