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JimmyB27
07-10-2007, 09:15 PM
This sort of thing seems to crop up quite a lot, but there's a new article on the BBC News website I thought might interest you.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6250184.stm

scarletpeaches
07-10-2007, 09:22 PM
If we use phonetic spelling, what happens with regional variations of accent?

Having said that, we've only standardised English fairly recently.

But if people find it hard to read or spell, should we pander to them by saying, "Spelling doesn't matter?"

I mean should we do away with standards some people find difficult? Or make them work harder? Seems a bit namby-pamby to me. I fail to see how this could aid literacy which is already at a shocking standard in the UK.

RG570
07-10-2007, 09:32 PM
I don't get this. I know a few people who think that nonsense like this is part of the "evolution" of language, but I don't buy it.

Does anyone really have that much trouble learning the language properly that the best we can do is dumb it down?

Might as well save some time and start printing Newspeak dictionaries.

Sean D. Schaffer
07-10-2007, 09:43 PM
This sort of thing seems to crop up quite a lot, but there's a new article on the BBC News website I thought might interest you.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6250184.stm



I see this pop up every so often. Apparently there is a society that holds to phonetic spelling being the next great movement in language. Like others have already pointed out, I don't think it will work. If anything, it will become more confusing than helpful.

All in my opinion, of course.

jordijoy
07-10-2007, 09:45 PM
fogit tat, im stiking two speling coreklee.


(forget that, I sticking to spelling correctly.)

BlueTexas
07-10-2007, 10:12 PM
This is a horrible idea. I fail to see how intelligent people, well-meaning or not, could possibly think this is worth pursuing.

reenkam
07-10-2007, 10:13 PM
fogit tat, im stiking two speling coreklee.


(forget that, I sticking to spelling correctly.)

purfikt eggsampel ov how a reejionel aksent cud kompleetlee confuze peepull.

(Perfect example of how a regional accent could completely confuse people. )

I had no idea what "fogit" meant, at first.

BlueTexas
07-10-2007, 10:17 PM
purfikt eggsampel ov how a reejionel aksent cud kompleetlee confuze peepull.

(Perfect example of how a regional accent could completely confuse people. )



I'm completely appalled that I could read the first sentence pretty quickly. Almost as quickly as the second.

Got me thinking - how do you punctuate a language that's purely phonetic?

Dave.C.Robinson
07-10-2007, 11:04 PM
I think it's a way to reward laziness. No thanks.

blacbird
07-10-2007, 11:10 PM
Having said that, we've only standardised English fairly recently.

Ummm . . . that's "standardized", to us pure Americans.

caw

JB_Finesse
07-10-2007, 11:12 PM
I really hope this doesn't happen. It reminds me of the "Low Speech" in the Dark Tower series, or the fucked up world at the end of A Sound of Thunder.

benbradley
07-10-2007, 11:16 PM
I see this pop up every so often. Apparently there is a society that holds to phonetic spelling being the next great movement in language. Like others have already pointed out, I don't think it will work. If anything, it will become more confusing than helpful.

All in my opinion, of course.
Does this simplified spelling thing have anything connection to phonics? I've heard about phonics off and on for decades, and it appears to have been around for a much longer time:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonics

BlueTexas
07-10-2007, 11:24 PM
Does this simplified spelling thing have anything connection to phonics? I've heard about phonics off and on for decades, and it appears to have been around for a much longer time:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonics

You weren't taught to read using phonics in gradeschool? I was. I didn't know this had been taken out of the schools.

Sean D. Schaffer
07-10-2007, 11:32 PM
Does this simplified spelling thing have anything connection to phonics? I've heard about phonics off and on for decades, and it appears to have been around for a much longer time:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonics


You weren't taught to read using phonics in gradeschool? I was.


I was taught to use phonics in Grade School as well. The thing is, the phonics only went so far with similar sounds being attributed to multiple spellings. 'Wait', for example, was easy for me as a child to understand, whereas 'Weight' came as a shock to me. The same thing can be said for the word 'Gross', which I thought rhymed with 'Loss'. I didn't start pronouncing that word properly until I got in trouble with the teacher for mispronouncing it too much. A threat of being sent to the principal's office was more an incentive to me to pronounce it right than anything else.

The thing is, that was Grade School in the 1970's. I can't say what schools teach now, as I don't go to Grade School anymore. Phonics was a good system, but it had its limitations. This, I think, is partially due to the different spellings with similar or exactly the same, pronunciations.

JB_Finesse
07-10-2007, 11:37 PM
No phonics for me. We learned phonograms, and they also taught us about such things as homonyms so "weight/wait" and so on wouldn't be too much of a problem.

