World: Death to Double Letters

The Russian language, as rich and varied as English, is equally hard to comprehend and spell. With the 1917 revolution came a determined effort to clean up the lingual mess, and the regime simplified spelling rules and eliminated outdated letters. Just by liquidating the hard sign at the end of words, printers saved 70 pages on each copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

In Moscow last week, the newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva published an interim look at the work of the State Spelling Commission, which is preparing a new report on language reform to be issued next year. The major drive will be...

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