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In-Reply-To: <Pine.SGI.3.95.980504172700.19002B-100000@zeno>
> I just said that to me a computer program was "program" and
> always would be.
 
Indeed, but a concert has a "programme".  Still, given "telegram" etc.
this is rather an isolated form.
 
> Yes, your "etimolojikal" is very good.  That is the exact spelling I
> would hope for after a first stage rationalization of English
> spelling.
 
Yes, but we aren't at that stage yet.  I was attempting a reductio ad
absurdam of the idea that "canonical spellings" of certain sounds have
any relevance in today's spelling.  'K' may, because of it's lack of
ambiguity be considered the canonical spelling of /k/.  Equally, one
might argue that 'c' is the canonical spelling of /k/ because that is
how the sound is most frequently spelt.  As someone pointed out 'zh'
could be called the canonical spelling of /Z/ but it is used almost only
in words and names taken from Russian.  If you justify the spelling
"analyze" _today_ because 'z' is canonical, why not the spelling
"etimolojikal"?
 
> I'm not completely sure about this phonetic representation.
 
You've seen it before!  It's not meant as serious proposal for a new
orthography; it's just one way of writing down my standard analysis of
the sounds of my dialect.  Personally, I'd like to see an orthography
that remained closer to the traditional one.  More importantly it takes
no account of accent differences.  Don't you remember the long argument
we had a while back and my talk of "pseudophonemes" -- e.g. the sound in
"tune" that may be /jU/ or /U/ according to accent.  My opponent
maintained that it was as simple as "spell as you speak".  I said that I
did not want to see a high degree of non-standardization of spellings,
e.g. "tuen" v. "tuun" in my scheme.  Everyone writing in the same way is
an important feature of an orthography.  Some Canadians (and I guess
many Americans) distinguish "riding" and "writing" by the length of the
diphthong, something like [ra:idIN] v. [raidIN] ("raaiding" v.
"raiding").
 
As I have said before I'd be interesting to see a (pseudo-)phonemic
analysis of English that takes account of the main American and British
accents and those of other English-speaking countries (preferably
including India and other countries where English plays a special role).
 
I have read that there is a vowel-shift taking place in parts of the
USA.  Could someone tell us more.
 
> Oh dear, so it was "dwarfs" before Tolkien, was it?  Why did he see
> fit to introduce an irregularity into the languages?
 
I imagine that, like me, he said "dwarves" (at least for the mythical
people) and felt that the normal 'f'>'v' rule should apply.  (For
myself, I was quite surprised that Tolkien felt that any justification
was necessary.)
 
> Would Tolkien have us saying "lauvs, puvs, cuvs, clivs, pontivs" etc.
 
No, it is issue of how he pronounced the word.  He'd have us say what we
say.
 
-- jP --