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Re: English Orthography in the Future

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  • Gary Shannon
    Bear in mind also that it used to be that nearly 100% of our reading material was edited . Somebody with a dictionary and style manual used to comb through
    Message 1 of 29 , Jun 1, 2013
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      Bear in mind also that it used to be that nearly 100% of our reading
      material was "edited". Somebody with a dictionary and style manual
      used to comb through everything before it went to the typesetter.
      Today virtually nothing on the Internet is edited any more. Or even
      spell-checked for that matter. A large portion of what we read today
      is informally written and full of the kinds of mistakes that take root
      and become the new normal.

      As for the rate of change of the language itself, I'm reading a book
      written in 1915 and I'm running into all sorts of odd differences in
      the language, such as using "did" to mark a subjunctive. E.g.
      (Speaking about a tapestry) "...But did you look at the back your
      would see the knots and splices...". Today we'd probably say "If you
      were to look at the back..."

      That's not orthography, but it is one example of a relatively major
      change in 98 years.

      --gary

      On Sat, Jun 1, 2013 at 9:06 PM, Casey Borders <thebeast.13@...> wrote:
      > I don't think it's such a stretch to say that there will be significant
      > changes in the next 50 years. American English is already significantly
      > different than British English and I think it will just pick up speed with
      > the amazing ease with which we are able to communicate today.
      > On Jun 1, 2013 11:50 PM, "Matthew Boutilier" <bvticvlarivs@...> wrote:
      >
    • Roger Mills
      I think back in the late 19th/early 20th C. someone made some proposals (a Chilean IIRC-- Andrés Bello ???). About the only one that ever caught on ( and not
      Message 2 of 29 , Jun 2, 2013
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        I think back in the late 19th/early 20th C. someone made some proposals (a Chilean IIRC-- Andrés Bello ???).

        About the only one that ever caught on ( and not universally) was the use of "y" for initial unstressed /i/, which survives in a few variant proper names-- Ynez, Yglesias etc.

        --- On Sat, 6/1/13, MorphemeAddict <lytlesw@...> wrote:

        From: MorphemeAddict <lytlesw@...>
        Subject: Re: English Orthography in the Future
        To: CONLANG@...
        Date: Saturday, June 1, 2013, 11:22 PM

        I'd much rather have ð edh than þ thorn for th, mostly because þ is so
        similar to p.

        I'm also in favor of a spelling reform for Spanish, which could do it much
        more straightforwardly.

        stevo


        On Sat, Jun 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM, Matthew George <matt.msg@...> wrote:

        > As am I - but only if it's pointy instead of rounded.  It's called 'thorn',
        > it should evoke that association.  The curvy, bulbous 'thorn' is just a bad
        > idea.  And it's easier to confuse with either 'b' or 'p'.
        >
        > Matt G.
        >
      • MorphemeAddict
        That seems like a step backward. stevo
        Message 3 of 29 , Jun 2, 2013
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          That seems like a step backward.

          stevo


          On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

          > I think back in the late 19th/early 20th C. someone made some proposals (a
          > Chilean IIRC-- Andrés Bello ???).
          >
          > About the only one that ever caught on ( and not universally) was the use
          > of "y" for initial unstressed /i/, which survives in a few variant proper
          > names-- Ynez, Yglesias etc.
          >
          > --- On Sat, 6/1/13, MorphemeAddict <lytlesw@...> wrote:
          >
          > From: MorphemeAddict <lytlesw@...>
          > Subject: Re: English Orthography in the Future
          > To: CONLANG@...
          > Date: Saturday, June 1, 2013, 11:22 PM
          >
          > I'd much rather have ð edh than þ thorn for th, mostly because þ is so
          > similar to p.
          >
          > I'm also in favor of a spelling reform for Spanish, which could do it much
          > more straightforwardly.
          >
          > stevo
          >
          >
          > On Sat, Jun 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM, Matthew George <matt.msg@...> wrote:
          >
          > > As am I - but only if it's pointy instead of rounded. It's called
          > 'thorn',
          > > it should evoke that association. The curvy, bulbous 'thorn' is just a
          > bad
          > > idea. And it's easier to confuse with either 'b' or 'p'.
          > >
          > > Matt G.
          > >
          >
        • Herman Miller
          ... I had no idea. I guess the euro symbol in my Thryomanes font is actually a Technically Not Actually the Euro Symbol, then. I guess they expect everyone to
          Message 4 of 29 , Jun 2, 2013
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            On 6/2/2013 1:09 AM, Alex Fink wrote:

