English Orthography Reform

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Clio
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Clio » 27 Nov 2018 23:38

MoonRightRomantic wrote:
27 Nov 2018 21:11
That's why the Cut Spelling reform doesn't change the spelling of <sine>. The <e> at the end already indicates that the preceding <i> is pronounced as /ai/ rather than /i/.

As laid out in the book I linked to, the <y> is only substituted in situations like <igh>, <ig> and <ie> that all denote /ai/.
Yes, my point was that it could be useful to keep the spellings of "sign" and "sine" distinct (whether as they are or as "syn" and "sine"), which is a point in favor of Cut Spelling as opposed to certain other proposed reforms.
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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Omzinesý » 28 Nov 2018 09:09

Clio wrote:
27 Nov 2018 23:38
MoonRightRomantic wrote:
27 Nov 2018 21:11
That's why the Cut Spelling reform doesn't change the spelling of <sine>. The <e> at the end already indicates that the preceding <i> is pronounced as /ai/ rather than /i/.

As laid out in the book I linked to, the <y> is only substituted in situations like <igh>, <ig> and <ie> that all denote /ai/.
Yes, my point was that it could be useful to keep the spellings of "sign" and "sine" distinct (whether as they are or as "syn" and "sine"), which is a point in favor of Cut Spelling as opposed to certain other proposed reforms.
I don't think avoiding homographs is that important. Spoken language does very well with homophones.

If they are distinguished, I would prefer diachritics <síne>, <sìne>, <sîne> etc. They are clearly something extra while the pronunciation is marked similarly.

Diachritics could even be optional. If you see distinguishing two meanings important and remember what diachronic is used for that word, you can write it. coordinate vs. coördinate Of course using them would become a socialect marker, but spelling such anyway.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » 28 Nov 2018 15:14

I doubt English speakers will accept diacritics any more than any other spelling reform. It might be easier if the diacritics don't change existing spelling, but it would still be unwieldy as English currently is, as shown by the Accented Reading Alphabet proposal.

I find all this resistance to reform very strange considering that English speakers accept the ~74 phonograms that compose modern English writing. Many of these phonograms, especially the vowels, may be read as one of multiple different phonemes depending on context. Very little of which is predictable. There are noticeable vowel and consonant mutations when you inflect certain classes of words, such as <south> and <southern> being pronounced /sauθ/ and /səðɹn/ respectively, and these mutations aren't necessarily phonemic either. Trying to reform English spelling to reflect the diaphonemes would definitely obscure the relationship between many roots and their inflected forms, similar to the problem faced by modern Celtic languages when looking up words in the dictionary although obviously far less pronounced since English rarely displays initial consonant mutations.

Speaking of diacritics, I don't understand why English speakers wouldn't accept using American Heritage Dictionary spelling either, since that accounts for all the phonemes present in Received Pronunciation, General American, and General Australian. There's only about three or four diacritics: breve to indicate "short" vowels, macron to indicate "long" vowels, circumflex to indicate rhotic vowels, and an umlaut to indicate other remnants of the Great Vowel Shift (only <ä> is used by AHD, but Logic of English proposed <ö> and <ü> to replace <o͞o> and <o͝o>; meaning that words like <to> and <too>, pronounced /tu/, would be spelled <tö> or maybe <tö> and <to͞o> respectively).

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 28 Nov 2018 17:49

AXENTUS

In Germany thare wer sum póls that shód that mor or less 50% of the popùlation apröv of a reform, 50% dónt. But 90% didnt think the german reform was a güd wun. To aplí the reform corectly, u hav tö réd 30 pájes, but the imprövment is so litle, it is not réaly werth wíl. If u reform things péple hav dificultys with, especialy if the reform is conforming with existing speling paterns, tha'l lík it. But if u hav duzens of nu röls and péple dónt se it as a réal imprövment, or if u chánj spelings that contradict thare "speling félings", tha wónt. So it is alwàs a mater of WAT KÍND of reform is mád.

I creáted Axentus, wich wüd cuver nérly all problems except shwa (i dónt think that problem is sólvable). But wile the House Stile is a sistem that conforms with current spelling patterns, Axentus isnt, with all its axents. So i dónt think it wüd hav a chanse.

I think that the âtitùd twards reform isnt much difrent in the english spéking werld than it is in the german spéking werld, the ónly languaj ware u wónt dêfinitly fínd a majority for reform is french. In english u mít tauk tö sumwun hö ses she dusnt lík reform, but wen u say "how about geting rid of GH's?", meny wüd sa, "wel, thats sumthing difrent". Sám for cuting redundent leters. The sám in portùgès: if u propós speling U for fínal O, móst wüdnt prôbably agré, becaus éven if final O is pronounsed /u/, it is regùler, so it is not a problem. But if u propós having a single leter for the sound /s/ instêd of s, c, x, móst agré, becaus it is a problem indéd.


