English Spelling Reform
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20-02-2016, 03:31 PM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(14-02-2016 03:54 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(14-02-2016 02:40 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Why don't you explain it to me then? Why don't you explain why bells can't have melodies? Does a bell only make one particular sound? Can't you have a melody of bells in a song?
Oh, my.

Yes you can play a melody on bells if you have lots of bells tuned for different pitches (notes). But this is beside the point.

That's precisely the point.





Oh. And this.




#sigh
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21-02-2016, 09:36 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Wouldn't most new words (at least beyond a certain grade level in school) be encountered in context anyway?

Context may help you understand what a word means, but not necessarily. Etymology is of much more help.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  And we're back to square one, it seems. As I've said, spelling is no more a part of language than the circuitry inside an iPod is a part of any songs played on it. And no, simplification of spelling cannot by itself alter the meaning of a word. Even if it does render meaning less readily transparent, obscuring something is not the same thing as changing it.

I thought I had at least convinced you of that. Changing the spelling of word can alter its meaning in the long run. Example, again. In Greek, the word "influence" as a verb and as a noun are spelled επηρεάζω and επιρροή respectively. Notice the significant differences? Well, this happened because the ancient word for the noun (επιρροή) sounded very similar to the word επήρεια (harm, damage), so the latter spelling somehow "invaded" the meaning of "influence" and replaced it. Thus the modern word επήρεια has lost its meaning, because instead of "harm", it means "influence". Not quite the same.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Not necessarily. Even if some publishers refuse to permit their texts to be uploaded to a public digital transcription library, private users would still be able to transcribe them on a need-to-read basis.

So you are planning to do the whole thing illegally. Neat.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I'm not talking about the script. I'm talking about the language.

Even so, I've looked a bit into Chinese grammar, syntax, pronunciation, you name it, and it certainly does not seem to be simpler than English.

What I was trying to say is that the Chinese script is much much more complicated than English, so it makes perfect sense that they found it easier to learn how to write in a simpler script. The English script is not that complicated so you wouldn't see such a difference.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Before the spelling or before the script? You seem to be using the two terms interchangeably here. A script is a repertoire of raw symbols and marks. A spelling is an arrangement of such characters.

Assuming you meant script, yes, the Cretans had it long before their modern dialect developed, but the standardized orthography using that script was likely introduced after those Cretan dialect features emerged. In the same way, the differences between Australian and American or British English would all predate the introduction of a new Roman-script spelling system, even though English has been written in the Roman script for centuries before the colonization of Australia,

As for anyone besides linguists being familiar with IPA glyphs, they wouldn't have to. That's the beauty of diaphonemes! An example that I gave earlier in this thread might help.

Glossophile Wrote:In the traditional accent of the American Southeast, for example, the long monophthong /a:/ consistently corresponds to the standard diphthong /aɪ/, which in my proposed system as well as at least a few others, is usually spelled as 'ai.'

Now, sounds are mostly taught to young children via sample. For instance, the teacher may tell a student, "The special pair 'ai' makes the sound in the middle of the word 'pipe.'" The young speaker of Southeast American English will, upon hearing that, begin learning to map the written diphthong 'ai' onto his native sound /a:/. Provided that he/she does not also conflate it with, for instance, /ɑ:/ or /æ/, which is highly unlikely, that is perfectly fine. From then on, whenever he/she sees 'ai,' he/she will instinctively say /a:/, and whenever he/she hears his/her local compatriots say /a:/, he/she will instinctively write 'ai.'

Imagine, for instance, a schoolchild named Susie in Alabama wishing to write aboute a bike. Her local pronunciation would be /ba:k/. Since she has learned to associate /a:/ with 'ai,' she will readily spell it as "baik." She then e-mails this text to a penpal named Brandon in Ohio. Since he has learned to associate 'ai' with /aɪ/, he will readily decode "baik" into /baɪk/, his own local pronunciation of the same word. The intended meaning is conveyed without any confusion whatsoever, and perhaps more importantly, neither one needed to modify his/her own accent or sound/symbol associations in order to encode or read the message correctly.