            > As I learned from Michael Everson (also by the way a thorn fan:
            > http://evertype.com/blog/thorn/), this is the same mistake -- to
            > shamelessly take the typographers' side -- made by the European
            > Commission in introducing the euro symbol, whose aspect ratio and bar
            > widths and everything else were specified to complete unyielding
            > precision: meaning that if you wanted to design a typeface of any
            > other constitution, your choices were to either have the euro symbol
            > stick out like a sore thumb or be Technically Not Actually the Euro
            > Symbol.
            > http://www.fontshop.com/blog/fontmag/002/02_euro/

            I had no idea. I guess the euro symbol in my Thryomanes font is actually
            a Technically Not Actually the Euro Symbol, then.

            I guess they expect everyone to print all prices in Futura or Century
            Gothic?

            I've tried to keep a consistent style when adding new characters to
            Thryomanes, but there've been so many additions to Unicode over the
            years. Many of the characters I'm not sure what they're supposed to look
            like in the first place.
          • J. 'Mach' Wust
            In a recent Spanish orthography reform, the use of the accents was slightly simplified, dropping the accents on monosyllables such as fue (formerly, fué ).
            Message 5 of 29 , Jun 2, 2013
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              In a recent Spanish orthography reform, the use of the accents was slightly
              simplified, dropping the accents on monosyllables such as "fue" (formerly,
              "fué"). While Spanish spelling can be mapped perfectly on pronunciation
              (ambiguities are virtually nonexistent), there are a few ambiguities when
              mapping pronunciation on spelling. These are: /b/ → ⟨v⟩ or ⟨b⟩, vowel onset →
              ∅ or ⟨h⟩, and, for a vast majority of Spanish speakers, /s/ → ⟨s⟩ or ⟨z⟩,
              and, for virtually all Spanish speakers, /ʝ/ → ⟨y⟩ or ⟨ll⟩. In some
              varieties, there might be additional ambiguities, namely syllable coda ⟨s⟩ vs
              ∅, syllable coda ⟨r⟩ vs. ⟨l⟩, and consonant clusters.

              Apart from these ambiguities, there are some regular alternations, namely the
              regular alternations between ⟨c⟩, ⟨g⟩ (both before ⟨e⟩, ⟨i⟩) on one hand and
              ⟨z⟩, ⟨j⟩ on the other hand, and the regular alternation between initial ⟨r⟩
              and non-initial ⟨rr⟩ or, in a few cases, between non-final ⟨i⟩ and final ⟨y⟩.
              Also, the use of the acute accent – in spite of being totally regular –
              remains a mystery to many (I guess this is because it is taught too early,
              maybe at the age of 8 or 10, at an age when most children do not yet grasp
              these fairly abstract rules).

              While Spanish orthography looks like a model of regularity to people used to
              French or German orthography, it is less regular than Italian or Finnish
              orthography.

              As for English orthography, I think it is extremely unlikely that it is going
              to change anytime soon. Two factors: The very high degree of English literacy
              and the use of English in numerous countries around the globe. Maybe at some
              point in the future English will have the same fate as Latin did: The spoken
              language becomes so distant from the written language that people don't
              relate to the written language any more but instead begin to write the spoken
              language. In the case of Latin, this process started after about 1000 years
              and was completed after about 1500 years. If these numbers are applied to
              English, it will not happen for at least another 500 years. Mind you that the
              comparison is not easy, since in the case of Latin, there was a very high
              degree of illiteracy.

