Would you support a new writing system for English?

Would you support a new (better) writing system for English?

  • Yes, major changes

    Votes: 3 9.4%
  • Yes, but only minor changes

    Votes: 6 18.8%
  • No, it's too much trouble

    Votes: 12 37.5%
  • No, it's fine how it is

    Votes: 9 28.1%
  • Don't care/don't know

    Votes: 2 6.3%

  • Total voters
    32
  • #1
honestrosewater
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This could include changes to the alphabet, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc. - any rule for writing. But only writing; Everything would still be spoken the same way. So for instance, if you wanted to spell 'told' as 'telled', it would still be pronounced as 'told'.

What would you keep or change? Why?
Some ideas: new symbols for sounds such as sh (sheep), th (this), th (thank), ng (sing); consistent use of symbols for sounds - one symbol per sound and vice versa; removing 'slient' letters; no capitalization, capitalizing all nouns, etc.

Consistency would certainly make things easier, but I don't know whether I would end up missing the history and variety. If there were a new system, I would start with a phonetic alphabet and spelling.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Berislav
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There's already a symbol for sh - š.
 
  • #3
Moonbear
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I already know how to spell the language the way it is. It would be WAY too much trouble to start changing it now, at least purposefully. The language does change gradually over time already, and spelling changed dramatically with the introduction of Microsoft's spellchecker (they seem to have something against double consonants before -ed).
 
  • #4
Andy
69
11
Don't tell me, when the language gets changes the name will also get changed to Americish.
 
  • #5
mattmns
1,118
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Personally I think it is a terrible idea, having that many people change how they do things would be a pain. And I would not want to have to go back and learn more, or different, English.
 
  • #6
motai
358
2
One thing that does seem inconsistent is the different writing styles in specific regional dialects. Color, in American English, is Colour in British English. Likewise with many other "or" to "our" sounds.

There is also Southern/western (ya'll, hooey,etc) and Northeastern dialects (chowdah, or at least I think it is said like that, I'm not sure :confused:).
 
  • #7
zoobyshoe
6,551
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"No matter how great the need or how profitable the outcome, spelling reform is always difficult to bring about"

Do We Need Spelling Reform?
Address:http://www.completetranslation.com/spelling.htm

Noah Webster, apparently, stands as the most successful reformer of English spelling. Other organized efforts have been made, with much less success.

What's interesting to me from that site is the discovery that other languages have undergone deliberate reforms.
 
  • #8
arildno
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To institute "progressive spelling" programs, that is introducing new, reputedly more rational ways of spelling and regard the old ways as "incorrect" isn't really going to work. People are conservative, a better option is to introduce optional ways of spelling, rather than dismiss older spelling forms.

In this manner, time will tell which form people prefers to use.
 
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  • #9
motai
358
2
There are also slight variations in punctuation in sentence structure. In the American system, placing periods and commas are usually done within quotes "testing," rather than other systems "testing", that place the periods and commas outside of the quotation marks.

English seems to be too much of a conundrum of a language to incite any rapid change. Then again, we could go back to the old wayf and fpell thingf with an f. :grumpy: :biggrin:
 
  • #10
wolram
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It would certainly help me, what's wrong with, "phonetic", spelling.

Shampane, kristal, elefant, monolif, hurikane, etc, etc
 
  • #11
JamesU
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805
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I think it would be a stupid thing to do. not because it's a bad Idea, but because most americans are too stupid to learn a new system
 
  • #12
Evo
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I remember when Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, the US was supposed to convert to the Metric system in 10 years. (for all you young ones out there, that's why we have sodas in liters, it was part of the conversion). The US Metric Board in charge of the conversion was dissolved in 1982 due to lack of cooperation from the public.

I think the only way we're going to see changes to spelling made is the way it has already been taking place, gradually, with new words/spellings being adopted and the old ones falling out of popular use, the older spellings will be shown in the dictionary as "archaic", which is currently done. I have looked up words where two spellings were displayed, with a note stating that the new version was gaining in popular use, so was added.

A good example is the word "alright".

Main Entry: al·right
Pronunciation: (")ol-'rIt, 'ol-"
Function: adverb or adjective
: ALL RIGHT

Usage - The one-word spelling alright appeared some 75 years after all right itself had reappeared from a 400-year-long absence. Since the early 20th century some critics have insisted alright is wrong, but it has its defenders and its users. It is less frequent than all right but remains in common use especially in journalistic and business publications. It is quite common in fictional dialogue, and is used occasionally in other writing <the first two years of medical school were alright -- Gertrude Stein>.

