[Development] OT: English phonetic spelling

Jeff Tranter jtranter at ics.com
Mon Mar 27 19:09:41 CEST 2017

On 17-03-27 12:44 PM, Konrad Rosenbaum wrote:
> [quite OT, but I'll pile on... - just for fun]
> On Mon, March 27, 2017 17:43, Matthew Woehlke wrote:
>> Iä, thät güst lûks wråŋ. Yf wi wÿr tu ëvÿr du süch thyŋz, ai
> wûd müch
> Let me propose the more "Jusfull" "Jäh" - which is somewhat easier to read.
>> räthÿr swytch holsel tu ü kümplitli fünëtyk spëlyŋ üf
> ëvrithyŋ. Ai häpyn
>> tu lüik thys systûm wych ai ëm dëmünstretyŋ hir ;-).
> Are you using Gaelic pronunciation on "lüik"? The only way my tongue seems
> able to pronounce this is with an almost silent "i".
>> On 2017-03-27 03:43, Marc Mutz wrote:
>>> Been there, done that. Delphin is now spelled Delfin in German. For -
>>> what -
>>> 20 years now? It still looks wrong. Oh, and the public outcry back then.
>>> And
>>> the economic damage caused by having to re-proofread, re-edit and
>>> re-print a
>>> ton of Flipper books...
>> ...and, correct me if I'm wrong, but German is generally spelled how it
>> is pronounced, yes?
> Yes, German is almost completely phonetic - except for very few loan words
> that have not completely assimilated yet. But there are efforts under way
> to send them on an integration and language course, now that they've
> gained asylum and are proven to be mostly harmless.
> The perceived "problem" they tried to solve with the reform was that
> several phonemes have more than one possible spelling (e.g. "f" and "ph"
> as demonstrated above) and there were some minor exceptions to grammatical
> rules (e.g. conversion between "ss" and "ß" is not entirely logical all
> the time).
> ...while all of this supposedly made things easier for young students,
> it's hell for scientifically minded adults - it's called "Telefon" now,
> but the "f" in there is still a quite foreign "Phonem" (both derived from
> the greek word for sound), while the aficionado of ancient greek in the
> other room insists that "this is not how you spell greek words! It's the
> wrong alphabet(*)." :-(
> (*) or is this Alfabet now - I can never remember this one
> In short: even completely phonetic languages with reforms that make the
> language even more logical and phonetic provide ample opportunity to screw
> up the spelling of several generations while also providing for futile,
> but heated, discussions and some bloody noses.
> Please keep English weird! That makes it likeable.

This brings to mind "A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling" by 
Mark Twain. You can Google it.

>     Konrad
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Jeff Tranter, Engineering Manager, Integrated Computer Solutions.
ICS - Qt Software Development Services and Training

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