              --
              grüess
              mach


              On Sun, 2 Jun 2013 13:49:03 -0400, MorphemeAddict wrote:

              >That seems like a step backward.
              >
              >stevo
              >
              >
              >On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM, Roger Mills wrote:
              >
              >> I think back in the late 19th/early 20th C. someone made some proposals (a
              >> Chilean IIRC-- Andrés Bello ???).
              >>
              >> About the only one that ever caught on ( and not universally) was the use
              >> of "y" for initial unstressed /i/, which survives in a few variant proper
              >> names-- Ynez, Yglesias etc.
              >>
              >> --- On Sat, 6/1/13, MorphemeAddict wrote:
              >>
              >> From: MorphemeAddict
              >> Subject: Re: English Orthography in the Future
              >> To: CONLANG@...
              >> Date: Saturday, June 1, 2013, 11:22 PM
              >>
              >> I'd much rather have ð edh than þ thorn for th, mostly because þ is so
              >> similar to p.
              >>
              >> I'm also in favor of a spelling reform for Spanish, which could do it much
              >> more straightforwardly.
              >>
              >> stevo
            • Gary Shannon
              On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 11:55 PM, J. Mach Wust
              Message 6 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 11:55 PM, J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...
                > wrote:

                ---
                >


                > As for English orthography, I think it is extremely unlikely that it is
                > going
                > to change anytime soon. Two factors: The very high degree of English
                > literacy
                > and the use of English in numerous countries around the globe. Maybe at
                > some
                > point in the future English will have the same fate as Latin did: The
                > spoken
                > language becomes so distant from the written language that people don't
                > relate to the written language any more but instead begin to write the
                > spoken
                > language. In the case of Latin, this process started after about 1000 years
                > and was completed after about 1500 years. If these numbers are applied to
                > English, it will not happen for at least another 500 years. Mind you that
                > the
                > comparison is not easy, since in the case of Latin, there was a very high
                > degree of illiteracy.
                >
                > --
                > grüess
                > mach
                >

                Barring, of course, _The Decline and Fall of the English-Speaking Empire_
                following which the Latin model might prove to be accurate as numerous
                "Anglic" languages branch from the original, but largely forgotten English.

                --gary
              • George Corley
                ... Those cultures would have to reject or de-emphasize their historical connections as well. That might let the US drift further from everyone else in
                Message 7 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                  On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:

                  > On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 11:55 PM, J. 'Mach' Wust <
                  > j_mach_wust@...
                  > > wrote:
                  >
                  > ---
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > > As for English orthography, I think it is extremely unlikely that it is
                  > > going
                  > > to change anytime soon. Two factors: The very high degree of English
                  > > literacy
                  > > and the use of English in numerous countries around the globe. Maybe at
                  > > some
                  > > point in the future English will have the same fate as Latin did: The
                  > > spoken
                  > > language becomes so distant from the written language that people don't
                  > > relate to the written language any more but instead begin to write the
                  > > spoken
                  > > language. In the case of Latin, this process started after about 1000
                  > years
                  > > and was completed after about 1500 years. If these numbers are applied to
                  > > English, it will not happen for at least another 500 years. Mind you that
                  > > the
                  > > comparison is not easy, since in the case of Latin, there was a very high
                  > > degree of illiteracy.
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > > grüess
                  > > mach
                  > >
                  >
                  > Barring, of course, _The Decline and Fall of the English-Speaking Empire_
                  > following which the Latin model might prove to be accurate as numerous
                  > "Anglic" languages branch from the original, but largely forgotten English.
                  >

                  Those cultures would have to reject or de-emphasize their historical
                  connections as well. That might let the US drift further from everyone
                  else in written form first, perhaps, or it might not.

