Re: [Slovak-World] Spelling Reforms
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.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> wouldn't it affect the pronunciation of certain precedingIt would be no different from what it already is before the _e_s,
> consonants, eg such as t, d, l, being softened before a
> short "i" but not before "y"
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
> we'd be the two most unpopular people in the whole ofNo 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).
votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu