over 18 different pronunciations for ''caramel''.
As I mentioned on another thread http://www.antimoon.com/forum/2004/6080.htm
there are over 18 different pronunciations for this one word ''caramel'' which is why spelling reform is a bad idea. Here they are,
[ka:rm..l], [ka:rm.l], [ker..mel], [ker..m..l], [ker..m.l], [ke..r..mel] [ke..r..m..l], [ke..r..m.l], [k@r..mel], [k@r..m..l], [k@r..m.l], [k@r..mOu], [k@r..mul], [k@r..muw], [k@r..mow], [k@r..mow],[k@r..mo:l], [k@r..mo:], [c@r..m..l], [c@r..mel].
How do you pronounce ''caramel''? I pronounce it [ka:rm..l].
How strange would it be if we had over 18 different spellings of the word ''caramel''. If we were going to have spelling reform match all accents phonemically correct we'd have to have over 18 different spellings for this one word ''caramel''.
This thread is totally different from that thread that you've given me a link too. What I'm talking about is that there are over 18 different ways that native English speakers pronounce this one word ''caramel'' and because of that and many other reasons, spelling reform is a bad idea and flawed.
So... you have one example. And this word is, all in all, one of the better spelled words anyway, and the differences are fine distinctions in vowels that aren't necessarily differences that would necessitate different spellings.
How many pronunciations of the word "one" are better represented by the spelling "one" than say, "wun"?
I know of no accent in which is pronounced like the "one" of "cone" or as two syllables "o-ne". It is clear that no matter what the precise pronunciation in your dialect is, "wun" is an immeasurably more precise spelling.
How many pronunciations of the word "knight" are better represented by the spelling "knight" than "nayt/nait/nite"?
As far as I know, only Lowland Scots retain the sound represented by the "gh" in "knight" (x in IPA, "ch" in German), and I don't even know if they pronounce it in "knight". However, Lowland Scots (aka Lallans or Scots) is sufficiently divergent from RP or General American that it can be considered a separate language.
No dialect of English pronounces the "k" in "knight" to my knowledge. It is also clear that "nayt" or "nait" or "nite" would be a far better spelling no matter the precise way you pronounce it.
I can think of many, many more examples like these. A short list: right, would, could, enough, though, two, chef, love, move, of, who, people, queue, eight, ghost, league, photo, chaos, knee, gnat, hiccough, write, xylophone, debt, subtle, receipt, Wednesday, come, comb, beauty, chauffeur
A potential simplified list: rite, wood, cood/kood, inuf, tho, tu/too, shef, luv, moov, uv, hu/hoo, peeple, kyu/kue/cue, eit/ate/ait, goast, leeg, foto, kaos, nee, nat, hikup, rite, zylofone, det, suttle, reseet/recete, Wenzday, cum/kum, come/kome, byuti/byooty/byutee, shofer/showfer
If you can find a way to justify the original spellings as compared to this list, I'll be impressed. Why should we use the original spellings instead of these. How do they represent the various pronunciations better than these spellings? Even if there's significant variation in pronunciation, I contend that these spellings would all better represent pronunciation in virtually all dialects of English.
Note that I'm not advocating these as actual spellings, since I would use a consistent system, and so they would be spelled a bit differently.
Just because you had to master the massive illogicalities of English spelling doesn't mean we have to make foreigners and children do so too. I suspect that's the underlying reason you dislike spelling reform, because you learned the traditional system it and you want everyone else to as well. And the fact that you'd have to spend *gasp* a whole hour learning the new system and a couple months getting used to it.
Erimir, There is more than one pronunciation of ''one''. Not everyone pronounces it ''wun''.
Quote-''For the numeral we agree in spelling one, some speakers say [wʌn], rhyming with run (or its northern equivalent [wʊn]), while others say [wɒn], rhyming with Ron. Both lots of speakers face an equally arbitrary spelling for this word, which is spelt as if pronounced to rhyme with cone (which is not a pronunciation used by anyone).''
The people that pronounce it to rhyme with ''Don'' won't accept the respelling ''wun''.
Did you not pay attention to what I said?
Something I wrote is repeated almost exactly on that page.
Nobody pronounces "one" like in "cone", and nobody pronounces it as two syllables, like "o-ne".
So regardless if you pronounce it /wun/, /wan/, /won/, etc. "wun" is still a better spelling since it at least gets the initial and final consonants correct.
