Questions and Answers

By Service | 25 June, 2020

On this page is a collection of interesting questions waiting to be analysed and be answered.

If you have an answer or want to have a go at answering them, please do and send us your detailed answer and the method/facts/calculation on how you got to that result. Please send it per email to Thanks!

1. Social

1.1 Change

Society goes through change. Generations revolt against their parents and the way they live. We had the sixties with Beatniks, love, flower power.

Is there a natural cycle length i.e. every 10 years?

Background to the question: If spelling changes are to be released over the next generations, is there a natural cycle which can be used?

2. World facts

2.1 Organisations

2.1.1 Exporters

How many companies in the world export to English speaking countries?

How many of those exporting companies deliver documentation in English, where documentation is some kind of separate booklet, book, manual?

2.1.2 International

How many international organisations have English as their first language?

How many workers of these organisations use written English?

2.2 Children

What is the definition of a child? Is it 16, as many work when they are that old?

How many children (including teens) are there in the world today?

  • Answer: 2.3 billion
  • Source: Unicef, Oct 2019, Demographics,

How many children (including teens) in the world are learning English today?

How many children not in the major first language countries (AU, CA, GB, IE, US, NZ, ZA?) are learning English today?

2.3 Adults

How many adults will be learning English today?

2.4 Population

Population of countries with English as native language?

  • Answer: 470 million

2.5 Working population

How many percent of the population are working?

  • Answer: It depends on the country. Some have a large number of migrants, and child rich families. Others have an ageing population.
  • Taking the UK: In 2011 65 %. in 2020 approx 63%.


3. Styleguides

A styleguide is a booklet explaining how to write texts. It defines things such as case of titles, numbering, punktuation, how to write names.

For example a scientific paper might have a different style than that of a slideshow presentation.

How many different types of styleguides do we need, and what are they?

4. Learning and acceptance

4.1 Spelling acceptance

A spelling regime is a set of spelling rules.

When a person reads a text i.e. a newspaper, is there some kind of measurment system to be able to classify when changes in spelling in that text becomes ugly/uncomfortable to the reader who is unfamilar to a new system?

How do you classify a spelling regime? Is it the number of spelling changes? Number of visual character changes?

4.2 Learning

How long does it take a person to adapt to a new spelling regime if they pick it up from reading / print?

How long does it take a person to adopt a new spelling regime where English is first language?

How long does it take a person to adopt a new spelling regime where English is the second language?

How long does it take a child to learn to spell?

How long does it take a child to ensure a satisfactory functional literacy?

4.3 Rollout

How many spelling regimes (or rule changes) can co-exist side-by-side in society so that young and old can read the same text comfortably?

What would be the theoretical timespan for the introduction of a new social acceptable spelling regime?

Can Colish learn from other language systems such as the experience Germany had? Is their somekind of empirical evidence or rule set available?

5. Learning materials

Learning materials age with time. New facets of experience, new words or communication styles require that publications are replaced on the market.

From a publishers product management viewpoint, what is the average age of a publication used for language learning in schools?

From a publishers product management viewpoint, what is the average age of a publication used for language learning generally?

6. IT system integration

6.1 Interface / API

The Colish word list needs to be exported to operating systems, applications.

Is there a spec for a standard API or inteface?

6.2 Dictionary Hub

Has somebody already built a hub which can be used / copied?

7. Illiteracy

How many adults in the English mother tongue countries are illiterate?


Assuming 470 million in the countries, and taking the OECD skills measurments as the framework:

  • Below level 1 = 470 x 3.2 % = 15 million
  • Level 1 = 470 x 12.3 % = 57 million
  • Sum = 72 million

With an estimated ( 470 m x 63 %) 296 m of working age, thats (296/72) one in four adults who have difficulties with simple texts, vending machines such as ATMs, cash dispensers, petrol stations, smartphones, messaging, emails, social networking, jobs.

How many children?

How many kids are learning English in specific countries and around the world..

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A collection of notes around the topic Illiteracy.

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How much does it cost?

How much does the inefficiencies in the English language (software) cost?

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How many breaths?

How many breaths do you take in an hour or your life?

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