Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Historiografía lingüística: líneas actuales de investigación


Nodus Publikationen

Place of Publication


Inclusive pages




Peer Reviewed



This study analyzes the spelling reform initiative defended by Mariano Cubí y Soler during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. This renowned Catalan phrenologist composed various writings addressing the need to simplify the Spanish alphabet in order to achieve a complete correspondence between phonemes and graphemes. The development of Cubí’s orthographic theory and model is examined in these pages through a description of several proposals appeared in Gramática de la lengua castellana (1824), Revista Bimestre Cubana (1831), Sistema completo de frenolojía (1843, 1844, 1846) and La Antorcha (1849). Some of these documents – which can be considered the origins of Cubí’s well known history of the Spanish orthography (Á la nación española sobre reformas ortográficas, 1852) and are therefore essential to better understand the development of his ideas about spelling reform – remained unknown and unstudied. Finally, this work offers a contextualized analysis of Cubí’s model aiming at a more global comprehension of his advocacy for the simplification of spelling. Accordingly, the theoretical grounds and evolution of Cubí’s spelling proposal is linked to his overall production, the contemporary institutional and educational debate over the simplification of the Spanish alphabet, and the socio-political context in which both Cubí’s writings and the heated public debate over orthography emerged.


History of Spanish, Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Spelling, Mariano Cubí y Soler, Phrenology


Modern Languages | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures


Paper provided by the author, who affirmed the permission of the publisher to make it available following an embargo of 10 years.



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