                  In any case, the fall of the Anglophone empire is a ways into the future if
                  we can even estimate it. The US isn't relinquishing it's hegemonic
                  position anytime soon. I'd say it's safe for 50-100 years (you can't
                  really predict politics further than that).
                • Daniel Myers
                  ... Assuming that English retains its position as the language of international commerce, I d expect it to splinter into sublanguages in different economic
                  Message 8 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                    > -------- Original Message --------
                    > From: George Corley <gacorley@...>
                    > Date: Mon, June 03, 2013 12:14 pm
                    >
                    > On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Those cultures would have to reject or de-emphasize their historical
                    > connections as well. That might let the US drift further from everyone
                    > else in written form first, perhaps, or it might not.
                    >
                    > In any case, the fall of the Anglophone empire is a ways into the future if
                    > we can even estimate it. The US isn't relinquishing it's hegemonic
                    > position anytime soon. I'd say it's safe for 50-100 years (you can't
                    > really predict politics further than that).


                    Assuming that English retains its position as the language of
                    international commerce, I'd expect it to splinter into sublanguages in
                    different economic regions. Perhaps the Americas would have one
                    version, Europe a second, Asia a third, and Africa a fourth. In each
                    region the language might change to suit the kind of errors the local
                    non-English-speakers would make.

                    - Doc
                  • George Corley
                    ... That I don t think will happen. English may lag in it s loss of status the way Latin did, remaining a lingua franca far beyond the time when Anglophone
                    Message 9 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                      On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM, Daniel Myers <doc@...> wrote:

                      >
                      > > -------- Original Message --------
                      > > From: George Corley <gacorley@...>
                      > > Date: Mon, June 03, 2013 12:14 pm
                      > >
                      > > On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM, Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Those cultures would have to reject or de-emphasize their historical
                      > > connections as well. That might let the US drift further from everyone
                      > > else in written form first, perhaps, or it might not.
                      > >
                      > > In any case, the fall of the Anglophone empire is a ways into the future
                      > if
                      > > we can even estimate it. The US isn't relinquishing it's hegemonic
                      > > position anytime soon. I'd say it's safe for 50-100 years (you can't
                      > > really predict politics further than that).
                      >
                      >
                      > Assuming that English retains its position as the language of
                      > international commerce, I'd expect it to splinter into sublanguages in
                      > different economic regions. Perhaps the Americas would have one
                      > version, Europe a second, Asia a third, and Africa a fourth. In each
                      > region the language might change to suit the kind of errors the local
                      > non-English-speakers would make.
                      >
                      > - Doc
                      >

                      That I don't think will happen. English may lag in it's loss of status the
                      way Latin did, remaining a lingua franca far beyond the time when
                      Anglophone countries are the most powerful, but I think that future Anglic
                      languages will most likely crop up in those places where English remains a
                      mother tongue. So the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain,
                      Ireland, and South Africa are likely candidates, but India and the
                      Phillipines and other places where English is just a lingua franca will
                      more likely drop it as it loses prestige.
                    • J. 'Mach' Wust
                      ... An important difference between the evolution of Latin vernaculars into Romance languages and a future evolution of English varieties into Anglic languages
                      Message 10 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                        On Mon, 3 Jun 2013 12:16:05 -0500, George Corley wrote:

