copyright © 1996, 1997 Dennis Paul Himes

The Raisinbread Webspace - Vermont Revised Spelling

Vermont Revised Spelling (VRS) is a phonemic spelling system for English devised by Albert Hairrimun, president of Vermont from 2160 to 2211. By 2260 it was used by almost all of the Emmist nations of North America.

VRS was designed by Hairrimun (born Harriman) to provide an unambiguous orthographic/phonemic mapping for English as spoken in Vermont at the time. He also designed it so that someone who knew standard spelling could decode a VRS document with minimal trouble. He succeeded in meeting his first criterion. How successful he was in meeting his second has been a matter of some debate.

In this description phonemes are represented using Kirshenbaum's ASCII IPA. Standard spelling versions of sample words are written in italics.

The Basics

The VRS alphabet is the same as the standard English one. It uses the same punctuation as standard spelling, although the apostrophe serves a different purpose, as explained below. VRS also uses an acute accent.

VRS divides words into groups each consisting of one or more letters. There are two kinds of groups. A vowel group can represent a vowel, a dipthong, or a vowel followed by /r/. A consonant group can represent a consonant or a consonant cluster. There are also two kinds of letters, vowels and consonants. A vowel is a, e, i, o, u, or y when it is in a vowel group. A consonant is any other letter, including y in a consonant group. Note that it's possible for a vowel group to contain a consonant or a consonant group to contain a vowel.

Every syllable in VRS contains exactly one vowel group. Note that /l-/, etc. are not considered separate syllables in VRS, even though they're really pronounced that way.

Vowel Groups

Each phoneme or sequence of phonemes represented by a vowel group has four (not necessarily different) forms depending on where in a word it appears. These are called Onebeat End (at the end of a monosyllabic word), Manybeat End (at the end of a polysyllabic word), Endbeat Mid (in a final syllable but not at the end), and Midbeat (in a nonfinal syllable). The following table gives the forms. Where a form is shown with a "-e" the consonant group following the vowel group's phoneme(s) goes between the vowel group's first letter and the final e, e.g. "bate" bait.

These are the forms:
name phoneme(s) Onebeat End Manybeat End Endbeat Mid Midbeat
long A/eI/ayaya-eai
short A/&/aghaghaa
long E/i/eeee-eee
short E/E/ehehee
long I/aI/yyi-eie
short I/I/ihihii
long O/oU/ooo-eoa
short O/A/,/O/ahahoo
long U/ju/ueueu-eeu
short U/@/aauu
long OO/u/oooooooo
short OO/U/uuuuuuuu
OI dipthong/Oi/oyoyoioi
OU dipthong/AU/owowouou
AU sound/a/awawauau
ER sound/R/erererer
AR sound/Ar/arararar
OR sound/or/orororor

Consonant Groups

Most consonant groups are written the same no matter where in a word they appear. However, some differ depending on the following or preceeding letter. In those cases the Hard form is used before an a, o, u, or consonant, the Soft form is used before an i, e, or y when the y is a vowel, and the End form is used at the end of a word. For some consonant groups there are two end forms. The first one listed in the chart is used when the group follows a consonant and the second when the group follows a vowel.

These are the forms:
phoneme(s) Hard Soft End


Apostrophes are used in VRS to disambiguate between different possible ways to divide a word's letters into groups. A potentially ambiguous sequence of letters will have a default grouping, and an apostrophe will be used when another grouping is correct, according to the following rules.

In a case where letters may be interpreted as a multiletter group or several (usually two) one letter groups the default is the multiletter group. An apostrophe is placed after the first letter otherwise. E.g. "ferree" furry vs. "fe'rree" ferry.

When a letter may potentially be placed into two different groups the default is to place it into the group which ends first. Otherwise an apostrophe is placed after the first letter in what would have been the default group. E.g. "dooubl" doable does not need an apostrophe. I have not been able to come up with an English word which does not follow the default in this case, but if there were an English word pronounced /dA AU bl-/ it would be spelled "do'oubl". Note that "are" air does not need an apostrophe because if "ar" were interpreted as a group there would be no way to account for the final e, so "are" is not considered ambiguous.

