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National Spelling Bee protests: Should we simplify English spelling?
Christian Science Monitor ^ | 4 June 2010 | Eoin O'Carroll

Posted on 06/04/2010 8:50:41 PM PDT by James C. Bennett

The Scripps National Spelling Bee highlights what a mess the English spelling is – a hodgepodge of orthographies borrowed from German, French, Greek, and Latin. Is it time for a makeover?

The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is said to have joked that the word "fish" could legitimately be spelled "ghoti," by using the "gh" sound from "enough," the "o" sound from "women," and the "ti" sound from "action."

Shaw was probably not the originator of this joke, but he was one of a long line of people who thought that the English language's anarchic spelling, a hodgepodge of Germanic, French, Greek, and Latin, was desperately in need of reform.

To this end, he willed a portion of his estate toward the development of a new phonetic script. The result was the Shavian alphabet, whose 47 letters have a one-to-one phonetic correspondence with sounds in the English language. Like just about every other attempt to rein in English spelling, Shaw's alphabet continues to be widely ignored to this day.

But spelling-reform advocates press on. The Associated Press reported that this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee was picketed by four protesters, some dressed in bee costumes, who distributed buttons reading "Enuf is enuf. Enough is too much."

The demonstrators were from the the American Literacy Council and the London-based Spelling Society, organizations that aim to do to English orthography what the metric system did for weights and measures. The American Literacy Council endorses SoundSpel, which seeks to "rationalize" the English language by spelling each of the English language's 42 (or so) phonemes one way and one way only. In SoundSpel, "business" becomes "bizness," "equation" becomes "ecwaezhun," "learned" becomes "lernd," "negotiate" becomes "negoesheaet," and so on.

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: education; literacy; ohio; protests; spellcheck; spelling; spellingbee
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RELATED:

 

Ohio teenager wins US spelling bee crown

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10244237.stm

EXCERPT:

A 14-year-old girl from the US state of Ohio has won the country's coveted annual National Spelling Bee.

Anamika Veeramani, from North Royalton, claimed victory by correctly spelling the word stromuhr - a medical term.

She takes home $40,000 (£27,450) in cash and prizes, as well as the coveted championship title.


It is the third year in a row that an Indian-American has won the championship.

Anamika's winning word, stromuhr, is the term for an instrument used to measure the velocity of blood flow.


The popularity of the spelling bee - a peculiarly American tradition - has grown greatly over the past decade, partly as a result of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Spellbound.


1 posted on 06/04/2010 8:50:41 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
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To: James C. Bennett

Shaw was also in favor of gassing people who didn’t, in his judgement, contribute to society.


2 posted on 06/04/2010 9:09:45 PM PDT by ClaudiusI
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To: James C. Bennett

no we should not simplify it


3 posted on 06/04/2010 9:11:04 PM PDT by GeronL (Political Correctness Kills)
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To: James C. Bennett

It’s largely a memory contest, and would be far less challenging, and therefore far less interesting, if spelling was made more consistent.

Those who don’t excel at spelling/memorization, find a contest where you can excel! Don’t pick at those who are good at this. Language has a flavor; leave it alone.


4 posted on 06/04/2010 9:11:25 PM PDT by Persevero (If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?)
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To: James C. Bennett

Nuts to the protestors. Spelling, like punctuation, is a dying art, and one that I think should be preserved.

But then, I’m biased ‘cause I’m good at it.


5 posted on 06/04/2010 9:11:41 PM PDT by Xenalyte (Yes, Chef!)
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To: ClaudiusI

He sure was


6 posted on 06/04/2010 9:12:08 PM PDT by GeronL (Political Correctness Kills)
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To: James C. Bennett

“Simplifying” English spelling would cause more problems than it solves. Even among American speakers, there are a plethora of ways to pronounce various words; include English, Australian, etc., and any phonetic system will be even more unintelligible than the spoken systems.


7 posted on 06/04/2010 9:14:20 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: James C. Bennett
Certa, ni simpligas la anglan lingvon. Aspektu, kiel bona ĝi *woris ĉi tie!
8 posted on 06/04/2010 9:18:16 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: James C. Bennett

English is a highly dynamic language and as such, should not be meddled with.


