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CONLANG Digest - 9 May 2000

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Thursday, May 11, 2000, 21:40
>From: Irina Rempt <ira@...> >Subject: Re: Exercise in orthographic aesthetics > >> You use the >> word _acesto_, which I think means 'here'... > >What about "this"? In Romanian it's "acesta".
"This" is a better interpretation. (possibly even so far as "this here" ;)
>From: Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> >Subject: Re: CONLANG Digest - 8 May > >Muke Tever wrote: >> Actually /hw/ is rather 'logical' (even ignoring spelling) as "who" isn't >> /wu/, but /hu/, which you'd expect from its w assimilating[?] to u. > >Just as, earlier, Old English _hwu:_ became _hu:_, or in modern >spelling, _how_, which is why it's the one orthographic exception to the >"wh-words".
Hey, that's cool to know!
>In Scots, the usual pronunciation was /xw/, which is why those words >were once spelt there as _quhen_, _quho_, etc.
And as this is from IE /kW/, it's 'qu' in lots of places (Romance). I always thought complex sounds like /kW/ really neat, as they go pretty much everywhere (qu, k, p, f, v, w...)
>> Yes but even disregarding _orthography_ the languages are still different. >> Especially if you take into account that not all British English is RP. > >Right, but I was referring solely to the written forms. In writing >there is very little difference between the two dialects. In speach, >there are rather large differences, especially between non-RP dialects >and American English.
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
>> Heaven forbid! At least, not without reforming the _rest_ of English.
>> anyone?) ;p > >A complete spelling reform would be Pure Evil [to use my new favorite >phrase :-)], it would cut us off from earlier literature.
Nonsense! You're not going to forget how to read!
>All earlier >literature would have to be reprinted in the new spelling, and everyone >would have to relearn to read! Yuck!
All earlier literature can stay just the way it is. All _new_ literature can be in the new orthography, and reprints of old stuff can be respelled--translated, as it were. [Ook!] Your great-grandchildren will learn "Third-Millennium" English in school, read it everywhere, and have "Old Modern" English as a second language, and pronounce {daughter} to rhyme with {laughter} and {dafter} !! <insert maniacal cackle> 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... When we go from {broþar} to {brother} and _stop_, it may help to unify long periods of language but doesn't help much otherwise. Most native English speakers don't have anything like an 'o' in that word, and many don't even have the 'r'. (Of course, constructions like "br^ð^" and "br^ðr" aren't exactly very pretty words either, and that's a dilemma too...)
>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. _Every_ il- word in my dictionary (except some technical Latin loans like "ilex" and Spanish place names like "Ilocano") starts with "short I", not the I in "island". The natural response to 'iland' sounds vaguely French, with "short I" (as in bit) and the 'o' in "bot", respectively as the vowels.
>Maybe over a >century or so, if we were determined enough, a complete orthographic >reform could be made, with occasional small changes to deal with new >changes. But that'll never happen, I'm sure.
Maybe we could do it in a series of incremental steps. E.g., for the next ten years [!] disambiguate _all_ "gh" sounds in new writing (simplify to g, f, h, zero, whatever), etc.
>> Through's silent -ugh I anyway intend to keep until the day I tell my >> "datter" she shouldn't stay out at "nite". > >All or nothing, eh?
Even _not_ all or nothing! Just _consistent_. It's no use getting rid of one silent {gh} and leaving all the others in! (Isn't that basic linguistics, that all similar sounds change together? ;)
>> Maybe it's just me, dissimilating /s/ or something, but that initial s just >> looks so naked out there. > >Really? It exists in plenty of English words, like "small".
Well, sure, but this is a _foreign_ s, travelled from the distant frozen Northlands, creeping towards the warm inner reaches of the mouth. =)
>> Sure, /kv/ isn't too hard (it's as easy as /qu/, but more unfamiliar) > >Not really. /kw/ in English is [kw_0], with the /w/ devoiced. But >there's a phonemic contrast between /v/ and /f/, so you can't assimilate >voice, you have to switch voicing in the middle of the cluster, /kv/. I >personally can't manage it without either partially voicing the /k/ (to >make [kgv]) or devoicing the /v/ to make /kf/, or adding a schwa to make >/k@v/.
Well, I was thinking place-of-articulation-wise. The velar->labial "kv" (it's that IndoEuropean /kW/ again!) is more familiar than the velar->dental "kn" (a combination that has already disappeared from English, along with "gn").
>> If you think _this_ Eastern country's monarch is difficult, wait till you >> meet the next's tsar! > >But _tsar_ is always pronounced /zar/, at least by everyone *I've* ever >heard.
Hmmm, I'm used to tsar as /tsar/, even when it's "czar".
>From: "Daniel A. Wier" <dawier@...> >Subject: Re: Regarding "Number Nine"... > >>From: "Daniel A. Wier" <dawier@...> > >>foreign loans: _Amitika_ "America", _inklik_ "English", _kampiuta_ > >Whoops -- no L in "Nine". Let's try _inkunik_ for "English". And it's >_Aminika_, not _Amitika_. (R and L become N while S becomes T and SH >becomes K.)
Why couldn't R become T? English T often becomes like Spanish R, for example... ("latter")
>From: Herman Miller <hmiller@...> >Subject: Ideas for a conlang-friendly Unicode text editor (long) > >The actual keyboard definition files for these languages would have a >similar format: each line contains a sequence of keys followed by a space, >and in the simplest cases it would be followed by the sequence of Unicode >characters corresponding to the keystroke sequence, delimited by < ... >.
You could use something like .Xmodmap files (UNIX, maps keys to characters in XWindows)
>From: Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...> >Subject: Re: CONLANG Digest - 8 May > >On Wed, 10 May 2000 14:54:08 -0400 Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> writes: >> But _tsar_ is always pronounced /zar/, at least by everyone *I've* >> ever heard. > >From people who i've heard, _czar_ is pronounced /zar/ and _tsar_ is >pronounced /tsar/, even though they're the same word. Since _czar_ is >more common, /zar/ is usually what's heard.
I'm inclined to do this as well except, blame my wacky reading habits, _tsar_ is the more common form IME. *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."