The (UN)importance of pronunciation
|From:||Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, January 10, 2004, 17:14|
Out of curiosity I did a little research project this
morning. Here's what I discovered:
In English, words of 4 letters or less are often
distinguished by their vowel(s).
far fur fir for
Words longer than 4 words (unless they are short words
with suffixes -es, -ed, -er: baker biker, bakes bikes,
baked, biked ) are not often distinquished by their
vowels. A few examples are alive-olive, broke-brake.
Words of 6 or 7 letters or more are virtually never
distinguished by their vowels.
Thus if I take the word "elevator" and replace all the
vowels with a single generic placeholder: -l-v-t-r,
there is no other word in the English language with
that pattern. There are a few close, but not very
illfavored -lf-v-r-d (treating the double LL as a
So in longer words vowels don't matter at all. And in
shorter words, where they appear to matter, they don't
matter when you put them into a context.
If you were standing in the entry of an office
building and someone gave you these directions
verbally, you'd have no trouble understanding them:
gay oop da stars ta zi tap flour, gay dune za hell ti
di tard dur en za leeft, oopun za dour en gay rat own
So, while I understand the allure of exploring mouth
sounds, my own personal preference is to explore
grammars and word building. That's the beauty of
conglanging; there's material enough to please a large
variety of tastes and preferences.