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Personal View 2, by Paul Fletcher, part 2.
CONSONANTS.The consonants are much less troublesome because
1) they are internationally much more standardised,
2) they vary less within English accents and
3) the alphabet more nearly provides all the sounds needed.
We can dismiss the following right away because they will be written as in TO:
B,D,F,H,J,L,M,N,P,R,T,W,Y and Z.
C.C in English follows (with the sole exceptions of sceptic and often Celtic) the Latin language pattern of being pronounced as as s before e and i: cod, cant, cent, civet. A reluctance to pronounce it "hard", like a k, can also be seen in other European languages. In German e and i can appear only before a k or ck, a spelling which also exists in English of course. In other languages c is pronounced as ts (Hungarian, Serbo-Croat) or j (Turkish). Plainly any regular spelling system must do away with the silly soft c rule. Whenever it is soft we should write s:
For the hard c sound we should standardise on either c, as in Welsh (Cefn), or k which is the internationally accepted norm: Kikuyu, Kinshasa, Fukuyama, Waikiki.
Personally, I find k offensive and would prefer c everywhere as in Welsh:
CIC THI WICID COCURUL, CEVIN
but, in the face of world wide usage, must admit to being defeated by my own logic:
KIK THI WIKID KOKURUL, KEVIN
G,J.The Romance language rule that g is "soft" - pronounced like a j before e and i, is much less rigidly applied in TO: general, gibbet but give, get. We can therefore make it a rule that g will always be hard, and soft g becomes j:
JENURUL, JIBIT, GIV, GET, JINJUR, JOARJ, MANIJ.
A hard g before e or i is not unknown in international spellings: Gethsemane, Gettysburg, Geysir, Gifu.
Q.This letter is redundant in any rationalised spelling system and is substituted by C or K, or for qu by CW or KW:
More exmples: CWORUL, CWIBUL, CWONTITI. The alternatives with K: KWORULSUM, KWIK, ANTIKWEITID
K would remain in common use only in the digraph KH to denote the guttural sound of Scottish and foreign words, where it is often used already: LOKH LOKHI, OKHTURMUKHTI, KHAMSIN, KHOMEINI, KHACHATURIAN.
S.S always conveys the sound s, not z as is so common in TO in a medial or final position:
|refuse bin||REFYUS BIN||refuse to||RIFYUZ TU|
Y,W.These are always consonants, never vowels following rule (i) above:
SH, CH, ZH.We need these three digraphs as well. The first two are as in TO: SHOP, SHISH, CHOP, CHIBA
ZH is not just for foreign names like BREZHNEV and ZHIVKOV but is a surprisingly common sound in English:
X.Finally, x like q is redundant, because it is shorthand for cs, cz or gz and is in any case not consistently used in TO:
INFLECTIONS AND WORD FORMATIONS.We add s in TO for the third person singular of a verb, the plural of a noun and to denote possession. But the sound is actually a z sound after a vowel or a voiced consonant and should be written thus. Since this change merely follows pronunciation it should cause no problem in practice:
Something similar happens in the past tense to t and d. Again pronunciation is the guide:
Contrary to the complicated and irregularly applied rules in TO, additions for inflections or word formation are bolted onto the basic word without any need for consequential changes, providing the sound of the basic stem does not alter:
In TO you may have to change y to i, drop a magic e or double a consonant, when forming a derivative word. All these rules will go and there will be no doubt which is the correct form -- look at target(t)ed above.
In some cases where the pronunciation changes, the stemword will change where it does not in TO. But as ever pronunciation will be the guide:
FOREIGN LOAN WORDS.It is suggested that those words which are generally recognised as naturalised should follow the new system: BUFE, DEBRI, BALE, RESTURUNT, CREISH, CONUSEUR, RINASUNS, RONDEIVUE, DOSIYE, GROETESC, BEURLESC, VOADUVIL.
Generally a regular spelling system is less tolerant of alien spellings and either alters the pronunciation in line with the spelling or more usually alters the spelling to accord with the system: for example, restorang (Swedish) to convey the French nasal sound; bisuteria, jewellery (Spanish) because the j of bijou (ZH) has no counterpart in Spanish; kelner -- the second l of German Kellner (waiter) drops out in Serbo-Croat which has no double letters.
PLACE NAMES.The British, more particularly the English, take a perverse delight in trapping the unwary foreigner with place and family names whose pronunciation bears little relation to the spelling. The spelling of family names must be left to the owners, but for place names it is to be hoped that tradition and sentiment will be cast aside in favour of rational spellings. A sample of such horrors is below.
Foreigners are more logical. The Italian version of Florence first changed the l to i as in common for that language; and because the o was not accentuated it also dropped out. The result, Firenze, has no apparent connection with the flowery original name, Florentia. Yet no one doubts Florence is a beautiful and romantic city.
Similarly Adrianopolis in Turkey is now Edirne, giving no clue to its Graeco-Roman name. In England we try to retain the Roman connection (caster, cester), in place names which have lost it in pronunciation. So let's bring the spelling up to date:
Other names which reveal their pronunciation in revised spelling:
HOMONYMS.TO already contains many words which look the same and have different meanings. Such words (homonyms) worry many people because they fear that they are a cause of misunderstanding and they believe that efforts should be made to reduce them. However, they are of no account, really, because words are used only in context. Their numbers would need to be vastly higher before they gave rise to misunderstanding.
Homonyms are deliberately placed side by side only to create effect or make a pun: The sound of a sound man in his boat sounding the depth of the sound - includes all the meanings of sound.
