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Re: CONLANG Digest - 9 May 2000

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Thursday, May 11, 2000, 22:44
Muke Tever wrote:
> But if we're talking about a spelling reform to reflect _pronunciation_, then > 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> But really... when Latin became Spanish or French, what did people do? When > {frater} starts sounding like {fradre}, {fredre}, then {frère}, it might seem > "nice" to keep people from having to relearn to read, but "frère" isn't > "frater" anymore and French isn't Latin anymore...
First off, most people DIDN'T have to relearn to read, because they didn't know how to read. Second, Latin was seen as a separate language from the vulgar language, third, Latin and French, etc. were very distinct languages in vocabulary, grammar, etc. Fourth, Latin was preserved for some time as an international language of the educated.
> >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.
> 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. -- "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTailor