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

From:Peter Kolb <peterwlkolb@...>
Date:Sunday, April 10, 2005, 4:18
Answering Christian Thalmann:

In agreement, spelling reform for French would be difficult because of sound
crushing, sound dropping, and accent shifting. I had already been aware of
that when I wrote that e-mail. Regardless, French could do with a spelling
reform because of its tricky spelling, as you said. The pronunication is
fairly predictable so the spelling should be fairly more predictable than it
is currently. As for sound difference, sounds will come out differently even
in a rationalised spelling system as a result of human "laziness". The
suggestions were more for a more phonetic spelling rather than phonemic
spelling (is that right?). I don't doubt that the French would resist reform
--they seem to resist everything not French-- and that many would decry a
reformed French as ugly. I apologies for not giving more thought on the
pronunciation issue and still haven't. French _spelling_ reform is not my

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/. 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.

Answering #1:

# 1 wrote:

>> Peter Kolb wrote: >> ... >> Why does |a| represent the sound /a/ in "alors" but that in "autre", |a| >> is /o/? >> >> Why do you use two representation for the phoneme /E/? |ae| in "est" and >> |ai| in "vert" >> ...
Why these? Just ad-hoc rationalisation. There has been a number of spelling reform attempts over the centuries but mostly minor changes. Some examples from the 1990 reforms, levraut->levreau, punch->ponch, and similar minor adjustments. What I am suggesting is a rationalisation of French spelling by mapping words to a transliterated form and remaking the word from that form. My book on French ("French: How to Speak and Write It" by Joseph Lemaître) is what I was using as reference in a rough-and-ready manner. An example from the book is Parlez Français /pahr-lay fraN-sai/ could be changed to Parlae Fransai /pahr-lay frahN-sai/. Some more for the why-reform: He is sitting: Il est assis /ay-tah-see/ -> **Ae tasï, **Aet asï? She is sitting: Elle est assise /ay-tah-seez/ -> **Ae tasïs, **Aet asïs? Why so different a spelling but so same a sound? He is running: Il court /coor/ -> **Cör, **A cör /Ah coor/. She is walking: Elle marche /mahrsh/ -> **March, **A march /Ah Mahrsh/. Where are elle and il? Notes: /ay/ A in gAte, /ah/ A in fAther with r-colour, /ee/ EE in sEE.
>> The internationnality of French is what we lose with a reform.. too much >> words are said in different ways along the countries and there would have >> either a writing that varies along the countries or some countries that >> will
I doubt that internationality of French will be damaged by a spelling reform although I can't justify my position at the moment. I doubt that any serious spelling reforms can be done by the French because they are a self-proud obstinate people.
>> Writing for English and French is like for Chinese in a more little way, >> those who write the same dont say the same but writing the same helps for >> the comprehention... Don't you think?
Yes I think but I don't think you were trying to ask me that. What can I say to the above paragraph? PardoN?
>> Same thing for English: too much is pronounced in differant ways to >> reform well >> ... >> But it's good that you've tried, I've myself tried sometimes for French >> and English but I always get stucked with the problems of by a good >> representation for all the countries...
English is a irredeemable shambles that cannot be readily reformed because of the origins of so many of its words makes for a mish mash of spellings and sounds. Peter Kolb.


damien perrotin <erwan.arskoul@...>
Joe <joe@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>