It would work the same way with the Australian example. An Australian child learns to associate /æɪ/ with 'ei,' while an American child learns to associate /eɪ/ with that same sequence of letters. When the Australian sender wants to convey the word "cake," he/she will write "keik" according to his/her native pronunciation of /kæɪk/. The American, upon receiving it, will decode "keik" according to his/her own accent as /keɪk/, which he/she will then recognize as a large pastry treat. No specialized linguistic knowledge is required.

I was actually talking about the spelling. We had been under Ottoman rule for 400 years, but Greek was still normally talked and taught in schools. Cretans wrote the same way people in the mainland did, they used the same spelling and grammatical rules. They're not like a separate race that lived and evolved in a different way.

In the case of English, you would be introducing a completely new way of spelling that no one will be familiar with. No one went to Crete and changed the way they wrote just like that. That's what I'm saying. The pronunciation did not precede the spelling.

And your example would be a brilliant one, had the issue been with teaching. The issue is with people who will have already left school (or are already in it and have learned to write) by the time the new spelling is introduced. This is not just about children. Children can learn anything.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I base those numbers on the studies that I cited earlier as well as one other that I haven't cited yet but would be happy to share if you so wish. The results seem to indicate that Turkish first-graders are better readers than American first-graders, and it isn't until third-grade that the Americans catch up and show comparable proficiency.

Yes. Exactly. Nowhere in the study have they shown evidence that in the case of a spelling reform (and especially the one you are proposing) children will be "taking 1/2 or even 1/3 of the time it currently takes them to attain foundational literacy". Nowhere. These are just your interpretations and hypotheses.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  And yes, I was talking mostly about US culture. I love my country, but I'm tired of it being, in too many ways, the laughing stock of the First World.

The United States are not the laughing stock of the First World because English spelling is hard. As I said, countries like Canada and Australia are doing perfectly fine despite that difficulty and that is why I've been urging you to look for the root of the problem elsewhere.

(20-02-2016 03:05 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  If you understood my analogy, then why nitpick the imperfect details? You got the point, so let's move on.

If I remember correctly, we did move on. The conversation between you and me carried on normally.
Why nitpick the imperfect details? Because the issue was not your analogy anymore, but whether mp3 compression does what you claimed it does or not. It was a secondary discussion (maybe it should have been made into a new thread since it was kind of derailing this one, but still, that is all it was). And I still cannot see why you insist on it being about your analogy when I clearly stated so many times that it wasn't.

Also, Socrates was a nitpicking freak, but nobody ever blamed him for it Wink

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21-02-2016, 11:24 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
And this is why English is so nutty and spelling is so difficult. It's a fun video too.




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21-02-2016, 03:41 PM (This post was last modified: 21-02-2016 05:39 PM by Glossophile.)
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Changing the spelling of word can alter its meaning in the long run. Example, again. In Greek, the word "influence" as a verb and as a noun are spelled επηρεάζω and επιρροή respectively. Notice the significant differences? Well, this happened because the ancient word for the noun (επιρροή) sounded very similar to the word επήρεια (harm, damage), so the latter spelling somehow "invaded" the meaning of "influence" and replaced it. Thus the modern word επήρεια has lost its meaning, because instead of "harm", it means "influence". Not quite the same.

Notice how you said that the two words sounded very similar. Given how transparent ancient Greek orthography was, this would have naturally led to duly similar spellings. So it is quite likely that the invasion, as you called it, actually originated in speech. If so, the orthography was only following orders from a change in the spoken form which took place anyway.

You think of it as the ancient word for "influence" changing its spelling, but it could just as easily be described as the ancient word for "harm" changing its meaning.

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  So you are planning to do the whole thing illegally. Neat.

No. The on-demand transcriptions would be for personal use, not piracy. They would be subject to the same constraints on redistribution as the original texts.

