English Orthography Reform

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Xonen
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Tue 25 Oct 2016, 15:17

MoonRightRomantic wrote:There are already numerous pronunciation respelling systems for English. Making your own is just reinventing the wheel.
I know, right? And there are also thousands of languages out there, many of them with real-life native speakers and everything! And yet here we are, on a board full of people who go as far as to create imaginary languages for fun. What the hell is wrong with us? [D:]

Whatever it is, it's pretty much the same deal with this. We're reinventing the wheel because reinventing the wheel is fun, at least if you do it right. The point is to come up with a better – or at least somehow (more) interesting – wheel. If you think the current wheel is fine and aren't the slightest bit interested in discussing alternative wheels even hypothetically, then... feel free not to participate, I guess?
If you're not adverse to adding new letters to the alphabet, adopt Unifon or IPA.
I think we need a new rule that anyone who suggests using the IPA as an actual orthography be thrown into the scorpion pit. [¬.¬]
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Tue 25 Oct 2016, 16:35

Xonen wrote:
MoonRightRomantic wrote:There are already numerous pronunciation respelling systems for English. Making your own is just reinventing the wheel.
I know, right? And there are also thousands of languages out there, many of them with real-life native speakers and everything! And yet here we are, on a board full of people who go as far as to create imaginary languages for fun. What the hell is wrong with us? [D:]

Whatever it is, it's pretty much the same deal with this. We're reinventing the wheel because reinventing the wheel is fun, at least if you do it right. The point is to come up with a better – or at least somehow (more) interesting – wheel. If you think the current wheel is fine and aren't the slightest bit interested in discussing alternative wheels even hypothetically, then... feel free not to participate, I guess?
The two are not comparable. There are a dozen proposals for reform. There are over a dozen alternatives to the IPA for English. There are dozens of alternative scripts for English. Every discussion on English spelling reform just rehashes previous proposals with no self-awareness. While I am surprised that such a thing is possible, the topic has been exhausted.

Perhaps it would be a more efficient use of our time to discuss the pros and cons of existing proposals rather than reinventing those exact same proposals out of ignorance?

For example, Cut Spelling. This proposal removes unnecessary letters that do not indicate semantic or phonetic values.

Another proposal would be forcing all English words to confirm to the often ignored spelling rules of English taught in primary schools.

English spelling does have a logic behind it. Maybe we should teach that in schools?
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Tue 25 Oct 2016, 17:08

MoonRightRomantic wrote:Every discussion on English spelling reform just rehashes previous proposals with no self-awareness. While I am surprised that such a thing is possible, the topic has been exhausted.
Somehow, your baseless assertions and complete lack of supporting argumentation have failed to convince me that this is the case.
Perhaps it would be a more efficient use of our time to discuss the pros and cons of existing proposals rather than reinventing those exact same proposals out of ignorance?

For example, Cut Spelling. This proposal removes unnecessary letters that do not indicate semantic or phonetic values.
Speaking of rehashing previous talking points with no self-awareness, perhaps you should go back a few pages in this thead and see the discussion we already had on that. Seems like you even started it.
MoonRightRomantic wrote:Another proposal would be forcing all English words to confirm to the often ignored spelling rules of English taught in primary schools.

English spelling does have a logic behind it. Maybe we should teach that in schools?
Yes, we know. Again, some of the proposals already discussed in this thread are, in fact, based on the current logic of English spelling, just by making it more regular in various ways.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Thu 27 Oct 2016, 13:47

Xonen wrote:Speaking of rehashing previous talking points with no self-awareness, perhaps you should go back a few pages in this thead and see the discussion we already had on that. Seems like you even started it.
I did and I was trying to restart that discussion.
Yes, we know. Again, some of the proposals already discussed in this thread are, in fact, based on the current logic of English spelling, just by making it more regular in various ways.
I keep seeing this repeated every couple of pages, each time in a different accent. Provincialism at its finest!

