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#43044 - 07/07/06 08:02 AM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
Daegaer
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/02
Posts: 428
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

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The article (and perhaps the spelling bee h8ers, as perhaps they'd like to be called) seem to ignore the fact that English is to some extent spelled phonetically.

"Speling", to my eye, is pronounced with a long vowel, as is the obvious root, "to spel". Double consonants are your short-vowelled friend! As I'm sure the student who wrote "poped off" rather than "popped off" appreciated once the mockery stopped.

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#43045 - 07/07/06 08:45 AM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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The thing that frustrates me is, I can't read phonetically spelled words. It takes me a lot longer to read it because I haf too translat it in my hed into its sounds befor I now wat it sez. I look at "head" and I imagine a head. I look at "hed" and I have to put the sounds together in my mind and figure it out from context. It's way less efficient.

[edited because I misspelled "efficient" - misspellings in the orthography thread always seem more ironic]

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#43046 - 07/07/06 10:28 AM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
Rain
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 238

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You're right - I didn't realize why it was taking me so much longer to read the foneticly speled stuf. But that is exactly it - I have to try to "hear" it in my head before I can figure out what the word is, whereas I don't have to do that when reading normally spelled words.
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#43047 - 07/07/06 12:20 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
ken_m
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/25/02
Posts: 503

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I think all of the "spelling simplification" arguments are about teaching students who are new to reading and writing in English. The rest of us would just have to suffer through it until we wer al ded.
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#43048 - 07/07/06 03:17 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
fastiller
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/18/03
Posts: 157

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 Quote:
The thing that frustrates me is, I can't read phonetically spelled words. It takes me a lot longer to read it because I haf too translat it in my hed into its sounds befor I now wat it sez.
~ ~ VegetarianOnHiatus
Count me in amongst the people who have a tough time reading the "simpler" spellings.

I wonder if English is the only language to have a "Simplified Spelling Board". I'd tend to doubt that French or German or Polish or Japanese have any similar movements to simplify them.

There's a guy mentioned in the MSNBC article whose name is Alan Mole (president of the "American Literacy Council, my ass" (™ deborah)). I can't help but conjure up recollections of one of my "friends" from teen years: Adrian Mole . Okay, now I can't get Ian Dury & The Blockheads' Profoundly in Love With Pandora out of my head.

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#43049 - 07/07/06 03:40 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I think that English is probably less phonetically spelled than a lot of other languages. With most languages, words are pronounced the way they are spelled (according to that language's rules), and if people pronounce them differently it's colloquial and not really correct.

Arabic is the only language aside from English that I'm familiar with. Standard Arabic is spelled completely phonetically, but no one speaks standard Arabic; they speak various colloquial versions which aren't written down. When Arabic speakers write, they use Standard Arabic, and if they spell words the way they pronounce them, it's incorrect.

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#43050 - 07/07/06 04:05 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
voiceofreason
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 1257
Loc: Brookline, MA, USA

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 Quote:
I wonder if English is the only language to have a "Simplified Spelling Board"
I'm not sure about "Simplified Spelling Boards" but other languages have had their orthography simplified on purpose. Korean is one classic example -- in the 15th century a new phonetic script (Hangul) was developed as a substitute for the Chinese-based script then in use. It took a long time to catch on among the elite (although women and uneducated men used it much earlier).

I think quite recently the Académie Française either dropped or considered dropping the circumflex accent as used some specific cases as a spelling simplification. And Dutch undergoes regular official adjustments to its orthography, mostly to make it more consistent, I think -- check out the Wikipedia article , and this Language Log piece featuring a Dutch political cartoon about spelling reform ! So other languages definitely do have people keeping tabs on spelling, and they're not just independent think-tanks and hobbyists, but actual official governmental bodies.

I think that word stems/origin are a good reason to keep English orthography as it is, even though it's awfully messy. I like being able to get an idea of where words come from. And let's face it, if we're still using QWERTY keyboards and measuring ourselves in feet and inches and pounds and, heaven forfend, stone, I can't see us going through the inconvenient horror of major spelling reform any time soon. I'm sure we could get used to a simplified spelling system but I, for one, am too lazy to change.

Here's an interesting article about dyslexia and different systems of orthography: "Dyslexia Study In Science Highlights The Impact Of English, French, And Italian Writing Systems" . One of the major take-home points is that dyslexia may not manifest obviously in people who use phonetically-spelled languages; a person who would have dyslexia if they were writing in English or French has no such problem if they are writing in Italian or Spanish. Simplified spelling could make it vastly easier (or even possible, period) for people with dyslexia to read English. Though of course they still might not be able to read books published pre-spelling reform.

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#43051 - 07/07/06 04:29 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
Daegaer
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/12/02
Posts: 428
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

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That phonetically spelled stuff is hard to read, VegetarianOnHiatus. It was very annoying to plough through. OTOH, I really adore Geoffrey Chaucer\'s blog which has (some) phonetic spellings, albeit in Myddle Englisshe. (If people haven't been reading Cher Geoffrey's blog, it is hilarious, and easy enough to read. I especially like his reply to the query on what he thinks about the great variety of pseudo-middle English people comment in - he likes the idea that people are starting to learn to spell properly. Currently there is a "gest-bloggeresse", his sister in law Katherine Swynford, who is more difficult to read, I find, as she* is more phonetic in her spelling and seems to have a somewhat different accent!)


*I have no idea if "Katherine" is in fact a different writer than "Geoffrey", but the whole thing is a masterpiece, whether its author is singular or plural.


ETA to say: voiceofreason - Classical Hebrew is reasonably phonetic in its spelling (though some variant spellings and oddities exist), and I've found that dyslexic students can spell well in it, and have few difficulties in writing it. One student specifically told me that he found the right-to-left direction of writing to be more natural to him than English's left-to-right.

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#43052 - 08/02/06 02:36 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
cocojosie
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/07/03
Posts: 391
Loc: Stockholm/Oxford

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Hee, I love the Chaucer blog! I love Middle English!
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#43053 - 08/03/06 02:28 PM Re: Sit for a spell: English orthography
LaSalleUGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
Posts: 1895
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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OK, I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. That Chaucer blog is hilarious. Middle English and the Dread Pirate Robertson -- what more can a girl ask for.

 Quote:
For manye dayes he dide saye the same ech night, “Good nighte, Geoffrey. Thou hast done wel. Maye slepe be swete to thee. Yt most likely shal happe that yn the morninge ich shal slaye thee.”
Hee hee. Now I want to watch The Princess Bride.

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