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Re: French reform (Re: C.Thalmann, & #1)

From:Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>
Date:Sunday, April 10, 2005, 20:49
--- In, Peter Kolb <peterwlkolb@Y...> wrote:

> As for sound difference, sounds will come out differently even > in a rationalised spelling system as a result of human "laziness".
Still, some sound differences are crucial to the understanding of a given word, and neglecting those in a spelling reform is downright criminal... imagine if a Frenchman were to write an English spelling reform, and used the same letter to spell "short i" and "long e", since (to his ears) they "sound the same"! This is what your reform is doing to French, I'm afraid. The book you are refering to appears to be using English syllables to explain French pronunciation -- an endeavor doomed to fail miserably due to the many fundamental differences between the two phonologies.
> The > suggestions were more for a more phonetic spelling rather than phonemic > spelling (is that right?).
For any language, regardless of the complexity of its phonology, a phonemic system is certainly preferable over a phonetic one. The latter might be easier to learn for a foreigner, but the former makes sense *within* the language, to the native speaker, and that's the most important thing.
> I don't doubt that the French would resist reform
Just like the Americans and Brits would resist a reform in their spelling.
> French _spelling_ reform is not my > project.
What, would you like to reform French pronunciation instead? Heh. A mind-boggling idea. o_0
> Your example of baies and baies entières --E is ee or the rounded
ee-- could
> be noted in the dictionary as one entry for baies as bï-s (or whatever > spelling) for bï /bee/ and bï satjïr /bee satjeer/.
No, /E/ is the English "short e". Also, why write the French /i/ as |ï| rather than just |i|? After all, French only has one i-like sound, not "short i" and "long e" as English. You really should get a more accurate impression of the French sound system (or, in fact, any non-English sound system) before you attempt a reform. Starting with the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) and its computer- friendly encoding X-SAMPA seems a good idea.
> Please, please, please, > don't burn me at the stake. This is not the first time that this
topic has
> been alighted after discussions on German spelling reform.
Don't take it as a personal attack. You probably couldn't know how inaccurate your French book's sound descriptions are. It appears they're aimed at quickly teaching a tourist how to order a beer in France, rather than at building a solid foundation for mastery of French. Much to learn you have, young padawan. ;o) -- Christian Thalmann