On Wednesday 29 January 2003 5:48 am, Tristan wrote: > Joseph Fatula wrote: > > From: "Tristan" <[log in to unmask]> > > >Subject: Re: retroflex consonants > > > >>So explain to me why it was easier to tell the difference between the > >>/8u/ in /st8ul/ and /st8un/ than the /T/ and /D/ in this and thin? ... > > > >I'd like to tell you, but I have no idea what words those are. Is the > >second one "stone", perhaps? > > Yes, and the first 'stole'. (To me, they're pronounced more like [stOul] > and [st8un], though some broader Australian accents have [stOu] and/or > [staun] or [st6un] or something ('cow' is something like [k_h&u] here, > so there's no problem of us not understanding ourselves).) > > >This illustrates something I've noticed with English that few people seem > > to agree with, so I'll mention it here. The discrepancies between spoken > > and written English have gotten pretty serious, at least in > > pronunciation. And while it causes plenty of problems, making the > > troubles of English orthography well known, it does have one advantage. > > In writing (at least, semi-formal writing), I can understand anyone who > > knows English, even if they're from an area where I have a hard time > > understanding the spoken English, such as the Bahamas, Australia, > > Yorkshire, Kentucky, or those on the list whose spoken English might > > sound unintelligible to my ears. The diglossia that has developed (if > > that's the term) between spoken and written "pronunciations" has made it > > possible for widely divergent dialects to have a common written > > communication form. It seems to be similar to how Arabic and Chinese are > > understood in their written form by people whose languages are closely > > related, but not mutually intelligible. Though I might be wrong on the > > Arabic and Chinese, I have had times where I couldn't understand other > > dialects of English, but I could understand their writing. > > But the problem is that unless we stop teaching English phonemically, > the spellings are going to diverge. The current attitude towards correct > spelling in teenagers is that it's not necessary and I have no idea > whether that'll work its way up until eventually, I could publish a > newspaper mixing up 'saw' and 'sore', or you one spelling 'father' as > 'fother' with no-one locally will notice the difference, but it wouldn't > surprise me... I hope so. The English spelling system needs some of it's Maggelity ironed out of it.