Skip to comments.Real alphabet for English?
Posted on 01/30/2014 8:26:08 PM PST by varmintman
The whole world knows that English spelling is a sick joke. If English is to be the international language of business and commerce, then a rational alphabet and a rational system of spelling need to be devised for it, and the present hodgepodge system needs to be jettissoned altogether. The inordinate amount of time spent by foreigners and English speaking children alike learning our present system of spelling would be better of spent on more reasonable goals.
A reasonable system of spelling for English would be based on the following ideas:
The following should serve as an example of what is needed.....
(Excerpt) Read more at bearfabrique.org ...
It already is.
Worse than the spelling is that English has too many phonemes and homonyms. The closest you can get to a simpler sounding/spelled language is Spanish or Latin.
And after generations are taught the simplified spelling will they be able to read older books or will they be lost to the general culture or treated as mere quaint poems and prose like Chaucer’s works?
I don’t get it. Why would we need letters for sounds that don’t exist in English (Spanish N~, trilling R, etc.)? None of the major languages have separate letters for trilling Rs and English-style Rs.
I have actually thought about this situation.
However, I prefer devising new characters. I hate those extra symbols. Think of a keyboard. You might as well make new characters as add keys for all the different “accents” on extant letters.
We have a wonderful flexible language, but the “diversity” that ultimately molded it is also what causes all the confusion. Far too many influences that contradict each other.
The same old standard phonetic alphabet (which you
would use to describe spelling “Wilson” as “Whiskey, India,
Lima, Sierra, Oscar, November”) has been used by aircraft
pilots, millitary personnel, and many others for many years
now. So, I finally decided to come up with something a bit
more “original” for those people who annoy me:
A Are N Nine
B Bee O Owe
C Cite P Pseudonym
D Double-U Q Queue
E Eye R Rap
F Five S Sea
G Genre T Tsunami
H Hoe U Understand?
I I V Vie
J Junta W Why
K Knot X Xylophone
L Lye Y You
M Me Z Zero
People don’t ask me to spell anything over the
Try reading all your English by what we’re taught is basic English phonetics.
Heck, try just my sentence there.
I’m with you! Get rid of ‘ph’ spelling for ‘f’ sounds! For that matter, why is there a ‘ck’ spelling when the sound is pure ‘k’.
We should modernize the language!
It pretty much is already
The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, 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 phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).
In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c.” Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard “c” will be replaced with “k”. Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik emthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced by “f”. This will make words like fotograf” 20 persent shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted 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 silent “e”s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.
By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” by “z” and “w” by “ 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 trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.
Ze drem vil finali kum tru.
or modernize the people
maybee thay need to spel thingz fonticalli. due yung peepol nott due that alredi wen thay teckst on thayr i-fonez? (/sarc)
Okay, we should all just learn Korean I guess
or better yet, just use their alphabet
I'm going to disagree; languages using syllabaries (eg Japanese, Cherokee) tend to be simpler spelling (arguably sounding as well), IMO.
Japanese is very complicated, not as crazy as Chinese with their phonebook-level alphabet..... Korean is simpler than both
Spare us. All the bilingual subway signs in English and Spanish show me that it takes 50 percent more words to say the same thing.
'ck' is used after a single vowel with a short sound, a,e,i,o,u
The ph spelling tells you that the word has a Greek origin or root.
The real problem is that real phonics is no longer taught and most people have no clue about the deeply layered history of Engish as a language.
I recommend the Writing Road to Reading or Spalding Method for a more complete understanding of the English phonograms.
sorry, zot the idea.
Another liberal twit, showing his utter disdain and hatred for one of the key foundation blocks of western culture.
Well, Mr. Fabrique. I think you're a sick joke. How do you like that?
I'll agree Korean is pretty simple, but the Japanese syllabary is pretty simple itself:
Quite untrue. German spelling is virtually phonetic. Russian also comes very close.
Problem with syllabaries is that you end up with excessive symbols (Japanese phonetic “kana” have over 50 symbols, and you don’t get away with not having digraphs); you have the problem of terminal consonants, especially when your syllabograms always end with a vowel sound.
Not this again. In the 70s some ‘smart guy’ was pushing his system
German still has a ways to go with some of the vowel digraphs (ei and eu could perhaps be replaced with ï and ë respectively?) as well as find new uses for redundant c and v, not to mention trigraphs (sch) and tetragraphs (tsch). There’s also the “Sie” conundrum.
Nope, the Gojūon (kana table) translates literally as "fifty sounds" because there's the ten consonants times the five vowels.
