Re: Camion Code - way off topic

Date: Sun Aug 22 1999 - 21:02:33 EDT

>(JM) I'm not sure what you mean by iconic

       That meaning of a linguistic sign is somehow suggested by the
       form, or that there is some correlation between variation of
       form for a set of signs and the corresponding variation in

>> ... the voiceless plosives are considering ((?))
       stronger or more

       Forgive my many errors; I was experiencing a bout of insomnia
       and was up far later than I should have been.

>What do you mean by 'stronger'? For me, the 'voiced'
       consonants have the 'added weight' of the vibrating vocal cords
       as opposed to the 'voiceless' which do not.

       In phonology, phones and phonemes are typically described in
       terms of a set of features, such as +/- voiced. One such point
       of contrast that has been used in some analyses is fortis/lenis
       (strong/weak). If I recall correctly, one contrast between
       voiceless stops and voiced stops is that the voiceless stops
       are considered fortis, while the voiced stops are considered
       lenis. When I first learned this, I reacted as did you, but I
       seem to recall (in my studies, I focused more on morphology and
       syntax than on phonetics and phonology) that the thinking is
       that, with voiceless stops, there is a build up and sudden
       release of energy which with voiced stops this does not happen.
       My further recollection is that that acoustic phonetic studies
       support this.

>If you're referring to the /ng/ type sounds, I have
       'arbitrarily' chosen to represent them as digraphs.

       Then the claim to having a systematic, decipherable way of
       writing breaks down.

>Can anyone out there tell me what he's talking about?

       There are three sets of issues in this topic:

       - semiotics - use of a system of formal representation for
       communicating meanings
       - psychology and physiology of reading/writing
       - sociolinguistic issues of attitudes toward a set of
       linguistic conventions (in this case, English orthography) and
       patterns of usage of the set of linguistic conventions

       In my apparently obtuse paragraph about which you asked this
       question, I was speaking primarily to the first set of issues.

>How many times and with what additional *emphasis* do I need
       to repeat that the Camion Code is intended to be PHONEMIC, not
       phonetic (nor 'comprehensive' - its for English first, and IF
       it may be adapted for other languages, I leave that to speakers
       of those languages!)

       I'm sorry, I guess I missed that.

>Do you mean to tell me that the sign 'm' *intuitively tells
       you* it should be pronounced as a nasalized bilabial
       fricative?! Do forgive me, perhaps its a question of training,
       but I see absolutely *nothing* 'mnemonic' in the (often
       variable!) forms of the letters of the roman alphabet!

       Of course there's nothing intuitive, but when I see 'm' in an
       IPA transcription, the fact that *a whole lot* of languages use
       the same symbol to write a nasal bilabial stop (it's not a
       fricative) makes it very easy for me to remember what phone it
       is representing in IPA. That's not true for all IPA symbols,
       but it is true for quite a number (for the vowels, you have to
       ignore English pronunciations, which are subject to the great
       English vowel shift, and consider the pronunciation of other
       European languages).

>I have responded to this point in another post (also to you,
       Peter, if I'm not mistaken). One of the greatest impediments
       to the learning of English (including by native speakers, in
       terms of literacy) is the irregularity of its orthography.
       This would be obviated by a graphic phonemic representation.
       (If it can be understood aurally, it can equally well in such a
       'written' form).

       I think you were responding to someone else. At any rate, I
       don't think any of us disagree that English orthography isn't
       the easiest to learn. I think there is a lot of objection,
       though, that the arguments in support of changing to something
       like CC do not come anywhere close to the arguments against it.

       Again, I think the best option for reforming English
       orthography would be a set of minor changes, as Michael Everson
       suggested. As for the objection you raised in another message,
       that too many people are too fixed in their ways and that it
       simply wouldn't fly, the fact that such changes have been done
       successfully for other European languages (and, I gather, the
       recent minor changes made for German appear to be succeding,
       albeit with some pain) indicates that this objection is, in the
       general case, not valid.


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