Non-English Orthography Reform

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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Qxentio » Tue 15 Dec 2015, 00:52

Sumelic wrote:Vowels:

How is "er" [ɐ] ambiguous? I thought German [ɐ] never contrasted with /əʁ/.

If you want a different way to represent [ɐ], it makes sense to use just <a> (are there any significant minimal pairs with [a]?) or <â> or <ă>.
I don't think it ever does contrast, but it's a pretty big difference if a digraph is pronounced as a single vowel, or as another vowel plus a consonant. That's why I thought about introducing a separate sign.
Sumelic wrote:Also, I don't see the diphthongs listed.
ai, au and oi or oy, whichever you prefer.
Sumelic wrote:Consonants:
Is there any theoretical reason why you distinguish /t͡s/ from /t/+/s/, but not /p͡f/ from /p/ + /f/?
Because C is leftover as a letter and it doesn't serve any other purpose in the alphabet. It's a nice shorthand for /t͡s/, which occurs very often in German. /p͡f/ doesn't have a separate sign and it doesn't even exist in my vernacular.
Sumelic wrote:Also, there is the well-known case of words like Frauchen where the use of the ich-Laut rather than the ach-Laut cannot be explained completely by the phonetic environment.
True. But this doesn't change the meaning of the word and would be easy to memorize, as all instances of -chen are pronounced the same.
Sumelic wrote:I also wonder if the glottal stop should be included.
I also wondered about this. But I decided not to for several reasons: First, it never changes the meaning of a word (as far as I know); second, it is often not realized or only realized as slight glottalization of a vowel; third, most German speakers are unaware that they produce it; and lastly, I'm not even sure about it's status in my own vernacular. I think it doesn't exist outside of stressed syllables.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Tue 15 Dec 2015, 02:32

I don't like this. German orthography is good and you can tell how a word's pronounced from how it's spelled and vice versa. Yes, it has a lot of polygraphs, but that's what makes it look German. English only needs an orthographic reform because in general even native and proficient English speakers can't tell how to spell or pronounce all the words. I called velar [ˈvɛl.ɚ] for the longest time, but in German I knew immediately that it's [veˈlaɐ̯] (or technically with a long /a/, but it doesn't seem that they're really distinguished before /ʀ/).
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Tue 15 Dec 2015, 03:23

As long as a language doesn't have a 1:1 phoneme:orthographic representation, there's room for reform in my opinion.

As such, even some dialects of Spanish could use reform... Even though it is perhaps the most easy language to read I know!
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Qxentio » Tue 15 Dec 2015, 21:36

HoskhMatriarch wrote:I don't like this. German orthography is good and you can tell how a word's pronounced from how it's spelled and vice versa.
You might say this because your mother tongue is a language with an orthography which is beyond salvation, and because you're learning standard German (I assume). From a native speaker's point of view, there is much room for improvement, especially in comparison to Finnish, Turkish, Czech etc. Then there are the completely incompetent publishers of the Duden and terrible people like Bastian Sick.
German currently has no uniform way of distinguishing long from short consonants. It uses digraphs and trigraphs and an overall defective inventory of symbols. On a scale of good and bad alphabets, I'd put it somewhere in the middle.
Thrice Xandvii wrote:As long as a language doesn't have a 1:1 phoneme:orthographic representation, there's room for reform in my opinion.
I agree. All this being said, I might complete the suggestion which I made earlier in the thread sometime, when I'm bored.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Tue 15 Dec 2015, 22:06

