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Peter Montgomery wrote:
> 
> Transpose your question to Elizabethan times (where I live) and
> think of the effect of all the different spelling possibilities that hap-
> pened then (how many ways did Shakespare spell his name).
> I suspect it used to be sound that drove spelling, not spelling, sound.
> Today homogenised spelling has put sound in a straight jacket.

A couple decades ago 1000s in South Africa were risking death,
imprisonment, or worse to demand that English continue to be taught in
Black schools. Why? Because English was the common language of those
resisting the brutal occupation of their land by Europeans. Teaching the
local language only in each school would would have been one route to
atomizing and stifling the literation struggle.

Most on this list have probably at one time or another ridden in someone
else's car after dark and had the experience of frustrated groping for
the door handle when they were getting out. Perhaps some have also been
irritated by different combinations to control water volume or
temperature in the bathrooms of different hotels and homes. Or struggle
to find the green beans they have been buying for years among the 12
different slight variations currently on the shelves for each brand
name. If time is life, then these innumerable "possibilities" among
which one must choose eat one's life away.

It is childish when considering variability vs standardization to assume
that all standarization leads to unfreedom, all multiplicity of
possibility leads to freedom.

Carrol