Compare the Accented Reading Alphabet.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Sumelic » Thu 27 Oct 2016, 15:12

MoonRightRomantic wrote:There are already numerous pronunciation respelling systems for English. Making your own is just reinventing the wheel. If you're not adverse to adding new letters to the alphabet, adopt Unifon or IPA.
First, I know there are many previous proposals. There are many previous Romance conlangs, etc. as well. I really don't care, as I have never aimed to establish any actual reform. I assume the same is true of Squall. You're free to be uninterested, but it's really completely missing the point to respond to our posts by saying "just use IPA.'

Second, as Xonen mentions, you're just rehashing your previous talking points and Iinks. I'm very well aware of how English spelling works, thanks. I already told you what I think about Cut Spelling. If you want to actually engage people, why don't you discuss the merits and faults of various systems yourself in more detail rather than speaking so generally all the time.
MoonRightRomantic wrote: Compare the Accented Reading Alphabet.
I mean, I've seen that kind of thing before, but it's not very elegant. I hope if I was forced to write a serious spelling reform proposal, I'd be able to do better than a rehash of this.

The use of gray to indicate "silent" letters is easily missed, and difficult to use when writing.

It looks like the accents are basically just chosen on a "whatever works" basis. For example, I don't see any reason within the system for the use of an acute rather than a macron to mark "long y" (I guess it might have been due to greater availability of ý as a pre-composed character in fonts?), and the acuted vowels have no general relationship to each other. The acuted consonants don't relate, either: it makes "s" voiced, but makes "c" soft, despite the fact that soft g gets an overdot.

Using "Ä" (Jensen's symbol for the "SPA" vowel) to transcribe the first element of the "MOUTH" diphthong ("ÄÛ") seems unnecessary. And for me, it actually sounds closer to TRAP anyway. "AH-w" for "MOUTH" sounds like a German accent. I don't know if Jensen's system is consciously meant to be localized for American pronunciation, but obviously it is since he also uses "Ä" to represent the short o sound after "w" (which he apparently uses in "water").

I think the use of û for both /uː/ and /w/ is likely to cause ambiguity in at least some contexts. For example, "lingûistics" in Jensen's system could technically be pronounced as "lingoo-istics."

I also think it's a bad idea to transcribe digraphs like the "ee" in "tree" or the "ey" in "valley" with accents on both elements, rather than accenting just the first and graying the second. The "āi" in his transcription of "raise" would be ambiguous between a monosyllabic pronunciation and a disyllabic pronunciation like the one often used in "dais."

He seems to be missing a symbol for the /tʃ/ represented by "t" in words like "nature."
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Ælfwine » Thu 27 Oct 2016, 23:05

Here's my radical idea: let people spell anyway they want. Everything goes, so long as it is readable. I think over time the spelling system would be more regularized due to the popularity of some forms of spelling winning out.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Sumelic » Thu 27 Oct 2016, 23:29

Ælfwine wrote:Here's my radical idea: let people spell anyway they want. Everything goes, so long as it is readable. I think over time the spelling system would be more regularized due to the popularity of some forms of spelling winning out.
I'm pretty sure people have tried that, and it doesn't lead to more regularized spelling. People have all sorts of conflicting preferences and impulses. Consistency generally has to be created artificially. Even if people "spell as they speak" in the most orthographically shallow manner, people have different ways of speaking.

I think it's reasonable to dispute the advantages of consistency, but it doesn't seem reasonable to suggest that a system where "everything goes" would be more regularized than current spelling. (Depending on what you mean by "regularized": if anything goes, people won't be able to make spelling "mistakes" in the traditional sense, so it's really not even clear to me what regularity would mean. The level of correspondence between phonemes and graphemes?)
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xing » Mon 02 Jan 2017, 22:36