Qxentio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:I don't like this. German orthography is good and you can tell how a word's pronounced from how it's spelled and vice versa.
You might say this because your mother tongue is a language with an orthography which is beyond salvation, and because you're learning standard German (I assume). From a native speaker's point of view, there is much room for improvement, especially in comparison to Finnish, Turkish, Czech etc. Then there are the completely incompetent publishers of the Duden and terrible people like Bastian Sick.
German currently has no uniform way of distinguishing long from short consonants. It uses digraphs and trigraphs and an overall defective inventory of symbols. On a scale of good and bad alphabets, I'd put it somewhere in the middle.
Thrice Xandvii wrote:As long as a language doesn't have a 1:1 phoneme:orthographic representation, there's room for reform in my opinion.
I agree. All this being said, I might complete the suggestion which I made earlier in the thread sometime, when I'm bored.
Well, the digraphs and trigraphs like <tz> and <sch> are what makes German look like German (also don't forget the <ß> even if the Swiss don't use it). Czech orthography is so ugly, even if it's more logical or whatever than German. Even English orthography looks better than Czech (English orthography doesn't look bad, it just doesn't function well. It could do with <æ þ ð> though). Turkish and Finnish orthography look OK though I guess.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 07:03

I think you might be mixing together the ideas of distinctive aesthetics with functionality... which, in this case, in your opinion, can't really both be maximized.

German does have a distinctive look that I like. I love words like "Schule" and "böse" and "müßen." But that is a totally separate thing in my head from making it an efficient spelling system in which only some of those would remain the same.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 07:35

Thrice Xandvii wrote:I think you might be mixing together the ideas of distinctive aesthetics with functionality... which, in this case, in your opinion, can't really both be maximized.

German does have a distinctive look that I like. I love words like "Schule" and "böse" and "müßen." But that is a totally separate thing in my head from making it an efficient spelling system in which only some of those would remain the same.
Yes, I just like the aesthetic of German orthography too much to want it to become more functional. I mean, stuff like this with all the ligatures looks so cool: http://www.peter-wiegel.de/inhaltgrafik/Kanzlei.png English orthography also looks cool, but it's not functional. I would keep the aesthetic of it if I changed it though, I would just try to spell stuff fonetickully ackording tu the konvenchunns uv Ingglish (and maybe add þ ð æ ſ and a bunch of ligatures, as well as capitalizating all the Nouns because I find that to have higher Readability as well as just seeming sort of old-timey and cool. But then, I would probably also mandate that all English be written in Textura, which probably only a few people like me can tell from Fraktur anyways, so I should probably not be in charge of orthographies).
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Sumelic » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 07:58

Here's an idea for Spanish... I started out by thinking that <tt> = /t͡ʃ/ would fit in pretty well with the current spelling system, which has <ll> = /ʝ/~/ʎ/ and <ñ> = /ɲ/. As an added bonus, it even makes the connection to the Latin, French and Italian forms more obvious (the spelling becomes the same as Italian cognates, and the <t> is present in the Latin and French cognates).

Moving on from there, <ch> is now freed up to represent /k/ before <e> and <i>, which means we can use the analogous <gh> for /g/. This frees up <gue> and <gui> to be used in a parallel manner as <cue> and <cui>, and makes <gü> unnecessary.

The alternation between <c> and <z> for /θ/ will be preserved, as it is basically totally predictable (<zi> and <ze> are not used AFAIK).

It seems obvious to me to drop silent <h>, though maybe there's some reason not to that I haven't thought of (or maybe it looks stranger to native speakers).

The trickiest sound I think is /x/. The first thought I had was to regularize it along the lines of <c~z>, so that <g> is consistently used before <e> and <i>. However, I think this looks odd for some words. The most obvious option is to just use <j> everywhere, but I don't like how that looks. More options are shown below:

current: genealogía, México/Méjico, jejeje, jefe, jamón, reloj
all-j: jeneolojía, Méjico, jejeje, jefe, jamón, reloj
maximal g: genealogía, Mégico, gegege, gefe, jamón, reloj
all-x: xeneoloxía, México, xexexe, xefe, xamón, relox
all-h: heneolohía, Méhico, hehehe, hefe, hamón, reloh

I like the last one, but I think I'm probably biased as an English speaker.

And I guess replacing all <v> with <b> makes sense and looks OK as well, so let's go with it.

