Re: Shorthand (Re: Camion Code

From: JoAnne Marie (
Date: Fri Aug 20 1999 - 18:56:21 EDT

Peter C. wrote:
> 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")...

Listen, I'm an American but I live in Europe and am 'addicted' to the BBC
('Radio 4') - its not my accent but I understand them perfectly well, as I
do with the odd Texan or Bostonian - I had a bit of trouble with a 'Jordy'
once - and a New Zealander, but frankly I do not consider these 'instances
of difficulty' preclusive to a relatively comprehensive understanding of
English as spoken (or 'foneemikly ritten'!) by whom-so-ever!

> 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".

I was in fact obliged to add that very vowel sound (between /ee/ and (long)
/oo/) (see my CC description in French - also on my website) - and I can
tell you it 'really messed up my neat little system' ;-) and I'm not at all
sure how to code it but (as you, and my French friends) have pointed out,
it was absolutely necessary (tant pis!).

> 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...

OK, I *do* understand the etymological argument (with the exception of
'faux amis' like "derive"), but 'surely' its not 'right' that the same
sequence of 'signs' (presumably used to represent sounds) should have
different pronunciations between 'neighboring languages'!, for example
"silence" in English and in French - no wonder we have difficulty learning
foreign languages! (Bawndjoor, mawnseeur)

> 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.)

Maybe I shood be speeking with yor employer! ;-)

JoAnne Marie,
CV, Phonetics and Poetry on:

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