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 Post subject: Revising English
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:01 pm 
Sanci
Sanci

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Hey y’all.

So my next linguistic project as of right now is to revise English. Make it easier to learn and less....ew. (I mean, the word ‘enough.’ It’s spelling infuriates my soul.) Perhaps I can call it a conlang, if one thinks it’s worthy of the title. I was debating that, so, I posted it here.

This will be the thread of this con...lllannngg..... /still debating it’s title/.

My first question, (believe me there will probably be a lot) is, do you think English would be easier to read with a 1:1 phoneme to glyph alphabet?

Thanks!

-Universeal12


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:33 pm 
Avisaru
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Universeal12 wrote:
do you think English would be easier to read with a 1:1 phoneme to glyph alphabet?


No. One of the things I really like about English is that its writing system is divorced from an exact phonemic representation. There are people whose dialects of English I have a hard time understanding when I hear them—because of pronunciation differences—but I can still communicate with them in writing just fine. I consider that a feature, not a bug.

Also, which phonemic set would you even pick? How would you handle the pin–pen merger or the cot–caught merger, or the other vowel shifts in America alone, much less in the rest of the English-speaking world?

Further, one minor feature of English is that there's a correlation between spelling and etymological origin. Starts with a <ph> but is pronounced /f/? Probably from Greek. Same with <ch> as /k/. Oh hey, there's an <et> at the end, pronounced /ei/ (or a variation thereupon)? From French. Et cetera. Knowing etymological origin can help you decipher meaning, as well.

Yes, English spelling is a beast and irregular and difficult to learn—but there are advantages baked into that fact, and I'm always wary of people who would throw the baby out with the bathwater.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:06 pm 
Sumerul
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Much of what Axiem says is felt by many of the members here, I think. Including me.

Why not just mess around with these for a while and get it out of your system.

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:53 pm 
Sumerul
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If you're dead-set on improving English orthography, you could do worse that starting with a rather limited reform, aimed at fixing unetymological spellings, which alone make up a non-trivial amount of the irregularities. You could probably tidy up the various spellings involving gh while you're at it, though it'd work best if the different pronunciations have different origins that happened to get spelled the same. At the very least, you could respell the pronunciations with /f/ with f.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:59 pm 
Sanno
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Axiem wrote:

No. One of the things I really like about English is that its [color=#800040]writing system[/color] is divorced from an exact phonemic representation. There are peeple whose dialects of English I have a hard time understanding when I hear them—becaus of pronounciation differences—but I can still comunicate with them in writing just fine. I considdor that a feture, not a bug.

Also, which phonemic set would you even pick? How would you handle the pin–pen merger or the cot–caut merger, or the other vaughel shifts in Amerrica alone, much less in the rest of the English-speking wurld?

Further, one minor feture of English is that there's a corellation betwean spelling and etymological origin. Starts with a <ph> but is pronounced /f/? Probbably from Greak. Same with <ch> as /k/. Oh hey, there's an <et> at the end, pronounced /ei/ (or a variation thereupon)? From French. Et cetera. Knowing etymological origin can help you decipher mening, as well.

Yes, English spelling is a beast and ireggular and difficult to lern—but there are advantages baked into that fact, and I'm always wary of peeple who would throw the baby out with the bathwater.


The other two things to note, I think:

- English spelling, once you lose the most common few words (and a few irregularities isn't a big problem, as they're easily learned - most languages have them), is actually pretty regular. The rules may be harder to learn than those of, say, Spanish, but it's also not exactly Chinese - you pick it up relatively quickly. Which is why even idiots can mostly spell correctly.

[obligatory petty observation: the OP hasn't yet learnt how to use apostrophes, so maybe they're not the best judge of which rules are difficult?]

- the main 'irregularity' is that some sounds can be spelled more than one way. But this isn't necessarily a bug. Distinguishing homophones can make written speech easier to understand, and can even help disambiguate speech (because we can spell out the word to make clear which of two homophones we meant).





[one change I would make? either eliminate the distinction between -ent/-ence and -ant/-ance or at least make it totally regular (like -ent for adjectives and -ant for nouns, which is often the case but not always). those are always an irritation to me.]