                        >On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM, Daniel Myers wrote:
                        >
                        >>
                        >> > -------- Original Message --------
                        >> > From: George Corley
                        >> > Date: Mon, June 03, 2013 12:14 pm
                        >> >
                        >> > On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM, Gary Shannon wrote:
                        >> >
                        >> > Those cultures would have to reject or de-emphasize their historical
                        >> > connections as well. That might let the US drift further from everyone
                        >> > else in written form first, perhaps, or it might not.
                        >> >
                        >> > In any case, the fall of the Anglophone empire is a ways into the future
                        >> if
                        >> > we can even estimate it. The US isn't relinquishing it's hegemonic
                        >> > position anytime soon. I'd say it's safe for 50-100 years (you can't
                        >> > really predict politics further than that).
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> Assuming that English retains its position as the language of
                        >> international commerce, I'd expect it to splinter into sublanguages in
                        >> different economic regions. Perhaps the Americas would have one
                        >> version, Europe a second, Asia a third, and Africa a fourth. In each
                        >> region the language might change to suit the kind of errors the local
                        >> non-English-speakers would make.
                        >>
                        >> - Doc
                        >>
                        >
                        >That I don't think will happen. English may lag in it's loss of status the
                        >way Latin did, remaining a lingua franca far beyond the time when
                        >Anglophone countries are the most powerful, but I think that future Anglic
                        >languages will most likely crop up in those places where English remains a
                        >mother tongue. So the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain,
                        >Ireland, and South Africa are likely candidates, but India and the
                        >Phillipines and other places where English is just a lingua franca will
                        >more likely drop it as it loses prestige.

                        An important difference between the evolution of Latin vernaculars into
                        Romance languages and a future evolution of English varieties into Anglic
                        languages is the presence of mass media. I think they have a leveling effect,
                        while widespread literacy has a conserving effect.

                        Even if there were a sudden drop in mass media and literacy, the written
                        language might stay the same for many centuries, and literate Anglic speakers
                        would still consider their own language to be English, even though they'd
                        know it is quite different from vulgar Anglic. I think.

                        --
                        grüess
                        mach
                      • George Corley
                        On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 1:08 PM, J. Mach Wust ... Mass media is relatively know, and I don t know if we can really know at this point whether it can slow or
                        Message 11 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                          On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 1:08 PM, J. 'Mach' Wust
                          <j_mach_wust@...>wrote:

                          > On Mon, 3 Jun 2013 12:16:05 -0500, George Corley wrote:
                          > >>
                          > >> Assuming that English retains its position as the language of
                          > >> international commerce, I'd expect it to splinter into sublanguages in
                          > >> different economic regions. Perhaps the Americas would have one
                          > >> version, Europe a second, Asia a third, and Africa a fourth. In each
                          > >> region the language might change to suit the kind of errors the local
                          > >> non-English-speakers would make.
                          > >>
                          > >> - Doc
                          > >>
                          > >
                          > >That I don't think will happen. English may lag in it's loss of status
                          > the
                          > >way Latin did, remaining a lingua franca far beyond the time when
                          > >Anglophone countries are the most powerful, but I think that future Anglic
                          > >languages will most likely crop up in those places where English remains a
                          > >mother tongue. So the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain,
                          > >Ireland, and South Africa are likely candidates, but India and the
                          > >Phillipines and other places where English is just a lingua franca will
                          > >more likely drop it as it loses prestige.
                          >
                          > An important difference between the evolution of Latin vernaculars into
                          > Romance languages and a future evolution of English varieties into Anglic
                          > languages is the presence of mass media. I think they have a leveling
                          > effect,
                          > while widespread literacy has a conserving effect.
                          >
                          > Even if there were a sudden drop in mass media and literacy, the written
                          > language might stay the same for many centuries, and literate Anglic
                          > speakers
                          > would still consider their own language to be English, even though they'd
                          > know it is quite different from vulgar Anglic. I think.


                          Mass media is relatively know, and I don't know if we can really know at
                          this point whether it can slow or harmonize language change to such a
                          degree. It does seem to help with harmonizing the lexicon, but that says
                          nothing about sound changes or grammar. In any case, nothing about that
                          argument says anything about my argument that future Anglic languages are
                          more likely to occur in places where English is a significant mother
                          tongue.
                        • Matthew George
                          ... The letter v is pointed. So is w in many fonts. N , M , W , and both k and K are pointy. Besides, there needs to be a certain level of
                          Message 12 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                            On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 1:09 AM, Alex Fink <000024@...> wrote:

                            > No, that'd be a horrid thing to require; a page using it would lack
                            > stylistic consistency and therefore be ugly. The shape of thorn
                            > should be assembled of the same elements as the rest of the letters.
                            > Typography 101, really.
                            >

                            The letter 'v' is pointed. So is 'w' in many fonts. 'N', 'M', 'W', and
                            both 'k' and 'K' are pointy.

