English Spelling Reform
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10-02-2016, 12:46 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(08-02-2016 07:08 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(08-02-2016 06:45 PM)Banjo Wrote:  This is how "colour" is spelled. Smile

Do you pronounce "colour" the same way you pronounce "velour"?

No. English is weird. However, that's how it is properly spelled.

Just like "I could not care less" is not "I could care less".

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10-02-2016, 04:25 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(10-02-2016 12:46 AM)Banjo Wrote:  
(08-02-2016 07:08 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Do you pronounce "colour" the same way you pronounce "velour"?

No. English is weird. However, that's how it is properly spelled.

Just like "I could not care less" is not "I could care less".

It's "I couldn't care less" who wastes time with properly expounding the not.

Colour is properly spelled because of these types of Spelling Reforms that demanded rules be instructed at a desire for uniformity but it brought potential less understanding. It came along the French influence wanting to dictate specific rulelogs regardless of origin of understanding.

Then Noah Webster wanted to be all American English bolstering and saying himself again, lets change words on a guideline and make them spelled simplier in some areas we can easily swap to the way the word is spoken. So Color came to be and Theater opposed to Theatre and such.

Anytime you establish a guideline time you can just look back at its flaw and see, oh before this x was the form and before this moment, x was the way. Before the Wessex power came to be English was merging into to Vikings languages and so forth.

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10-02-2016, 04:29 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
Hu cers? Smile

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10-02-2016, 07:05 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
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I don't particularly have a dog in this fight. I'm generally against a top-down enforcement of spelling reform because I just don't see it as a priority and I don't see any way to reasonably enforce such changes. They will occur naturally as simpler spellings become more common and eventually prevail. On the other hand, when I look at cough, rough, bough, through, and thorough I think enough is enuff.

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11-02-2016, 02:41 AM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2016 02:45 AM by Glossophile.)
RE: English Spelling Reform
Morondog,...
  • Honestly, there are a few possibilities. One is a grassroots movement by which the new system would be popularized first among the young for informal uses and then percolate its way up into more respectable usage. Another is promulgation by an international delegation of English-speaking countries with the help of educators and linguists. In either case, there would be an extended period of coexistence between old and new orthographies, during which as many pre-reform texts as feasible would be transcribed or rendered readily transcribable via computer software. One incentive I'm experimenting with is the restoration of characters unique to Old English (or at least the Germanic family) as a means of invoking linguistic patriotism. My coursework and research at the university shows that spelling reform can often be expedited by appealing to such sentiments.
  • What I've proposed is to base standard reformed spelling on a roughly equal compromise between the standard British and standard American broadcast accents. It would be politically neutral and at least passively understood by the widest range of people. No individual speaker's own regional dialect will be a perfect match for this hybrid accent, but the idea is to spread the discrepancies thinly across the English speaking world, so that from the perspective of any individual speaker, the divergences will much fewer and further apart than the multitude of universal difficulties that currently hinder people across all regional varieties.
  • Yes, it is complex, and the problem is that its complexity is far in excess of what its function demands.
  • Actually, most modern computers come with the capability to type all of the additional letters required for my spelling system, without any specialized hardware or software needed. This functionality can be activated within a minute or two. In fact, their availability within this pre-packaged extension is part of how I chose such symbols to use in the first place.
  • Huge? Yes. Prohibitive? Perhaps, but I think at least worth investigating before we give up. As I said, not everything would have to be transcribed all at once if we can develop on-demand transcription software, which I think is quite plausible.
  • Not necessarily. The key is to make transcription easy and quick, so that people can just use whatever system they prefer, transcribing things when necessary. Meanwhile, the reformed orthography would be introduced progressively in schools, and it would initially be mostly the young who use the new system, and they would carry it along as they age.
  • And I for one will keep trying. If it's a worthy idea, you don't give up after the first few failures. Plus, Shavian is a bit of a straw man. It's a bit like using a Young-Earth Creationist to represent all Christians.

Yes, we have a system, but it's not working as well as it could.

You asked about the rules for assigning sounds to letters. Well, that's all explained on my website in the "Learn It" section. While you're there, if you look at Appendix 3, it will tell you how to type the accent marks and unconventional letters using nothing but a standard QWERTY keyboard.