Ælfwine wrote:Here's my radical idea: let people spell anyway they want. Everything goes, so long as it is readable. I think over time the spelling system would be more regularized due to the popularity of some forms of spelling winning out.
What stops people from writing however they want, here and now? Generally, we don't send people to gaol for non-standard spellings. It just happens that certain spellings tend to be more popular than others. We record these popular spellings in dictionaries – which anyone can consult.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Mon 02 Jan 2017, 23:55

Xing wrote:
Ælfwine wrote:Here's my radical idea: let people spell anyway they want. Everything goes, so long as it is readable. I think over time the spelling system would be more regularized due to the popularity of some forms of spelling winning out.
What stops people from writing however they want, here and now? Generally, we don't send people to gaol for non-standard spellings.
No, but there can be other consequences, depending on context: not being taken seriously, having points docked by your teacher, failing to find/keep a job, getting shot by a panda, etc. People have lots of reasons for conforming to societal rules and expectations other than the law.
We record these popular spellings in dictionaries – which anyone can consult.
Well, kinda. It's true that modern dictionaries do increasingly tend to be descriptivist in intent, but traditionally, they were very much used as prescriptive guidebooks on the one correct way to spell words. And even now, you are pretty much expected to stick to spellings that at least one reputable dictionary considers generally accepted.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by qwed117 » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 05:47

Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 06:03

qwed117 wrote:Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
Xonen wrote:not being taken seriously,
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by OTʜᴇB » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 12:47

qwed117 wrote:Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
That's more grammar reform than orthography, but I get where you're coming from.

To be fair though, the "free" spelling was what we used in England in Shakespearean times. Original manuscripts could have many spellings for the same word and would all be accepted - it was only when people decided to standardise it that the dictionary came about and made everything neat and tidy... so maybe the solution is to just ban dictionaries for a few decades and let the next generation come up with better spelling?
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xing » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 15:43

Xonen wrote: No, but there can be other consequences, depending on context: not being taken seriously, having points docked by your teacher, failing to find/keep a job, getting shot by a panda, etc. People have lots of reasons for conforming to societal rules and expectations other than the law.
But still, no one is forcing you to conform to the standard orthography. People *are* basically free to write however they please. In that sense, the proposed reform amounts to nothing. (Unless the point of the reform would be something like "anyone should be free to write as the please, and no one else should have the right to judge anyone's way of writing", but that's a different thing.)
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Salmoneus » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 16:40

Xing wrote:
Xonen wrote: No, but there can be other consequences, depending on context: not being taken seriously, having points docked by your teacher, failing to find/keep a job, getting shot by a panda, etc. People have lots of reasons for conforming to societal rules and expectations other than the law.
But still, no one is forcing you to conform to the standard orthography. People *are* basically free to write however they please. In that sense, the proposed reform amounts to nothing. (Unless the point of the reform would be something like "anyone should be free to write as the please, and no one else should have the right to judge anyone's way of writing", but that's a different thing.)
Indeed. Xonen is free to write howsoever they please; I am free - I am indeed bound - to form opinions about them from how they write, which will inevitably shape my interactions with them. Even if, for instance, we passed laws saying that it was illegal to discriminate in employment on the grounds of spelling habits, it would inevitably still happen. You cannot, even in a totalitarian police-state, absolutely compel everybody to to treat everybody else exactly equally - it's not even clear what 'equal' could mean in that case.

There are also of course legal issues with free spelling. At present, for instance, a lot of law is based upon contracts: I agree to do xyz and if I don't then you can sue me. This relies, however, on the idea that there is some such thing, xyz, that the sequence of letters on the page objectively symbolises. If our contract says "I will not eat the cat", a court has to be able to decide that a reasonable person would interpret this as me agreeing not to eat the cat; so if I were allowed simply to say that the letters "not" were my way of spelling the word we today spell "immediately", and the court were prohibited from imposing their own standards of spelling, judging some spellings as correct and some as incorrect, then our written contract could never be enforced, and written contracts would collapse, and with them civilisation. [Likewise things like objective record keeping where the original record keeper is unavailable for testimony].

