Richard   Saturday, November 22, 2003, 14:23 GMT
A tha/the rule or thu/thee rule would be similar to the a/an rule.
Jim   Thursday, November 27, 2003, 04:11 GMT

Perhaps I have got a lot of time on my hands but it's not as if I'm putting in a lot of effort. I don't think you're 100% correct with the assertion that spelling reform is "not gonna happen". Sure, I doubt that it will ever happen as the designer of Fanetiks envisions it but it is happening all the time just gradually.


I don't think that "gaijin" was such a great word to use as an example. A far better one would have been "samurai". The two words are Japanese and show something of what you were talking about when you mention "biases about some spelling rules" got from other languages. What makes "samurai" a better example than "gaijin" is that the latter hasn't quite made it's way into English.

"Samurai" has become an English word but it's spelling is not based on the rules that govern the spelling of other words ... or is it? Well, in as much as English spelling is a matter of anything-goes free-for-all chaos I suppose anything fits. This word is a transliteration from Japanese. I suppose you could say that there is a rule in English spelling that foreign words are just swallowed spelling and all so "samurai" fits the rules.

So, I see where it is that you're coming from, Clark. Having studied a bit of a foreign language and read up a bit on phonetics I can see the sense in spelling this sound (the "i" sound in "find") as "ai" or "ae". However, I'd be against this as a spelling reform proposal because it looks all too foreign. I think "ie" as in "tie" works better ... of course "Tieland" would be bound to cause a few laughs.

When you mention the "ee" sound you mean the one in "see" I guess. I don't tend to think of it this way either. There are some words where it does represent this sound though but for me "think" is not one of them. If I had to write your sentence, it would be "He thinks hily ov himself."

The "e"s in "he" and "himself" are distinguished because one is at the end of the word and the other is in front of a consonant letter and the "i" in "hily" is "magicked" by the "y" like the one in "shiny". This is where my phonemic system bungles things up a bit. In the system I've come up with I've ditched the magic "e" and ignored morphemics so it becomes "He thinx hiely ov himself."

In creating this new system I've tried to base things on standard spelling. My other old system was just based on phonetics and that sentence would come out as "Hii thinnks haelii ov himself." It uses "ae" for the "i" sound in "find" but it is hardly recognisable as English.

In English the letters "a", "e", "i", "o", "u" and "y" tend to represent different things depending on what follows them (and what's in front). I've tried to reflect this in my new system. However, I don't pretend that this system would ever become standard nor do I even hope it would. Here are some words and how they'd be written in my system just to see whether this makes sense.

sofa ==>> soafa
bee ==>> be
pie ==>> pi
know ==>> no
two ==>> tu
happy ==>> hapy
Clark   Thursday, November 27, 2003, 04:22 GMT
Where did you come up with "gaijin?" I do not remember saying anything about that.

And remember, I am not in favour of spelling reform, and my purpose of this whole thing had little to do with it. I just wanted to see how English-speakers perceive sounds of the English language and then write them down.
Jim   Thursday, November 27, 2003, 05:02 GMT

You didn't say anything about "gaijin", I did. When I was talking about transliterations from other languages in my post last week. I was just trying to think of an example from Japanese and I came up with that one afterwards I thought of a better example, "samurai".

I'm not in favour of spelling reform either but there are some which use "ai" for that sound. I don't think "ai" is a good grapheme to use in spelling reform proposal but I understand that it's not you who is proposing this.

I too am interested to see how "English-speakers perceive sounds of the English language and then write them down." and I was trying to explain how I do ... of course, sometimes I get carried away and prattle on about my newest waste-of-time invention.

Anyway, how about this question? What does the Giant in "Jack 'n the Beanstalk" say? How would you write this if you were writing a book? You know "Pheye! Phigh! Phowe! Phumb! I smell the blood of an Englishman ..."

Hey, perhaps I should start a thread about it ...
Clark   Thursday, November 27, 2003, 05:06 GMT
To me, "pheye" looks like "figh" or "fI" or "fai."

I would write this as;

"Fee, feye, fo, fum; eye smel thu blud uv an Eenglishmun."

But that is more of a constructed sentence. I think that if I had to write out this sentence using the sounds that came to my mind when I thought of the words, it would be more like this;

"Phee, figh, fo, fum; I smel the blud ov an Englishman.