ENGLISH

In Germany there were some polls that showed that more or less 50% of the population approve of a reform, 50% dont. But 90% didnt think the german reform was a good one. To apply the reform correctly, you have to read 30 pages, but the improvement is so litle, it is not really worth while. If you reform things people have difficulties with, especially if the reform is conforming with existing spelling patterns, they'll like it. But if you have dozens of new rules and people dont see it as a real improvement, or if you change spellings that contradict their "spelling feelings", they wont. So it is always a matter of WHAT KIND of reform is made.

I created Axentus, which woud cover nearly all problems except shwa (i dont think that problem is solvable). But while the House Stile is a system that conforms with current spelling patterns, Axentus isnt, with all its accents. So i dont think it woud have a chance.

I think that the attitude towards reform isnt much different in the english speaking world than it is in the german speaking world, the only language where you wont definitely find a majority for reform is french. In english you mite talk to someone who says she doesnt like reform, but when you say "how about getting rid of GH's?", many would say, "well, thats something different". Same for cutting redundant letters. The same in portuguese: if you propose spelling U for fínal O, most wouldnt probably agree, because even if final O is pronounsed /u/, it is regular, so it is not a problem. But if you propose having a single letter for the sound /s/ instead of s, c, x, most agree, because it is a problem indeed.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Nortaneous » 27 Dec 2018 07:35

MoonRightRomantic wrote:
28 Nov 2018 15:14
Speaking of diacritics, I don't understand why English speakers wouldn't accept using American Heritage Dictionary spelling
- The cot-caught merger in about a third of the population
- Nonrhoticity in maybe 20%: most blacks and some whites in New England and the South
- The merger of /ur/ into /or/ in most but not all GenAm. Sorry, Wells's lexical sets are no good here, because of...
- The merger of /jur/ into either /jor/ or /jər/, where the same speaker can have different reflexes for different words - or even the same word!
- The merger of /ɒr/ into either /or/ or /ar/, which behaves the same way
- Various other mergers: pin-pen in the South, LOT-THOUGHT in New England (vs. LOT-PALM elsewhere)
- The upper Mid-Atlantic bat-bad split (which is phonemic!)

Even normative General American can contain a lot of variation. Ben Bernanke (former chairman of the Fed, from South Carolina) had to get accent training, but I bet most of that was about phonetics rather than phonology proper, and I don't think someone from New Jersey (solidly rhotic, but with different reflexes of /ɒr/ than I'm used to, and the bat-bad split) would have to - and certainly GenAm contains variance in the presence of the cot-caught merger, even though it clearly shouldn't.

The establishment of a phonemic English orthography would entail either the complete lack of orthographic standardization, which you don't think is a problem because you don't work for the government or the national media, or the phonemic standardization of English. We'd have to go through every word with EME /jur/ and /ɒr/ and establish whether Official General American should have /jor/ and /or/ or /jər/ and /ar/, and it still wouldn't be phonemic for - just between the cot-caught merger, the pin-pen merger, and nonrhoticity - over half of the country!

Admittedly, that's a one-generation problem, if you take the hit to class mobility or establish programs in every school in America to train the next generation in the One True American Dialect.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Jackk » 27 Dec 2018 12:00

(tongue-in-cheek) new mandatory Standard Southern British English orthography: [:D]

/a ɛ ɪ ɔ ɜ ɵ/ <a e i o ı u>
trap dress kit lot~cloth strut~commA~lettER foot
/ɑː ɛː ɪː oː ɜː ɵː/ <ar er ir or ır ur>
palm~bath~start square near thought~north~force nurse cure
/ɑj ɛj ɪj oj/ <á é í~y ó>
price face fleece~happY choice
/aw ɜw ɵw/ <à ò ù>
mouth goat goose
/p b t d tʃ dʒ k g ʔ/ <p b t d č j c~k* g '> (*before <e i ı>)
/m n ŋ/ <m n n(g)>
/f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ h/ <f v þ ð s~ss z~s* š ž h> (*word-finally)
/w r l j/ <w r l y>
Catching weary waterfowl on thin ice gives surly polar bears huge pleasure and ensures they enjoy good meat unharmed.
kačing wirry wortıfàl on þin ás givs sırly pòlı bers hyùj pležı and enšors ðé enjó gud mít ınharmd.