Of course, we could say "ok, so some spelling are to be considered objectively wrong, but multiple spellings should still be allowed". But this has three obvious problems:
a) then you need to define which spellings are allowed and which aren't, so you'd still have spelling rules you'd have to learn, it's just that for some words there would be multiple possible spellings;
b) in practice, if two spellings were possible for one word, over time the different spellings would often come to be associated, in unpredictable ways, with one or other more specific meaning, making it confusing to use it for the other meaning, and leading over time to an ad hoc system of homophones with different spellings that makes spelling harder rather than easier - and we can see this process in English, because it's already happened;
c) we already have multiple permissable spellings for many words.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 20:59

qwed117 wrote:Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
Write that on a job application and tell me how it goes. I did say context matters (although I have trouble imagining a context where those examples could be used and lead to a positive outcome [¬.¬] ).

Xing wrote:
Xonen wrote: No, but there can be other consequences, depending on context: not being taken seriously, having points docked by your teacher, failing to find/keep a job, getting shot by a panda, etc. People have lots of reasons for conforming to societal rules and expectations other than the law.
But still, no one is forcing you to conform to the standard orthography. People *are* basically free to write however they please. In that sense, the proposed reform amounts to nothing. (Unless the point of the reform would be something like "anyone should be free to write as the please, and no one else should have the right to judge anyone's way of writing", but that's a different thing.)
Right, I think I see what you're getting at. There'd need to be some authority capable of enforcing an "anything goes" policy before such a proposal would make sense - and even then, as Salmoneus points out, it'd be extremely problematic, to say the least. Then again, any reform proposal is of course purely hypothetical as long as there's no authority capable or willing to enforce it.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 06:06

Xonen wrote:
qwed117 wrote:Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
Write that on a job application and tell me how it goes. I did say context matters (although I have trouble imagining a context where those examples could be used and lead to a positive outcome [¬.¬] ).
The counterargument to that would be to write "How is a baby formed?" and "How does a girl get pregnant?" on a job application and see how that goes. I think the problem with those particular examples is both the spelling/grammar and the content of the question itself. (Generally, though, I agree that spelling does matter in the real world for the reasons you described)
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by clawgrip » Tue 10 Jan 2017, 04:52

Let's not kid ourselves here, it's not even up for debate that the ability to spell properly is very important in the real world. If you have poor spelling, you will generally come off as uneducated (which, in fact, you are, unless you're misspelling things on purpose), and in situations where appearing to have at least a basic level of education is important (i.e. nearly every situation you're ever in), this is something to be avoided.
Last edited by clawgrip on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 14:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by HinGambleGoth » Tue 10 Jan 2017, 14:03

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj4w6SCn2ZM

How would a dialect like that be dealt with?
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Tue 10 Jan 2017, 14:31

GrandPiano wrote:
Xonen wrote:
qwed117 wrote:Best argument against that:
"How is babby form?/How girl get pragnent?"
Write that on a job application and tell me how it goes. I did say context matters (although I have trouble imagining a context where those examples could be used and lead to a positive outcome [¬.¬] ).
The counterargument to that would be to write "How is a baby formed?" and "How does a girl get pregnant?" on a job application and see how that goes.
You don't say.

HinGambleGoth wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj4w6SCn2ZM

How would a dialect like that be dealt with?
In discussions of English orthography? Ignoring it, except possibly as an example of what a diaphonemic orthography for a language closely resembling English can look like. [;)]
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by sangi39 » Tue 07 Mar 2017, 21:37

Not strictly a reform of any kind, but when I have to take notes, I use this:

Image

Image

Image

And Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:



Image

There are a few additional things there. Plurals are marked by something resembling an enlarged "3", certain prepositions get their own symbols, as to certain auxiliary verbs, as do personal, demonstrative and interrogative pronouns, and articles.



It started out more or less as a phoneme-to-letter cipher for English about, oo, 13 to 14 years ago in high school, then got slightly more... messy... as time went on. This is more or less how it's looked since 2008 though.
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