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11-02-2016, 02:50 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
(11-02-2016 02:41 AM)Glossophile Wrote:  Morondog,...
  • Honestly, there are a few possibilities. One is a grassroots movement by which the new system would be popularized first among the young for informal uses and then percolate its way up into more respectable usage. Another is promulgation by an international delegation of English-speaking countries with the help of educators and linguists. In either case, there would be an extended period of coexistence between old and new orthographies, during which as many pre-reform texts as feasible would be transcribed or rendered readily transcribable via computer software. One incentive I'm experimenting with is the restoration of characters unique to Old English (or at least the Germanic family) as a means of invoking linguistic patriotism. My coursework and research at the university shows that spelling reform can often be expedited by appealing to such sentiments.
  • What I've proposed is to base standard reformed spelling on a roughly equal compromise between the standard British and standard American broadcast accents. It would be politically neutral and at least passively understood by the widest range of people. No individual speaker's own regional dialect will be a perfect match for this hybrid accent, but the idea is to spread the discrepancies thinly across the English speaking world, so that from the perspective of any individual speaker, the divergences will much fewer and further apart than the multitude of universal difficulties that currently hinder people across all regional varieties.
  • Yes, it is complex, and the problem is that its complexity is far in excess of what its function demands.
  • Actually, most modern computers come with the capability to type all of the additional letters required for my spelling system, without any specialized hardware or software needed. This functionality can be activated within a minute or two. In fact, their availability within this pre-packaged extension is part of how I chose such symbols to use in the first place.
  • Huge? Yes. Prohibitive? Perhaps, but I think at least worth investigating before we give up. As I said, not everything would have to be transcribed all at once if we can develop on-demand transcription software, which I think is quite plausible.
  • Not necessarily. The key is to make transcription easy and quick, so that people can just use whatever system they prefer, transcribing things when necessary. Meanwhile, the reformed orthography would be introduced progressively in schools, and it would initially be mostly the young who use the new system, and they would carry it along as they age.
  • And I for one will keep trying. If it's a worthy idea, you don't give up after the first few failures. Plus, Shavian is a bit of a straw man. It's a bit like using a Young-Earth Creationist to represent all Christians.

Yes, we have a system, but it's not working as well as it could.

You asked about the rules for assigning sounds to letters. Well, that's all explained on my website in the "Learn It" section. While you're there, if you look at Appendix 3, it will tell you how to type the accent marks and unconventional letters using nothing but a standard QWERTY keyboard.

Shavian is a straw-man? It's an *example* of an attempt that failed.

IMO there are many more pressing matters to attend to in life, than a gargantuan effort to change the spelling system. However I wish you luck Smile

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11-02-2016, 05:20 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
As my dad always says, "don't make language simpler, make people smarter."

This has always been a huge issue with Greek, what with abandoning words and spellings almost every year. Imagine that I'm 26 and the way I write some words is already obsolete.

I've always been in favor of maintaining a language's complexity. The different spellings not only help me in knowing what the word means, but also in how to write other words. If I know the root of a word, I can guess what a new word means. That's priceless and I'd never change it.

Remember that Ancient Greece was the beacon of philosophy and democracy and the complexity of their language was not irrelevant to that fact.

As for English, having learned a bunch of stuff about its evolution since I have a degree in it, the problem was the changing of the pronunciation from the very beginning. When I heard how words used to be pronounced I was like "well, that makes sense!". The complexity of spelling in English simply comes from older pronunciations which, by the way, some English-speaking peoples like the Irish still maintain. Even if you do change the spelling, the pronunciation may eventually change and make spelling hard again.

English is one of the least transparent languages in terms of phoneme to letter correspondence. I do not think that this is the problem. Yes, English-speaking kids learn their language more slowly than others with more transparent languages, but even in Greek which is one of the top most transparent languages, very few people are 100% competent in spelling.

Reducing the amount of effort one makes to learn their language makes things easier indeed, however our brains are conditioned to it and they are supposed to make an effort if we want to be smart.

If anything, change the pronunciation. That is something more realistic and more convenient.

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11-02-2016, 07:13 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
The entire concept of changing the spelling of virtually every word in the English language is ludicrous. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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11-02-2016, 08:31 AM
RE: English Spelling Reform
Pretty soon we're gonna have spell check capable devices implanted directly into our brains anyway.