There are also many words which sound the same but are spelt differently. Regular spelling does not of course alter the spoken language, but it will cause many pairs of words at present spelt differently but pronounced the same to be written the same as well:
Thus the number of homonyms will be increased. No problem is caused in practice: we often say homonyms in the same sentence without realising it:
WI MIST THE TEURNING BICOAZ THI MIST WOZ SOE THIC
MAI PAC WEID SOE HEVI AI DIEMD IT PRUEDUNT NOT TU WEID THI RIVUR
BEUT FOR THI RISESHUN THIS WUD WUD HAV BIEN CHOPT DAUN BAI NAU
In short homonyms don't matter. On the other land several words which in TO are spelt the same have two different pronunciations and meanings:
|read my book
have you read the red book?
STRESS.Where the stress falls on an English word varies enormously. There are some rules but as ever they are full of exceptions. The only sure way to guide the learner would be to show the stressed syllable by accenting it or highlighting it: indubitably, psychiatrist, trusty trustee.
Some languages, like Spanish, indicate by an accent a stressed syllable which does not follow the normal stress rules for the language. To do this in English would lead to much accenting because of the many exceptions to the rules. The SSS has in any case taken a policy decision against accents, though this is something we might wish to discuss again in the stress context. Some irregularly stressed words just have to be learned even in regular spelling:
|the converse||CONVEURS||to converse||CONVEURS|
However there is one big aid to stressing a word correctly in regular spelling, and that is the invariable rule that schwa (U) never takes the stress in a word. This is clear in derivatives where the change in stress alters the pronunciation:
|stress on second syllable|
stress on third syllable
Sometimes, but not always, the stress shifts to a long syllable:
NESUSRULI first syllable stressed
(NESUSEIRULI or NESUSERILI is now the preferred version, with the stress shifted to the third syuable, because it is easier to pronounce).
Some words will need two spellings because the varying stress alters the pronunciation:
HARUS (UK pronunciation)
HURAS (USA pronunciation)
Some pairs of words turn out not to be pairs if we discard what is thought to be the citational pronunciation but which is not used in practice:
TU BIE OR NOT TU BIE
SHI LEFT AT TEN TU TUE
(There will still be two versions of TUE: TUE BAD, TUE MEN, but not three)
TUE FOR TIE
A TEIBUL FOR FOAR
AI NOE THUT MAI RIDIEMUR CEUMITH
HI SEZ THUT THAT MAN DID IT
WEUN OR TUE
WUD YU LAIC PADULZ OR OARZ WITH YOAR BOET, SEUR?
Colloquial speech.A whole new range of unstressed words will be available for writers of colloquial speech:
THIS IZ MAI CAER, NOT YOARZ
WEIR'Z YUR CAER, THEN?
AI'V LOST MI HAT.
GWEN'Z LOST HUR BAG AGEN.
THEIR'Z MI WAIF'S.
THAT'S HEUR HANDBAG, NOT GWEN'Z.
THI STAERbai H G Wells.
It woz on thi feurst dei ov thi nyu yier thut thi anaunsmunt woz meid, oalmoest simulteiniusli from thrie obzeurvutriz, thut thi moeshun ov thi planit Neptyun, thi auturmoest ov oal thi planits that wiel abaut thi seun, had biceum veri iratic. A ritaerdeishun in its velositi had bien suspectid in Disembur. Then a feint rimoet spec ov lait woz disceuvurd in thi riejun ov thi purteurbd planit. At feurst this did not coaz eni greit ecsaitmunt. Saiuntific piepul, hauevur, faund thi intelijuns rimaercubul ineuf, ievun bifoar it biceim noen thut thi nyu bodi woz rapidli groeing laerjur and braitur, and thut its moeshun woz cwait difrunt from thi oardurli proegres ov thi planits.
On thi theurd dei ov thi nyu yier thi nyuzpeipur riedurz ov tue hemisfierz weur meid aweir ov thi rieul impoartuns ov this eunyuzhul aparishun in thi hevunz. A Planitri Colizhun weun Leundun peipur hedid thi nyuz, and procleimd that thi streinj planit wud probubli colaid with Neptyun. Thie liedur raiturz enlaerjd upon thi topic. Soe thut in moest ov thi capitulz ov thi weurld, on Janyuuri thi theurd, their woz an ecspecteishun, hauevur veig, ov seum imununt finomunun in thi scai; and az thi nait foloed thi seunset raund thi gloeb, thauzundz ov men teurnd their aiz scaiwurd tu sie thi ould familiur staerz az thei had oalweiz bien.
Euntil it woz doan in Leundun and thi staerz oevurhed had groen peil. Thi wintur'z doan it woz, a sicli filturing acyumyuleishun ov deilait, and thi lait ov gas and candulz shon yeloe in thi windoez tu shoe weir piepul weur asteur. Beut thi yoaning puliesmun soa thi thing, thi bizi craudz in thi maercit stopt ageip, weurcmen goeing tu their weurc bitaimz, milcmen. Disipeishun goeing hoem jeidid and peil, hoemlis wondururz, and in thi ceuntri, leibururz treujing afield, poechurz slincing hoem, and oevur thi deusti cwicuning ceuntri it cud bi sien, and aut at sie bai siemen woching for thi dei, a greit wait staer, cuem seudunli intu thi westurn scai!
Varied Pronunciation of English Vowels.
Note: Eng S R= England South Rural.
Symbols used are International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
THE MOST MIS-SPELT WORDS IN ENGLISH.(ALBSU/ Gallup Poll Nov. 11, 1992)
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