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  What I was trying to say is that the Chinese script is much much more complicated than English, so it makes perfect sense that they found it easier to learn how to write in a simpler script. The English script is not that complicated so you wouldn't see such a difference.

I would argue that English spelling is not that much simpler than Chinese writing. It would be more accurate to say that they're just complicated in different ways. Chinese is complex due to the elaborate characters, the number that need to be learned, and the fact that the link between each character and its corresponding morpheme is mostly arbitrary. In English, the symbols are far fewer and simpler, and the link between any morpheme and its spelling is at least vaguely based on phonology, but at the same time, that connection relies on a myriad of rules, exemptional sub-rules, and outright exceptions. This necessitates a substantial dose of rote memory to be involved in mastering the orthography, and rote memory is also a a major part of learning Chinese morphograms. The gap between them is not as wide as you might think.

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  I was actually talking about the spelling. We had been under Ottoman rule for 400 years, but Greek was still normally talked and taught in schools. Cretans wrote the same way people in the mainland did, they used the same spelling and grammatical rules. They're not like a separate race that lived and evolved in a different way.

I didn't say they were. But if they already adhered to an older koiné in writing, simply replacing that standard with a newer one did not necessarily change the overall diglossic situation to an appreciable degree, did it?

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  In the case of English, you would be introducing a completely new way of spelling that no one will be familiar with. No one went to Crete and changed the way they wrote just like that. That's what I'm saying. The pronunciation did not precede the spelling.

No one would be familiar with it, but the trade-off is that it can be learned much more quickly, so the lack of familiarity would not generally last long. In any given region, the words for which the spelling or pronunciation isn't readily predictable would be restricted to the relatively scattered instantiations of certain dialectal differences between the neutral standard accent and the local variety. It will still be a vast improvement over having a much greater proportion of words that leave American, British, Aussie, Canadian, and Kiwi children all equally baffled.

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  And your example would be a brilliant one, had the issue been with teaching. The issue is with people who will have already left school (or are already in it and have learned to write) by the time the new spelling is introduced. This is not just about children. Children can learn anything.

Why would the teaching of those who are already literate be sufficiently different from the teaching of pre-literate children as to render my example inapplicable?

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Nowhere in the study have they shown evidence that in the case of a spelling reform (and especially the one you are proposing) children will be "taking 1/2 or even 1/3 of the time it currently takes them to attain foundational literacy". Nowhere. These are just your interpretations and hypotheses.

The 2003 study said, "The rate of development in English is more than twice as slow as in the shallow orthographies." From that premise, it seems to me perfectly reasonable to suppose that a much shallower orthography for English would enable most children to become functionally literate in roughly half the time it currently takes, if not less. The ratio that I gave is derived directly from that "more than twice as slow" bit. If the complexity of something increases the time taken to learn it by a factor of 2 or more, then simplifying it can reduce that time by the reciprocal factor.

Similarly, it is not until third grade that American students seem to read as proficiently as Turkish first-graders. This strongly suggests a very similar conclusion. The convergence here is suspicious, at the very least.

(21-02-2016 09:36 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  The United States are not the laughing stock of the First World because English spelling is hard. As I said, countries like Canada and Australia are doing perfectly fine despite that difficulty and that is why I've been urging you to look for the root of the problem elsewhere.

I don't claim that difficult spelling is the ultimate and/or sole root of the problem. My contention is merely that it is a prominent enough contributor that it is worth addressing head-on, perhaps in parallel with a few other top factors in American educational mediocrity. At the very least, the benefits of reform could be used to significantly offset some of the other challenges faced by US education.

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21-02-2016, 04:34 PM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Notice how you said that the two words sounded very similar. Given how transparent ancient Greek orthography was, this would have naturally led to duly similar spellings. So it is quite likely that the invasion, as you called it, actually originated in speech. If so, the orthography was only following orders from a change in the spoken form which took place anyway.