Here's a random respelled Wikipedia text sample:
Spoiler:
Reloj
Los reloxes se utilizan desde la antiguedad y a medida che a ido ebolucionando la tecnoloxía de su fabricación an ido apareciendo nuebos modelos con mayor precisión, mexores prestaciones y presentación y menor coste de fabricación. Es uno de los instrumentos mas populares, ya che prácticamente muttas personas disponen de uno o barios reloxes, principalmente de pulsera, de manera che en muttos ogares puede aber barios reloxes, muttos electrodomésticos los incorporan en forma de reloxes dixitales y en cada computadora ay un relox.
(Here's it with "h" instead of "x," since some people indicated they thought they would prefer that)
Spoiler:
Reloj
Los relohes se utilizan desde la antiguedad y a medida che a ido ebolucionando la tecnolohía de su fabricación an ido apareciendo nuebos modelos con mayor precisión, mehores prestaciones y presentación y menor coste de fabricación. Es uno de los instrumentos mas populares, ya che prácticamente muttas personas disponen de uno o barios relohes, principalmente de pulsera, de manera che en muttos ogares puede aber barios relohes, muttos electrodomésticos los incorporan en forma de relohes dihitales y en cada computadora ay un reloh.
Last edited by Sumelic on Wed 16 Dec 2015, 08:55, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 08:15

Hmmm. I'm not on board at all with 'v'→'b,' and I prefer the use of 'h' over 'x.' But the use of 'tt' for 'ch' looks really really weird to me. I wonder what a native would think?
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 08:31

I like <h> for /x/. It reminds me of Old English and Old High German. (Not claiming to be a Spanish native. I don't even speak Spanish.)
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Egerius » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 09:27

HoskhMatriarch wrote:all English be written in Textura
No. Just no. Textura is laborious as fuck and I never get it right. The older Anglo-Saxon minuscule is more readable, easier to write and simply better-suited - along with a West-Saxon orthography for English.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Wed 16 Dec 2015, 09:43

...so I had no idea what Textur actually looked like. Yeah, gonna have to side with Egerius on that aspect. From my limited research, seems like Rotunda would be decently legible and not to labor intensive.

No idea though.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Mon 21 Dec 2015, 00:58

My alternative Spanish orthography (done just for fun) looks like this:

/p b t d k g/ <p b t d k g>
/t͡ʃ/ <c>
/f (θ) s ʝ x/ <f z s y j>
/m n ɲ/ <m n ñ>
/r ɾ/ <r~rr r>
/l (ʎ) j w/ <l ll i~y u~w>

/a e i o u/ <a e i o u>

Stress is indicated with accent marks in the same way as the current orthography. <h>, <q>, <v>, <x>,x and <ü> are not used. <r~rr> for /r/ works the same way as the current orthography; <y> and <w> are used for /j/ and /w/ word-initially, word-finally, and between vowels, while <i> and <u> are used elsewhere, so <hielo> becomes <yelo>, <huir> becomes <wir>, <guau> becomes <guaw>, etc. /θ/ and /x/ are <z> and <j> in all positions.

Some example words in this orthography:

Current > New

qué > ké
quién > kién
casa > kasa
y > i
México > Méjiko
gente > jente
cien > zien
hacer > azer
ahora > aora
ocho > oco
chocolate > cokolate
guerra > gerra
águila > ágila
pingüino > pinguino
güero > guero
ver > ber
vivir > bibir

And here's Sumelic's Wikipedia page:
Spoiler:
Current:
Los relojes se utilizan desde la antigüedad y a medida que ha ido evolucionando la tecnología de su fabricación han ido apareciendo nuevos modelos con mayor precisión, mejores prestaciones y presentación y menor coste de fabricación. Es uno de los instrumentos más populares, ya que prácticamente muchas personas disponen de uno o varios relojes, principalmente de pulsera, de manera que en muchos hogares puede haber varios relojes, muchos electrodomésticos los incorporan en forma de relojes digitales y en cada computadora hay un reloj.

