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RE: [Slovak-World] Spelling Reforms

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  • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
    Maybe the Germans will have better luck than we Americans have had with English. Theodore Roosevelt tried to reform English spelling in 1906, ordering
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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      Maybe the Germans will have better luck than we Americans have had
      with English. Theodore Roosevelt tried to reform English spelling in
      1906, ordering government documents to follow the new spelling system.
      The effort met with such derision from the public and outright
      hostility from Congress and the Supreme Court and the newspapers that
      it was abandoned just a few months later. When Roosevelt was defeated
      for office, one newspaper (NYT?) ran a simple good-riddance headline
      "THRU!".

      Slovak spelling is pretty straightforward, but it could use a couple
      of minor spelling reforms too - "i" and "y" are pronounced the same
      today, might as well use one letter for both!

      Joe A.



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of David
      Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 8:26 AM
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Slovak-World] Non Slovak


      German Language: Since a lot of Slovak Worlders also speak German, I
      thought it would be of interest to our members in what is happening
      with the German language.

      War of words continues as German is 'simplified'
      PALMA BENCZENLEITNER, Berlin August 02 2005
      Changes aimed at simplifying what Mark Twain once called "that awful
      German language" legally took effect yesterday across Germany,
      Austria and Switzerland, seven years after they were introduced.
    • J. Michutka
      ... But wouldn t it affect the pronunciation of certain preceding consonants, eg such as t, d, l, being softened before a short i but not before y ? Julie
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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        >
        >Slovak spelling is pretty straightforward, but it could use a couple
        >of minor spelling reforms too - "i" and "y" are pronounced the same
        >today, might as well use one letter for both!

        But wouldn't it affect the pronunciation of certain preceding consonants,
        eg such as t, d, l, being softened before a short "i" but not before "y" ?

        Julie Michutka
        jmm@...
      • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
        We could mark d t l n as soft when needed before the new i/y, like we do when they re soft before the other vowels (t , d , l , and n with a caret). Joe ...
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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          We could mark d t l n as soft when needed before the new i/y, like we
          do when they're soft before the other vowels (t', d', l', and n with a
          caret).

          Joe


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of J. Michutka
          Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 3:03 PM
          To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [Slovak-World] Spelling Reforms



          >
          >Slovak spelling is pretty straightforward, but it could use a couple
          >of minor spelling reforms too - "i" and "y" are pronounced the same
          >today, might as well use one letter for both!

          But wouldn't it affect the pronunciation of certain preceding
          consonants,
          eg such as t, d, l, being softened before a short "i" but not before
          "y" ?

          Julie Michutka
          jmm@...
        • J. Michutka
          ... OK, good point; go ahead and give it a try then, I ll back you! Julie Michutka jmm@pathbridge.net
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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            At 04:02 PM 8/2/2005 -0400, you wrote:
            >We could mark d t l n as soft when needed before the new i/y, like we
            >do when they're soft before the other vowels (t', d', l', and n with a
            >caret).

            OK, good point; go ahead and give it a try then, I'll back you!

            Julie Michutka
            jmm@...
          • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
            Oh dear, we d be the two most unpopular people in the whole of Slovakia! Newspapers would write nasty stories about us, and children would point and laugh at
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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              Oh dear, we'd be the two most unpopular people in the whole of
              Slovakia! Newspapers would write nasty stories about us, and children
              would point and laugh at us on the streets! "Look, those are the two
              foolish Americans who can't spell "knihy!" They'd deport us for sure!


              Joe A.


              -----Original Message-----
              From: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
              [mailto:Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of J. Michutka
              Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 4:15 PM
              To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [Slovak-World] Spelling Reforms


              At 04:02 PM 8/2/2005 -0400, you wrote:
              >We could mark d t l n as soft when needed before the new i/y, like we
              >do when they're soft before the other vowels (t', d', l', and n with
              a
              >caret).

              OK, good point; go ahead and give it a try then, I'll back you!

