Re: /k/ in i.t.a.
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Friday, November 12, 2004, 4:15|
On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, at 04:58 , Roger Mills wrote:
> Jean-François Colson wrote:
> So my question was: "Do some dialects make a slight
>> phoneTic distinction between the /k/ of cat and the /k/ of key?"
> Quick answer w.r.t. those two words: no, or at best a slight difference.
> The position of the tongue naturally anticipates the location of a
> vowel, so there are allophonic differences between /k/ before front vowels
> and /k/ before back vowels, but that apparently was not what the ITA was
> trying to say.
> A couple things were unclear to me in the ITA. (1) Is the "backward z"
> "s" = [z]) used only mophophonemically (as the ex. "birdz" implies), or
> would it also be used in "rose"?
It was used in the spelling of "rose"; by co-incidence "rose" is in fact
the example I have in front of me in a chart of ITA symbols I have
discovered. It was used whenever /z/ is spelled [s] in traditional
> (2) Given its use of c=k along with k=k,
> why not also distinguish c=s, which is probably a greater problem to
Why not indeed? Especially as our continental brethren have already
provided the symbol, namely |ç|. But it was not. /s/ was always written |s|
There do appear to have been some inconsistencies, for example.......
On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, at 07:01 , Ray Brown wrote:
> On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, at 09:40 , Jean-François Colson wrote:[snip]
>> Of course. And which spelling is used when /k/ is spelt |qu|?
> I have forgotten - probably qu-ligature.
That was a guess based on the fact that this was supposed to an "initial
teaching alphabet" to aid in the transition to standard orthography. But
on further investigation I discover that ITA did _not_ include the letters
|q| and |x|. This seems to me to be at odds with the aim of an initial
Whether |qu| was respelled as |kw| or as |cw| I am not certain, but I
think it was the latter.
When |x| was pronounced /ks/ it was respelled |cs|; but I do not know
whether it was respelled |gz| or g+backward-z when it was pronounced /gz/.
I suspect it was simply |gz|.
Its designer was James Pitman (1901 - 1985) who was a champion of English
spelling reform. I get the impression that he saw ITA as a "Trojan horse"
which would introduce spelling reform after the failure of his earlier
attempts to get the Brits to adopt reform. The non-inclusion of |q| and |x|
as well as the re-writing of 'soft-c' as |s| I think are hang-overs from
his spelling reform proposals of earlier years.
I think James Pitman saw ITA as being a transition from weaning Brits off
traditional spelling onto properly phonemic reformed spelling
>> IIRC I read it has been experienced during the 60's.
> Yep - that's probably right. I was out by one decade: used in the 1960s &
> possibly 1970s.
Yes - I find that James Pitman designed the alphabet in 1959. It was
indeed in the 1960s & 1970s that it was widely used in UK primary schools.
I remember seeing books printed in this alphabet in children's section of
But one of the reasons it failed IIRC was dislike by the more discerning
pupils themselves. They noticed that newspapers, posters & books generally
were not printed in this alphabet; so the asked why they were wasting
their time learning ITA when they would have to learn something else later.
Why not learn to read properly from the start?
Why not indeed?
"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings....."
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]