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Re: THEORY: Long and short vowels association.

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  • Padraic Brown
    ... Not as far as I know! ... I doubt it s simply *because of* the orthography, though it may well be an interesting side-effect. Personally, I think everyone
    Message 1 of 47 , Aug 17 8:34 PM
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      > Are there rules against reviving old posts?


      Not as far as I know!

      > 2013/7/3 Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...>:
      >>> From: Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>
      >>
      >>>>>   In some old e-mail conversations with Justin B. Rye, I could
      > get some
      >>>>>   details of what he imagined for an English spelling reform.
      >>>>>   Apparently, most English words *look* as if they ended in
      > consonant,
      >>>>>   because all long vowels would get a final <y>, <w>
      > or  <h> :
      >>>>>
      >>>>>   be -> biy
      >>>>>   shampoo -> shampuw
      >>>>>   law -> loh
      >>>>>   Ra -> Rah
      >>
      >> For me, at least, schemes like this render the language all but unreadable.
      > One
      >> thing I think such "reformers" don't take into account is
      > that I don't think we
      >> read letter by letter so much as by overall word and phrase shape. In other
      >> words, "caught" is a shape; "laugh" is a shape. And
      > it's the shape of the word
      >> that we read more than the letters contained in the word, which, in all
      > honesty,
      >> have very little to do with what is actually pronounced.
      >
      > Isn't this more true for English just because of the irregularity of
      > its orthography?

      I doubt it's simply *because of* the orthography, though it may well be an
      interesting side-effect.

      Personally, I think everyone who learns to read, and who reads a lot and
      eventually comes to such a familiarity with written words that, regardless
      of language, he ends up reading the shapes more than the letters.

      > Are there evidences that Italians, for instance, read words "by shape"
      > to the same extend that Anglophones do?

      Dunno. If they read half as fast as they talk, they *must* be flying indeed! ;))

      >> So the reformers are
      >> all gung-ho to solve a real problem -- but the problem they want to solve
      > is
      >> an irrelevant one! "kot" and "laef" end up being
      > stumbling blocks rather than
      >> helps to quick reading and sure understanding.
      >
      > Maybe the real benefit would be for those who are learning the
      > language right now

      I would agree in so far as such a learner could read a limited number of probably
      rather simple introductory texts, and could conceivably write out a speech
      prepared in his horrific orthography and read it out and be understood. I do think
      he would find it more of  a roadblock than a help in the long run, though. No one
      else will be able to read what he writes, and when he finally graduates from his
      play-pen orthography, he will find himself literally back at square one, having to
      both unlearn everything he's just been taught as well as learn everything anew.

      I don't think I need to stress that I am anti spelling "reform" in just about every
      shape and flavor it comes in. The benefits of just buckling down and doing the
      hard work of learning to read the damn language at the start will far outweigh
      any theoretical benefits in "reforming" the spelling. And anyway, if such
      endeavors were really all that beneficial, the Arabs, the Greeks, the Russians
      and the Chinese would have "reformed" to the Latin alphabet 50 to 100 years
      ago or so.

      Padraic
    • Anthony Miles
      ... IIRC, the composer of El Cid was convinced he was writing Latin, although his reasons may have been as much this is literature and not trash, therefore it
      Message 47 of 47 , Aug 22 4:13 PM
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        >I could imagine that the same sort of thing might have occurred early in
        >Romance languages, only to be later obliterated by nationalism.
        >Nonetheless, it's not so much that writing is meant to be in a different
        >language, but that it should be reserved for a "higher" language. I think
        >Christophe's point is that writing in French or other Romance languages at
        >that time might be viewed the same way as writing in Ebonics would be to
        >many Anglophones today -- they consider it a vulgar and degenerate form of
        >the "pure" language, and thus reject the idea of serious writing in it.

        IIRC, the composer of El Cid was convinced he was writing Latin, although his
        reasons may have been as much "this is literature and not trash, therefore it
        must be Latin" as any linguistic criteria - the etymologies of Isidore of Seville
        don't inspire much confidence. The pre-1976 distinction in Greek between
        Katheravousa (sp?) and Demotic seems to be similar, although fuzzier. Even in
        English, when I compose a business letter or write something academic, I use
        a higher register than when I'm talking to one of my Scouts who's a 6th grader.
        Now, I must concede that my colloquial register is not much lower than my
        academic one, but that's because my default vocabulary is relatively high.
        Indeed, as one Ancient Egyptian said, "I know the language of the land; I do
        not speak like a common man; my speech is not full of "pa's"".

        Once I'm done with update of my conlang Siye, you will be able to see that
        the Simayamka and the Guild of Scholars are keenly aware of such
        distinctions - the "Moonies" advocate the (irregular) use of the ergative suffix
        -na on a nominative-accusative pronoun mu- for disambiguation of the nominative
        and accusative, while the majority of the Guild decries this usage as vulgar
        and tolerates the ambiguity, at least in independent pronouns. Even in regular
        nouns, the authorization (i.e. recognition of new cases) can take years.
        And if you use an authorized case in a contract, that is possible
        grounds for invalidation.
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