An English spelling reform that doesn't suck

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An English spelling reform that doesn't suck

Postby ILuvEire » Fri 23 Jul 2010 5:46 am

Okay, so essentially, I've seen every English spelling reform ever. I've even made up a dozen or so myself, replete of hideous things like ƿ's and š's in the same word etc. The idea of this reform would be not to totally destroy the etymological information contained in English spelling, while bridging the gap between that and dialects. In general, it seems to work much better for words of Germanic origin, but I'd love to hear any input anyone would like to share. It's relatively easy to type, generally relying on just ´ and `. I'm going to write the letter, followed by its long pronunciation and its short pronunciation. If there's just one phoneme, then there isn't a specific short pronunciation.
A /æ/ /ə/
Á /eɪ/
À /ɑː/
E /ɛ/ /ə/
É /iː/ /i/
I /ɪ/
Í /aɪ/
O /o/
Ò /ɔː/
U /u/ /ʊ/
Ú /ju/
Y /iː/ /i/

Now, I don't know if it's dialectal or what, but I cannot identify /ʌ/ for whatever reason. What is the difference between it and /ʊ/? What do they come from historically?
Rhotic vowels are written as they normally would be.

Consonants stay the same mostly, I haven't figured out what to do with /ʒ/, but it's somewhat marginal, and so I'm tempted to just leave /dʒ/ as it is. The silent <gh>s are left alone, but if it does make a sound, it's written as the sound it makes. I'm somewhat tempted to do something to mark the difference between voiced and unvoiced <th>, but I'm not sure. /k/ is a little problematic as well, my first instinct would be to use <k> for Germanic loans, then <c> for other loans, but Old English did use <c>...
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Re: An English spelling reform that doesn't suck

Postby Caenwyr » Fri 23 Jul 2010 8:54 am

Hi ILuvEire,

I'm glad to see you've actually been thinking about this reform, unlike most people who propose a new spelling "just because the old one sucks".

I'd like to see a piece of text in it!
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Re: An English spelling reform that doesn't suck

Postby linguoboy » Fri 23 Jul 2010 1:21 pm

ILuvEire wrote:Now, I don't know if it's dialectal or what, but I cannot identify /ʌ/ for whatever reason. What is the difference between it and /ʊ/?

Um, height, roundedness, backness. Basically they differ in every feature two vowels can except tenseness.

ILuvEire wrote:What do they come from historically?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_the_high_back_vowels#Foot-strut_split

I have to say, I'm not a fan of all the diacritics. Digraphs evolved naturally in conjunction with various phonological changes. Take them out, and the resulting orthography no longer looks "English".
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Re: An English spelling reform that doesn't suck

Postby Talib » Fri 23 Jul 2010 9:41 pm

Consonants stay the same mostly, I haven't figured out what to do with /ʒ/, but it's somewhat marginal, and so I'm tempted to just leave /dʒ/ as it is.
Leave it as is, then. It derives from two sources: French loanwords, and palatalization of /zj/. Your spelling would thus reflect this.
I'm somewhat tempted to do something to mark the difference between voiced and unvoiced <th>, but I'm not sure. /k/ is a little problematic as well, my first instinct would be to use <k> for Germanic loans, then <c> for other loans, but Old English did use <c>...
You could use <k> everywhere except when doubled, in which case you'd use <ck>. This would follow the conventions used in German and Swedish.
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