The people who pronounce it to rhyme with "Don" would probably PREFER the spelling "won", this is true. That doesn't mean that they wouldn't accept it though. Additionally, in any proposed system, it is better to maintain distinctions that are kept in some dialects, that way nobody's dialect is unfairly represented. Thus, I would have to spell "hwut" and "hwayt" for "what" and "white" even though I pronounce it as "wut" and "wayt". Similarly, I have to spell "caught" as "kot" even though I pronounce it the same as "cot", spelled as "kat" even though I pronounce them identically. I am perfectly willing to accept some spellings that aren't representative of my pronunciation in the interest of no alienating other speakers.
The most important thing to remember is, however, that if it were spelled as "wun" they wouldn't have any difficulty that WASN'T ALREADY THERE, and since the consonants would be accurately represented IT WOULD STILL BE EASIER than the current spelling.
The point is that the current spelling doesn't accurately represent ANY dialect, and a reformed spelling would better represent ALL dialects. "Nite" (or "nayt" or "niet" if you eliminate magic-e) is a better representation of the pronunciation of "knight" no matter what dialect you speak. It is also important to note that there are many phonemes that are pronounced differently in some accents which are still the same phoneme. For example, "I" in Southern US accents is often pronounced as a monophthong, but it isn't necessary to have a separate spelling since they can know that everywhere they see "ie" or "ay" or whatever they pronounce it as that monophthong. Many differences are not phonemic even if they are phonetic.
It is entirely possible to make a reformed spelling that is fair to most all dialects (very small or very divergent dialects may have to be excluded, but such is life), and many languages have been able to come up with orthographies that represent many dialects. Italians learn to read much, much faster than English speakers, in spite of the fact that Italian has much more dialectal fragmentation than English. According to you, regularized spelling should have the opposite effect. Apparently the evidence doesn't bear out such an assertion.
So, if I spell "with" as, say, "wiþ" or "wið" is that going to alienate AAVE speakers who say /wit/? I suppose they might be annoyed, but they ought to understand the reason for it. And it certainly doesn't alienate them anymore than the current spelling "with" as opposed to "wit". And I hardly think that spelling it "wiþ" or "wið" is going to cause any harm to them, considering their dialects are already stigmatized. They would be helped far more by some basic linguistics classes being taught in school that teaches students that AAVE is not inferior, just different, etc. than by leaving it as "with" rather than "wiþ".
And considering many speakers have to learn the standard dialect to get by in the world ANYWAY, I don't see how reformed spelling could possibly put them in a worse position. If anything, it would make it easier to learn the standard dialect.
One final thing is that we are able to tolerate some variation in spellings already, as in "jail" vs. "gaol", "foetus" vs. "fetus", "drought" vs. "draft", without causing major problems. It would be acceptable to allow some variation in spelling, as long as the large majority of words are spelled the same (or nearly so). British "faaðer" vs. American "faðer" is going to cause little trouble, and the rare word like British "shédyúl" vs. American "skéjúl" won't all of a sudden result in incomprehensibility.
The main thing is that for non-standard speakers, there are very few words in which the reformed spelling will put them in a WORSE position, and the large majority of words would put them in a BETTER position. It iz klír ðát ðe gód awtwéyz ðe bád bay far.
With non-native speakers soon to outnumber native speakers, I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the world took matters into their own hands.
Erimir, As I've mentioned on another thread spelling reform is a bad idea for many reasons, here are some of them,
1. It would look really alien and strange.
2. Old books would have to be rewritten to match new spelling.
3.The relationship between words like please/pleasure, nation/national, nature/natural, christian/christianity etc. would be less obvious in a strictly phonemic system.
4.We don't all pronounce certain words the same way.
How can you accommodate different dialects when there's so much variation out there? Here are some of the problems with accommodating different dialects,
1.There are over 18 different pronunciations of ''caramel'' made by Native speakers therefore to represent each dialect phonemically accurately we'd have to have over 18 different spellings for that word.
2.We don't all pronounce certain words the same way.
3.Not all accents make the same phonemic distinctions or have the same phonemes. There are some phonemic distinctions that exist in some accents but not others.
For instance, in the accent of East Anglia (northeast of London), pairs such as moan/mown, sole/soul, nose/knows, doe/dough, no/know, throne/thrown, throe/throw and toe/tow are not pronounced as homophones, as they are in other accents. Instead, they constitute minimal pairs, the contrast being that the first member of each pair is pronounced with a [O] vowel, while the second has [Ou] (Wells 1982 : 337). East Anglian English thus has one more phoneme than RP, etc, in this respect. Do you show a distinction between those two phonemes in your spelling system?
Another example is word pairs like Mary/marry/merry, fairy/ferry, hairy/Harry, carry/Kerry, Barry/berry etc. In my American accent there's no distinction between those words and they're homonyms but in some accents there's a distinction and for them Mary/marry/merry are all distinct.
