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On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 1:40 AM, Eugene Oh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Sent from my iPhone
>
> 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.
>

Yes, I haven't taken this into consideration. Let's say, any writing system
in which the at least some symbols may have a phonetic value. In effect,
that's almost all writing systems in the world - I don't know any that
didn't.


> >
> >> 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
> >>> Ą : [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. _sēavoir_ (<-- sapere) with
> >>> the mistaken idea it had something to with Latin _scire_,
> >>> and _dipner_ (<-- VL. *disjunįre) 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, dīner.  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]
> >>
> >>
>