(it's absolutely terrible [:P] )
Eresse anga paris cur neduc, a san teonga.
The only thing more dangerous than doubt is certainty.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 27 Dec 2018 12:06

REFORMEE

Pro mi parese sen senso fazer un ortografico sistema speciale pro USA o pro Nord America. Un ves en TESS noi fasou un enkest entre amigis e conecedis, e muy poco personis aprovou ortografies diferente pro standardes diferent. Also make die HS (House Stile) kein enderungen, die nit gud sein für einen der standards, was bedoitet das es rotishe dialekte representirt - nit weil wir si bessa finden, sondan weil wir es so lassen wi es is. O and AU/AW ar considerd as two difrent sounds, éven if menny americans merge them. No parkee USis è minos importante, ma solo parkee la tradicional ortografie vi lus como diferente sones. E noi screve 'your' como 'your', ya ki 'yor' serai un falso representacion du pronunciacion du genti ki di 'yur', e 'yur' serai un falso representacion du pronunciation du genti ki di 'yor'.

Trozdeem gebt es tausende wörte die a fonemish ortografie bekommen könnten.

Bi the way, wat is this bat/bad split?


ENGLISH

To me it seems quite senseless to make a special spelling system for the USA or for North America. In TESS we once made a survey among friends and acquaintances, and very few people approved of different spellings for different standards. So the HS (House Stile) doesnt make any changes that aren't good for one of the standards, which means that it represents rhotic dialects - not because we find them better, we just leave it as it is. O and AU/AW are considered as two different sounds, even if many americans merge them. Not because americans are less important, but just because traditional spelling see them as different sounds. And we spel 'your' as 'your', since 'yor' would misrepresent the pronunciation of the people who say 'yur', and 'yur' would misrepresent the pronunciation of the people who say 'yor'.

Still, there are many thousands of words that can get a phonemic spelling.

By the way, what is this bat/bad split?

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Salmoneus » 27 Dec 2018 19:56

Zé do Rock wrote:
27 Dec 2018 12:06



ENGLISH

To me it seems quite senseless to make a special spelling system for the USA or for North America. In TESS we once made a survey among friends and acquaintances, and very few people approved of different spellings for different standards. So the HS (House Stile) doesnt make any changes that aren't good for one of the standards, which means that it represents rhotic dialects - not because we find them better, we just leave it as it is. O and AU/AW are considered as two different sounds, even if many americans merge them. Not because americans are less important, but just because traditional spelling see them as different sounds. And we spel 'your' as 'your', since 'yor' would misrepresent the pronunciation of the people who say 'yur', and 'yur' would misrepresent the pronunciation of the people who say 'yor'.
I agree that this diaphonemic approach is better than a phonemic approach. But of course, diaphonemic spelling has the disadvantage of making spelling reform largely pointless, in that it takes away the main selling point of reform - making words easy to spell. Diaphonemic spelling means that speakers of many if not most dialects must memorise spellings by heart, and cannot rely on their knowledge of their own pronunciations to guide their spelling - spelling ceases to be phonemic. So, just as today most of us have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'hoarse' or 'horse' (or for people around here maybe 'hauce' or 'hawce'), so under diaphonemic spelling huge numbers would have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'marry', 'Mary' or 'merry', whether to spell it 'caut' or 'cot', and so on. Since this is a much bigger problem in practice than the opposite (working out how to pronounce a word from its spelling), a spelling reform that leaves this problem untouched doesn't really have any attractive features for most people.
By the way, what is this bat/bad split?
Many (most?) English dialects, including most US dialects, show phonemic splitting of the TRAP vowel, but different dialects split it differently.

Essentially, southern English (i.e. the ancestor of modern southern british as well as north american and australian) underwent two rounds of, let's say, "tensing" of TRAP vowels. In the US, tense TRAP vowels usually end up raised; in Australia, they usually end up lengthened, but a few end up backed; in England, first-wave tensing ends up as phonemic backing, but second-wave tensing ended up as subphonemic lengthening. This subphonemic lengthening was at first irregular, and different dialects have dealt with it differently - in Australia, it's led to a phonemic split (the 'bad-lad split'), in England it's been mostly but not entirely levelled in favour of the lax vowel, and in the inland north dialects of the US it's been levelled in favour of the tense vowel.

AIUI, there are at least four outcomes in the US: GA has pre-nasal tensing; NCVS has tensing everywhere; Philadelphia and some other nearby areas have pre-nasal tensing, tensing before voiceless fricatives, and tensing in the words 'bad', 'glad' and 'mad'; NY has tensing where Philadelphia does, but also tensing in most cases before any voiced stop, and sometimes before voiced fricatives. Different people and dialects may also have phonemic splits depending on original syllable or morpheme boundaries, or between content and subtance word - tense "can" (noun) vs lax "can" (modal verb) is common, for example. [a common subphonemic difference is found in the UK, similarly, between "adder" (snake) and "adder" (one who adds)]. Iirc some dialects also show tensing before velars, though that may be a different phenomenon. Oh, and most Americans also have tensing followed by backing before a rhotic.

