spelling reform

kmns   Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:10 pm GMT
This is to the message posted by Bardioc Tue Sep 06, 2005 4:28 pm GMT.

I believe in your assertion. I am a retired employee of a publishing house of Japan, acquired some knowledge of Lain alphabet and workded out a transliterational romanization system of the full set of Kana syllabary. I found it yielded far more satisfying result when applied to the hitorical Kana script than when applied to the reformed script. Please read the comments I posted to the blog SHISAKU


Guest   Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:10 pm GMT
Guest   Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:28 pm GMT
Since the thread ''A Measure of Uncommon Decency'', http://shisaku.blogspot.com/2008/08/measure-of-uncommon-decency.html, of the SHISAKU-Blogs is rather long, I'll give some quotes that may be of interest:

Thursday, August 07, 2008 – A Measure of Uncommon Decency

Henry Bradley began his "On the Relations between Spoken and Written Language–with special reference to English" as follows:

// from Bradley

Many of the advocates of spelling reform are in the habit of asserting, as if it were an axiom admitting of no dispute, that the sole function of writing is to represent sounds. It appears to me that this is one of those spurious truisms that are not intelligently believed by any one, but which continue to be repeated because nobody takes the trouble to consider what they really mean. I do not merely deny the truth of the pretended axiom as a description of the relations between speech and writing as they exist at the present day in English and other languages. I assert that, so far as peoples of literary culture are concerned, there never was a time when this formula would have correctly expressed the facts; and that it would still remain false, even if an accurately phonetic spelling had been in universal use for hundreds of years.

// end of Bradley

And Jespersen his "On some disputed points in English grammar" in the following way:

// from Jespersen

I think it is Voltaire who says that animals are not so stupid as is generally supposed: Les bêtes ne sont pas si bêtes qu'on croit généralement. In the same way I am inclined to think that human beings are not so stupid as most people think, and especially that when something has been done or thought for a long time by many people, there must generally be some justification for it, and it wiil be found to be not so completely irrational as clever men nowadays may thinkt it. I have found this applicable to languauge, which represents, if not the collective wisdom of a nation, at any rate customs of expression and habits of thought which have satisfied the needs of thousnds, sometimes of many millions of people. There are things in most languages which when you come to think of them, look strange, sometimes even quite abusrd, and which are therefore often condemned as illogical by grammarians; who in some cases try to abolish them, while in other cases they find them so firmly rooted that with a shrug of the shoulders they give up any atempts at getting rid of them. But some of them may be defensible after all.

// end of Jespersen

10:22 PM

The following is the comment I posted to Out of Their Right Minds

I think the new spelling system installed after the War is still in the stage of debugging. The Ministry of Education has been incessantly revising and is still revising various tables of characters to be used, (the reversal of which is not to be used) and has been revamping and stil revamping the detailed precepts about what kinds of spelling varieties of a word are permissible, why the traditiona spelling is not to be taught in some cases and permissible in some other cases. Perhaps it was rather those who were pro orthography reform that were out of their right minds. About the rationale of the system, please read the comments to
a Measure of Uncommon Decency

9:15 AM

It is an irony that what was envisaged to bring about simpleness has resulted in this complexity of not only the trouble of typing in non-ASCII letters but sometimes the trouble of typing in the whole word or name twice, the second time without diacritical marks to be embedded as a search key with special tags.

It is provided in English Wikipedia: Manual of Style of Japan-related Articles that where macrons are used in the title, appropriate redirects using the macronless spellings should also be created which point to the actual title (e.g., Tessho Genda and Tesshou Genda pointing to Tesshō Genda), and that for proper names, redirects should be created for the Japanese name order which points to the actual title of the article (e.g., Genda Tesshō, Genda Tessho, and Genda Tesshou pointing to Tesshō Genda).

10:32 PM

Anybody will admit the fundamental drive of the spelling reform is the belief that the language has outgrown the old writing system. And once it is attained, the reformed spelling has become the established system which is again to be reformed. ...

Remark of the poster of this post: I would call this the ''everlasting reform''.

When I switched to the Classical or Historical Kana a few years ago, I found it very confusing to learn two closely related systems. ...

Remark of the poster of this post: This is called the Ranschburg-Phenomenon, see here:


# end of remark

In a sence, the government has been spending big money in the train cource of school teachers not to learn about the orthograpy reform, not to become aware of the problem of romanization. ...

11:44 AM

One of my favorite expressions about the relationship between spelling and pronunciation is the one made by G.L. Brook in his "a History of the English Language". That is "the pronunciation of English is constantly changing and we have reason to be grateful that spelling is not constantly changing along with it." And I beleive Brook told more truth than he meant. ...

Anyway, because of the demarcation of this continuing language, we Japanese are deprived of any possibility of having an authoritative dictionary covering both pre and post-War Japanese. And you have the Oxfor English Dictionary in spite of the rather changefulness of the language.

9:13 PM