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Re: CONLANG Digest - 10 May 2000 (still mainly English)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, May 12, 2000, 13:30
Muke Tever wrote:

> 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.
Just so. And then you have to decide what goals you have in mind when changing it. Regularized Inglish has the goal of making *reading* easy; once you have learned the sounds of the letters and their standard combinations in your dialect, you can convert any written word to the corresponding spoken word with fair reliability. It is a secondary goal to disturb the existing system as little as possible in the process of achieving the preceding goal. A tertiary goal is to maintain spelling separations (if two words are spelled differently in the standard spelling, they are different in Reg.Ing. also). This goal sometimes has to be sacrificed. It is not a goal to make *spelling* equally automatic: you simply have to know that "hate" is spelled "hate" and not "hait" or "haight".
> 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_.
One of the particular virtues of Reg.Ing. is that a program can map 99% of old spellings to new ones. The exceptions are true homographs like "read" (present tense) and "read" (past tense) which become "read" and "red" respectively.
> 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'.
Reg.Ing. simply drops these silent "s" letters, as in aile, apropo, chassi, debri, demene, ile, ilet, iland, lile, vicount.
> 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"?
The latter.
> "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/.
Reg.Ing. changes laughter to lafter, or laafter in Brit.Reg.Ing. The overwhelming majority of words with "au" are pronounced like "author" or "haul", and this is the Reg.Ing. pronunciation of "au". By rule, it is the pronunciation of "augh" also, as "gh" never changes the pronunciation.
> (I STILL have no idea how 'slough' should be pronounced.)
See previous posting.
> >Except when they undergo unconditioned phonemic splits. > > What's 'unconditioned' mean here?
"Not determined by the surrounding sounds". -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)