Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Strangeness of U (was Re: CHAT behove etc (was: Natlag: Middle English imper

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 17:05
>>>>Final vocalic <ue> as in argue, true, blue etc. is presumably a later >>>>innovation? > >Groan - of course not. > >>>I don't know. Those are all following consonant clusters, where 've' >>>would be an impossible interpretation. > >Precisely. I suppose one has to spell it out very carefully. OK - in the >days when U and V were both written with the same letter: if _u_ was >initial & followed by a vowel _or_ came between two vowels, it was read as >/v/.
OK^2. So in the minimal pair valve / value noted by Mark, it's the "v" form that's the newer one then. Also rationalizable, since the /v/ came originally from an /f/. But I thought that the medial voicing took place earlier than the <v>/<u> split... No, wait, don't answer that - even if it did, there's still the solution to use <ff> for /f/ and <f> for /v/, as in modern Welsh. Yeah. Seems to work out all right either way.
> > Why is that not sensible? It's definitely better than the > horrible >"through", and the rule that final single vowels are > > pronounced "long" in monosyllables already exists - > > extending it to <u> too doesn't seem very radical. > >But it doesn't. "Through" does not rhyme with 'pew', it rhymes with 'pooh'. >Yes, I know that throughout much of the anglophone world /ju/ becomes just >plain /u/ after /r/, but it ain't universally so. Sally will no doubt >recall that in south Wales 'threw' is pronounced ['TrIw]. The spelling >'thru' suggests where 'threw' is pronounced with some actual realization of >the /ju/ diphthong, then 'through' is also. That is simply wrong.
You are correct. However, I'm not aware of any American dialects which retain the /r/ there. But what really makes your point moot is that "through" is no more regular. If "thru" is an improvement for the vast majority of English speakers and doesn't do anything - good or bad - for a small minority, it definitely seems like a sensible change to me. However, if you mean you want to champion for "throo" instead, go ahead!
>Also, there is no other precedent for this use of final -u in English. If >you are going to change 'through', it needs IMHO to be considered in common >with -ough generally.
"Through" is the _only_ word where <ough> = /u/ AFAIK. _This_ is IMO what makes it a horrible spelling. Yes, the final <u> would be an only native instance, but like I said, words like "go" and "she" already represent a similar pattern, plus it's already recognized.
>And this is now becoming yet another "English spelling reform" thread, so >I'm opting out at this point. It is the _Conlang_ list after all. > >-- >Ray
Well, nobody said they have to be constructed a priori... :) John Vertical