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=alright&x=9&y=14 [Broken]
 
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  • #13
JamesU
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805
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[offtopic]our school teaches both metric and english systems[/offtopic]
 
  • #14
Echo 6 Sierra
25
1
me thinks we fhould confult Galager on thif one.
 
  • #15
honestrosewater
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Echo 6 Sierra said:
me thinks we fhould confult Galager on thif one.
The s is normal at the end of a word, smartafs. :tongue2:

The advantage of a phonetic alphabet and spelling is that you just spell things the way they sound - you only need to learn the alphabet! I picked up a phonetic alphabet in no time. Most of the consonants can stay the same; The vowels are more trouble, but it didn't take more than a few hours of practice to adjust to them.

However, now that I've given it more thought, some current spellings do give hints about word structure, which would be lost with phonetic spelling. For instance, the plural -s, as in cats and dogs, is sometimes pronounced as (cats) and sometimes as [z] (dogs). The -ed on words like whined wouldn't be obvious - whined would be spelled the same as wind (verb). Phonetic spelling would give less consistency in this and some other cases. Double letters resulting from affixes (unnecessary) would vanish. All of the homophones (piece/peace) would become indistinguishable, and so on. But this stuff doesn't cause problems in speech, so I'm not sure how big of a deal it would be.
But just think - the long [e] in piece, peace, freeze, seize, flea, bee, stereo, spaghetti, etc. would always be written with the same symbol!

Oh well, I just wanted your opinions. Thanks.
 
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  • #16
brewnog
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Evo said:
for all you young ones out there, that's why we have sodas in liters, it was part of the conversion.

This is what makes me laugh. Even when you give into pressure from Europe for metrication, you still insist on spelling your units differently!



And please, can the USians stop calling Imperial units 'English' units? We're more metric than you by miles, uhh, kilometers! :smile:
 
  • #17
Townsend
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The thing that amazes me so far is that poll distribution...who would have thought?
 
  • #18
honestrosewater
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Townsend said:
The thing that amazes me so far is that poll distribution...who would have thought?
Yeah, I thought most speakers thought English writing was too 'complicated'. Maybe they think change is just more 'complicated'.? zooby's post is interesting so far...
 
  • #19
Townsend
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honestrosewater said:
Yeah, I thought most speakers thought English writing was too 'complicated'. Maybe they think change is just more 'complicated'.? zooby's post is interesting so far...


no...I mean the shape of the poll... :bugeye:
 
  • #20
brewnog
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honestrosewater said:
Yeah, I thought most speakers thought English writing was too 'complicated'. Maybe they think change is just more 'complicated'.? zooby's post is interesting so far...


I thought the exact opposite HRW! I was surprised that there were so many votes for change!
 
  • #21
Gokul43201
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May I complain that the options in the poll leave out certain parts of the response space ? :grumpy: I often find myself unable to participate in a poll because the options are not "complete".
 
  • #22
honestrosewater
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I think some of the suggestions in that article were silly and others counterproductive. Like
In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 new spellings, and began promoting their use: ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, and wisht. In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began promoting a list of 12 spellings. They were tho, altho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, thorofare, program, prolog, catalog, pedagog, and decalog.
WT...? I thought the idea was to make it more consistent?

I'm talking about a real phonetic alphabet and real phonetic spelling. Take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_chart_for_English
It's simple: You spell it exactly as it sounds. Is there a long [e] sound? Write i. Is there a [z] sound? Write z. Another long [e] sound? Write i. It's izi!
 
  • #23
Evo
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brewnog said:
This is what makes me laugh. Even when you give into pressure from Europe for metrication, you still insist on spelling your units differently!
I spelled it litres, but noticed that the bottle said liters, so I corrected my post. :tongue:
 
  • #24
honestrosewater
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Townsend said:
no...I mean the shape of the poll... :bugeye:
Oh, yeah that's cool.
brewnog said:
I thought the exact opposite HRW! I was surprised that there were so many votes for change!
Maybe I'm just out of touch. :frown:
Gokul43201 said:
May I complain that the options in the poll leave out certain parts of the response space ? I often find myself unable to participate in a poll because the options are not "complete".
Sorry, what did I forget?
 
  • #25
Evo
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honestrosewater said:
Is there a long [e] sound? Write i. Is there a [z] sound? Write z. Another long [e] sound? Write i. It's izi!
I would pronounce "izi" as "is zee" because the first "i" would have a short sound and the "i" at the end would have a long [e] sound. There would need to be rules, the letter "i" can't always have a long [e] sound, if it did, "it" would be pronounced "eet".
 
