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Pardon me for writing in English, but I just can't resist.
 
This posting will deal with spelling in Interlingua and Esperanto. I shall
try to show that the phonetical spelling of Esperanto is not so trivial as
one would think.
 
Don H's deliberations about the orthography and the possibility to use
Interlingua as compared to Esperaanto are ill informed and not true. There
are some things that he has not considered. I shall try to describe what I
mean:
 
The orthography of Interlingua does not at all affect the spoken language.
I think I can truthfully say that I am the only one on this list who has
been speaking both Esperanto and Interlingua quite regularly.
 
During the Interlingua conferences that I have been taking part in over
here in Europe, I have never experienced that you misunderstand a word
because it is spelt with a _ph_ instead with an _f_. It is easier to
understand a Pole, Swede, Dane, Dutchman, Slovak, Frenchman speaking
interlingua than if said people were speaking English. That is an
observation I have made.
 
Same can be said about Esperanto, but it is one point that very few people
have addressed concerning Esperanto. If you will allow me a digression:
 
Even though Swedish had the th-sounds in _this thing_ a 1.000 years ago, I
had to be very observant as to what was _th_ and what ewas plain _t_. Same
thin with Esperanto. As Esperanto contains the following sounds, that we
don't have in Swedish:
ch*, gh*, hh, jh, z and as Esperanto was my first foreign language it was
hard to distinguish _sh_ from _jh_.
 
* Older esperantists, who had not studied the rules for pronunciation
correctly substituted the Esperantic _ch_ by Swedish _tj_ (which sounds
approximately like Polish _s=B4_ - like the _si_ in _siano_ (it is a
voiceless fricative palatal).
 
In the same way they substituted _gh_ by _dj_ and the _jh_ was very often
_sh_.
 
I remember the first time I visited the Esperanto club of Uppsala. I was
then in my early teens, and I remember how the then president G=F6sta
[go-umlaut;sta] Norling jokingly said to our vegetarian: [sed 'ka:fo ja:
estas kres'ka:sho].
 
When writing Esperanto - in the beginning but even later - one had to
check, was there a word with _s_ or _z_. Should there be _jh_ or _gh_?
Esperanto is excellent for Balts and Slavs. All the others have to learn
New Sounds. It is nearly optimal for the English and French and Italians,
but it doesn't have the _hh_ so they expediently disposed of it. The
fundamental _tehhniko_ was suddenly obsolete. (It is of course built on the
digraph _ch_ which is pronounced _x_ in Polish, Check and German,
Lithuanian and Latvian).
 
So when you learn to pronounce _sh_ and _jh_ from a book you make a list of
voiced and un-voiced consonants in Esperanto and then learn them. The
remembering what is what, was a kind of _orthography_ for me. I trained
myself so that I could even pronounce _kz_ in _ekzemplo_ (which the
Esperanto gurus like Waringhien and others declared was impossible (because
they could not, and you heard _egzemplo_ and _egzakte_ during the
congresses. Ridiculous!
 
Second digression: I have been discussing this with phoneticians, and they
say that you must have progressive assimilation with _kz_which makes the
_z_ becomming an _s_. But this is rubbish.
 
When learning Polish, people _pointed out to me_ that I did not use e
progressive assimilation for _w_ in words like _kwiat_ but pronounced
[kvjat] instead of demanded [kfjat]. Now, if you can pronounce _kv_ without
using progressive assimilation, you must also be capable of pronouncing the
cluster _kz_. If it were impossible to pronounce the cluster _kw_ in an
other way than _kf_ it is very strange why it at all was in the books of
Polish for foreigners.
 
In Esperanto you can of course say _kazo_ and mean _kaso_ and be
understood, but the norm is _kazo_ so you are making a mistake pronouncing
_s_ instead of _z_.
 
Interlingua on the other hand permits variants. If you cannot pronounce
_dzh_ you can say _j_ or _y_. So the word _jam_ can be pronounced [zham,
dzham jam]. At the Interlingua conferences that I have taken part in, I
have heard all three pronounciations. They are perfectly understandable.
Because there is no strict norm as to how to pronounce the different
sounds, your ear becomes more tolerant than in Esperanto. Even though I
support the pronunciation _sts_ for _sc_ + _e, i, y_ - because it is
clearer - I can perfectly well understand and endure if people say
_siensia_ instead of my pronunciation _stsi'entsia_.
 
As for the Orthography in Interlingua I see an educational value in
retaining the traditional "scientific" spelling. As soon as you simplify it
in order to make it simpler you will also make the language a bit less
communicative. Basically I think this is objectively true. But, personally,
I would prefer a more frequent using of the collateral spelling or at least
a tendency towards it.
 
Ishall later on post some items in the collateral spelling as I have
understood it. You just wait and see!
 
Oh, by the way: I don't hold any diploma as to whether I know esperanto or
not, so it may well be that I don't know the language, despite the fact
that I used to translate a leaflet for tourists about Uppsala and that I
have talked to Don on this list!
 
I once tried to pass the _elementa ekzameno_ in Sweden, and I made the
written test, and I _think_ they said that I passed, but perhaps I flunked,
and they did not want to tell me, those lovable people, don't you think?
Anyway I never heard anything from them and forgot the whole matter.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Kjell Rehnstroem
Vaenortsgatan 87
S-752 64  UPPSALA
Svedia - Sweden