Re: New phonemic writing system and IPA usage

Date: Mon Aug 23 1999 - 10:43:31 EDT

>>>The reason English is interesting to learn is not any
       fundamental property >of English, more that there is a huge
       amount of _written_ information and >literate people, in
       English. Changing English orthography would break >that.

> Changing English orthography would break >that.
> >(M.E.) regularizing it with minor corrections
> according to Wijk's very sensible scheme would not.
> (Peter) But making as drastic a change as to adopt CC

       (JM) That's a matter of opinion!

       JoAnne, how can you say that this is a matter of opinion? As
       soon as a generation grows up learning to read and write
       English using only CC, the majority Kwill only have access to
       recent documents; documents in the old orthography won't
       spontaneously transform themselves. Humanity has a *very, very,
       very huge* investment in published and unpublished documents in
       English using the existing orthograhy, and there is a
       probability of 0.00 +/- 0% that we want to throw that away, or
       that we want to limit access to that information to a minority
       that chose to learn the old orthography in addition to the new
       CC-based standard. I don't think even you can disagree with
       that. And if we will want to continue to teach our children to
       read the old orthography, why would we ever consider putting
       ourselves through the trauma of replacing bad, old Roman
       script-based English orthography with CC?

       There is a recent case of a language community changing their
       orthography from one script to an unrelated script: Turkish was
       written in Arabic until the early part of this century, and
       since then in Roman. This was possible because:

       - the language community was pretty well limited to one nation,
       - the literacy rate was not that high,
       - the old script was not that well suited for representing the
       phonology of the language,
       - the new script was much better suited to represent the
       phonology of the language,
       - there was not a really large corpus of books existing that
       used the old script, and
       - there was an authoritarian government that was able to impose
       the reform on the entire language community.

       *None* of these are true of English.

       I have now contributed comments that relate to semiotic issues,
       to issues of the psychology and physiology of reading and
       writing, and to sociolinguistic issues of attitude and usage. I
       also threw in various comments on historical linguistic issues
       along the way. So, there shouldn't be any doubt of my opinion
       of introducing CC as a replacement for existing English

       While some of us may want to pursue the idea of writing English
       using CC as one of personal interest, we should not for a
       moment fool ourselves into thinking that CC could possibly
       become the conventional way of writing English, or even a
       conventional way of writing English.

       End of diatribe.


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