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Re: USAGE: Diversity and uniformity (No rants! (USAGE: di"f"thong))

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Thursday, June 1, 2006, 16:31
Quoting Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>:

> >>It wouldn't actually impair any other Swedes' understanding of > >>what I write if I introduced a number of new letters and/or > >>used some of the old ones slightly differently from them > >>-- it's the prejudice that everybody ought to spell identically > >>that is the real stumbling block. > > > > > > Call me prejudiced, but I'm quite convinced it would seriously impair my > > understanding of your writings if you introduced a number of new letters. > > > > However, some mild respellings - 'kk' for 'ck', say - probably wouldn't > affect > > comprehension. > > I seriously doubt that you'd be seriously hampered if I threw > in some _â, ô, û_, especially since _â, û_ would mostly > correspond to _a, u_ in the traditional spelling, and > _ô_, which would be the most frequent of them, would > correspond to _o_ or _ö_.
When you said "new letters" I, rather understandably I would think, assumed you were talking about actual new letters, not old one with diacritics. Throwing in a few â's and ô's would be unlikely to hamper me much.
> >>Again if spelling wasn't so rigid maybe people wouldn't > >>be so unaware and surprised about how speech differs! > >>IMNSHO what makes these YAEPTs so annoying is that people > >>don't just take an interest in how speech differs, but > >>there is somehow a more or less unexpressed assumption > >>that this is strange, undesirable and/or problematic! > >>why are you all conlanging if linguistic diversity is > >>strange, undesirable and/or problematic? > > > > > > It's all about context. > > > > In a conlang set in a non-modern setting, intended as an aesthetic > exercise, > > variant spellings add a measure of verisimultude. In a modern text which > you > > are reading because you are interested in the content, not how that content > is > > conveyed, it is just an obstacle to rapid comprehension*. I do not think it > at > > all strange I have different attitudes to it the respective cases. > > I think you missed my point: I was not talking about spelling > variation as part of a conlang set in a non-modern setting, but > of (artlang) conlanging generally as an expression of linguistic > creativity, diversity and non-uniformism, and what surprises me > is that the same individuals can embrace one form of linguistic > creativity, diversity and non-uniformism, but be snooty conformists > in another aspect of language.
No, I understood perfectly. I just fail to see anything surprising about it, and tried to give an example showing how its not inconsistent attitude.
> > * From many years' participitation on various mailing lists and online > fora, I > > think I can say with some authority that nonstandard spelling decreases > > effective reading speed, and that it not infrequently impairs > understanding. > > I think you missed my point again: it's just a matter of what > one is used to. English speakers may be bothered by British- > American spelling differences *initially* -- and the same is > true of 'new' versus 'old' German spelling(*), and the differences > between the mainland Scandinavian languages, or even between > Spanish and Italian -- but after a while you do get used to > a variation that is not only limited but even principled.
None of these examples seems really pertinent - American English, British English, old-style German, new-style German, Bokmål, Nynorsk, etc, are all standardized orthographies in themselves. If everyone would spell as they see fit, we'd have hundreds of variants of Swedish alone, and you'll risk having to get used to a new one every time you picked up a book. Certainly, as you note below, you'd eventually learn to become better at learning new variants, but it's still an extra burden. (Also, if how many people spell in informal online settings is any guide, the variation would commonly be less than principled. This fear is reinforced by the fact that, as you probably know, in older Swedish texts you can find several different spellings of the same word within the same paragraph.)
> It seems you are a mental-effort conservationist and > I'm a physical-effort/dead tree conservationist! :)
This would appear to be true. Andreas


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>Diversity and uniformity AND No rants! (USAGE: di"f"thong) -- responses to Andreas and Ray.