Five of those combinations don't exist, there's the stand-alone 'n' and two voicing markers for a total of:
50 - 5 + 1 + 2 = 45 + 3 = 48.
So, less than fifty. (There's two forms: hiragana and katakana, but that's kind of like upper and lower case, so I'm not counting that.)
you have the problem of terminal consonants,
Granted; though the Japanese pronunciation is a very soft/nonexistant vowel-sound on -u ends. So "desu" would be pronounced 'des'.
you dont get away with not having digraphs
True, but there aren't any surprises in the digraphs. (ex: no p + h —> f or t + h —> th [rather than t'hu].)
Well, kana spellings are always obvious; if you can pronounce it you can spell it without fail. Trying to transliterate from languages that feature terminal consonants causes a problem, but then the alphabet wasn’t originally designed to allow for that.
Some languages work with less letters. Less letters to learn. Less letters to remember. Less letters to cause spelling mistrakes. Let’s drop the letter “O”. Will improve our English (and immensely improve our politics).
Our current set of characters are actually simplified forms of what used to be pictographs. Biggest example is “A”, derived ultimately from Phoenician “aleph”, which means an ox; the current form of the capital letter is actually upside down so you can’t really see the horns of the ox until you turn it 180 degrees.
People like Benjamin Franklin sought to find a more phonetic way to write English. That was mainly because the “modern” spellings were actually going away from being phonetic.
All past poetry is treated as “quaint”, even Shakespeare, which is early modern English. Poetry in general is considered “quaint” unless of course it’s an element in stuff like “hip-hop”, which tends to use its own dumbed-down “phonetic” spellinz.
It was originally fifty symbols, until certain of them were rendered obsolete (in hiragana, “yi”, “ye” and “wu”; a few more in katakana). And we still have some lenition changes (where hiragana “ha” turns into “wa” when used as a particle; “wo” being pronounced “o”). The dakuten and handakuten diacritics expand the sounds.
When it comes to katakana and the Ainu language, they have those small terminal kana that represent terminal consonants. I’ve also toyed with the idea of using dakuten and handakuten with katakana in certain cases to represent non-Japanese vocal sounds (e.g. a dakuten with “ra” to more closely be pronounced like English or Chinese “la”).
Interesting idea. I do wonder if it'd catch on.
It was originally fifty symbols, until certain of them were rendered obsolete (in hiragana, yi, ye and wu; a few more in katakana).
It'd kinda be nice if they went back to the fifty... for uniformity's sake.
I do like that, linguistically speaking, there's only like two or so irregular verbs. [At least common ones; I only took 4 years in college.]
English is NOT broken. It does NOT need fixing. If the Euros want to be cool, then do Ebonics to be with it and hip. (sarcasm off)
No “mnemonic” or “pneumatic”? Frank Drebbin would be so disappointed.
Just need to punch up the spelling of Shakespeare a bit: “2 B or not 2 B, that is the question”
Esperanto was specifically designed to be simple. It is based on Spanish, IIRC.
Yep, or like in multi-language instruction booklets. English invariably takes less space to say the same thing. Somehow English is more efficient.
>>It should be utterly unambiguous and 100% phonetic. That means that if you hear a word spoken you know how to spell it and, if you see a word written, you know how to pronounce it other than for the question of which syllable if any is stressed.
And when dialects are added in... this “new” system self-destructs (think of listening to some inbred Boston native pronounce “park the car” as /pahk da cah/ . Standard orthography was put in place precisely to avoid all the duplicate spellings generated by dialects.
It’s been tried. George Bernard Shaw willed his estate to change the English language to a purely phonetic spelling but the administrators decided to apply his millions elsewhere.
Would you rather learn 40,000 unique Chinese characters? I’ll keep my English just the way it is.
Or people can just learn English. Oh, wait, that requires work.
Good luck with that. Common sense has never been able to replace the qwerty keyboard which was originally designed to SLOW the typists down to prevent manual typewriters from jamming. Reason, logic and common sense do not dictate our cultural standards. This also readily explains the abysmal results of democracy in our nation.
After viewing the linked page, I have to say this is not well thought out.
Changing P to a trilled R sound? Double R’s make more sense.
The U accent marks do not correctly distinguish the various pronunciations of U. (You and hoop have the same vowel sounds.) Where is the vowel sound for words like “foot”?
Dropping W? Really? None of the U accents replace the sound W makes.
Besides the fact that successful languages are not created by committee (unless you consider languages like Esperanto successful), many of the updates in the list would not improve anything, plus it adds a lot of unnecessary work to write or type for those who are already fluent. A real solution would not just make things easier for someone learning but also for those using the language. This complicates things far more than it resolves them.
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