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Re: Additional Letters for Enlish

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, December 11, 1999, 11:28
At 5:24 am -0600 11/12/99, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>abrigon wrote: > >> Anyone ever seen Gothic (not the calligraphy style, or the architecture >> or horror type or modern sub-culture) the people who invaded Europe >> c.250ad and took over much of the Western Empire c.350ad.. >> >> They had an alphabet based on Greek, I bet a number of their characters >> could be used for English, same lingo family and all? > >Well, whether or not two languages are in the same family has >little to do with whether the script one uses would be appropriate >in describing the phonemic behavior one sees in the other.
Indeed - French, Spanish & Romanian, e.g. are all Romanclangs, but their phonologies are each very different. An alphabet specifically designed for French, e.g., would be no good for either Spanish or Romanian without quite a bit of modification. As for the Gothic alphabet, the only useful additions it would give would be a symbol for /T/ (similar in shape to Greek psi) and one for the 'wh' sound (symbol like the Greek theta) - but whether the latter is rearly necessary is a matter of argument. It would also give a single symbol for /x/ as in the Scots /lox/ 'loch' - but that sound does not occur in most varieties of English. It does not give any symbols for /S/, /Z/, /tS/ or /dZ/ or /D/; and as it also does not have symbol /v/, the usefulness of the adition of /T/ and /W/ is somewhat counterbalanced. And it has only five vowel graphemes. So I fail to see any advantage of the Gothic over the Roman. Indeed, I cannot see any significant advantage in Cyrillic. If we're concerned only with writing English efficiently in a phonetic alphabet, then the so-called Shavian alphabet already exists and could be used. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================