New:
Los relojes se utilizan desde la antiguedad i medida ke a ido eboluzionando la teknolojía de su fabrikazión an ido apareziendo nuebos modelos kon mayor prezisión, mejores prestaziones i presentazión i menor koste de fabrikazión. Es uno de los instrumentos más populares, ya ke práktikamente mucas personas disponen de uno o barios relojes, prinzipalmente de pulsera, de manera ke en mucos ogares puede aber barios relojes, mucos elektrodoméstikos los inkorporan en forma de relojes dijitales i en kada komputadora ay un reloj.

Sumelic wrote:The alternation between <c> and <z> for /θ/ will be preserved, as it is basically totally predictable (<zi> and <ze> are not used AFAIK).
Not entirely. The name of the letter "z" in Spanish is "zeta", not "ceta", an Azeri person and the Azeri language are both "azerí", not "acerí", and a Nazi is a "nazi", not a "naci", for example. Of course, these are rare exceptions, but I just wanted to point out that the exceptions do exist.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Sumelic » Mon 21 Dec 2015, 01:15

GrandPiano wrote: Not entirely. The name of the letter "z" in Spanish is "zeta", not "ceta", an Azeri person and the Azeri language are both "azerí", not "acerí", and a Nazi is a "nazi", not a "naci", for example. Of course, these are rare exceptions, but I just wanted to point out that the exceptions do exist.
Ah, thanks! It makes sense that there are some exceptions, but I didn't know what they were (probably because I don't speak Spanish). Your system looks nice as well as being efficient. With monosyllabic words like "más," do you just keep the accent mark as it is in the current spelling system?
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Mon 21 Dec 2015, 16:15

Sumelic wrote:With monosyllabic words like "más," do you just keep the accent mark as it is in the current spelling system?
Right now, I do, because it helps distinguish homophones. An argument could be made for getting rid of the accent marks and just leaving it up to context like in speech, and I might do that if I mess around with the orthography a bit more. (After all, there are already several homophonous pairs that aren't distinguished in writing, such as <como> "like" and <como> "I eat". Certain homophones distinguished in writing could even be regarded as one word, like <quien> and <quién>, which are both "who" in English.)
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:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Qxentio » Mon 21 Dec 2015, 19:04

GrandPiano wrote:/p b t d k g/ <p b t d k g>
/t͡ʃ/ <c>
/f (θ) s ʝ x/ <f z s y j>
/m n ɲ/ <m n ñ>
/r ɾ/ <r~rr r>
/l (ʎ) j w/ <l ll i~y u~w>

/a e i o u/ <a e i o u>
Excellent. Only things I'd change:
/θ/ þ
/ʝ/ jj
/x/ x or h
/j/ j
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Further spelling reforms for languages other than English?

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Fri 15 Jul 2016, 14:25

English, French and Danish have extremely irregular spellings that make it nearly impossible to determine the pronunciation of a word from the spelling alone without memorizing several pages of rules. While most other alphabetic languages are largely phonemic because of past spelling reforms, they are not always highly regular. This plays a role in the many manifestations of dyslexia, the most pertinent to this discussion being difficulty internalizing spelling irregularities. Even in mildly and moderately irregular orthographies, however, this type of dyslexia is far less of a problem than in English, French or Danish.

Image
From Benno Stein and Daniel Curatolo (2006)

Image
From Seymour et al (2003)

If you were tasked with reforming spelling of a mildly or moderately deep orthography to further reduce the costs of dyslexia and illiteracy (e.g. Portuguese, Dutch, and shallower), how would you do so? For example, I hypothesized regularizing German spelling by adopting the Esperanto alphabet (identical aside from a half-dozen new or modified consonants) and distinguishing long vowels with the acute accents and double acute accents (for umlauts).
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Mon 18 Jul 2016, 21:26

Moved the above post here; anyone wanting to continue the discussion on other languages should preferably do it in this thread.