BlueTexas
07-10-2007, 11:56 PM
No phonics for me. We learned phonograms, and they also taught us about such things as homonyms so "weight/wait" and so on wouldn't be too much of a problem.

Phonics and homonyms aren't mutually exclusive - at least, I can't imagine that they would be. I learned homonyms with spelling and grammar. Reading was a different subject.

ccarver30
07-11-2007, 12:13 AM
Reading the simplified version sure makes me feel dumb!!


Does anyone really have that much trouble learning the language properly that the best we can do is dumb it down?


^^Great comment!

reenkam
07-11-2007, 12:15 AM
I don't really remember learning how to spell...I know we had to have learned (learnt?) it some time, I just don't remember. I do know that I was really good at spelling, but I had terrible pronunciation. I had a speech impediment when I was younger, so I don't think I ever associated the actually spelling of a word with the way I, or anyone else, pronounced it.

Even when I read now I see a word as a picture, in a way. Good for learning Eastern languages, not so great for the Western ones...

Tachyon
07-11-2007, 04:12 AM
Orwell is turning over in his grave.

scarletpeaches
07-11-2007, 04:14 AM
Ummm . . . that's "standardized", to us pure Americans.

caw

Sorry, I'm speaking English.

Oddsocks
07-11-2007, 06:34 AM
I'd like to see someone push for genuinely phonetic spelling. Including distinction between the nasalised vowel in 'man' and the oral vowel in 'mat', and the three different L sounds in English, and all the other such allophonic differences which we don't even consciously notice.

poetinahat
07-11-2007, 07:34 AM
Sorry, I'm speaking English.
Fair dinkum.

benbradley
07-11-2007, 07:55 AM
You weren't taught to read using phonics in gradeschool? I was. I didn't know this had been taken out of the schools.
I had the impression it had yet to be ADDED to the schools where I went (Atlanta, circa early 1960's) - as I said, I've "heard of" phonics for decades... I remember we used the "Dick-and-Jane reader," and that the very first word of it was "help." I happened to know that word because I remebered the older girl two doors down had once spelled a few words for me and one was "h e l p spells help." I think I impressed the teacher by knowing it in the very first day of reading class...

Medievalist
07-11-2007, 08:05 AM
In so moche that in my dayes happened that certayn marchauntes were in a shippe in tamyse, for to haue sayled ouer the see into zelande and for lack of wynde, thei taryed atte forlond, and wente to lande for to refreshe them; And one of theym named sheffelde, a mercer, cam in-to an hows and exed for mete; and specyally he axyd after eggys; And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, for he also coude speke no frenshe, but wolde haue hadde egges and she vnderstode hym not And thenne at laste a nother sayd that he wolde haue eyren then the good wyf sayd that she vnderstod hym wel Loo, what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, egges or eyren certaynly it is harde to playse euery man by cause of dyuersite & chaunge of langage.

John of Trevisa as printed by William Caxton, 1482

Anthony Ravenscroft
07-11-2007, 09:37 AM
Genuine phonetic spelling exists, & has existed for a loooooong time.

Problem is, to do it right you'd need to have access to more than the standard 26 English letters, & the same lazyasses who plump for "simplicity" cannot be bothered to learn the other characters. How many know how to type a schwa...?

(Back in the 1980s I wanted to learn APL but my college's computer system couldn't handle the extra operators, so that idea died a-borning.)

The best example I've seen to date is the lyric sheet for Shriekback's Oil & Gold. Anyone who's serious about phonetic spelling should try to read a few lines aloud before spinning the CD.

blacbird
07-11-2007, 09:42 AM
Sorry, I'm speaking English.

Your countrymen would be appalled. You are speaking Scottish, I fervently hope. Whingeing poms from Kent speak English.

caw

Willowmound
07-11-2007, 12:32 PM
purfikt eggsampel ov how a reejionel aksent cud kompleetlee confuze peepull.

(Perfect example of how a regional accent could completely confuse people. )


Ant vat abavt farregners? Jermans vot meyk no senz at aul!

kristie911
07-11-2007, 01:03 PM
You people are freaking me out! :D

seun
07-11-2007, 03:11 PM
Here's a new idea: how about teaching people to read and write correctly?

Christ, writing in textspeak will be the norm pretty soon.

Bartholomew
07-11-2007, 03:39 PM
How many know how to type a schwa...?


Do you mean the hebrew characters שְׁוָא, or ә?

In windows XP, the command for ә is ALT 04D9.