You think of it as the ancient word for "influence" changing its spelling, but it could just as easily be described as the ancient word for "harm" changing its meaning.

Sure, but my argument still stands. The spelling of a word changed and its meaning was lost.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  No. The on-demand transcriptions would be for personal use, not piracy. They would be subject to the same constraints on redistribution as the original texts.

You would then have an extremely limited source of books for schools or universities. I'm also pretty sure copyright does not work that way.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I would argue that English spelling is not that much simpler than Chinese writing. It would be more accurate to say that they're just complicated in different ways. Chinese is complex due to the elaborate characters, the number that need to be learned, and the fact that the link between each character and its corresponding morpheme is mostly arbitrary. In English, the symbols are far fewer and simpler, and the link between any morpheme and its spelling is at least vaguely based on phonology, but at the same time, that connection relies on a myriad of rules, exemptional sub-rules, and outright exceptions. This necessitates a substantial dose of rote memory to be involved in mastering the orthography, and rote memory is also a a major part of learning Chinese morphograms. The gap between them is not as wide as you might think.

The matter in question here is grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence. You can't possibly be saying that memorizing how to pronounce English words is anything like memorizing how to pronounce Chinese ones.
I mean, I've taken Japanese. For years. You cannot possibly compare the two.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I didn't say they were. But if they already adhered to an older koiné in writing, simply replacing that standard with a newer one did not necessarily change the overall diglossic situation to an appreciable degree, did it?

I'm not sure what you mean. I doubt Cretans ever had a problem with any change in writing, at least not to a larger extent than the rest of Greeks.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  No one would be familiar with it, but the trade-off is that it can be learned much more quickly, so the lack of familiarity would not generally last long.

How do you even know if it would last long or not? I told you so many times about the change from Katharevousa making it hard for people here 40 years later even though the changes were minor but you keep ignoring that fact.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Why would the teaching of those who are already literate be sufficiently different from the teaching of pre-literate children as to render my example inapplicable?

So your plan also involves teaching the new spelling to all English-speaking adults in the whole world? And you still think that it's not unrealistic?

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  The 2003 study said, "The rate of development in English is more than twice as slow as in the shallow orthographies." From that premise, it seems to me perfectly reasonable to suppose that a much shallower orthography for English would enable most children to become functionally literate in roughly half the time it currently takes, if not less. The ratio that I gave is derived directly from that "more than twice as slow" bit If the complexity of something increases the time taken to learn it by a factor of 2 or more, then simplifying it can reduce that time by the reciprocal factor.

Similarly, it is not until third grade that American students seem to read as proficiently as Turkish first-graders. This strongly suggests a very similar conclusion. The convergence here is suspicious, at the very least.

Again, these are simply your personal conclusions and hypotheses. They have not been proven or demonstrated in any study. More importantly, they don't even explain why such a humongous change is necessary.

(21-02-2016 03:41 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I don't claim that difficult spelling is the ultimate and/or sole root of the problem. My contention is merely that it is a prominent enough contributor that it is worth addressing head-on, perhaps in parallel with a few other top factors in American educational mediocrity. At the very least, the benefits of reform could be used to significantly offset some of the other challenges faced by US education.

So, for a problem in the US you are willing to change everything and cause problems to the millions of English speakers in the whole world. Yeah, I'm sorry, that doesn't sound reasonable at all.

And let's just suppose for a minute that it is indeed such a huge problem and a reform is indeed necessary. Why not start with something more gradual, like, revising only words that are extremely hard and arbitrary?

Of course, I wouldn't agree with such an approach either because I'm generally against any kind of "man-made" enforced reform, but still, why the need for such an abrupt and radical change?

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21-02-2016, 04:48 PM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 11:24 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  And this is why English is so nutty and spelling is so difficult. It's a fun video too.