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11-02-2016, 11:18 AM (This post was last modified: 11-02-2016 11:25 AM by Glossophile.)
RE: English Spelling Reform
(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  As my dad always says, "don't make language simpler, make people smarter."

I agree. It's not the language I want to simplify. It's the spelling. Confusing the two is like using the word "music" to refer to the electronics inside an iPod.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  This has always been a huge issue with Greek, what with abandoning words and spellings almost every year. Imagine that I'm 26 and the way I write some words is already obsolete.

Depending on how it's handled, this may actually be a good thing. It means the spelling is keeping pace with natural changes in the language that it seeks to represent. If you update things regularly enough, each individual update will probably only affect a relative few words, thus making it far less disruptive than what would be needed if you procrastinated for a few centuries (as English has done).

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  The different spellings not only help me in knowing what the word means, but also in how to write other words. If I know the root of a word, I can guess what a new word means. That's priceless and I'd never change it.

I think some earlier remarks of mine on this issue bear repeating.

Glossophile Wrote:As for root recognition, why do we necessarily need to know where one came from in order to learn how it's used? For example, in reformed spelling, a student would not need to know that the prefix "haipør-" was originally Greek "ὑπέρ" (Latinized as "hyper-") in order to grasp the fact that it contributes a sense of excess or abundance and therefore deduce at least part of the meaning of a new word like "haipørþérmïø" (traditionally "hyperthermia"). If he/she also knows the root "-þérm-" means heat, as in "þérmøs" (traditionally "thermos"), then the entire word becomes fairly transparent, even without the pupil being aware of the Greek origins of either component.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Remember that Ancient Greece was the beacon of philosophy and democracy and the complexity of their language was not irrelevant to that fact.

Yes, and the classical Greeks also more-or-less spoke as they wrote and wrote as they spoke. Even without the pitch accent and breathing marks that came later, ancient Greek orthography was still more streamlined than that of modern English.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  As for English, having learned a bunch of stuff about its evolution since I have a degree in it, the problem was the changing of the pronunciation from the very beginning. When I heard how words used to be pronounced I was like "well, that makes sense!". The complexity of spelling in English simply comes from older pronunciations which, by the way, some English-speaking peoples like the Irish still maintain. Even if you do change the spelling, the pronunciation may eventually change and make spelling hard again.

This is why, after the big initial reform, I propose that the orthography be revisited every 50 years or so to take note of prevailing changes in pronunciation and change the spellings accordingly. Again, if we don't let the unacknowledged changes build up, any individual such update will almost certainly be relatively minor and therefore minimally if at all disruptive (except for the first one, which will admittedly be a major overhaul necessitated by centuries of procrastination).

Also, again I must ask, why should literacy, a fundamental tool meant for the masses, be catered so disproportionately to specialists such as yourself? It's great that current spelling allowed older pronunciations make sense to you (even though I think that's also symptomatic of the problem), but etymology/philology is relatively few people's proverbial cup of tea. So why should such esoteric interests (which I actually share) be foisted upon the general population?

Congratulations on your degree in English! I have one in linguistics.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Yes, English-speaking kids learn their language more slowly than others with more transparent languages, but even in Greek which is one of the top most transparent languages, very few people are 100% competent in spelling.

I don't necessarily claim that spelling reform will make everyone 100% competent, but I think it's safe to say we can definitely come significantly closer to that ideal than we currently are.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  ...and they are supposed to make an effort if we want to be smart.

I'm sorry, but this argument has always sounded snobbish and elitist to me. There are plenty of other fundamental academic hurdles to separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls, and most of those challenges are actually necessary for their respective endeavors to work properly. Algebra, for example, is daunting for many students, but it cannot be simplified, because if it were any simpler, it wouldn't be able to fully serve its intended purpose. This cannot be said of English spelling, which is far more complex than it needs to be in order to function as an efficient means of written communication.

(11-02-2016 05:20 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  If anything, change the pronunciation. That is something more realistic and more convenient.

Actually, that's even less realistic, because pronunciation is actually part of the language itself, and the nature of human language does not lend itself well at all to deliberate and consciously directed change. It is quite rare for a language to undergo any real and lasting changes via anything besides collective and unconscious evolution.

Spelling, on the other hand, being a kind of technology layered atop language to make it more portable and durable, is a much more feasible target for deliberate and systematic design and re-design.

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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