Here's some other examples of such phonemic distinctions made by some Native speakers but not by others,
can (able to), can (the metal container)
lead (the metal), led
read (past tense of read), red
bleu (cheese), blew
tire, tower, tar
It doesn't end there. For some people ''singer'' and ''finger'' rhyme, for some they don't. For some people ''hurry'' and ''furry'' rhyme, for some they don't. For some people ''owl'' and ''towel'' rhyme, for some they don't. For some people ''dial'' and ''tile'' rhyme, for some they don't.
Other examples of words that rhyme for some but not for others,
For some the ''qu'' sound in ''quick'', and the ''kw'' sound in ''Kwanzaa'' are the same, for some they're different. For some the ''q'' sound in ''Qatar'', and the ''c'' sound in ''cat'' are the same, for some they're different. For some, the ''ai'' sound in ''aisle'' and the ''ei'' sound in ''einstein'' are the same, for others they're different. For some the ''e'' sound in ''re'', and the ''a'' sound in ''name'' are the same, for some they're different.
the ''ou'' in ''thou'' and the ''au'' in ''Krakatau''.
The ''ae'' in ''Gaelic'' and the ''a'' in ''name''.
The ''gh'' in ''laugh'' and the ''f'' in ''if''.
the ''x'' in ''example'' and the ''gs'' in ''dogs''.
The ''a'' in ''bath'' vs. the ''a'' in ''father'' vs. the ''a'' in ''cat''.
The ''x'' in ''xylophone'' and the ''z'' in ''zoo''.
the ''ae'' in ''faeces'' and the ''e'' in ''meter''.
The ''oe'' in ''foetus'' vs. the ''ae'' in ''faeces'' vs. the ''e'' in ''meter''.
The ''o'' in ''cloth'' vs. the ''o'' in ''cot'' vs. the ''au'' in ''caught''.
The ''ch'' in ''chef'' vs. the ''sh'' in ''shine''.
The ''a'' in ''father'' vs. the ''aa'' in ''Saab''.
The ''sch'' in ''schmuck'' vs. the ''ch'' in ''chef'' vs. the ''sh'' in ''shine''.
The ''th'' in ''Thompson'' vs. the ''t'' in ''time''.
The ''ps'' in ''psycho'' vs. the ''s'' in ''sun''.
The ''ll'' in ''Llwyd'' vs. the ''l'' in ''light''.
The ''oo'' in ''book'' vs. the ''oo'' in ''good''.
The ''m'' in ''prism'' vs. the ''om'' in ''blossom''.
There are problems with individual words too. ''often'' can be pronounced with the ''t'' or without. ''route'' can rhyme with ''boot'' or ''spout''. ''herb'' can be pronounced with the ''h'' or without. ''because'' can rhyme with either ''buzz'' or ''pause''. ''literature'' can be pronounce many different ways. ''clothes'' can be pronounced with the ''th'' or without.
I pronounce ''want'' to rhyme with ''hunt'' but some others say ''wahnt'', ''wawnt'' or ''wont''.
They're are over 18 different pronunciations of ''caramel''.
I hate spelling reform. It's very unnecessary. Why do we need spelling reform. Traditional orthography best represents all dialects of English. Also, if we had a spelling reform all of the old books would have to be rewritten.
Also, hoo wuud wunt u straenj luuking orthogrufee eneewae? Ie shur wuudunt wunt too see such u straenj thing. Wie wuud ue wunt too see sumthing straenj such az xis. In wee reeformd xu Ingglish langgwij it wuud luuk reelee straenj indeed. Ol uv xu oeld buuks wuud haftoo bee reeritun.
Spelling reform is nonsense.
I say it again, keep spelling the way it is. KEEP SPELLING THE WAY IT IS!!!!!!!
We need spelling reform because there are 40 million functional illiterates in the US and 7 million in the UK, a higher proportion than in other developed countries. There is twice as high a rate of dyslexia amongst English speakers than Italian speakers. Teaching children to read English takes two to four times as long as it does to teach languages with simpler writing, such as Spanish and Italian.
Yet Italian has more dialectal fragmentation than English.
By your logic, the fact that Italian has far more variation in speech, it should therefore be woefully unsuited to having it's phonemic writing system. Yet in study after study, literacy is found to be easier to obtain in Italian.
Would ANYONE care to address this rather than simply throwing lists or words at me? I KNOW that there are different pronunciations in different countries, but that doesn't mean that all of them need to be reflected, or that all of them even require different spellings to be reflected.