(As you can see, I've taken the liberty of rewriting Axiem's post in a pseudoregular system. Other than a couple of dozen basic words (like 'to' and 'English') this system is regular except the purple words, which feature simple colour-spellings (indicating etymology or distinguishing homophones), and the orange word, which retains the spelling of the word from which it is derived.
[you could also quibble with some choices of unstressed /I/ vs /@/, but that's a problem any attempt would face]
[this is just off the top of my head, and could probably be improved. The biggest issue seems just to be ea vs ee vs e_e, and further study might be able to find a better way of dealing with this.]
)

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:51 am 
Osän
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"Pronunciation" is already spelled regularly -- it'd be more confusing to retain the link to the derivation.

Ўи куд джъст ръйт Инглиш ин Сърилик. Ай хир ўийв бин канкрд бай Ръшъ, съў ўи ме ъз ўел.

едит: но нийд ту ръйт ўрд-файнл офглайдз эфтр нанло вэўлз

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:19 am 
Sumerul
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That was really hard to read.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:03 pm 
Šriftom
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Axiem wrote:
Universeal12 wrote:
do you think English would be easier to read with a 1:1 phoneme to glyph alphabet?


No. One of the things I really like about English is that its writing system is divorced from an exact phonemic representation. There are people whose dialects of English I have a hard time understanding when I hear them—because of pronunciation differences—but I can still communicate with them in writing just fine. I consider that a feature, not a bug.

Also, which phonemic set would you even pick? How would you handle the pin–pen merger or the cot–caught merger, or the other vowel shifts in America alone, much less in the rest of the English-speaking world?

Further, one minor feature of English is that there's a correlation between spelling and etymological origin. Starts with a <ph> but is pronounced /f/? Probably from Greek. Same with <ch> as /k/. Oh hey, there's an <et> at the end, pronounced /ei/ (or a variation thereupon)? From French. Et cetera. Knowing etymological origin can help you decipher meaning, as well.

Yes, English spelling is a beast and irregular and difficult to learn—but there are advantages baked into that fact, and I'm always wary of people who would throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Agreed completely. The advantage to English spelling is that it is cross-dialectal, that all literate English-speakers (i.e. the vast majority of them who are not young children) understand and can write in it regardless of what varietie(s) of English they speak, even when different English-speakers might have trouble understanding one another's speech. And to select an English variety to base a phonemic orthography off of has the problem that it is going to be parochial to some particular part of the English-speaking world, favoring the speakers of some varieties over others. Even simply making an orthography that reconciles just RP and GA, and takes into account no other varieties, would be easier said than done due to the differences that do exist between the two (how would you write lieutenant or tomato for instance?).

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:29 pm 
Sumerul
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Nortaneous wrote:
вэўлз

Not ваўлз?


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:29 am 
Šriftom
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Travis B. wrote:
Axiem wrote:
Universeal12 wrote:
do you think English would be easier to read with a 1:1 phoneme to glyph alphabet?


No. One of the things I really like about English is that its writing system is divorced from an exact phonemic representation. There are people whose dialects of English I have a hard time understanding when I hear them—because of pronunciation differences—but I can still communicate with them in writing just fine. I consider that a feature, not a bug.

Also, which phonemic set would you even pick? How would you handle the pin–pen merger or the cot–caught merger, or the other vowel shifts in America alone, much less in the rest of the English-speaking world?

Further, one minor feature of English is that there's a correlation between spelling and etymological origin. Starts with a <ph> but is pronounced /f/? Probably from Greek. Same with <ch> as /k/. Oh hey, there's an <et> at the end, pronounced /ei/ (or a variation thereupon)? From French. Et cetera. Knowing etymological origin can help you decipher meaning, as well.

Yes, English spelling is a beast and irregular and difficult to learn—but there are advantages baked into that fact, and I'm always wary of people who would throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Agreed completely. The advantage to English spelling is that it is cross-dialectal, that all literate English-speakers (i.e. the vast majority of them who are not young children) understand and can write in it regardless of what varietie(s) of English they speak, even when different English-speakers might have trouble understanding one another's speech. And to select an English variety to base a phonemic orthography off of has the problem that it is going to be parochial to some particular part of the English-speaking world, favoring the speakers of some varieties over others. Even simply making an orthography that reconciles just RP and GA, and takes into account no other varieties, would be easier said than done due to the differences that do exist between the two (how would you write lieutenant or tomato for instance?).


Pffft. The only true English is that which the LORD speaks. All else is heresy.

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:22 pm 
Avisaru
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Travis B. wrote:
How would you write lieutenant or tomato for instance?).

Synonymy is the obvious solution, as with 'lift' v. 'elevator'.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:29 pm 
Šriftom
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Richard W wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
How would you write lieutenant or tomato for instance?).