9 posted on 06/04/2010 9:19:21 PM PDT by fso301
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To: exDemMom

Right. If you want to find out the correct way to pronounce words in English, just come here to northern New England. Every other way is wrong. But don’t listen to those Vermont natives. They talk funny. They say things like “caows”.
“;^)


10 posted on 06/04/2010 9:20:12 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (No matter where you go there are always more stupid people.)
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To: James C. Bennett
I thought people are supposed to be smarter today than ever before.

The people I attended school with somehow learned to speak and spell, limited as we were! Maybe it is because we didn't have a bunch of liberal crap around to distract us, and teachers who wouldn't accept excuses.

11 posted on 06/04/2010 9:22:29 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, A Matter Of Fact, Not A Matter Of Opinion)
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To: GeronL

No we should not simplify it (ie, dumb it down for the dummies).


12 posted on 06/04/2010 9:22:31 PM PDT by bboop (We don't need no stinkin' VAT)
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To: James C. Bennett

Simplify? Every time I’m around someone playing with their damned cell phone they ask “how do you spell ....” for the simplest of words.

I will quite literally off myself if one day our language is “simplified” to “tlkng w/o actly splng stuf out, no wut i mene? ok gr8”


13 posted on 06/04/2010 9:23:55 PM PDT by TheZMan (Just secede and get it over with. No love lost on either side. Cya.)
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To: James C. Bennett

And what was Latin?
a hodgepodge of orthographies borrowed from languages that had proceeded it.

If spelling bees had been held in ancient Rome they could have complained about the same thing.


14 posted on 06/04/2010 9:25:41 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: James C. Bennett

Gallagher did a bit about the english using the words “one” and “two”....goes something like this..

The word “one” has a wa-wa sound but no “W”
The word “two” has a “W but no wa-wa sound.


15 posted on 06/04/2010 9:26:09 PM PDT by stylin19a (Never buy a putter until you first get a chance to throw it)
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To: James C. Bennett
"business" becomes "bizness," "equation" becomes "ecwaezhun," "learned" becomes "lernd," "negotiate" becomes "negoesheaet," and so on.

Yes, lets all spell like those ignorant spray paint taggers who have never made it beyond the fifth grade.

16 posted on 06/04/2010 9:27:29 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
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To: James C. Bennett

Announcer: And now, Mr. Joseph Franklin of the U.S. Council of Standards and Measures.

Joseph Franklin: Thank you. Tonight I'd like to talk to you about how the new metric system of conversion will affect you. This is one in a series of public reeducation programs designed to make Americans aware of the metric conversion to take place in the next ten years. Most Americans already know that the measurement of miles will be discarded in favor of kilometers - a systme of measurement based on the unit of tens and already in use in most of the world. Few people, however, know about the new metric alphabet: the "Decibet"; "deci" from the Greek "ten", and "bet" from our own "alphabet". Let's take a look, shall we? [ holds up large poster of the Decibet ] Now, isn't that simple? Only ten letters. Twn fingers.. ten letters.

Now, let's take a look at some specifics.

[ shows Card 1 ] A, B, C, and D: our first and most popular letters will remain the same.

[ shows Card 2 ] E and F, however, will be combined and graphically simplified to make one character.

[ shows Card 3 ] The groupings GHI, and..

[ shows Card 4 ] LMNO will be condensed to single letters. Incidentally, a boon to those who always had trouble pronouncing LMNO correctly.

[ shows Card 5 ] And finally, the so-called "trash letters", or P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z, will be condensed to this easily recognizable dark character.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten! Now, let's take a look at how this change will affect our daily speech habits.

[ shows card ] In the EF grouping addition, the word "eagle" would remain basically the same in character, but would be pronounced "efaglef". However, certain words previously beginning with the letter F, like..

[ shows xard ] .."fish", would be pronounced with an additional E sound: this, "efish". "I caught a big efish."

[ shows card ] "Goat" would remain "goat".

[ shows card ] "Hotel" will carry the G letter addition, but as in many words beginning with the GH sound, such as "Ghana", the G would remain silent; thus, "hotel". However, words beginning wih I..

[ shows card ] .. as in "industry", will be pronounced "gindustry". The meaning will remain the same. LMNO's grouping is similar.

[ shows card ] "Mucus" will be LMNOucus".

[ shows card ] "Light" would remain "light".