And besides, some of your distinctions are just cheating. You're using sounds from other languages. Someone with a knowledge of Arabic might pronounce Qoran differently, but the "q" sound of Arabic doesn't exist as a part of any English dialect. Similar notes apply for ll of Llwyd (which is a Welsh sound). No orthography of English needs to include a separate spelling for foreign sounds. That's what their orthography and the IPA is for.
And at any rate, I'd tend to maintain most distinctions. I pronounce "merry" and "marry", "caught" and "cot", "latter" and "ladder", "which" and "witch" the same, but I'd be perfectly willing to (continue to) spell them differently to accomodate other speakers. Will this be a detriment to me? Moreso than spelling them the same, for sure. But compared to current spelling? No, I already have to spell them differently, so how exactly is continuing to spell them differently going to disadvantage me?
But as an example of words with different pronunciations that don't need different spellings, I'll use two words that I pronounce differently from British speakers:
"writer" and "rider"
I pronounce both with a flap, so the 't' and 'd' sound the same. However, since I'm originally from the Great Lakes, I have vowel raising for the sound of 'eye' (identical to how the vowel is affected by Canadian raising) which will be represented as /ay/. So, if we take 'u' to be the sound of 'but', my pronunciation is something like this:
writer - /ruyder/ and rider -/rayder/
However, it isn't therefore necessary for there to be variant spellings. I don't need to insist on "ruyder" and "rayder" while the Briton wants "rayter" and "rayder". The spelling of "rayter" and "rayder" will work for me since the vowel raising rule takes effect before voiceless consonants, therefore writing "writer" and "rayter" still indicates to me that I should raise the vowel, and therefore prevents me from confusing it with "rider".
So, you see, not all dialect differences necessitate different spellings because of the way that pronunciation differences occur.
And frankly, I don't think that the Southerner is going to be any more confused or annoyed by the fact that "pin" and "pen" would be spell differently, considering that they've had to deal with that all along. Similarly, is the Cockney now going to be confused by "three" and "free" being spelled differently when that's exactly what they've had to deal with all along?
And would knowledge of how to pronounce the words according to the standard language be a hindrance when their dialect is already stigmatized and to move up in the world they'll need to learn the standard anyway? They already need to learn the standard pronunciations, except the writing system is no help at the moment.
Ay downt þink ðát riformd spéling wód nésisérelí lók ðát wírd. Hél, tú sum forenerz suc áz ðe Duc, awr riformd vowel sistem mayt méyk it lók mor simeler tú ðéyr lángwij. Unlés yú þink ðát Duc iz án uglí lángwij, in whic kéys, ay gés yú wódent layk ðát. But kíping éy horeblí inkensistent rayting sistem for ðe séyk uv ésþétiks iz hardlí án intélejent argyement.
"Oooh, it looks pretty, so I don't care that dyslexics and the functionally illiterate can't read! If helping them means that I have to deal with ugly abominations like "stréynj" for "strange", then screw them!"
And finally, would anyone like to provide a justification for using "gh", "kn" and "gn" words instead of different spellings? In other words, spelling
k/night, daughter, through, though, thorough, bough, weigh, eight, fight, caught, rough, enough, sigh, ghost, gnaw, knee
nite, dauter, thru, tho, thoro, bow, wey, eit, fite, caut, ruf, enuf, sie/sye, goast, naw, nee?
Explain how the original spellings would be better, considering that nobody pronounces the "gh", "gn" or "kn" except maaaaybe the Scots (and I'm content to consider Lallans a separate language, which then needs it's own orthography). How is keeping those letters, which nobody pronounces, a benefit to ANYONE?
''And besides, some of your distinctions are just cheating. You're using sounds from other languages. Someone with a knowledge of Arabic might pronounce Qoran differently, but the "q" sound of Arabic doesn't exist as a part of any English dialect. Similar notes apply for ll of Llwyd (which is a Welsh sound). No orthography of English needs to include a separate spelling for foreign sounds. That's what their orthography and the IPA is for.''
The Welsh ''ll'' sound exists in Welsh English dialects as well and so is a part of some English dialects and so would need representation in a phonemic spelling system.
I already asked this in the other thread, but your only example is a Welsh personal name.
Do you have a minimal pair using words that are used in other dialects?
For example, if they pronounced "last" (last place) and "last" (how long can you last?) differently, then you'd have some justification in mentioning that. If they only pronounce words of Welsh origin with the "LL", then it is not a good example, since not many Welsh words exist in other dialects.