              Julie Michutka
              jmm@...
            • J. Michutka
              ... Hmmm, now I m re-thinking my support of your proposal.......although Slovaks already laugh at me, every time I attempt to speak the language..... ;) Julie
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 2, 2005
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                At 04:35 PM 8/2/2005 -0400, you wrote:
                >Oh dear, we'd be the two most unpopular people in the whole of
                >Slovakia! Newspapers would write nasty stories about us, and children
                >would point and laugh at us on the streets! "Look, those are the two
                >foolish Americans who can't spell "knihy!" They'd deport us for sure!
                >
                >Joe A.

                Hmmm, now I'm re-thinking my support of your proposal.......although
                Slovaks already laugh at me, every time I attempt to speak the language..... ;)

                Julie Michutka
                jmm@...
              • Taoz@aol.com
                Julie, I m a little surprized at what you said about Slovaks laughing at your attempt to speak their language. I ve not had that experience. I haven t heard
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 3, 2005
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                  Julie,
                  I'm a little surprized at what you said about Slovaks laughing at your
                  attempt to speak their language. I've not had that experience.
                  I haven't heard the language spoken for many, many years. But when I was
                  over there and tried it, I know I had problems. I could get along with things
                  about the home or the garden but I certainly couldn't get along in a
                  political or a philosophical discussion. Also, I'm sure that I was speaking very
                  ungrammatically as I really don't remember the endings of the words as they
                  should be. However, nobody ever laughed. They were delighted that I tried my
                  best to make myself known. My cousins and their children, when I tried to
                  apologize for my lack of knowledge, just said, "Ale, stric^o, vas pochopime."
                  That was good enough for me. Even in Prague they understood me. I'm still
                  amazed at how much came out of me during our 2 visits.
                  Julie, keep at it. They are happy you are doing as much as you can.
                  Pavel


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Martin Votruba
                  ... It would be no different from what it already is before the _e_s, Julie. The t, d, n is palatal in words like _tehla_ _dej_, _nema_; and on the other hand
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 3, 2005
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                    > wouldn't it affect the pronunciation of certain preceding
                    > consonants, eg such as t, d, l, being softened before a
                    > short "i" but not before "y"

                    It would be no different from what it already is before the _e_s,
                    Julie. The t, d, n is palatal in words like _tehla_ _dej_, _nema_;
                    and on the other hand in _ten_, _teda_, _teraz_, or in borrowed words
                    like _telefon_, etc., the t, d, n, are not palatal. Yet, nothing
                    indicates how to pronounce them. You simply have to know. Likewise,
                    they aren't palatal before the _i_s in borrowed words like
                    _univerzita_, _sanitka_, etc., without any indication of their
                    "hardness."


                    > we'd be the two most unpopular people in the whole of
                    > Slovakia

                    No such quick rise to fame, Joe. You'd be in a sizeable group of
                    Slovaks who support such a reform. And more than that -- you'd be
                    spelling it the way the venerable founder of the modern spelling
                    reform, the celebrated activist Ludovit Stur, did it in the 1840s.

                    His system was adopted. Newspapers and books were published without
                    the _y_s and with each palatal d, t, n, marked (Stur considered the
                    palatal _l_ an uncouth sound and left it out of his spelling).
                    Stur's excellent spelling system was ruined with the (re)introduction
                    of the _y_s and a few other messy things about a decade later.

                    There have been several attempts since then to go back to Stur's
                    standard, most recently, although not particularly forcefully, after
                    the collapse of communism, but the defenders of the status quo
                    prevailed each time.

                    But a _y_ is replaced by an _i_ now and then in the Slovak manual of
                    style. For example, in 1953, all the plurals of the past tenses were
                    switched to _-li_. Before, it was -li for masculine subjects and -ly
                    for feminine and neuter subjects; _syrup_ was changed to _sirup_ in
                    the 1960s; _oxyd_ to _oxid_ in the 1980s, etc.

                    All tragically important, because when a student gets even a single
                    i/y wrong in a writing test at school, s/he can never get an A. It's
                    considered one of the most grievous errors (the internet is swarming
                    with them, of course).


                    Martin

                    votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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