So I assume Nort's "bat-bad split" refers to the way that some northeastern dialects have tensing (usually realised as raising) in the word 'bad' but not in the word 'bat'.

[Some north american speakers may also have a broader split developing in the words "batter" and "badder", developing out of the general allophonic lengthening before voiced consonants paired with neutralisation of voicing in intervocalic alveolar stops in the process of lenition to flaps - paralleling the ai-raising splits - and this probably for some speakers may be backformed into a bat/bad vowel split. But I don't think this is, so far, widespread.]

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » 27 Dec 2018 23:17

Salmoneus wrote:
27 Dec 2018 19:56
So, just as today most of us have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'hoarse' or 'horse' (or for people around here maybe 'hauce' or 'hawce'), so under diaphonemic spelling huge numbers would have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'marry', 'Mary' or 'merry', whether to spell it 'caut' or 'cot', and so on. Since this is a much bigger problem in practice than the opposite (working out how to pronounce a word from its spelling), a spelling reform that leaves this problem untouched doesn't really have any attractive features for most people.
Speak for yourself, native. [¬.¬]

Also, I'm not quite convinced it wouldn't at least somewhat help native speakers as well... Most European languages are apparently easier than English for native-speaking children to learn to read; yet none, as far as I'm aware, have fully phonemic orthographies.

(Interestingly enough, that article mentions Greek as an example of an "easy" language, even though it has like a dozen spellings for /i/. Granted, it's a pretty old article, and science reporting in mainstream media always needs to be taken with a grain of salt... But I'm pretty sure I've seen this information elsewhere as well, and this was the first source for it that Google deigned to cough up for me right now.)

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Salmoneus » 27 Dec 2018 23:42

Well, most people immediately affected by spelling reform either can already spell, or are babies who will learn as natives...


But from observing a child's learning to read and write: learning to read English is much easier than learning to write English. Learning to read almost always involves reducing complexity: you generally just have to recognise that certain combinations reduce to other, more common ones. Irregularities exist, of course, but are relatively rare, and generally afflict the most common words, which the learner already knows how to pronounce. Problems only tend to arise when the word is both very unusual in form, and rarely or never encountered in speech - which means we're only talking about fairly unimportant words, in most cases. Learning to write, however, involves increasing complexity - for each sound, you have to learn which option to choose in order to write it in each particular word. This isn't a mammoth task, but it's certainly harder. Children much more often misspell a word than mispronounce it.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 28 Dec 2018 11:36

Salmoneus wrote:
27 Dec 2018 19:56

I agree that this diaphonemic approach is better than a phonemic approach. But of course, diaphonemic spelling has the disadvantage of making spelling reform largely pointless, in that it takes away the main selling point of reform - making words easy to spell. Diaphonemic spelling means that speakers of many if not most dialects must memorise spellings by heart, and cannot rely on their knowledge of their own pronunciations to guide their spelling - spelling ceases to be phonemic. So, just as today most of us have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'hoarse' or 'horse' (or for people around here maybe 'hauce' or 'hawce'), so under diaphonemic spelling huge numbers would have to learn by heart whether to spell a word 'marry', 'Mary' or 'merry', whether to spell it 'caut' or 'cot', and so on. Since this is a much bigger problem in practice than the opposite (working out how to pronounce a word from its spelling), a spelling reform that leaves this problem untouched doesn't really have any attractive features for most people.

REFORMEE

Normalmente so reformadores radical è pro una reforma "perfect" (ki de cualker modo no pod existir). Im generellen publikum findest du ea loite die entweda gegen jede art fon reform sind oda ain spezifishes ortografishes probleem reformirt haben wollen (wi zum beispil die ersezun fon CHS dur X im doitshen).

If u tauk tu italis about speling in thare language, thay wil say thare speling is quít regùler, u spel as u spék and u spék as u spel. Meme si el ortografie è distante de reprezentar su lombardiano, venezian o siciliano dialectos. E tu non ove lis di "Yo kero ki mi dialect es usee lo tempo tod, exclusivament, en mi region (o na paiz inter) e yo è contra el usu del italiano standard". Dasselfe fyr die doitsh: in Norde Doitshland dad ma sagen "De dör is open" statt "Die tür ist offen", aba keini beswere sich das die hodoitsh ortografie iren plattdüütshen dialekt nit reflektee.