Synonymy is the obvious solution, as with 'lift' v. 'elevator'.

I agree; the only possible solution seems to have multiple equally valid spellings, e.g. a new English orthography might allow both "luutennent" and "leftennent" for lieutenant and "temeitou" and "temaatou" for tomato.

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:04 pm 
Sumerul
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While I agree as well, I just want to point out that those words are hideous.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:00 am 
Šriftom
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KathTheDragon wrote:
While I agree as well, I just want to point out that those words are hideous.

Those were not supposed to be examples of a pretty English orthography. Would you prefer lútenənt/leftenənt and təmétó/təmátó?

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:15 am 
Osän
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KathTheDragon wrote:
That was really hard to read.

Wel, it wud olsyw bij pasibyl ty kijp ryjting in Laetin aend xhyst riform dhy speling in y maenyr bywth mor fynetik aend mor fiting yv dhy xhijygraefikyl orixhin yv dhy laengwixh.

Travis B. wrote:
I agree; the only possible solution seems to have multiple equally valid spellings, e.g. a new English orthography might allow both "luutennent" and "leftennent" for lieutenant and "temeitou" and "temaatou" for tomato.

Myltipyl spelings ar prabybli inevitybyl -- ijvyn in Ymeriky, dher ar dhy kat-kot aend fadhyr-bådhyr myrxhyrs. (Dhy sekynd wyn iz olsyw nat kymplijt in dhi kyntri -- in Nuw Inglynd, ijvyn sym pijpyl maj ejxh dywnt myrxh dhy tuw.)

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:18 am 
Sumerul
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Those do look nice, but probably go too far to remain cross-dialectal. Idk, I'd have to see more.

@Nort: Why are you compelled to be an arsehole.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:54 am 
Sumerul
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The funny thing about alternative respellings of English is that when they're apparently supposed to be difficult to read, they actually don't feel very hard for me to read at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:40 pm 
Smeric
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I don't know, I find something aesthetically pleasing about Nort's English, though if it were up to me I'd replace his <j> with <i> and bring back <æ þ ð>. :p

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:17 pm 
Sanci
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Zaarin wrote:
I don't know, I find something aesthetically pleasing about Nort's English, though if it were up to me I'd replace his <j> with <i> and bring back <æ þ ð>. :p


don't forget about <œ>
I think nort just tried to mimic old medieval, germanic, and norse spellings which have a huge aesthetic to them.

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:03 pm 
Šriftom
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Marking /ə/ with ⟨y⟩ is really ugly in my not-so-humble opinion, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:22 pm 
Sanci
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Travis B. wrote:
Marking /ə/ with ⟨y⟩ is really ugly in my not-so-humble opinion, though.

really? even in welsh orthography? welsh looks very aesthetic imo, especially because of its ⟨y⟩'s.

what would you suggest then? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:41 am 
Osän
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bbbosborne wrote:
Zaarin wrote:
I don't know, I find something aesthetically pleasing about Nort's English, though if it were up to me I'd replace his <j> with <i> and bring back <æ þ ð>. :p


don't forget about <œ>
I think nort just tried to mimic old medieval, germanic, and norse spellings which have a huge aesthetic to them.

Eni prapyr speling fyr y laengwixh yrixhinejting frym dhy British Ajylz myst bigin with dhy kynvenxynz istaeblisht fyr dhijz laengwixhiz, syx aez /y/ fyr shwa aend intajyrli tu meni vaewylz. Haewevyr, <yi> fyr /@i/ iz pyrhaeps nat ajdijyl, hens <j> fyr /j/.

<Xh> iz yv kors frym Aelbejnijyn. It iz olsyw pyrmisybyl ty juwz <x> for /dZ/, aend <xh> for /tS/. Aj think aj wyz intending tu du dhy rivyrs.

KathTheDragon wrote:
@Nort: Why are you compelled to be an arsehole.

its speld "aeshywl" fyknyts

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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:47 am 
Sumerul
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Also half the problem is that it's a phonemic transcription of Nort's English which makes it entirely inappropriate for anything else.


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 Post subject: Re: Revising English
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:00 pm 
Šriftom
Šriftom

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bbbosborne wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
Marking /ə/ with ⟨y⟩ is really ugly in my not-so-humble opinion, though.

really? even in welsh orthography? welsh looks very aesthetic imo, especially because of its ⟨y⟩'s.

what would you suggest then? :)

⟨e⟩, since /ɛ/ does not exist in unstressed syllables and /ə/ does not exist in stressed syllables in the standard language.

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