[ shows card ] And "open" would then ne "LMNOpen", as in, "Honey, would you LMNOpen the door?" Finally, the "trash letters", or the letters from P to Z, would then make a stop sign appear like this: [ holds up stop sign with unintelligble blotch on it ] So there you have it. We hope to eventually establish the Universal Metric Alphabet in America by 1979. Join me next time, when we explore the changes you'll be seeing in alphabet soup and spelling bee contest rules. But now, let's sing the old favorite, the childhood "Alphabet Song", as we will hear it in the future..

[ singing ] "A, B, C, D, EF.. GHI.. J, K, LMNO.. [ blotch ]"

17 posted on 06/04/2010 9:28:37 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: James C. Bennett

“The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is said to have joked that the word “fish” could legitimately be spelled “ghoti,” by using the “gh” sound from “enough,” the “o” sound from “women,” and the “ti” sound from “action.””

You don’t have to fabricate absurd example, there are plenty of them in the actual language.

For example how the hell do you get “one” to sound like “won”.

Having learned english as an italian (which is very phonetic) speaker, very often I felt like I might as well be reading chinese, since there was so little correspondence between the letters that made up a word and its pronunciation.

Italian is so phonetic that spelling does not exist in Italy - I wasn’t aware of the concept/term until I got here.

Now when it comes to grammar, that’s a different story. English grammar is a piece of cake.


18 posted on 06/04/2010 9:29:06 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: James C. Bennett

Hell, in twenty years nobody here but a few lingering minorities will speak English anyway.


19 posted on 06/04/2010 9:30:40 PM PDT by Trod Upon (Obama: Making the Carter malaise look good. Misery Index in 3...2...1)
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To: James C. Bennett

Should we simplify spelling? No.

However, what is irksome to me is that fact that our most glorified scholastic competition is not a math, or science, or even a music competition, but a spelling bee.

How quaint.

How many jobs are created by good spellers? How many hungry get fed? How many lives are saved? Do we thwart our enemies by outspelling them? Catch any criminals? Create any energy?


20 posted on 06/04/2010 9:30:55 PM PDT by Eccl 10:2 (Pray for the peace of Jerusalem - Ps 122:6)
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To: fso301
Right.

The great genius of language, especially the English language, is that it is a bottom-up evolution much like the Internet and, like the Internet, it should remain an expression of individual liberty. The god-players on the left cannot leave anything free of top-down micromanagement.

Here in Germany, and in France, there are government agencies to determine how words should be spelt, ... er I mean spelled.


21 posted on 06/04/2010 9:31:13 PM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: James C. Bennett
The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is said to have joked that the word "fish" could legitimately be spelled "ghoti," by using the "gh" sound from "enough," the "o" sound from "women," and the "ti" sound from "action."

it could not... there are rules... now i do like to, in my head, say "not a thruff street," when i read the road sing, "not a through street."

22 posted on 06/04/2010 9:31:16 PM PDT by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Plus you didn’t have teachers who felt it was more important to be sure you had high self-esteem than to correct your spelling. I can remember papers having all sorts of corrections marked in red ink, and whenever they occurred, not just when spelling was stressed. Nowadays some school districts have even banned the dreaded “red pen” for fear of making kiddies feel badly about themselves.

When my kids were going through school, the teachers tolerated “creative” spelling so it would supposedly not interfere with their “creative” writing. But the way I learned to spell was largely on recognition and repetition and if I had been allowed to repeatedly misspell words, my mind would have imprinted it to be a stumbling block the rest of my life.

I, too, grew up in an atmosphere where you learned to spell correctly. Voracious reading also taught me a lot about our marvelous language. I am currently going through Richard Mitchell’s “Crazy Fractured English” again. I love Mitchell’s books skewering pompous English bloviating and Edwin Newman’s book on the same subject. English is a fascinating, creative language and if we “simplified” the spelling, we would lose the ability to figure out what the words mean because the spelling is a sign of which language contributed the word. It would be a tremendous loss and pretty confusing.

By the way, I love your photos.


23 posted on 06/04/2010 9:33:25 PM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: fso301

“English is a highly dynamic language and as such, should not be meddled with.”

Some of the changes described in the article are already evolving out of texting and twitter. Rap culture tends that way also. cu soon. hav biznes 2 do.

Another interesting development. Linguists have thought for a long time that the English verb “to be” would take centuries and centuries to regularize (English verbs have regularized historically in an inverse relationship to the commonness of the use of the verb. E.g., “He spake”).