Tradicional speling has 50% of werds dedusable from inglishe patterns (duzzens or hundreds of them), but u nevver no if the werd u herd is a dedusable werd or has an iregùler speling, 50% ar just iregùler. En una sistema como la HS (House Stile), 50% è secur (esu vo dir ki on pò solo scrive lus na corecto mod), 30% è deduzible, e 20% is iregular. En una sistema como RITE, aproximadament 80% del ortografies é securo, 10% dedusible e so 10% irregular. I bezweifle das die loite sagen wyrden, dises sisteem is nit perfekt, also is es keine besserun. Havving tu lern 2000 iregùler werds bi hart is much better than havving tu lern 10 000 iregùler werds bi hart.



ENGLISH

Usually only hardcore reformers are for a "perfect" reform (which cant exist anyway). In the general public you rather find people who either oppose any sort of reform or people who would like a specific feature to be reformed (like say getting rid of GH's).

If you talk to italians about spelling in their language, they will say their spelling is quite regular, you spell as you speak and you speak as you spell. Altho the spelling is far from representing their lombardian, venetian or sicilian dialects. And you dont hear them saying "I want my dialect to be used all the time, exclusively, in my region (or in the whole country) and i oppose using standard italian". Same for german: in Northern Germany they would say "De dör is open" instead of "Die tür ist offen", still nobody there complains that high german spelling doesnt reflect the low german dialect.

Traditional spelling has 50% of words deduceable from english patterns (dozens or hundreds of them), but you never know if the word you heard is a deduceable word or has an irregular spelling, 50% are just irregular. In a system like the HS (House Stile), 50% are safe (ie you know that it can be spelled only that way), 30% are deduceable, and only 20% are irregular. In a system like RITE, about 80% of the spellings are safe, 10% deduceable and only 10% irregular. I doubt that people would say that it is not perfect, thus it is no improvement. Having to learn 2000 irregular words by heart is much better than having to learn 10 000 irregular words by heart.


Many (most?) English dialects, including most US dialects, show phonemic splitting of the TRAP vowel, but different dialects split it differently.

Essentially, southern English (i.e. the ancestor of modern southern british as well as north american and australian) underwent two rounds of, let's say, "tensing" of TRAP vowels. In the US, tense TRAP vowels usually end up raised; in Australia, they usually end up lengthened, but a few end up backed; in England, first-wave tensing ends up as phonemic backing, but second-wave tensing ended up as subphonemic lengthening. This subphonemic lengthening was at first irregular, and different dialects have dealt with it differently - in Australia, it's led to a phonemic split (the 'bad-lad split'), in England it's been mostly but not entirely levelled in favour of the lax vowel, and in the inland north dialects of the US it's been levelled in favour of the tense vowel.

AIUI, there are at least four outcomes in the US: GA has pre-nasal tensing; NCVS has tensing everywhere; Philadelphia and some other nearby areas have pre-nasal tensing, tensing before voiceless fricatives, and tensing in the words 'bad', 'glad' and 'mad'; NY has tensing where Philadelphia does, but also tensing in most cases before any voiced stop, and sometimes before voiced fricatives. Different people and dialects may also have phonemic splits depending on original syllable or morpheme boundaries, or between content and subtance word - tense "can" (noun) vs lax "can" (modal verb) is common, for example. [a common subphonemic difference is found in the UK, similarly, between "adder" (snake) and "adder" (one who adds)]. Iirc some dialects also show tensing before velars, though that may be a different phenomenon. Oh, and most Americans also have tensing followed by backing before a rhotic.

So I assume Nort's "bat-bad split" refers to the way that some northeastern dialects have tensing (usually realised as raising) in the word 'bad' but not in the word 'bat'.

[Some north american speakers may also have a broader split developing in the words "batter" and "badder", developing out of the general allophonic lengthening before voiced consonants paired with neutralisation of voicing in intervocalic alveolar stops in the process of lenition to flaps - paralleling the ai-raising splits - and this probably for some speakers may be backformed into a bat/bad vowel split. But I don't think this is, so far, widespread.]
REFORMEE

Mersie pra el explicacion, meme si yo sa no cua eso diferenciaciones signific in practic, e yo sabai no si mai pronunciacion du cort A è tenso, lax o nazal. Mas yo supone ki la genti comprende sea cual sea la tipo de A corto ki tu usa, pelo menos yo vadou a dedo de New York a Florida (continuando depois a Brasil), e yo no po mi recordar ki algi teneu problemas pra comprender algu ki yo disiu por causa de un A corto pronunciee "erree". Wi ich mir nich forstellen kann das loite aus Philadelphia probleme hetten, ain nachrichtensprecha aus Boston oda Chicago zu fersteen, weil si das kurze A andas aussprechen. After all, péple hér difrent díalects and accents all the tím and no that sertan letters can hav sevral renderings. Normalment un parli "rotico" (ki pronuns ale Rs in inglish) va no haver problemas pra comprender si algi di /draiv@/ pra 'driver'. E yo no pensa ki multa genti reclamarie si noi scrivese 'bad' e 'bat' na mesme mod, en una reform ortografic, mesme entre la pekena minorie (comparando con un bilion de falis) ki no pronuncia esas palabras na mesme mod. Aba fili dad es gryszen wenn wir die lang A in great, late, bait, straight als grate, late, bate, strate sreiben dad. And not menny péple (excêpt anti-reformers hoo ar against enny reform bi prinsiple) wud protêst if we speld hed, bom, hav, tuf.


