Many languages which have been in evolution over a thousand years have inconsistent spellings. Those using the Roman alphabet, among which are the international languages of English, French and Spanish, have homonymous words or syllables that are spelled differently. There are also redundant letters unnecessary for pronunciation which include doubles (nn, ll, ss) and mutes, as well as unvoiced vowels (terminal e, for example) and some consonants in certain combinations (the b in dumb). Languages using ideograms, such as Chinese, may have several differently drawn characters to express the same sound. Some educators and practical persons have unsuccessfully tried to reform various language spellings, for example the Pitmans, and GB Shaw for English. One sound, one letter has often been the goal. An English word like 'thought' or a French word like 'hazard' might be spelled as 'thawt' or 'azar' to satisfy simplification requirements.
It is estimated that only some 1,000 English words are spelt as they are pronounced. The rest have to be learnt individually. Uncomplicated English spelling would help facilitate high standards in international business, education, and personal growth and performance; would perhaps save many from the depths of illiteracy; and could be achieved without sacrifice or loss, thus yielding enormous social and economic benefits.
It is never explained by spelling reformers why philologists and poets do not rally to their cause. For the cultural historians who trace word origins and the artists who love the shapes of letters and the forms of their combinations, spelling reform proposals are a plea for linguistic purity, hence 'genetic' sterility, as it is the mutations and irregularities of language that give it its vitality and beauty. On a purely practical basis, many so-called 'inconsistencies' are in fact necessary for pronunciation. For example: removing the mute 'e' from the words 'mute' and 'cute' would produce a different sound (and a different meaning); the double consonant (as in 'fully') also changes the way in which the preceding vowel is pronounced. Removing such nuances from spelling reduce the already declining richness in speech and have a degenerative effect on the language.