                            Besides, there needs to be a certain level of variation, else the
                            typography becomes uniform. Shifting back and forth between pointy and
                            rounded shapes is better than perfect consistency with a single type.

                            I see no reason why an angular thorn is inferior to a rounded one, and I
                            think it looks much better. You are of course entitled to your opinion,
                            unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.

                            Matt G.



                            >
                            > As I learned from Michael Everson (also by the way a thorn fan:
                            > http://evertype.com/blog/thorn/), this is the same mistake -- to
                            > shamelessly take the typographers' side -- made by the European
                            > Commission in introducing the euro symbol, whose aspect ratio and bar
                            > widths and everything else were specified to complete unyielding
                            > precision: meaning that if you wanted to design a typeface of any
                            > other constitution, your choices were to either have the euro symbol
                            > stick out like a sore thumb or be Technically Not Actually the Euro
                            > Symbol.
                            > http://www.fontshop.com/blog/fontmag/002/02_euro/
                            >
                            > MorphemeAddict wrote:
                            > > I'd much rather have ð edh than þ thorn for th, mostly because þ is so
                            > > similar to p.
                            >
                            > I'm surprised I'm in such an apparent minority in handwriting d
                            > exactly the same way as the main stroke of ð (both from the inside
                            > out).
                            >
                            > In fact my personal-use handwriting already uses both eth and thorn,
                            > and admittedly thorn and lowercase p are more confusable than most
                            > other pairs. (The loop has simplified; they both look like a ᛅ of
                            > varying proportions).
                            >
                            > Alex, with apologies to those whose threading I broke
                            >
                          • Padraic Brown
                            ... I dunno about that. If it *retains* its position, I think it more likely that something like a world standard based more or less on US English will
                            Message 13 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                              --- On Mon, 6/3/13, Daniel Myers <doc@...> wrote:

                              > Assuming that English retains its position as the language of
                              > international commerce, I'd expect it to splinter into sublanguages in
                              > different economic regions. 

                              I dunno about that. If it *retains* its position, I think it more likely
                              that something like a world standard based more or less on US English
                              will continue to dominate. If English *loses* its position, then I can
                              certainly see the rising to prominence of local varieties of English
                              once the pressure to conform coming from the dominant partner(s) is
                              relaxed.

                              > Perhaps the Americas would have one version, Europe a second, Asia a
                              > third, and Africa a fourth.  In each region the language might change to
                              > suit the kind of errors the local non-English-speakers would make.

                              That said, we've already gòt the situation you describe above! There are
                              already regional and national varieties of English in America, Europe,
                              Africa and Asia that are distinct and have evolved characteristically
                              given the sorts of errors likely to be made by the non-English-native
                              speakers of those Englishes.

                              You can hear this very clearly in the English of, just for example, the
                              Philippines. The accentuation of syllables and intonation of phrases is
                              very different; lexicon is different; etc. And of course, all of this
                              without even getting into the heavy use of code switching, etc, etc in
                              these regions.

                              > - Doc

                              Padraic
                            • Padraic Brown
                              ... Possibly. But note that subjects taught in Spanish were only dropped in the Phils in the mid to late 1970s, and the Spanish had been kicked out back in the
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                                --- On Mon, 6/3/13, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:

                                > but India and the Phillipines and other places where English is just a
                                > lingua franca will more likely drop it as it loses prestige.

                                Possibly. But note that subjects taught in Spanish were only dropped in
                                the Phils in the mid to late 1970s, and the Spanish had been kicked out
                                back in the late 1890s. (My wife's year was the first, at least in her
                                province, to not be taught any subjects in Spanish, while her ate's year
                                was still taught some things in Spanish.) I think English will die very
                                VERY slowly in the Phils. So long as the relationship is good between the
                                two countries (economically, politically, as well as immigrationally) I
                                think they will continue to speak and use Philippine English. This
                                regardless of the relative strength of the US in world events.