ENGLISH

Thanks for the explanation, altho i dont know what these differentiations mean in practice, and i wouldnt know if my rendering of short A is tense, lax or nasal (maybe even none of them). But i guess people understand whatever type of short A you use, at least i hitchhiked from New York to Florida (and then on to Brazil), and i cant remember that people didnt understand something i said because of a "rongly used" short A. As i cant imagine that people from Philadelphia wouldnt understand a newsspeaker from Boston or Chicago because of their different renderings of short A. After all, people hear different dialects and accents all the time and know that certain letters can have several renderings. Usually a rhotic speaker wont have trouble to understand if someone says /draiv@/ for 'driver'. And i dont think many people would complain if we spelled (in a reformed spelling) 'bad' and 'bat' the same way, even among the tiny minority (comparing to one billion english speakers) that dont pronounce them the same way. Still many would like it if long A wasnt spelled great, late, bait, straight, but grate, late, bate, strate. And not many people (except anti-reformers who are against any reform by principle) would protest if we spelled hed, bom, hav, tuf.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Nortaneous » 28 Dec 2018 21:33

Zé do Rock wrote:
27 Dec 2018 12:06
By the way, what is this bat/bad split?
Phonemic split of /æ/ into /æ/ and /eə/, found from Baltimore to New York. Same principle as the bad-lad split, but some of the details are different, and which words have which phoneme differs by exact location.

The split might even be (marginally) phonemic as far south as the DC area. 'Bank' has [æ] (with optional j-offglide since it precedes a voiced velar consonant), but I usually hear 'Bernanke' as [bɚˈneəŋkɨj]. But this is probably not too widespread even here.

Speaking of 'can', the modal has /e/ in a lot of AmEng. There's also variation in 'been' (can have either /e/, /i/, or /ij/, but /i/ is most common) and 'catch' (/e/ or /æ/). I think 'any' and 'many' ~always have /e/ in North America - do they have /æ/ elsewhere?

Oh, another dialect problem -- the clitic -'ll has fusional forms with the pronouns. Mostly it just causes loss of the final semivowel, but isn't we'll homophonous with wool?

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Salmoneus » 28 Dec 2018 21:42

Nortaneous wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:33
I think 'any' and 'many' ~always have /e/ in North America - do they have /æ/ elsewhere?
No, /E/ (penny, petty, etc).
isn't we'll homophonous with wool?
[/quote]

Not that I've ever heard. It it sometimes realised the same way as wheel, though.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Dormouse559 » 29 Dec 2018 01:47

Salmoneus wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:42
Nortaneous wrote: isn't we'll homophonous with wool?
Not that I've ever heard. It it sometimes realised the same way as wheel, though.
When I speak quickly, my "we'll" can become /wəl~wl̩/, which does sound a bit like /ˈwʊl/.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 29 Dec 2018 10:32

Salmoneus wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:42
Nortaneous wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:33
I think 'any' and 'many' ~always have /e/ in North America - do they have /æ/ elsewhere?
No, /E/ (penny, petty, etc).
In HS or RITE: enny, penny.
isn't we'll homophonous with wool?
Not that I've ever heard. It it sometimes realised the same way as wheel, though.
How should it be realized otherwize? Wheel is /wi:l/, we'll is /wi:l/, or am i rong? Except for the fact that the 'e' in 'we' seems to be pronounced as shwa sometimes?

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Salmoneus » 29 Dec 2018 13:14

Dormouse559 wrote:
29 Dec 2018 01:47
Salmoneus wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:42
Nortaneous wrote: isn't we'll homophonous with wool?
Not that I've ever heard. It it sometimes realised the same way as wheel, though.
When I speak quickly, my "we'll" can become /wəl~wl̩/, which does sound a bit like /ˈwʊl/.
Hmm. I suppose I can see that happening. But for me, it would reduce to /wIl/, and /I/ is generally separate from u-coloured schwa. But I guess it could become a u-coloured schwa due to the /w/ and the /l/. But then again, 'wool' I can't imagine ever reducing to schwa...