I noticed several errors in this and am not a scholar. For example it says that Shakespear gave us the word alligator, when in fact it comes from Spanish as El lagarto the lizzard.
But all in all it was fun as was stated.
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21-02-2016, 06:42 PM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 04:48 PM)DerFish Wrote:  
(21-02-2016 11:24 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  And this is why English is so nutty and spelling is so difficult. It's a fun video too.




I noticed several errors in this and am not a scholar. For example it says that Shakespear gave us the word alligator, when in fact it comes from Spanish as El lagarto the lizzard.
But all in all it was fun as was stated.

Someone had to form the English word and use it.
That someone appears to be Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet.

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21-02-2016, 07:19 PM (This post was last modified: 21-02-2016 07:24 PM by Glossophile.)
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Sure, but my argument still stands. The spelling of a word changed and its meaning was lost.

Not really, because the spelling was not the cause of the semantic shift. Instead, the change in meaning was caused by phonological similarity.

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  You would then have an extremely limited source of books for schools or universities. I'm also pretty sure copyright does not work that way.

The point of the automated transcription software that I propose is to alleviate reliance on what has already been transcribed. Imagine that you are a college student who grew up reading and writing in reformed spelling. Your professor recommends a journal article for your research, but it's still only available in pre-reform spelling. No problem! With your transcription app, you scan it and have it automatically transcribed for you. You then read it and cite it in your research. You're presumably not redistributing the text (original or transcribed), and you may even delete the transcription from your device when you're done with it, so what copyright law has been broken here?

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  The matter in question here is grapheme-to-phoneme correspondence. You can't possibly be saying that memorizing how to pronounce English words is anything like memorizing how to pronounce Chinese ones.
I mean, I've taken Japanese. For years. You cannot possibly compare the two.

Actually, I can. I've studied basic Mandarin myself, and while there certainly are some fundamental differences, the extent to which mastery of English orthography relies on rote memorization drifts significantly closer to that of Chinese than does mastery of most other alphabetic orthographies

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  I doubt Cretans ever had a problem with any change in writing, at least not to a larger extent than the rest of Greeks.

So you see my point. If the reform is done right, no major regional group of English speakers would have any more trouble adjusting to the new spelling system than would any other such group.

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  How do you even know if it would last long or not? I told you so many times about the change from Katharevousa making it hard for people here 40 years later even though the changes were minor but you keep ignoring that fact.
[...]
So your plan also involves teaching the new spelling to all English-speaking adults in the whole world? And you still think that it's not unrealistic?

Well how abruptly or gradually was Dimotiki made official? If I recall from my research, policy vacillated back and forth multiple times according to which faction was in control at any given point.

I envision the reform of English taking place over 50 years or so, throughout much of which both old and new systems would co-exist. The reformed orthography would be progressively integrated into education, but each individual within the general population would be able to choose which orthography he/she deals with. My idea is to let preference for the reformed code accumulate among the younger generation as they mature, while the older generations won't have to make the switch until they've had a few decades to acclimate themselves.

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Again, these are simply your personal conclusions and hypotheses. They have not been proven or demonstrated in any study. More importantly, they don't even explain why such a humongous change is necessary.

What exactly have I said on this issue that doesn't reasonably follow from what the journal article literally says?

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  So, for a problem in the US you are willing to change everything and cause problems to the millions of English speakers in the whole world. Yeah, I'm sorry, that doesn't sound reasonable at all.

First of all, there are also non-native learners around the world to consider, and second of all, even though other English-speaking countries may not need it as badly as we in the US do, I believe there's still plenty of room for them to gain from a spelling reform.

(21-02-2016 04:34 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  And let's just suppose for a minute that it is indeed such a huge problem and a reform is indeed necessary. Why not start with something more gradual, like, revising only words that are extremely hard and arbitrary?

What you're suggesting is known in reform advocacy circles as a "minimal-change" scheme, and there are those who propose exactly that. I and other reform advocates are skeptical that taking a more conservative approach like that would really earn us sufficient gains in public persuasion to be worth attenuating the benefits to be gleaned from a more radical proposal. As I said in another forum...