And I fail to see why it would need representation in a phonemic spelling system. A phonemic system would have to include input from many dialects, but a distinction that ONLY exists in one SMALL dialect is not something that needs to be represented. You are exaggerating the amount of variation that needs representation in order to justify a system that represents no variation.
In other words... If we don't need to represent every little variation in our current writing system, why would need to represent every little variation in a reformed writing system?
A reformed writing system need only represent major variations, such as pronouncing "hw" and "r", and "t" instead of flaps, etc.
And I notice you picked the one part where I was simply ignorant of Welsh dialects (I *am* from America, so...)
Would you mind responding to the other parts?
''Do you have a minimal pair using words that are used in other dialects?''
''law'' vs. ''llaw'' is a minimal pair for them. They pronounce ''llaw'' with the Welsh ''ll'' sound. Some also pronounce the word ''llama'' with the Welsh ''ll'' sound and ''llama'' is not of Welsh origin. Also, Welsh people often think people from other English speaking countries are lazy for pronouncing the Welsh ''ll'' the same as the ''l'' in ''light''.
''A reformed writing system need only represent major variations, such as pronouncing "hw" and "r", and "t" instead of flaps, etc.''
Erimir, Not everyone that makes a distinction between ''w'' and ''wh'' says ''hw''. Some use a voiceless ''w'' sound in ''wh'' words. For them keeping the diagraph ''wh'' would be better than replacing it with ''hw''. The IPA symbol for that voiceless ''w'' sound is an upside down ''w''.
''Do you have a minimal pair using words that are used in other dialects?''
Erimir, I've heard from some linguistics professor that some Welsh English speaking dialects make a distinction between ''lock'' (the noun) and ''lock'' (the verb) and a similar distinction between ''light'' (opposite of ''heavy'') and ''light'' (opposite of ''dark''). Those speakers pronounce ''lock'' (the noun) and ''light'' (opposite of ''heavy'') with a Welsh ''ll'' sound.
So, therefore there'd be a distinction in this sentence for them,
They need to buy a lock for their toolshed so they can lock it.
I don't think spelling reform is really such a bad idea. We should get rid of that redundant ''b'' in ''doubt'', ''debt'' and that redundant ''s'' in ''island''.
what is llaw?
And pronouncing "llama" with it is clearly just a spelling pronunciation... Spanish uses the same digraph as they do in Welsh. At any rate, as I said before, there's no need for a spelling reform to impose a distinction on everybody that only a tiny minority of speakers make. And as I've said before (and something keepspellingthewayitis has never addressed) is that spelling "lock" (noun) and "lock" (verb)
I know that it's a voiceless 'w'. I probably know a lot more linguistics than you. However, 'hw' approximates the sound better than "wh", and it also avoids ambiguity with words like "blowhard" and "nowhere", since when it's spelled "hw" you wouldn't accidentally pronounce it as "blo-whard" or "now-héyr".
Therefore, it is better to spell it "hw", which then spells "nowhere" as "nowhwéyr" and which avoids ambiguity in words like "blow-hard".
And since you're such a fan of traditionalism, you'll be happy to know that Old English used to spell that sound as "hw". The order changed for some reason in the interim. Also, in the pronunciation guide of most dictionaries, it's given as "hw". So, I feel pretty justified in spelling it "hw".
And I still see that keepspellingthewayitis hasn't bothered defending spellings like "knight" and "doubt", even though he seems to be against any kind of reform.
I'm still waiting to hear why those spellings are good.
Note: there is no defense for "doubt" since the 'b' was never pronounced in English, so I wouldn't even bother trying to find a reason to keep it there. Especially since there is no "dout" for it to contrast with. But I want you to try to defend it anyway, since you think all our current spellings are so wonderful.
btw, do you use -or or -our in words like "color", -re or -er in words like "center", -ize or -ise, "gaol" or "jail", "drought" or "draft"? If you use the American variations, you're already participating in a spelling reform. And I imagine you'd oppose switching BACK to British usage just as vigorously as switching to anything else.
Oops, continuing that thought...
And as I've said before (and something keepspellingthewayitis has never addressed) is that spelling "lock" (noun) and "lock" (verb) are already spelled the same. How are Welsh people going to be hurt if it continues to be spelled the same?
Are they going to be at any more of a disadvantage if, instead of spelling them both as "lock" they spelled them both as "lak" or "lok" or something? Clearly not.
Are they going to be better off spelling both versions as "light", they spelled both as "lite" or "layt"? Yes, because they don't have to remember to spell it with "igh".
So, in no cases will they be made to be worse off, and in many, they'll be better off. Still not seeing how this is a problem.