The Hebrew characters שְׁוָא requires specialized linguistic skills to actually type with any sort of efficiency.

#

Here's an experiment:

ə lějənd līvz ŏn frəm ə chĭpəw ŏn doun
əv ə bĭg lāk ei kl Gītʃē Gu:mē
ə lāk, ĭt ĭz sěd, něvər gĭvs ŭp hr děd
wěn ə skīz əv nōvěmbər trn glo:mē.

#

I've spaced the correctly spelled version down a bit, so that your eye can't inadvertently seek help translating this.


































The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

Could you honestly read the first version of this verse? I couldn't, and I typed it! Advocates of phonetic spelling don't realize what they're asking. They're not really asking for phonetic spelling, they're asking for a lazier way to spell. It would be a step backwards to spell like Chaucer. (Sorry, Medievalist.)

Dave.C.Robinson
07-11-2007, 03:55 PM
Phonetic spelling is relative. It only works when people talk the same way. Someone from the Deep South may not be able to understand a Highland Scot, and vice versa. If you go to pure phonetics, they won't be able to read the same books either; books would have to be rewritten for different areas.

This is an insanely stupid idea.

Dave.C.Robinson
07-11-2007, 03:59 PM
Do you mean the hebrew characters שְׁוָא, or ә?

In windows XP, the command for ә is ALT 04D9.

The Hebrew characters שְׁוָא requires specialized linguistic skills to actually type with any sort of efficiency.

#

Here's an experiment: (There are a few characters I'm editing because I'm not sure if I'm using the right one.)

ə lějənd līvz ŏn frəm ə chĭpəw ŏn doun
əv ə bĭg lāk ei kl Gītʃē Gu:mē
ə lāk, ĭt ĭz sěd, něvər gĭvs ŭp hr děd
wěn ə skīz əv nōvěmbər trn glo:mē.

#

I've spaced the correctly spelled version down a bit, so that your eye can't inadvertently seek help translating this.

[blank spaces snipped]

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

Could you honestly read the first version of this verse? I couldn't, and I typed it!

Actually, yes.

However I did take a semester of linguistics in college, and I know the song very well so I could approach it from both sides. Still, it's a great example to show why our current alphabet's a bad idea for writing English phonetically.

Bartholomew
07-11-2007, 04:10 PM
If everyone learned the phonetic alphabet from birth, I think it would be a step FORWARD, since we would have a universal way of expressing foreign (especially Asiatic, Oriental, and Russian) words. English, amongst English speakers, should be left alone.

Kudos to Robinson for being able to read the first verse without cheating. o_o

Willowmound
07-11-2007, 04:16 PM
Phonetic spelling is relative. It only works when people talk the same way. Someone from the Deep South may not be able to understand a Highland Scot, and vice versa. If you go to pure phonetics, they won't be able to read the same books either; books would have to be rewritten for different areas.

This is an insanely stupid idea.

Though in all fairness, I don't think they're advocating phonetic spelling. They're advocating simplified standardised spelling.

I still think it's a bad idea. But let's not attack them for something they never said.

Bartholomew
07-11-2007, 04:29 PM
Though in all fairness, I don't think they're advocating phonetic spelling. They're advocating simplified standardised spelling.

I still think it's a bad idea. But let's not attack them for something they never said.

But their system is based on a simplified system that closer matches the sounds of the words. The trouble is, there really isn't such a thing as true neutral English--so if the SSS makes their words using a New York twang, or a Quebecios twang, or a midwestern twang, there will be people just as confused about why a word is spelled the way it's spelled.

For instance, they want Beautiful changed to butiful

I see Beautiful and know immediately to say byōōtəfəl, which bears the characteristics of my accent.

When I see butiful, I want to pronounce it bŭtēfʊl, a word I do not audibly recognize.

Willowmound
07-11-2007, 04:31 PM
Well, yes. :)

Dave.C.Robinson
07-11-2007, 04:46 PM
I think I was beaten to the punch by Bartholomew, but I have to say that I've never seen a simplified spelling system that wasn't described as phonetic. Given that I can certainly see it breaking like a dam where one region goes phonetic, then another and so on.

Willowmound
07-11-2007, 05:01 PM
What about words like "said", "though", "tough" ?

Would any region not agree that phonetic spelling of these particular ones should be: "sed", "tho", and "tuff" ?

Clearly, I'm playing devil's advocate.

Britchik
07-11-2007, 05:20 PM
If everyone learned the phonetic alphabet from birth, I think it would be a step FORWARD, since we would have a universal way of expressing foreign (especially Asiatic, Oriental, and Russian) words. English, amongst English speakers, should be left alone.