  • #26
Gokul43201
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"No, it's fine" and "no, it's too much trouble" do not complete the space of "no"s.

For instance, I might want to say "no, it's simple but stupid", or "no, it's not fine, but it's the best there is", and others such. Guess I'm just being @n@!, eh ?

I like to have an "other reason" option to catch the ones that fall outside.
 
  • #27
Chi Meson
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In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 new spellings, and began promoting their use: ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, and wisht. In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began promoting a list of 12 spellings. They were tho, altho, thru, thruout, thoro, thoroly, thorofare, program, prolog, catalog, pedagog, and decalog.

The neatest thing about this is "catalog" caught on while "prolog" didn't. Funny how it's the NEA members (strict English teachers) that have prevented these very natural changes from occurring. I think that the "gh" has had far too long a ride.

honestrosewater said:
...

I'm talking about a real phonetic alphabet and real phonetic spelling. Take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_chart_for_English
It's simple: You spell it exactly as it sounds. Is there a long [e] sound? Write i. Is there a [z] sound? Write z. Another long [e] sound? Write i. It's izi!

This would cause the various dialects of the english language to be written differently. A car would be a "ka" in Boston, a "kah" in London, a "ker" in Wiskahnsin, etc.
 
  • #28
Pengwuino
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I hate learning new things :( especially when i already have a fairly good way of doing it now.
 
  • #29
brewnog
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Chi Meson said:
This would cause the various dialects of the english language to be written differently. A car would be a "ka" in Boston, a "kah" in London, a "ker" in Wiskahnsin, etc.

An excellent point.

It's hard enough to understand what people from various parts of the UK and world are saying, without complicating the issue with phonetic spelling. Written forms of communication need to be capable of transmitting ideas with absolute clarity. Phonetic spelling would merely diversify written language, not consolidate it.
 
  • #30
Echo 6 Sierra
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honestrosewater said:
The s is normal at the end of a word, smartafs. :tongue2:
forry for upfetting you. HE made me do it------> :devil: TAG! You're it.

But really folks, bear-bare, comb-womb, have-halve, sheer-shear.
 
  • #31
honestrosewater
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Evo said:
I would pronounce "izi" as "is zee" because the first "i" would have a short [ i ] sound and the "i" at the end would have a long [e] sound. There would need to be rules, the letter "i" can't always have a long [e] sound, if it did, "it" would be pronounced "eet".
There are rules. Every symbol always represents the same sound. I was just taking the IPA as an example - the short i sound in the English word it is represented with a symbol looking something like I. i is the long [e] sound. Using the IPA alphabet, it would be pronounced as [eat], bi is [bee], ti is [tee, tea], pis is [peace, piece], piz is [peas], fit is [feet], etc.
 
  • #32
honestrosewater
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Gokul43201 said:
"No, it's fine" and "no, it's too much trouble" do not complete the space of "no"s.

For instance, I might want to say "no, it's simple but stupid", or "no, it's not fine, but it's the best there is", and others such. Guess I'm just being @n@!, eh ?

I like to have an "other reason" option to catch the ones that fall outside.
Okay, I'll remember next time to include other options. Feel free to add them to this one if you can. :smile:
 
  • #33
honestrosewater
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brewnog said:
An excellent point.

It's hard enough to understand what people from various parts of the UK and world are saying, without complicating the issue with phonetic spelling. Written forms of communication need to be capable of transmitting ideas with absolute clarity. Phonetic spelling would merely diversify written language, not consolidate it.
Yes, Chi Meson raised a good point - but weren't you just complaining about liter and litre?
We would still have standard spellings and dictionaries. And people would still be taught the writing system, the alphabet, words, how to pronounce them, spell them, correct grammar, punctuation, etc. (remember learning how to read and write in school?), so worries of this sort could be taken care of as they are now. You still have all the formality of a writing system.
And I think being able to support different dialects and speech patterns is an advantage.
 
  • #34
honestrosewater
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Echo 6 Sierra said:
forry for upfetting you. HE made me do it------> :devil: TAG! You're it.
(I was just joking, in case that didn't come across. :smile:)
 
  • #35
Jimmy Snyder
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A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling (By Mark Twain)
For example, in Year 1 that useless letter 'c' would be dropped to be replased either by 'k' or 's', and likewise 'x' would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which 'c' would be retained would be the 'ch' formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform 'w' spelling, so that 'which' and 'one' would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish 'y' replasing it with 'i' and Iear 4 might fiks the 'g/j' anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez 'c', 'y' and 'x' -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais 'ch', 'sh', and 'th' rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
 

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