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The Alphabet and Simplified Spelling

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8 minutes

Summary

Mark Twain gave this speech at an event honoring Andrew Carnegie, who helped found the Simplified Spelling Board. Twain mentions how uncomfortable it is to only receive compliments when one is the guest of honor, so he critiques Carnegie’s “pestiferous” ideas about spelling reform. In doing so, he provides his own suggestions for fixing “this present silly alphabet, which I fancy was invented by a drunken thief.” This speech is a fine example of the brazen humor that made Twain himself famous.  

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