But “to be” has begun to regularize in rap culture in only about 20 years. “I be top dog.” “We be goin’ soon.” The practice has spread quickly to the general culture amongst youngsters. I be done writing now.


24 posted on 06/04/2010 9:33:46 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: nathanbedford; grey_whiskers; firebrand
This thread is meant for you.


25 posted on 06/04/2010 9:34:16 PM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: nathanbedford
Europe English

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"s in the language is disgraseful, and they should go away.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

Cheers!

26 posted on 06/04/2010 9:40:11 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Xenalyte
First, I entirely agree with you, buu-uu-uut, sometimes it isn't quite as easy it might seem.

An example for you Xena...just for fun. Ready?

Punctuate the following to make exactly ONE grammatically correct sentence:

===

Xena where Tax-chick had had has had had had had had had had had had both the teacher's and SAJ's approval.

===

Care to have a go, said SAJ with a smile? If you do it properly, I'll even agree to take a ride (my own expense) on the Wham-Bam.

27 posted on 06/04/2010 9:44:14 PM PDT by SAJ (Zerobama? A phony and a prick, ergo a dildo.)
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To: fso301

Meddling with English, to borrow from Churchill, is something up with which I shall not put.


28 posted on 06/04/2010 9:45:48 PM PDT by SAJ (Zerobama? A phony and a prick, ergo a dildo.)
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To: ModelBreaker

You make some good points. Got to say, though, that seeing the twitter and message slang like r, cu, lol, and others is to me like fingernails on a blackboard. I have resisted going with the flow with just a couple exceptions: I have been known to use btw and iirc. But I think that’s about the extent of my corruption. I do hope that ghetto slang doesn’t catch on in serious communications. My children and I message daily on our phones using full English while a contemporary of mine uses the common abbreviations.


29 posted on 06/04/2010 9:48:27 PM PDT by caseinpoint (Don't get thickly involved in thin things)
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To: caseinpoint
Thanks.

I remember kids who obviously didn't hear good English at home being corrected, over and over, until they got it right. Teachers don't do that now, I know of teachers with language problems.

Words are the tools you use to form concepts, as much as to communicate with others. A limited language isn't going to create many deep thinkers.

30 posted on 06/04/2010 9:50:22 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, A Matter Of Fact, Not A Matter Of Opinion)
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To: ModelBreaker
Especially the particular usages, "I be a dumshjt" and "we be dumshjts".

You seem to want to succumb to the same, frankly disastrous, point of view that consigned even Medieval Latin to the ash-heap of history.

Given the relative levels of civilisation and language at that time and now, you would apparently surrender to those having even fewer demonstrable brain cells than the assorted barbarian hordes.

As M. T. Cicero used to ask, when confronted with a crime such as you (apparently) advocate: "Cui bono?"

31 posted on 06/04/2010 9:52:03 PM PDT by SAJ (Zerobama? A phony and a prick, ergo a dildo.)
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To: James C. Bennett

Theeze peepel ar stoopid.


32 posted on 06/04/2010 9:59:23 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Flip Both Houses)
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To: James C. Bennett
The Scripps National Spelling Bee highlights what a mess the English spelling is – a hodgepodge of orthographies borrowed from German, French, Greek, and Latin. Is it time for a makeover?

Hell no. Leave the artificial committee-driven language design to the French. Modern-day English is used in so much of the world precisely because of it's dynamism and ability to grow. English is the closest thing the world has to a universal language and it didn't get that way because any official body tried to meddle with it's natural development, which is being driven now by people in all walks of life all over the Earth.
33 posted on 06/04/2010 10:10:46 PM PDT by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: James C. Bennett
The demonstrators were from the the American Literacy Council and the London-based Spelling Society, organizations that aim to do to English orthography what the metric system did for weights and measures.

We need to institute the decabet.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.snlarc.jt.org/caps/episode_sketches/1976-04-24-9.jpg&imgrefurl=http://snl.jt.org/ep.php%3Fi%3D197604240&usg=__d6k1e4litF407nWc7--c1fWw_RE=&h=150&w=200&sz=33&hl=en&start=4&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=J5iM1VYM2FUkFM:&tbnh=78&tbnw=104&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddan%2Baykroyd%2Bdecabet%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbs%3Disch:1

34 posted on 06/04/2010 10:39:05 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: SAJ

“Especially the particular usages, “I be a dumshjt” and “we be dumshjts”. You seem to want to succumb to the same, frankly disastrous, point of view that consigned even Medieval Latin to the ash-heap of history.”

