Re: Shorthand (Re: Camion Code

Date: Fri Aug 20 1999 - 04:00:39 EDT

>I see the 'first' use of the Camion Code to represent English
       (and yes, Adam (and Andrea), one could write it in any
       'variety' they choose, or possibly decide to *write* in RP,
       whether or not that's what they speak!)

       Ah, but once people start learning conventional spellings based
       upon a "received" pronunciation that they are not familiar
       with, then the system loses all claims to iconicity
       ("decipherability"), and the symbols become purely meaningless,
       abstract representations, no better than the lowly alphabetic
       system which it has replaced. Don't let that discourage you too
       much: every iconic system for representing language has either
       gone that direction or died.

       As Jesus said to Paul, "Why do you try to fight against the

       And as Helmholtz (or somebody) also said,

       delta S >= 0

>I leave it entirely to experts and/or users of other languages
       (French, Japanese, Arabic, or Sanscrit!) to see whether (and
       how) CC might be useful (possibly for the same reasons) in
       their language

       But you evidently know French, so ask yourself you to represent
       the high, front, rounded vowel, as found in the 2nd person
       singular pronoun, "tu" or the similar dipthong found in "lui".

>...merely to propose a simplified 'spelling' system which
       does, yes, 'strip away' the etymology which is (I hear/fear the
       flames of wrath here) *unnecessary* in ordinary daily usage!

       No wrath; it's just that this etymological aspect of English
       spelling is, for better or worse, one of the keys to the
       success of English spelling (yes, success - it's not very
       intuitive, but lots of people are able to use it regardless),
       and of the English language itself. If English were written
       phonetically, with different spellings in Australia, NZ, India,
       Singapore, Kenya, US, Canada, England, etc. (and all that
       multiplied many times by the many different dialects within
       those countries), the language - spoken and written - would not
       have 1% of the current status that it has in the world today.
       We'd most likely be having this discussion in French (providing
       they hadn't written phonetically, in which case... )

       As far as proposals to improve English spelling go, I'm
       inclined to agree with Michael that the best reform would
       introduce limited and minor changes that provide greater

       By the way, before I go any further in this thread, I'd better
       stop to point out that the views I've expressed are my own, and
       not those of my employer. (Seriously.)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:51 EDT