ZdR: "We'll" for me is prototypically /wi@l, and 'wheel' is /wi:l/ (though I think some people have /wI:l/?). In slow speech, it's generally clear which is which. But there is a tendency for them to merge due to l-breaking in 'wheel' from one side and schwa-reduction in 'we'll' from the other.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 29 Dec 2018 23:41

Salmoneus wrote:
29 Dec 2018 13:14
ZdR: "We'll" for me is prototypically /wi@l, and 'wheel' is /wi:l/ (though I think some people have /wI:l/?). In slow speech, it's generally clear which is which. But there is a tendency for them to merge due to l-breaking in 'wheel' from one side and schwa-reduction in 'we'll' from the other.
EUROPAN

In otre germanico linguas, la diferens inter /I/ et /i:/ is no reali fonemik, cort I tende bi pronunset as /I/ e long I as /i:/, mas oni can sei a cort I as /i/ oso. Auminus in deutsh (auminus in deutshe deutsh - switsishe deutsh sim hav /I/, /I:/, /i/ et /i/, alu fonemik). Mas in inglishe la diferenciacion is super plus important, et is reprezentee bai 2 diferente letras (E et I), meme so ai mult interferens inter /I/ et /i:/ or /i/, et /I/ frecuentli stan /i/ or el opozit, so we'll /wi:l/ sta /wil/ o meme /wi@l/ o /wIl/, as yu sei. Dat alu fa no lu plu simple...

ENGLISH

In other germanic languages, the difference between /I/ and /i:/ isnt really phonemic, short I tends to be rendered as /I/ and long I as /i:/, but you can say a short I as /i/, too. At least in german (in german german at least - swiss german seems to have /I/, /I:/, /i/ and /i:/, all being phonemic). But in english the differentiation is much more important, being represented by 2 different letters (E and I), still there is lots of interference between /I/ and /i:/ or /i/, /I/ often becoming /i/ and the other way round, so we'll /wi:l/ becomes /wil/ or even /wi@l/ or /wIl/, as you say. All this doesnt make it simpler...

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » 31 Dec 2018 01:13

Salmoneus wrote:
27 Dec 2018 23:42
Well, most people immediately affected by spelling reform either can already spell, or are babies who will learn as natives...
...or non-natives! According to Wikipedia:
Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from 470 million to more than 1 billion. David Crystal calculates that, as of 2003, non-native speakers outnumbered native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1.[3] When combining native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language worldwide.
In any case, the number of non-native speakers is significant, probably already greater than that of native ones, and increasing. For a global lingua franca, non-native speakers are bound to be a factor of some importance. And since a lot of learning, and expansion of vocabulary in particular, happens through text, the ability to reliably derive pronunciation from spelling is often more useful for us than the opposite.

But from observing a child's learning to read and write: learning to read English is much easier than learning to write English. Learning to read almost always involves reducing complexity: you generally just have to recognise that certain combinations reduce to other, more common ones. Irregularities exist, of course, but are relatively rare, and generally afflict the most common words, which the learner already knows how to pronounce. Problems only tend to arise when the word is both very unusual in form, and rarely or never encountered in speech - which means we're only talking about fairly unimportant words, in most cases. Learning to write, however, involves increasing complexity - for each sound, you have to learn which option to choose in order to write it in each particular word. This isn't a mammoth task, but it's certainly harder. Children much more often misspell a word than mispronounce it.
Well, yes, but learning to read in English is, apparently, also more difficult than it is in many other languages. Which suggests that, at the very least, learning those irregularities takes time, even if they do mainly affect fairly common words. I would also suspect that learning to write is easier in a system where you just need to memorize a handful of patterns and match each word to one of them, rather than having to learn a whole bunch of irregularities individually.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Zé do Rock » 31 Dec 2018 13:28

REFORMET

I find es komish wi mamasprakis zelet werden: nur europis o weisse sprekis werden als mamasprakis fon inglish o francish zelet, das heisse sprekis die dis o jene sprak als ir einzige sprake sprek. But the definicion of nátiv spéker is, i supose, that péple spék it as soon as thay can spék, and that aplís for the grát majority of african cuntrys. Mi etè in plu ki 40 africano paiz, e rarli mi had problemas cuando mi conversou co kidis in inglish o francian (o portugalian, esu depende du coloniale passee), exept in paizes como Nigeria, onde lis parla inglishe mas un inglishe bene diferente (ai la vero pidgin, mas meme cuando lis parla "standard" inglish, frecuentli mi pensa ki lis parla un africano lingua). E mesme asie tu no po disir ki lis no fal inglish, como tu no po disir ki la scotis no fal inglish.