                                Padraic
                              • H. S. Teoh
                                ... [...] ... [...] A significant percentage of Malaysia s population would regard themselves as native English speakers , since that is the only language
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jun 3, 2013
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                                  On Mon, Jun 03, 2013 at 04:10:40PM -0700, Padraic Brown wrote:
                                  > --- On Mon, 6/3/13, Daniel Myers <doc@...> wrote:
                                  [...]
                                  > > Perhaps the Americas would have one version, Europe a second, Asia a
                                  > > third, and Africa a fourth.  In each region the language might
                                  > > change to suit the kind of errors the local non-English-speakers
                                  > > would make.
                                  >
                                  > That said, we've already gòt the situation you describe above! There
                                  > are already regional and national varieties of English in America,
                                  > Europe, Africa and Asia that are distinct and have evolved
                                  > characteristically given the sorts of errors likely to be made by the
                                  > non-English-native speakers of those Englishes.
                                  >
                                  > You can hear this very clearly in the English of, just for example,
                                  > the Philippines. The accentuation of syllables and intonation of
                                  > phrases is very different; lexicon is different; etc. And of course,
                                  > all of this without even getting into the heavy use of code switching,
                                  > etc, etc in these regions.
                                  [...]

                                  A significant percentage of Malaysia's population would regard
                                  themselves as "native English speakers", since that is the only language
                                  they use at home, as distinct from, say, their ancestral Chinese
                                  tongues, or Malay, or Tamil. But the "English" they speak (jokingly
                                  referred to as "Manglish") is almost unintelligible to native English
                                  speakers. My wife, for example, who mostly grew up in Canada, finds it
                                  extremely difficult to understand them. Conversely, my dad, who still
                                  lives in Malaysia, finds her Canadian accent difficult to understand.
                                  They would often talk at cross purposes even when trying to be mutually
                                  intelligible, and I find myself in the paradoxical position of having to
                                  translate from English to English. (In fact, my wife has resorted to
                                  speaking Chinese with my family members, as they can communicate better
                                  that way!)

                                  And just as Padraic says: the accentuation is markedly different from
                                  "standard English" (a Canadian friend calls it "acCENTing the wrong
                                  sylLAble"), the phrasal prosody is different, and there are lots of
                                  unique idioms that are completely opaque to outsiders, e.g. "see first"
                                  (I'll think about it), "gostan" [go"stan] (drive a car in reverse --
                                  corruption of "go astern"), "afters" [Vf"t@s] (afterwards -- often
                                  pronounced without the /s/ and distinguished from "after" only by
                                  intonation), "chop" (to stamp), "very can" [vErI"k_hE:n] (very capable
                                  -- often used in pejorative sense), "is it!" [iz"zit] (is that really
                                  so? -- expression of disbelief), "what lah!" ["watlV] (how could you! --
                                  expression of annoyance), "can meh?" ["kEn"mE:] (is that actually
                                  possible?), "where got?" (that's not true -- expression of denial).

                                  So, yeah, it's already happening. Um... it's already happen*ed*. And no,
                                  the existence of the Internet and global communication did not diminish
                                  the local dialect. If anything, it strengthened it, 'cos now it's much
                                  easier to find like-minded people speaking the same way. In fact, in
                                  Singapore, the populace have already begun to distinguish between the
                                  "formal register" of English (i.e., standard English) and "street
                                  register" (i.e., Singlish, the local English creole). Singaporeans
                                  already consciously switch between the two depending on occasion: it's
                                  only a matter of time before they become two distinct languages.

                                  ObConlang: Did any of you make a creole of your conlang with a natlang?


                                  T

                                  --
                                  You have to expect the unexpected. -- RL
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