The inevitable tangent on English spelling moved to the other thread.
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Re: Further spelling reforms for languages other than Englis

Post by jlamonta » Mon 18 Jul 2016, 23:00

MoonRightRomantic wrote: Image
From Seymour et al (2003)
...I'm rather curious how they defined 'syllabic complexity', given that the 'simple' French allows:
- Final codas with complex coda-onset profiles (ex. LOL in arbre 'tree' [arbr], OOOL in ambidextre 'ambidextrous' [ɑ̃bidɛkstr]). A schwa may or may not be realised word-finally.
- Lovely sCC onset clusters (ex. sOL in stricte 'strict' [strikt] and strate 'strata/layer' [strat])
- Diphthongs having on-glides right after an onset cluster (ex. OLGV in pluie 'rain' [plɥi] and froid 'cold' [frwa])

Larger onset clusters are fairly rare in the lexical, but obstruent-liquid-onglide-vowel is common enough and occurs in relatively frequent words (ex. pluie 'rain' [plɥi], froid 'cold' [frwa], croit 'believe' [krwa]). If we look at pronunciations in non-Standard French*, we can see even more massive clusters (that may even see consonants be syllabified as nuclei or that may involve most complex articulations). For example, que je te l'aie dit 'that I to-you it have.subj told' [kʃtlɛj.dzi]~[kʃ͡tˡɛj.dz͡i].

In short, since the text itself doesn't seem to have gone through how those languages were sorted (beyond the assumption of Romance = CV-like), I'd be curious to see what sort of logic lead to those separations and how accurate people feel they are. (I could Google each language of course, but it isn't always easy to find out what the maximal syllable is!)


_________
* The proposed French schwa rules aren't great, but this example is fairly extreme and is quite colloquial. The example I'll use I'm taking from my dialect (Laurentian/Quebec/Canadian French) and so I'll also mark affrication.
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Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Sumelic » Tue 19 Jul 2016, 00:29

jlamonta wrote: ...I'm rather curious how they defined 'syllabic complexity', given that the 'simple' French allows:
- Final codas with complex coda-onset profiles (ex. LOL in arbre 'tree' [arbr], OOOL in ambidextre 'ambidextrous' [ɑ̃bidɛkstr]). A schwa may or may not be realised word-finally.
- Lovely sCC onset clusters (ex. sOL in stricte 'strict' [strikt] and strate 'strata/layer' [strat])
- Diphthongs having off-glides right after an onset cluster (ex. OLGV in pluie 'rain' [plɥi] and froid 'cold' [frwa])

Larger onset clusters are fairly rare in the lexical, but obstruent-liquid-onglide-vowel is common enough and occurs in relatively frequent words (ex. pluie 'rain' [plɥi], froid 'cold' [frwa], croit 'believe' [krwa]). If we look at pronunciations in non-Standard French*, we can see even more massive clusters (that may even see consonants be syllabified as nuclei or that may involve most complex articulations). For example, que je te l'aie dit 'that I to-you it have.subj told' [kʃtlɛj.dzi]~[kʃ͡tˡɛj.dz͡i].
- The literature I've seen suggests that French word-final clusters are complicated to syllabify (example: http://www.cog.brown.edu:16080/People/d ... eJCatL.pdf). In terms of permissible consonant clusters, they pattern like onsets. One the other hand, they do affect the quality of preceding vowels and count as codas for the "loi de position."
- [wa] and [ɥi]] can be analyzed as diphthongs (I've read that one reason to do so is in fact that they can occur after plosive + liquid clusters; ordinarily, semivowels are not allowed in this position in French)
- I'm pretty sure they are only classifying languages based on phonemic clusters, not phonetic clusters that arise due to vowel reduction. This is common: we don't say English has /dn/ as a possible onset cluster even though some people might pronounce "deny" as [dnaɪ].
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