Nitmamasprakis zu zelen is zimli komplikert, es henge davon ab wi die definizion fo die spreki fon a sprake lautet. If the person has 1/3 of the vocabùlary of an âvrage nátiv spéker, is that enuf, or not enuf, éven if máby sum nátiv spékers hav a smaller vocabùlary than that? Multi genti ha vamo disir 1/10 du vocabulari medio af un nativo parli, e mem asie tu pod haver un normale conversacion con esi person in inglish (si non è trop academik), e tu dizai ki esi personi parla inglish (meme si co limitaciones). Y asie, onde kedarie la linia limit? Jedenfalls, würden wir alle L2 lernis als inglishesprekis zelen, wer inglishe sicha die sprake mit die meiste sprekis.

Nátiv spékers offen mispronounce sum werds thare hole líf, thare ar lots of werds - rather "academic" werds - u never hér, u just réd them. Tu vi lus na primere vez, e par la modelos ki tu conece tu "decide" ki la pronunciacion è X, e tu supone ki tu pronunce lu corectli na resto de ta viv. Talvez tu meme di lu a veses, y algunis poderie pensar ki tu pronuncia lu de un modo bizar, mas inton lis non è securi ki lis pronunce lu na modo correct, o lis pensa ki tu ten un accento diferent e no te corrig. In TESS, wo fili in reformet ortografie, werden lesis oft mit ortografien konfrontet die en andre aussprake sugeriren, so diskuteen si daryba o kuken im wörtebuk un finden raus (o el andris) das si die wort ir leben lang falsh ausspraken.

All the dictionaries i no giv 'deity' as /deiti/ or /di:iti/, but i talkd tu a kiwi hoo sed it is /daiti/. Alor, esu is un falso pronunciacion o la correcto pronunciacion in New Zealand?

La pronunciacion de 'quai' etè y è /ki:/ in british inglish, mas in USA so multi genti pronunsou la palavra incorrectamente como /kei/ o /kwei/ ki la diccionaris includou eses (ex-falso) pronunciaciones como correct. Wenn el ortografie 'kee' gewesen wer, wyrden dise warianten (fon falshen ausspraken geboren) gar nit existeen.


ENGLISH

I think it is quite funny how native speakers are counted: only european or white speakers are counted as native speakers of english or french, ie speakers who speak this or that language as their only language. But the definition of native speaker is, i suppose, that people speak it as soon as they can speak, and that applies for the great majority of african countries. I've been in more than 40 african countries, and i rarely had problems to talk to children in english or french (or portuguese, depending on the colonial past), except in countries like Nigeria, where they speak english but quite a different one (there is the real pidgin but even when they speak "standard" english, i often think they are speaking an african language). And still you cant say they dont speak english, as you cant say that the scottish dont speak english.

Counting non-native english speakers is quite complicated, and it depends on the definition of who is a speaker of a language. If the person has 1/3 of the vocabulary of an average native speaker, is that enough, or not enough, even if maybe some native speakers have a smaller vocabulary than that? Many people have maybe 1/10 of the average vocabulary of a native speaker, and still you can have a normal conversation with that person in english (if it is not too academic), and you'd say that person speaks english (even if with limitations). So where would be the bottom line? Anyway, if you counted all L2 learners as english speakers, english is by far the language with the most speakers...

Native speakers often mispronounce some words their whole life, there are lots of words - rather "academic" words - you never hear, you just read them. So you see them for the first time, and by the patterns you know you "decide" that the pronunciation is X, and you suppose that you pronounce them the right way for the rest of your life. Maybe you even say it sometimes, and some people might think that you pronounce the word in a funny way, but then they're not sure themselves that they pronounce it the right way, or they think that in your accent the word has another pronunciation and dont correct you. In TESS, where many people write in reformed spelling, the readers sometimes are confronted with spellings that suggest another pronunciation, so they discuss about it or just have a look in the dictionary and find out that they (or the others) were pronouncing it the wrong way their whole lives.

All the dictionaries I know give 'deity' as /deiti/ or /di:iti/, but i talked to a kiwi who said it is /daiti/. So is that a mispronunciation or is it the kiwi way to pronounce it?

The pronunciation of 'quai' was and is /ki:/ in british english, but in the US so many people mispronounced the word as /kei/ or /kwei/, dictionaries included these (ex-mis)pronunciations as right. If the spelling was 'kee', the variants (born from mispronunciations) wouldnt certainly exist.

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Re: English Orthography Reform

Post by Dormouse559 » 31 Dec 2018 21:30

Zé do Rock wrote:
31 Dec 2018 13:28
I think it is quite funny how native speakers are counted: only european or white speakers are counted as native speakers of english or french, ie speakers who speak this or that language as their only language.
That's not true. As an example, the U.S. Census doesn't count "native speakers" of languages, but it does tally which language(s) people speak at home. In 2017, it said the U.S. had more people who spoke only English at home (78.7 percent) than people who identified as white (73 percent).

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