Glossophile Wrote:I revisited Spelling and Society, the book that served as an important text in two relevant courses that I've taken at my university, one on writing systems in general and the other on the sociolinguistics of writing. In Chapter 6, Mark Sebba makes a couple of remarks that jumped out at me (emphasis mine).

"Indeed, the greater and grander the tradition of literacy, literature and liturgy in an orthographic community, the less likely that even minor systematic orthographic change will be freely accepted and the less likely that any orthographic change will be considered minor. (Fishman 1977: XVI)"

If no orthographic change is likely to be considered minor, then even modest proposals will be treated as if they were completely revolutionary. Imagine you are a child whose parents strangely react with roughly the same intensity whether you spend $10 or $100. Is there really any point to being stingy and settling for a lesser toy when you can buy the absolute best one on the market and be scolded/punished only slightly more than you otherwise would have been? The problem is that the difference in toy quality greatly exceeds the difference in penalties.

Furthermore, Sebba explicitly makes the point in the first sentence of this passage:

"The quantity of resistance is also not proportional to the amount of change. Although the proposals for German orthographic reform in the 1990s only affected an estimated 0.5 per cent of the lexicon (Johnson 2000: 116) or 0.05 percent of all words in running text (Institutfür deutsche Sprache, Mannheim) they resulted in a public uproar and a constitutional 'crisis' in Germany itself, when the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein decided not to implement the proposal (See Johnson 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005 for discussion). Likewise, a modest set of proposals to adjust French orthography in 1990 (the Druon reforms) caused uproar, despite the fact that according to the authors of the reform, none of the 500 most frequently used words would be modified, and altogether exactly 2383 words were affected according to the Robert dictionary (Chollet 1992: 76, Ager 1996: 121)."

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22-02-2016, 02:01 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
Duz enibodi reelie cear about eny uf this chit?

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22-02-2016, 03:56 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Not really, because the spelling was not the cause of the semantic shift. Instead, the change in meaning was caused by phonological similarity.

It doesn't matter what the cause was. The fact remains that the spelling of a word changed and meaning was lost. What I've been trying to say from the very beginning.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  The point of the automated transcription software that I propose is to alleviate reliance on what has already been transcribed. Imagine that you are a college student who grew up reading and writing in reformed spelling. Your professor recommends a journal article for your research, but it's still only available in pre-reform spelling. No problem! With your transcription app, you scan it and have it automatically transcribed for you. You then read it and cite it in your research. You're presumably not redistributing the text (original or transcribed), and you may even delete the transcription from your device when you're done with it, so what copyright law has been broken here?

And you still think that this is convenient? I struggled so much through a course on Shakespeare at uni, I can't even begin to imagine how it would be to also have to scan thousands of pages of text just to read it.

And what about English-teaching books? What about us, here in the jungle?

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Actually, I can. I've studied basic Mandarin myself, and while there certainly are some fundamental differences, the extent to which mastery of English orthography relies on rote memorization drifts significantly closer to that of Chinese than does mastery of most other alphabetic orthographies

Well, you seem to be pretty good with languages so I wouldn't be surprised if Mandarin seemed almost as easy as English to you.
Also, "significantly closer" does not mean "close". At least not enough for such a comparison to be justified.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  So you see my point. If the reform is done right, no major regional group of English speakers would have any more trouble adjusting to the new spelling system than would any other such group.

No, that was not my point at all. My point was that Cretans did not have a hard time adjusting to any new reforms (like the change from Katharevousa) because despite their different dialect, the spelling preceded their accent. Here you will have dialects that precede the spelling. That is the problem and that is the point I've been trying to make with Cretans all along.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  Well how abruptly or gradually was Dimotiki made official? If I recall from my research, policy vacillated back and forth multiple times according to which faction was in control at any given point.

