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>JAMES CHANDLER wrote:
>Stan Mulaik rote:
>
>> Since James is so concerned about representing the German languages
>> in Interlingua, it is English, French, German which influence the
>> prototypic spellings, which indeed do facilitate differentiation of
>> words in reading, which is a major use today of language.
>
>First I want to say that for once I agree with Don Harlow, and therefore
>apparently not with Stan Mulaik (or for that matter Bruce Gilson), that the
>IL will not be principally a written language, in the design of which
>little attention need be paid to the possibility of it being spoken.
>(This is, as far as I can recall, the _only_ time I have _ever_
>simultaneously agreed with Don Harlow on something and disagreed with
>Bruce Gilson.  This is, as far as Auxlang debate goes, a historic moment.)
 
James, by "reading, which is a major use today of language" I did not
imply that a language like Interlingua would be primarily read and not
spoken. So you are reading things into my comments that are not there.
It is just that orthography reform cannot be considered just from the
point of view of translating spoken speech into letters or vice versa,
but should be considered also from the point of view of confusions in
reading that can result from an overly phoneticized orthography.
 
>
>Secondly, as regards maximum facility, I would acknowledge that some weight
>should be given to the fact that the three languages mentioned by Stan use
>ph, th, rh in their spellings of the relevant words (the divergent Eng
>pronunciation of th notwithstanding).  However, these spellings cannot
>possibly find a place in the final mix of a language optimized for DEFISPR
>speakers.
 
So the English, French and Germans should give way to the Italians, Spanish
and Portugese because their spelling reformers couldn't differentiate between
the Greek orthography Latin developed for its Greek loan words, that they
inherited from Latin, and the changed forms of romance words in the spoken
language, which could be represented anew in the new orthographies.  But
once you force those Greek words onto the procrustean bed of spelling
reform you create new confusions in reading,  not only among words of
Greek origin with similar pronunciations but different spellings, but with
other words in the language with similar pronunciations but drastically
different meanings.
 
>  For one thing it means three more combinations in which h is
>used unphonetically.  This is justifiable in the digraphs ch, sh which are
>necessary for the representation of the unvoiced blade-point consonant in
>the ordinary Roman alphabet.
 
We don't use the digraph sh in Interlingua.
 
>  But such unphonetic use of h is indefensible
>when we have other rational means of representing the sounds.
 
Not necessarily if when you map words from the old orthography onto the
new orthography you create confusions for readers by semantically and
orthographically distinct forms taking on the same form in the new
orthography.
 
>Furthermore,
>it means a doubling of the methods of writing each of the sounds [f], [t]
>and [r], which is a complication for evrybody.
 
Get serious.  This is not a big problem in these special cases.
 
>  The only rational solution
>in this case is evidently to simplify these groups into f, t, r, as is done
>in ISP, and also in DEF in such commercial spellings as "foto", and
>alternate spellings like "rime".
 
There is no "only rational solution". You seem to prefer to think in
absolutes.  There are numerous dimensions on which to consider the
orthography problem, phonetics is one, but reading and writing are others.
The truly rational approach seeks a carefully differentiated approach
to optimize all of the considerations.
 
>
>> Orthographic
>> reformers usually are unidimensional in their thinking about the
>> uses of orthography and only stress the phonetic univocality of characters
>> without considering the visual impact on meaning of orthography.
>
>It seems to me that spelling reformers, some of whom have been eminent
>phoneticians, are not one-dimensional in their thinking - they just have
>a sufficiently profound knowledge of linguistics and phonetics to realize
>that theories such as this have no justification or basis in reality.
 
That's because phoneticists only look at one aspect of reality.  Their
field doesn't encompass the problems of reading or the psychology of
reading.
 
>Whatever the vagaries of the written language, the spoken language goes on
>being spoken, for the most part, independently of it.  Spelling homophones
>differently does nothing to solve the problem in the spoken language, which
>will still have to confront the problems posed by the most disturbing
>homophones.  Historical spelling does not guarantee that homophones will
>be spelt distinctly, as for example in the two English "right"s, which the
>spoken language has had to deal with by means of the addition "-hand" in
>"right-hand side".
 
That's my point. Spelling reform takes semantically distinct homophones
and gives them the same spelling. That creates new confusions in reading
when originally the confusions may have only been in spoken use of the words.
 
>  Lastly we find there is nothing to prevent different
>words with different pronunciations being spelt the same way in a
>historical orthography, as in Eng "tear".
 
Those problems result from the various waves of spelling reform that
wash over a language as it evolves.
 
When you try to simplify matters for putting speech to letters, you often
complicate matters for putting letters to meanings or to speech. It takes
a careful differentiated approach to solve the problem, not a procrustean
one.
 
>
>So we see that historical spelling has nothing whatsoever to recommend it
>in national languages, and that civilization is only held up by the
>proffering of obsolete psychological theories by people with an
>insufficient knowledge of the matter at hand.
 
Rhetorical polemic of a unidimensional procrustean point of view.
 
>
>> Most
>> Greek words are technical words, which children will not encounter until
>> they have mastered the usual phonetic correspondences of the rest of
>> the language.
>
>But what about Eng "telephone, sophisticated, photograph, photocopy,
>phenomenon, pharmacist, theatre, theory, thermometer, thermostat, rhyme,
>rhythm"?
 
I wasn't reading those words in my Dick and Jane books until third or
fourth grade, long after I gained a minimal sophistication in how
an orthographic system works.  When I came to words like that I readily
adjusted.  And I usually encountered them first in reading before I
learned how to use them in speech.
 
>
>> The digraphs are univocal, and sophisticated readers and
>> writers can easily handle them.
>
>There's that word "sophisticated" again.  I am worried that I may not be
>sophisticated enough to learn Ia...
 
Oh come on, James, this is irrelevant to Interlingua, which has, despite
its digraphs, an orthography that is as regular as Latin and a far
cry from the orthography of English, which is really many orthographies
melded into one.  By "sophisticated" I mean readers who have been
reading for awhile.
 
>
>> I have seen a book with a title that
>> suggests there are reading problems for speakers of Spanish who use
>> the phonetic orthography.
>
>With all due respect, a book title is not much to go on for the purposes
>of this discussion.
 
I won't press the point until I get hold of the book.
 
>
>> English is blessed in being able to
>> differentiate prefixes like phyllo-, phylo- and philo- in words from Greek.
>
>English is cursed with a monstrous orthography which is the bane of every
>learner and user of the language.  ph and rh are a part of that
>monstrosity, and personally I would be happy to see them go as part of a
>thorogoing reform based on pronunciation.
 
We are talking about two different things here.  Greek words in English
are not a major problem.  The major problem is that throughout the rest
of the language there have been numerous spelling reforms, and none have
succeded in totally excluding the others, so you have a patchwork of
spelling systems. But the result has survived, I think because for the
most part people are able to distinguish meanings in reading that they
would not be able to do in pure phonetic spelling because frequently
semantically distinct homophones ended up getting different spellings
for any number of historical reasons.
 
Stan Mulaik