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CONLANG Digest - 10 May 2000 (still mainly English)

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Friday, May 12, 2000, 5:29
>From: Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> >Subject: Re: CONLANG Digest - 9 May 2000 > >Muke Tever wrote: >> But if we're talking about a spelling reform to reflect _pronunciation_,
>> the important part is the speech and not the current orthography! ;p > >YES! That was my point exactly. A spelling reform would sever American >and British orthography, even if both sides happened to choose the exact >same conventions.
A language is a dialect with an army and a navy. Britain and the US haven't got the same army and navy either ;p
>> Nonsense! You're not going to forget how to read! > >I won't. But what about my kids, who only learn New Spelling? Unless >someone goes "translates" an old book, they're cut off from that.
And here's the perversity point of the argument: If the _current_ orthography is SO BAD that native readers of a reformed version _can't_ figure it out, then the current orthography NEEDS to be changed.
>> All earlier literature can stay just the way it is. > >Then only people born before the reform could read it. After about a >century, we'd all be dead, and there'd be no one left who could read it.
You have lots of faith in education! Every native speaker of Latin is dead, that doesn't stop people from reading Latin, teaching Latin, and coining new words from it. English, however, is _not_ a dead language--it has _millions_ of native speakers--and it would take much more than a _spelling reform_ to cause the end of all its literature in _one generation_!
>> Your great-grandchildren will learn "Third-Millennium" English in school, >> read it everywhere, and have "Old Modern" English as a second language > >Preposterous! Who learns Middle English in school? A few people might >learn Old Spelling, but not many.
Bingo! Now, why wouldn't they learn the Old Spelling, when all the literature of the past couple hundred years is written in it? The only reasons I can think of are 1) They don't _have_ to, assuming everything has been 'respelled' -or- 2) They don't _want_ to, in which case you may as well spell it in Greek because they don't _care_. Now, consider basic necessity. In most cases, especially with the proliferations of modern times (and the amount of static texts in dynamic media like the Internet), familiarity with both spelling systems would be important. [snip--ok,ok, yer right on that bit]
>> >Small changes, like "tho", >> >"nite", "dout", "det", "iland" are more reasonable. >> >> Not "iland". It's no good trying to "fix" bad spellings with _irregular_ >> constructions. > >Uhhh ... Iland is the original spelling.
But it isn't the current spelling, is it? ;) I can easily imagine island's 's' being added in as a clue to the pronunciation, by analogy with words like 'isle'.
>> Even _not_ all or nothing! Just _consistent_. It's no use getting rid of >> one silent {gh} and leaving all the others in! > >Ah. Well, I sort of agree. However, _igh_ *does* have a useful, >*consistent* function as a way of indicating /aj/. It helps, IMO, to >have preserve distinctions between words like "write" and "right". -ugh >has no consistent function, and so it makes sense to drop it.
Sorry, I never did get the knack for vowel transcriptions. Is /aj/ the "long-a" vowel in "weight" or the "long-i" vowel in "height"?
>From: Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> >Subject: Re: CONLANG Digest - 9 May 2000 > >Muke Tever wrote: >> Not "iland". It's no good trying to "fix" bad spellings with _irregular_ >> constructions. >> >> _Every_ il- word in my dictionary (except some technical Latin loans like >> "ilex" and Spanish place names like "Ilocano") starts with "short I", not
>> I in "island". > >But nearly every one of those is ill-, not single l. How would you >spell it? Hey, perhaps Ighland might work! :-)
>> The natural response to 'iland' sounds vaguely French, with >> "short I" (as in bit) and the 'o' in "bot", respectively as the vowels. > >Hunh? I'd say /ajl@nd/ or *maybe* /Il@nd/, where are you getting "the o >of bot" (/A/ in my dialect, I don't know about yours). If it were other >than schwa, wouldn't it be the "a" of land?
I don't know what /A/ is supposed to sound like. When I say the "o" as in "bot", I mean the vowel in bOt, dOt, cOnlang, alOng, hOt, cOdfish, hOllow, fAther, and swAllow. I think it would be /I"land/ if I tried to read 'iland' without recognizing it.
>From: John Cowan <cowan@...> >Subject: Re: CONLANG Digest - 9 May 2000 > >Muke Tever scripsit: > >> Even _not_ all or nothing! Just _consistent_. It's no use getting rid of >> one silent {gh} and leaving all the others in! > >There is really no need to remove silent "gh" except where it is not >truly silent. In general, "gh" has no effect, and can be left alone, >as in "straight". However, "ough" has about 9 different pronunciations, >and should be altered except in the minority of cases where it has >the same sound as the (principal) sound of "ou". "Though" is good >but "through" should be "thru" or perhaps "thrue".
"augh" isn't very unambiguous either, being either /&f/ as in laughter, /a/ as in daughter... I know someone whose name is 'Baughman' and that's /af/. (I STILL have no idea how 'slough' should be pronounced.)
>> (Isn't that basic linguistics, that all similar sounds change together? ;) > >Except when they undergo unconditioned phonemic splits.
What's 'unconditioned' mean here? *Muke! -- ICQ: 1936556 AIM: MukeTurtle "No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much imagined anything quite like it-- What God has arranged for those who love him."