This analysis is done from the beginning of the word to the end. An example of where this makes a difference is the word "argue" argue. It can potentially be grouped as a-e,r,gu /eIrg/ or ar,g,ue /Ar gju/. Since the first letter whose group is ambiguous is the a, the lack of an apostrophe forces "ar" to be a group, since it ends before "a-e". Once this analysis is done it is not necessary to place an apostrophe after the g because if both "ar" and "gu" were groups then there would be no way to account for the final e, similar to the "are" case.


If a word's stress falls on the first syllable it is not marked. If the stress falls on another syllable an acute accent is placed on the first letter of the stressed syllable's vowel group. Macrons are sometimes used instead. In informal writing stress marks are sometimes left off altogether.

Only primary stresses are marked.

Doubled Consonant Groups

A consonant group is doubled when it both immediately follows a vowel in the vowel group of the stressed syllable and immediately precedes a vowel in another vowel group, e.g. "batter" batter, but "butón" baton. Note that a doubled consonant group might be spelled differently for the two occurrences if the second is soft, e.g. "backer" backer.

Although the term "stressed" in this rule only applies to the primary stress in strict usage some people also apply it to secondary stresses, e.g. "Bettulínda", the name of a character in Raisinbread.


Capitalization is the same as with standard spelling, with the exception that the word "y" I is not capitalized (except at the beginning of a sentence).

Sample Texts

Dhe Oull and dha Puusceecat
by Edwerd Lere

Dhe oull and dha puusceecat went too ce
In a beuttifuull pe grene bote;
Dhay tuuck sum hunnee and plentee uv munnee
Rapt up in a five pound note.
Dhe oull luukt up too dha starz ubúv
And sange too a smoll guitár,
"O luvlee puuscee. o puuscee my luv
Wut a beuttifuull puuscee ue ar, ue ar, ue ar!
Wut a beuttifuull puuscee ue ar!"

Puuscee ced too dhe oull, "Ue ellegunt foull,
How charmeenglee swete ue cenge!
O! let uss be mairrede; too long we hav tairrede;
But wut shall we doo for a renge?"
Dhay salde uwáy, for a yere and a day,
Too dha land ware dha bong tre groze,
And dhare in a wuud a Piggueewig stuud,
With a renge at dhe end uv hiz noze, hiz noze, hiz noze,
With a renge at dhe end uv hiz noze.

"Dere Pig, ar ue willenge too cell for wun shillenge
Yuur renge?" Ced dha pigguee, "Y will."
So dhay tuuck it uwáy, and wer mairrede next day
By dha terkee hoo livz on dha hill.
Dhay dinde on mins and sliescez uv quins,
Wich dhay ate with a runcibl spoon;
And hand in hand, on dhe ej uv dha sand,
Dhay danst by dha lite uv dha moon, dha moon, dha moon
Dhay danst by dha lite uv dha moon

Dha Bable Text
Gennuciss 11:1-9

1. Now dha hole werld had wun langgwij and a commun speche.

2. Az men moovd eestwerd, dhay found a plane in Shiennar and setld dhare.

3. Dhay ced too eche udhdher, "Cum, lets make brix and bake dhem theroalee". Dhay uzde brick instéd uv stone, and tar for morter.

4. Dhen dhay ced, "Cum, let uss bild ourcélvz a cittee, with a tower dhat rechze too dha hevnz, so dhat we may make a name for ourcélvz and not be scatterd oavver dha face uv dha hole erth".

5. But dha Lord came doun too ce dha cittee and dha tower dhat dha men wer bildenge.

6. Dha Lord ced, "Iff az wun peple speeckenge dha same langgwij dhay hav beegún too doo dhiss, dhen nuththenge dhay plan too doo will be impóscibl for dhem.

7. Cum, let uss go doun and cunfúze dhare langgwij so dhay will not understánd eche udhdher."

8. So dha Lord scatterd dhem frum dhare oavver oll dhe erth, and dhay stopt bildenge dha cittee.

9. Dhat iz wy it wuz cold Bable -- beecúz dhare dha Lord cunfúzde dha langgwij uv dha hole werld. Frum dhare dha Lord scatterd dhem oavver dha face uv dha hole erth.

Here is a VRS version of this page.

You can go to the Raisinbread Webspace homepage, go to my homepage, or mail me.