Do you mean everyone to be just English speakers, or otherwise?

The problem I see with this is that English isn't the only language which has regional differences in pronounciation. For instance, Spanish is spoken differently in Spain than it is in Mexico, even though it is the same language. Even if we were taught the phonetic alphabet from an early age, wouldn't we still be coming up against the same problem of regional accents and their effects on spelling in other languages?

Bartholomew
07-11-2007, 05:22 PM
What about words like "said", "though", "tough" ?

Would any region not agree that phonetic spelling of these particular ones should be: "sed", "tho", and "tuff" ?

Clearly, I'm playing devil's advocate.

Tho makes sense. It's becoming more and more acceptable to truncate Though to Tho all the time. I don't do it, but I don't really object to it, since it is, essentially, the same as cutting okay to OK. There is literally no change of sound.

Tuff and Sed, I argue against. I prounounce "Tough" as "tʌf." A Scottsman pronounces it more like "Tōōf" In either case, "Tuff" does not match what I identify as the correct sound-- I see "Tuff" and want to say "tŭf." Though I recognize all three sounds as "tough," I see no point in making a change that is not universally obvious.

The same goes for "sed," but much, much moreso.

Bartholomew
07-11-2007, 07:32 PM
Do you mean everyone to be just English speakers, or otherwise?

The problem I see with this is that English isn't the only language which has regional differences in pronounciation. For instance, Spanish is spoken differently in Spain than it is in Mexico, even though it is the same language. Even if we were taught the phonetic alphabet from an early age, wouldn't we still be coming up against the same problem of regional accents and their effects on spelling in other languages?

I'm assuming two things:

The phonetic alphabet would serve soley as a way to show someone how a word sounded.

The alphabet is (amongst romantic languages) universal.

We could then use this to express, accurately and in writing, the difference between the Spanish of Argentina and the Spanish of Spain, without the need for sound files.

I'm thinking of it as a tool for communicating exact sounds, rather than for ease of reading in English.

Oddsocks
07-12-2007, 06:02 AM
There would probably also be argument as to which phonetic representation to use. I could read most of the first verse up there, but not all of it, because I've learned a slightly different system (mostly different in the vowels; it represents diphthongs as two vowels connected by a curved line rather than as a single letter).

An alternative to phenetic spelling might be phonemic spelling, in which every phoneme has a symbol, so, for example, since there is only one phoneme 't' in any particular variety of English (as far as I know), all allophonic variations of 't' can be represented by one letter. However, there would still be regional variations, particularly in the vowels (there is a region in America where cot and caught are pronounced the exact same way?) which would be hard to account for.

Medievalist
07-12-2007, 06:11 AM
I'm terrible at spelling, and am genuinely dysphonetic.

But I'm also opposed to spelling reform.

English words, for all their bizarre funky spelling, carry their history with them.

Look at these words:

though
the
this
that
them
than
then

That th- plus a vowel is a marker. They're all "borrowed" into Old English from Norse, and Northern Germanic languages.

Look at these:

Skin
Ski
Skip
Sky
Skirt

Are also from Old Norse; the Sk- is the marker

And that gh- in laugh, and bough, and bought?

There's a reason that sometimes its an /f/ sound, and sometimes not; it has to do with how the word was spelled/said in Old English.

scarletpeaches
07-12-2007, 12:22 PM
...there is a region in America where cot and caught are pronounced the exact same way?) which would be hard to account for.

See, I'm from Dundee, Scotland, and I can't imagine how to pronounce those two words so they sound different.

I remember at school years ago, we were given lists of words to match up according to their rhymes, and the two words the entire class were left with at the end were four and raw. The workbook had been written according to English accents. Phonetically, how would I spell them? Probably roh for raw, but then some might pronounce that roe. As for four, to a trained ear it might sound as if I'm saying foe-r or fowar.

That's why phonetic spelling doesn't work. Even within the same country there are so many regional variations of accent. I've been told many a time, "You don't come from Dundee!" as if a) It matters where I come from or b) The other person knows better than I do where I was born. Apparently I'm too posh to come from these 'ere parts.

I try to do justice to the English language. I'm against spelling reform because it smacks of dumbing down on the part of the lowest common denominator - those who don't want to learn. Yes, there are some who have difficulties, but no-one is incapable of learning how to spell correctly if they apply themselves.

Willowmound
07-12-2007, 02:05 PM
I'm terrible at spelling, and am genuinely dysphonetic.

But I'm also opposed to spelling reform.

English words, for all their bizarre funky spelling, carry their history with them.