I’m of two minds about this:

1. There’s the demonstrable history that English changes a lot over time. Our English would probably be considered a barbaric regularization of verbs by educated English speakers from 300 years ago. Yet we consider ourselves defenders of the language from the barbarians. It’s going to change and there’s nothing we can do. With texting, twitter and the internet interacting with pop-culture, it will change much faster than it ever has before.

2. OTOH, writing and speaking well—and defending those who do—is really the only response we have.

But pretending the language is not going to change and that the change will not be in the direction of “commoness”—at least in our lifetimes—is not living in reality even though I think folks who use the regular form of “to be” sound like idiots. In 100 years, they won’t; and will probably rail at the debasement of their language by new, common usages.

I love reading 18th and 19th century correspondence. It was so much more eloquent, precise, and expressive than texting. OTOH, Beowulf-era English and even Edwardian English is hard to read or understand. But, in reality, I text my wife and son regularly and we all use abbreviations. And that’s how Beowulf-era English changed into American 2011 English.

Frankly, I don’t care that I don’t speak Medieval Latin. So I guess I’m a craven succumber. :)


35 posted on 06/04/2010 11:06:44 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: aquila48

Well learnt Aquila. I’m an ESL teacher and I can tell you Italians learn English quick.
As you know one/won are homophones.
So, I had a group (of brain dead oafs)at France Telcom and one of them asked me what “homophones” are, so I answered “Gay Telephones”. It seemed funny at the time. Anyway, they complained to my boss and I was pulled from the contract.
Remember, Heteronyms row/row, tear/tear.


36 posted on 06/04/2010 11:10:37 PM PDT by paristwelve (Feeling sorry for things is just an excuse for not celebrating your own happiness.)
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To: caseinpoint

“You make some good points. Got to say, though, that seeing the twitter and message slang like r, cu, lol, and others is to me like fingernails on a blackboard. I have resisted going with the flow with just a couple exceptions: I have been known to use btw and iirc. But I think that’s about the extent of my corruption. I do hope that ghetto slang doesn’t catch on in serious communications. My children and I message daily on our phones using full English while a contemporary of mine uses the common abbreviations.”

Part is context. There’s a reason posting on Free Republic is less formal than, say, legal writing. Different contexts. Texting is difficult (at least for me with my big thumbs) and abbreviations are the natural result of that. Of course, the usages of texting bleed over into other writing. So, we see “BTW” “OTOH” and the like on FR all the time. But we do not see it in formal writing. Eventually, perhaps, we will. Perhaps b4 we expect it.


37 posted on 06/04/2010 11:11:50 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: GeronL
no we should not simplify it

Here's a question in perfect, unsimplified English:

Do you ever tear up watching wolves tear up does the way they do?

Found at The Spelling Society

The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité.

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;

Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it! 10
Just compare heart, hear and heard,

Dies and diet, lord and word.

Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it's written).
Made has not the sound of bade,

Say - said, pay - paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,

Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak, 20

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,

Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,

Missiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining, 30
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,

Solar, mica, war and far.

From "desire": desirable - admirable from "admire",
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,

Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,

Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind, 40

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth

Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,

Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. 50
Blood and flood are not like food,

Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,

Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation's OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,

Friend and fiend, alive and live. 60

Is your R correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes with Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,

Buoyant, minute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme

If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy? 70
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,

Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You'll envelop lists, I hope,

In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You'll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik

Does not sound like Czech but ache. 80

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,

People, leopard, towed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,

Chalice, but police and lice,

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label. 90
Petal, penal, and canal,

Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with "shirk it" and "beyond it",
But it is not hard to tell

Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,

Senator, spectator, mayor, 100

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the A of drachm and hammer.
Pussy, hussy and possess,

Desert, but desert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,

Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

"Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker",
Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor", 110
Making, it is sad but true,

In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,

Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,

Paradise, rise, rose, and dose. 120

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,

Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,

Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring? 130
Prison, bison, treasure trove,

Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn't) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,

Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don't be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,

Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn. 140

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,

Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don't mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,

Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did, 150
Funny rhymes to unicorn,

Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don't want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud

Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,

Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme. 160

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you're not supposed to say

Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,

When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty, 170
Episodes, antipodes,

Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don't monkey with the geyser,
Don't peel 'taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:

Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,

Wan, sedan and artisan. 180

The TH will surely trouble you
More than R, CH or W.
Say then these phonetic gems:

Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget 'em -
Wait! I've got it: Anthony,

Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight - you see it; 190
With and forthwith, one has voice,

One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does [1]. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,

Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry, fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,

Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath. 200

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,

Puisne, truism, use, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,

Put, nut, granite, and unite

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer. 210
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,

Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,

Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi

Gyrate, dowry and awry. 220

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,

Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with ally; yea, ye,

Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver. 230
Never guess - it is not safe,

We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,

Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear

Do not rhyme with here but heir. 240

Mind the O of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;

Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.

Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen, 250
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,

Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

A of valour, vapid, vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,

I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,

Polish, Polish, poll and poll. 260

Pronunciation - think of Psyche! -
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won't it make you lose your wits

Writing groats and saying 'grits'?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,

Housewife, verdict and indict.

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father? 270
Finally, which rhymes with enough,

Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup...
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

[1] No, you're wrong. This is the plural of doe.
38 posted on 06/04/2010 11:23:13 PM PDT by GeorgeSaden
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To: paristwelve
Well learnt Aquila. I’m an ESL teacher and I can tell you Italians learn English quick.

Shouldn't that be,

"...learn English quickly"?

39 posted on 06/04/2010 11:26:47 PM PDT by GeorgeSaden
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To: paristwelve

“So, I had a group (of brain dead oafs)at France Telcom and one of them asked me what “homophones” are, so I answered “Gay Telephones”. It seemed funny at the time. Anyway, they complained to my boss and I was pulled from the contract.”

Sounds like you made gay Paree un-gay.


40 posted on 06/04/2010 11:29:41 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: Eccl 10:2

Plenty, if you want to communicate effectively.


41 posted on 06/04/2010 11:55:35 PM PDT by BenKenobi (I want to hear more about Sam! Samwise the stouthearted!)
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To: ModelBreaker
F u sa so. C u l8r.

If that constitutes 'progress' to you, so be it. Hate to quote Cicero again, but, as he famously remarked to Catalina, "Quo usque tandem abutere, Catalina, patientia nostra?"

42 posted on 06/05/2010 1:01:24 AM PDT by SAJ (Zerobama? A phony and a prick, ergo a dildo.)
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To: GeorgeSaden

As a guess, I should say that that would depend on from whom these assorted Italians are learning English. Wouldn’t you guess that way, too?


43 posted on 06/05/2010 1:03:15 AM PDT by SAJ (Zerobama? A phony and a prick, ergo a dildo.)
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To: caseinpoint
They dropped the ball when they didn't make that the 1st draft.
44 posted on 06/05/2010 1:24:02 AM PDT by Domangart
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To: All

The Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox are examples of what this movement tried to impose during the late 19th/early 20th century.


45 posted on 06/05/2010 3:22:21 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: nathanbedford

My first thought is “Wouldn’t the idiots just love it if people could no longer read Shakespeare or the King James Bible, not to mention the rest of the Western canon?”


46 posted on 06/05/2010 4:06:39 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: SAJ

One of your “hads” should be “and.” Thirteenth word.


47 posted on 06/05/2010 4:20:35 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: nathanbedford

My second thought is “The dumb-downers are simply getting tired of watching the homeschooled kids win all the spelling bees.”


48 posted on 06/05/2010 4:24:46 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: James C. Bennett

What kind of loser complains about the difficulty of a spelling bee?


49 posted on 06/05/2010 4:34:39 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: Persevero

It’s more like puzzles meet the lottery. A kid gets a random word, the definition, alternate pronunciations, etymology of the word, and then they hear it in a sentence.

The contestant may know the word, may not, but usually has enough information to work it out about half the time. In the second to last round, the other girl was one letter off (my guess was the same as hers), using o instead of e since the O is common in words that come from Greek.

I got the winner’s word correct based on etymology also. I don’t think she knew the word, but it was Spanish/Portuguese in origin which is very phonetic and was able to work it out.


50 posted on 06/05/2010 4:40:25 AM PDT by PrincessB ("if government X-rays are anything like the photos the DMV takes for your license, count me out" A.)
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