I envision the reform of English taking place over 50 years or so, throughout much of which both old and new systems would co-exist. The reformed orthography would be progressively integrated into education, but each individual within the general population would be able to choose which orthography he/she deals with. My idea is to let preference for the reformed code accumulate among the younger generation as they mature, while the older generations won't have to make the switch until they've had a few decades to acclimate themselves.

You keep using the example of Dimotiki and Katharevousa even though I've pointed out to you that it is not a good example. The changes were minor and people still struggle with it. Your changes won't be minor and people will certainly be struggling for much longer than 40 years.

Again, the change would be immense. It would need billions, maybe even trillions of dollars to even just begin enforcing it, and I'm talking about the US only here. Tell an uneducated person that English will become simpler and they'll be thrilled. Tell them they have to scan all their books, buy new books for their kids, change the signs at their shops, change all their papers, upgrade their computers and take lessons for the "new spelling", and they'll probably regret being so excited about it.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  What exactly have I said on this issue that doesn't reasonably follow from what the journal article literally says?

"Children taking 1/2 or even 1/3 of the time it currently takes them to attain foundational literacy"

This. It does not reasonably follow. It's your personal interpretation, as is your instistence on the fact that this will somehow make your country better.

What reasonably follows is that if Australians and Canadians are doing fine despite that handicap, the reform is not the most important issue here.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  First of all, there are also non-native learners around the world to consider, and second of all, even though other English-speaking countries may not need it as badly as we in the US do, I believe there's still plenty of room for them to gain from a spelling reform.

I was actually talking about those people. The non-native learners. I haven't seen you considering them so far.

(21-02-2016 07:19 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  What you're suggesting is known in reform advocacy circles as a "minimal-change" scheme, and there are those who propose exactly that. I and other reform advocates are skeptical that taking a more conservative approach like that would really earn us sufficient gains in public persuasion to be worth attenuating the benefits to be gleaned from a more radical proposal. As I said in another forum...

Glossophile Wrote:I revisited Spelling and Society, the book that served as an important text in two relevant courses that I've taken at my university, one on writing systems in general and the other on the sociolinguistics of writing. In Chapter 6, Mark Sebba makes a couple of remarks that jumped out at me (emphasis mine).

"Indeed, the greater and grander the tradition of literacy, literature and liturgy in an orthographic community, the less likely that even minor systematic orthographic change will be freely accepted and the less likely that any orthographic change will be considered minor. (Fishman 1977: XVI)"

If no orthographic change is likely to be considered minor, then even modest proposals will be treated as if they were completely revolutionary. Imagine you are a child whose parents strangely react with roughly the same intensity whether you spend $10 or $100. Is there really any point to being stingy and settling for a lesser toy when you can buy the absolute best one on the market and be scolded/punished only slightly more than you otherwise would have been? The problem is that the difference in toy quality greatly exceeds the difference in penalties.

Furthermore, Sebba explicitly makes the point in the first sentence of this passage:

"The quantity of resistance is also not proportional to the amount of change. Although the proposals for German orthographic reform in the 1990s only affected an estimated 0.5 per cent of the lexicon (Johnson 2000: 116) or 0.05 percent of all words in running text (Institutfür deutsche Sprache, Mannheim) they resulted in a public uproar and a constitutional 'crisis' in Germany itself, when the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein decided not to implement the proposal (See Johnson 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005 for discussion). Likewise, a modest set of proposals to adjust French orthography in 1990 (the Druon reforms) caused uproar, despite the fact that according to the authors of the reform, none of the 500 most frequently used words would be modified, and altogether exactly 2383 words were affected according to the Robert dictionary (Chollet 1992: 76, Ager 1996: 121)."

You are not giving me any reason why the reform should be radical, you're just talking about the uproar. Who cares about the uproar? What's important is that people will have an extremely hard time adjusting in the case of a radical change, but a gradual reform would be smoother with a lesser impact on literacy and education.

"Behind every great pirate, there is a great butt."
-Guybrush Threepwood-
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