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Nikolay <<Russian was like that before the orthography reforms of early XX century.>>

What do you think of such "controlled" modifications over natlangs? 

What do you think of people "writing in sound" (the way they hear).

Eugene << Not necessarily. Same or similar sounding words in Classical Chinese have diverged in pronunciation despite bein written with the same radical(s). That could be interpreted as a parallel phenomenon.>>

The grandparents of a Brazilian friend of mine are Japanese, but they have lived in Brazil for around 50 years or so. They still speak Japanese between them, but when they call family that still live in Japan, they don't understand each other at all if they speak in Japanese because the spoken language have evolve too much. So my hypothesis was that since Japanese writing is less phonological than the English language (for example), the way the language sounds had more chance to evolve faster (even faster with mandarin for example). Can someone validate or invalidate this hypothesis?

Mathieu

-----Message d'origine-----
De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] De la part de Eugene Oh
Envoyé : dimanche 20 janvier 2013 01:40
À : [log in to unmask]
Objet : Re: French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)

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On 19 Jan 2013, at 23:12, Nikolay Ivankov <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 12:04 AM, Nikolay Ivankov <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> 
>> As to why, it is a tradition. Sometimes even superficially established. I
>> don't speak French myself, but I know that in the French word _doigt_ there
>> was nothing like [g] since at least 7th century AD. But /g/ was in the
>> Latin word _digitum_ that finally gave rise to _doigt_. So the grammarians
>> included /g/ to keep track of the language's history, although at no point
>> of the history of French language people seemed to pronounce _doigt_ like
>> [doigt] (though [dojt] seem to have taken place).
>> 
>> As for other languages, it is more then common. English and AFAIK Danish
>> may be named as the ones that preserve most oddities, and Russian was like
>> that before the orthography reforms of early XX century. Virtually every
>> language, in which the pronunciation of /c/ depends of the next sound are
>> applying the old norms of Latin, where /c/ was pronounced as /k/ in all
>> positions.
>> 
>> In fact, as the languages develop, it is inevitable that orthographic
>> norms start reflecting not an actual pronunciation, but some older version
>> of language. In a way, all languages do this, the question is, how much.
> 
> Small correction: every language that is written with some sort of abajad
> or alphabet. But even only semi-abjad Japanese uses the hiragana-symbol
> "ha" to write [wa] of the nominative case, which, AFAIR, reflects its old
> pronunciation as [pa].
> 

Not necessarily. Same or similar sounding words in Classical Chinese have diverged in pronunciation despite bein written with the same radical(s). That could be interpreted as a parallel phenomenon. 

> 
>> On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM, Mathieu Roy <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> 
>>> Are these phenomenon present in a lot of languages? If so, in what way?
>>> 
>>> Mathieu
>>> 
>>> -----Message d'origine-----
>>> De : Constructed Languages List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] De la
>>> part de R A Brown
>>> Envoyé : samedi 19 janvier 2013 10:22
>>> À : [log in to unmask]
>>> Objet : French spelling (was: logical language VS not-so-logical language)
>>> 
>>> On 18/01/2013 19:28, BPJ wrote:
>>>> On 2013-01-18 19:57, Mathieu Roy wrote:
>>>>> I don't know if the following is true, but my French
>>>>> teacher told me that monks in the past were paid by
>>>>> letters and therefore were adding letters to some
>>>>> words.
>>> 
>>> A bit of a myth, methinks. Monks weren't paid.
>>> 
>>>>> That would explain why a lot of words have for example
>>>>> the letters "eau" pronounces as "o" (bateau, eau, beau,
>>>>> chateau, etc.) or simply "au" pronounces as "o" (faux,
>>>>> taux, etc.) or silent letter at the end (faux, taux,
>>>>> etc.) or double letters that are indistinguishable from
>>>>> one letter (balle, sale, association, etc.)
>>> 
>>> No, it does not explain any one of those things.
>>> 
>>>> It *is* true that they added letters here and there,
>>> 
>>> Yes, especially by early printers to justify lines (monks
>>> could justify them more easily by slightly modifying width
>>> of letters and spaces).
>>> 
>>>> but for the most part 'illogical' spellings in French
>>>> reflect how the words were actually pronounced in the
>>>> thirteent century.
>>> 
>>> Exactly!  Yes, for the most part modern French spelling
>>> reflects how the language was pronounced in the 13th
>>> century.  The reason for _eau_ and _au_ now pronounced as
>>> /o/, is that the spellings represent the pronunciation of
>>> the 13th century, the modern pronunciation is the result of
>>> sound changes that have taken place since.
>>> 
>>> The reason silent letters occur at the end of words is that
>>> they were not silent in the 13th century, but have become so
>>> since.  The only oddity here is the final -x of some plurals
>>> where _x_ was mistaken for a common handwritten abbreviation
>>> of -us.
>>> 
>>>> Some were meant to approximate the spelling to their
>>>> Latin counterpart, sometimes mistakenly.
>>> 
>>> That accounts for geminate consonants.
>>> 
>>> Others were stuck in by learned or semi-learned people after
>>> the renaissance; the same thing happened in English.  Some,
>>> as BPJ says, were mistaken, e.g. _sçavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
>>> the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
>>> and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunáre) with mistaken idea that
>>> somehow it was related to Greek _deipnein_!  Fortunately,
>>> the French were, for the most part, more sensible than their
>>> English counterparts, and dropped nearly all these
>>> absurdities, e.g. they now write: savoir, dîner.  The only
>>> common survival that comes to mind is the _p_ in _sept_.
>>> 
>>> --
>>> Ray
>>> ==================================
>>> http://www.carolandray.plus.com
>>> ==================================
>>> "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
>>> for individual beings and events."
>>> [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
>> 
>>