Look at these words:

Though
the
this
that
them
than
then

That the plus a vowel is the marker.

They're all "borrowed" into Old English from Norse, and Northern Germanic languages.

Look at these:

Skin
Ski
Skip
Sky
Skirt

Are also from Old Norse; the Sk is the marker

And that gh in laugh, and bough, and bought?

There's a reason that sometimes its an /f/ sound, and sometimes not; it has to do with how the word was spelled/said in Old English.

I am so glad you came along and said this. This is precisely why I'm against simplified spelling. I tried to explain it a couple of times in this thread already, but each time ended up not posting.

Yours was very succinct.

Thanks.

Dave.C.Robinson
07-12-2007, 02:11 PM
See, I'm from Dundee, Scotland, and I can't imagine how to pronounce those two words so they sound different.

(Snipped for brevity.)



For those who can't imagine how they would sound different, here you go:

Cot rhymes with hot.

Caught is pronounced more caw-t with a much longer vowel sound (possibly a dipthong).

Willowmound
07-12-2007, 02:12 PM
And for fun, here are those Norse-rooted words in contemporary Norwegian:

Skin = skinn
Ski = ski
Skip = n/a, different word altogether (although: ship = skip)
Sky = (himmel, but cloud =) sky
Skirt = skjoert

J.Ziekemijjer
07-12-2007, 03:38 PM
Our current language system uses phonics. There is some overlap and some combinations of letters make different sounds but the actual base of it is there.

Willowmound
07-12-2007, 04:15 PM
What is a "language system"?

Jamesaritchie
07-13-2007, 12:36 AM
Even if all spelling went phonetic, most people still couldn't spell. It's nonsense.

reenkam
07-13-2007, 12:40 AM
That's why phonetic spelling doesn't work. Even within the same country there are so many regional variations of accent. I've been told many a time, "You don't come from Dundee!" as if a) It matters where I come from or b) The other person knows better than I do where I was born. Apparently I'm too posh to come from these 'ere parts.

People have told me that I'm from Boston. Or New York. Well, I'm not from either. I've never even been to Boston. None of my family's from there...but people insist that I have a Boston accent. :Shrug:

Oddsocks
07-13-2007, 06:50 AM
See, I'm from Dundee, Scotland, and I can't imagine how to pronounce those two words so they sound different.

I remember at school years ago, we were given lists of words to match up according to their rhymes, and the two words the entire class were left with at the end were four and raw. The workbook had been written according to English accents. Phonetically, how would I spell them? Probably roh for raw, but then some might pronounce that roe. As for four, to a trained ear it might sound as if I'm saying foe-r or fowar.

That's why phonetic spelling doesn't work. Even within the same country there are so many regional variations of accent. I've been told many a time, "You don't come from Dundee!" as if a) It matters where I come from or b) The other person knows better than I do where I was born. Apparently I'm too posh to come from these 'ere parts.

I agree - that's what I was saying. And it's funny - for me, four and raw rhyme perfectly, but cot and caught are different (the vowel sound in 'caught' is the same as that in 'raw' and 'four' for me).

And then there are variations that aren't even regional - where I live some say 'castle' so that the 'a' is like that in 'cart' (without the 'r' for those who pronounce those there), other say it like the vowel in 'cat'.

Willowmound
07-13-2007, 12:39 PM
Tell those other people they're wrong. ;)

Bartholomew
07-13-2007, 01:28 PM
For those who can't imagine how they would sound different, here you go:

Cot rhymes with hot.

Caught is pronounced more caw-t with a much longer vowel sound (possibly a dipthong).

In Kansas, Hot, Cot and Caught all rhyme.

Sean D. Schaffer
07-14-2007, 09:25 AM
In Kansas, Hot, Cot and Caught all rhyme.


The same thing is true in Oregon, too.

Of course, we have a tendency of pronouncing lots of things differently in the Northwest. For instance we pronounce Oregon: Or' ee gun, not: Or ee gahn'

Oh, well. If a different part of the country wants to mispronounce it, that's their prerogative.

;)

JB_Finesse
07-15-2007, 03:22 AM
For the hot, cot and caught it's exactly the same in California.

Medievalist
07-15-2007, 03:37 AM
Caught, cot, like merry, Mary, and marry, and catch, and aunt, and pen and pin -- these are all dialect markers.

Lady Esther
07-15-2007, 05:05 AM
In Maryland, Caught is Cawt. People in Baltimore, Maryland pronounce Mother like Muva, thought I pronounce it Mutha. People often ask me where I'm from. I suppose my accent is a mix of North and South, since Maryland is in the middle.