The propa way to spel

Itch   Saturday, April 10, 2004, 23:14 GMT
Welcom ladies and Gentelmen.

I offen find it funy to see pepel scered ov change. The English langwage duzn't make sense wotsoever. Pepel wud rather spel werds like becoz and naber in funy ways.

You can understand wot I'm writing rite now. Infact a littel kid lerning English wud be abel to spel better in this way of writing than the so called "corect" way. It's not that much different, it's just reforming sertan werds to make them mour corect.

It mite luk funy at first, but that's only becoz your iyes hav been corupted by the English of old. 99% ov the time when a person makes a speling mistake, the word they spel realy shud be the way it's spelt.

Exersize your mynd.
Kirk   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 09:29 GMT
I agree! I would be the first to say that spelling reform would be really great, but (at least if we're talking about on global terms), English has so many widely varying modes of pronunciation (mostly differences amongst vowels) that accommodating them seems impossible. Devising a common "phonetic" system even between just two English accents proves pretty difficult. For example, your spelling "wot" for "what" makes perfect sense for a British accent, as "what" rhymes with words commonly spelled with that particular combination such as "pot" and "got". However, most Americans pronounce "what" as rhyming with "but". The spelling "wot" doesn't make any more sense to those speakers than current "what" does, representing no improvement.

How about the wide variation in the vowel in words such as "bath", "dance", and "lather" among the English-speaking world? "Bath" is typically pronounced [a:] in southern England and Australia, for example, but many northern English dialects and almost all American dialects pronounce it with [@] (rhyming with 'cat"). Similarly, "dance" is typically [a:] in southern England but varies between [a:] and [@] in other parts of the UK and places like Australia, being uniformly [@] in America. A pronunciation for words like "Lather" cannot even be agreed upon by RP speakers (or witness RP 'class" [kla:s], yet "classify" [kl@sIfaI]!).

While a lot of English spelling really could stand for some simplification, there's so much diversity in pronunciation that it becomes really difficult to devise spellings that even 2 different dialects can agree upon, much less everyone else. Who would decide such a thing as new spellings? Would people in Auckland, Perth or Capetown be content to learn new spellings that only make sense to people in Liverpool, Vancouver or San Diego? Is there some kind of system that would make everyone compromise equally? These are huge barriers to any reforming of English spelling.
Robert   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 13:49 GMT
What about these words fast, pass, flash, can't, past, mask, half, laugh, can't, aunt, plant, dance, basket, example etc. Americans pronounce them with [@] and Britons pronounce them with [a:].
Robert   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 14:20 GMT
Here are some more,

Looo   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 14:23 GMT
How about if there's a letter like umlaut a which represents the sound of /@/ and /a:/ at the same time?
Robert   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 14:33 GMT
There was one spelling reform I once heard of that had the idea of using ''a'' for both [@] and [a:] because of the difference in those words between the American and British pronunciation. What do you think of that idea?
Itch   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 16:48 GMT
What about these words fast, pass, flash, can't, past, mask, half, laugh, can't, aunt, plant, dance, basket, example etc. Americans pronounce them with [@] and Britons pronounce them with [a:].

That's wrong, since you says "Britons"

Britain is.......

Northern England = [a:]
Midlands (England) = [a:]
Southern England = [@]
Scotland = [a:]
Wales = [a:]

Southern England is not the whole of BRITAIN.
Itch   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 16:52 GMT
Got that wrong way round.

Northern England = [@]
Midlands (England) = [@]
Southern England = [a:]
Scotland = [@]
Wales = [@]

Generally the majority of British people pronounce words like words fast, pass, flash, can't, past, mask, half, laugh, aunt, plant, dance, basket like Americans.
Jim   Monday, April 12, 2004, 00:57 GMT
Using ''a'' for both [@] and [a:] is a pretty good idea. This is how it's used now. Here's how my (Aussie) accent deals with these words.

answer [@ns..]
master [ma:st..]
castle [ka:s.l]
sample [s@mp.l]
ask [a:sk]
last [la:st]
fast [fa:st]
pass [pa:s]
flash [fl@sh]
can't [ka:nt]
past [pa:st]
mask [ma:sk]
half [ha:f]
laugh [la:f]
aunt [a:nt]
plant [pl@nt]
dance [d@ns]
basket [ba:sket]
lather [l@TH..]

Also "what", I think, is fine as it is even though I pronounce it [wot] like Itch does. There are those who make the distinction between "w" and "wh" so I don't think turning all "wh"s into "w"s is a good idea besides it's good to be able to distinguish between homonyms in spelling anyway. Turning "wh"s into "hw"s is a terrible idea: most of us don't make the distinction anyway so "hw" wouldn't be natural for us and of those who do make it not all say [hw] some use an entirely different phoneme ([W] in SAMPA, like an unvoiced [w]). Also the "a" in "what" is fine because (in non-North-American accnets) the letter "a" regularly gets pronounced as /o/ after "w", "wh" or "qu" if spelling also indicates that it be pronounced as a short vowel, similarly "ar" becomes pronounced as "or" would. Also, "what" fits into a pattern:

Jim   Monday, April 12, 2004, 02:17 GMT
For the same reason, I think, that "here", "there" and "where" should be left as they are. You could go for the more phonemic "heer", "thair" and "whair" (or even "heer", "dhair" and "whair") or something but then you'd be breaking the pattern. If the aim of spelling reform is simplification then patterns like these should be maintained. It's not only correspondance with speach that makes spelling (reformed or traditional) easier, patterns such as these also help.
Robert   Monday, April 12, 2004, 03:14 GMT
Jim, you've been mentioning in this forum a few times about bringing back the letter ash. I've been wondering if that is really such a good idea because of these words. fast, pass, flash, can't, past, mask, half, laugh, can't, aunt, plant, dance, basket, example. Americans would change the letter in them to ash and some people would keep the letter as ''a''. Bringing back ash might not be such a good idea.
Smith   Monday, April 12, 2004, 03:23 GMT
Jim's came up with a proposal spelling reform system that he's been talking about in this thread.

He distinguishes the two ''th'' sounds by writing ''dh'' and ''th''.
Jim   Monday, April 12, 2004, 05:18 GMT
Yeah, I think if any reform need be done it probably oughtn't be phonemic. That system that I keep mentioning makes the distinction between [th] and [TH] and the one between [@] and [a:] (it uses "th" and "dh" and "a" and "aa") but perhaps this would be better left undone. The only problem is "thy" and "thigh" but if you're not insisting on having a phonemic system you could change "thigh" to "thie" leaving "thy" as it is and still distinct. So we could probably get away with leaving ash where it is, thorn and eth too ... or maybe just bring one of them back (which one thorn or eth?).
Jim   Monday, April 12, 2004, 06:27 GMT
Of course, if you're in the business of spelling reform you've got to be consistant and you've got to be careful. If, for example, you respell "mind" as "mynd", then you probably should respell "find" as "fynd". If you're sticking with the magic "e" in words like "rite", "like", "naber", "time" and "mite" then don't forget to double your consonant letters in words like "spelling" and "funny" (otherwise they'll be [spi:liN] and [fju:ni(:)]). And before you settle on "mour" like "your" as a respelling of "more" think what you'll be doing with words like "flour", "sour" and "hour". Also ask yourself whether such a spelling as "scered" wouldn't be completely terrible and much worse than the original.
Ewba   Monday, April 12, 2004, 15:32 GMT
In my opinion.


Should form some sort of consortium, that is aimed at reformed the English language which is accurate and correct for the above countries.