MoonRightRomantic wrote:That's why I think syllabic consonants should be indicated as such. Ideally <exlnt, govrnmnt, contnnt> should be indicated <exl̩n̩t, govr̩nmn̩t, contn̩n̩t>.
Which addresses a single issue I showed, and it also means I'd have to switch to an English keyboard configuration every time I want to type English, because that's not on mine. Inconvenient. I'm aware that it's impossible for a single configuration to cover every language, but it strikes me as silly to require a reconfiguration for a lingua franca that's this closely related to German.
I don't see why being closely related would have anything to do with it; there are plenty of cases around the world where closely related languages are written with completely different scripts. Also, instead of switching layouts every time you want to type English, the obvious solution would be to update your main layout to include the underdot. For instance, I can type English just fine on my Finnish QWERTY layout, despite the fact that Finnish orthography doesn't use <q>, <w>, or several other characters included on it.
Speaking of reconfiguration, in the hypothetical situation that this spelling reform becomes a thing, who's going to pay to replace literally every single English textbook?
This applies to all reform ideas out there, and I'm fairly sure it's already been discussed a couple of times in this thread. Yes, stuff like this is one of the main reasons why I, for one, doubt any of the reform proposals discussed in this thread, or anywhere on the internet, has much of a chance of actually happening in the real world. It can still be fun and educational to examine and discuss hypotheticals from a purely linguistic point of view, though.
Also, what Justin Rye says
What about the other issues? You seem to be under the assumption that a) English students always schwa when native speakers schwa (I don't, and I'm not exactly learning English anymore)
Well, then you're just pronouncing it wrong.
A spelling that would make it easier for a non-native speaker to tell how to approximate a native-like pronunciation would only be an improvement, surely?
b) they can distinguish schwas from other sounds, c) they know what a schwa is.
Obviously enough, you wouldn't need to call it a "schwa". For German speakers, you could just call it "like the <e> in Sonne
" or whatever. For languages that don't have a schwa, you need something more creative, but it's no different from how languages are usually taught. In any case, the only way to really learn the proper pronunciation of a foreign language is to actually listen to it spoken, and practise.
You can teach them what it is, yes. But if I picked a recording of, say, excellent and asked if all Es are pronounced the same, I'm very certain that most of them would say yes. Once again, it would require rote memorisation of when not to spell vowels. From a German speaker's perspective, it would also be quite difficult to get used to vowels being spelled in this way. This does not make learning English easier in the slightest.
This strikes me as highly subjective and rather speculative, but... In my experience, even the, ahem, less linguistically-aware among us tend to be able to hear the difference between a stressed and an unstressed vowel, so if the rule is simply that unstressed vowels are not spelled, then it shouldn't pose that much of a problem. And I'm not sure why it would be that much more difficult to get used to than, say <i> for /aɪ/.
All of that being said, though, I'm not a fan of CutSpel. There is the fact that it's at least occasionally impossible to predict where the schwas should be placed from the spelling, and marking syllabic consonants would solve that problem only partially. Also, adding special extra symbols does kind of undermine the point of simplifying the spelling. And finally, not all native speakers use a schwa in every position that it seems to assume a schwa: continent
is [kʰɑˑntʰᵻnənt], not [kʰɑˑntʰn̩n̩t]. (In fact, I'm not sure if it's even possible to pronounce two consecutive syllabic /n/'s without inserting at least a very short schwa between them, or without the whole thing becoming a single [n̩:] - which I'm fairly sure nobody actually says. But I guess that's beside the point.)