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USAGE: English spelling reform`

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, May 12, 2000, 13:16
Nik Taylor wrote:

> 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.
Actually, the number of phoneme-level differences is small, mostly /A/ vs. /&/ and a variety of idiosyncratic ones. Regularized Inglish uses a few differences in spelling, some of which simply preserve the existing Webster-vs.-Johnson differences. (Reg.Ing. is by design conservative.)
> 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.
If you learn to read this (in American Reg.Ing.): Foarscore and seven years ago our faathers braught forth on this continent a new nation, conceeved in liberty, and dedicated to the propozition that aul men ar created equol. Now we ar engaged in a greit civil wor, testing whether that nation, or eny nation so conceeved and so dedicated, can long endure. We ar met on a greit battlefield ov that wor. We hav cum to dedicate a portion ov that field az a final resting-place for thoze hoo here gave their lives that that nation might liv. It is aultogether fitting and proper that we shood do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot halloe this ground. The brave men, living and ded, hoo struggled here, hav consecrated it far abuv our poor power ot add or detract. The wurld will little note nor long remember whot we say here, but it can never forget whot they did here. It iz for us, the living, raather to be dedicated here to the unfinished wurk which they hoo faught here hav thus far so nobly advanced. It is raather for us to be here dedicated to the greit task remaining before us -- that from this onnord ded we take increased devotion to that cauze for which they gave the last fooll mezure ov devotion; that we here highly rezolv that theze ded shall not hav died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall hav a new birth ov freedom; and that guvernment ov the peeple, by the peeple, for the peeple, shall not perish from the erth. How hard is it going to be for you to read the British Reg.Ing. version, which I will not spell out in detail but which uses "advaanced", "taask", and "laast"? And indeed, how hard will it be to read the original? Not very, I submit.
> 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".
I agree.
> -ugh has no consistent function, and so it makes sense to drop it.
The Reg.Ing. rule "'gh' does not affect the pronunciation" is very simple. Here are the Reg.Ing. spellings of words that are currently spelled with "-ough": /Aw/: bough, plough (or plow), slough, sough, doughty, drought (all unchanged); /ow ~ @w/: do (for "dough"), tho, altho; /Vf/: enuff, ruff, tuff, chuff, sluff (for "slough" meaning "shed skin"); /of/: coff, troff; /O/: baught, braught, faught, aught, saught, thaught, wraught, naught; /u/: thrue, bruam (for "brougham"), slue (for "slough" meaning "marsh"); /ok/: hock (for "hough"); /@ ~ ow/: burro, thurro, furlo; /Vp/: hiccup. -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)