Spelling ability

Discuss Marilyn's column in PARADE magazine.

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Postby JO 753 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:46 pm

I also usually read books & mags with 1 eye. I'm very nearsighted.
Tired uv Trump yet? I am:
http://www.7532020.com
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Continuation

Postby robert 46 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:10 pm

Continued from End of the world topic, page 2.
http://www.marilynvossavant.com/forum/v ... c&start=15

Quote (JO 753): Your entire post amounts to nothing but attempted justification.

So, what does your post amount to which is different?

: If you boil it down to 'spelling preserves meaning', it is easily dismissed through example or logic.

: A big percentage of words have 2 or more meanings with the same spelling.

What does this have to do with spelling words phonetically? No matter how many meanings there are, under any spelling system there will still be only one word.

: A different definition is a different word.

So what do you intend to do: think up a new word for every definition?

: Worse, there are words that have the same spelling with different pronunciations!

When you read you are not listening to pronunciation. And when you are listening you are not looking at spelling.

: By logic:

: Claiming that spelling preserves meaning is the same as postulating that: A = B and B = C, but if A is altered to = C it will cause A and C to not equal B anymore. ( A=pronounciation. B=meaning. C=spelling ).

To discover the meaning of a word one looks it up in the dictionary, which is indexed alphabetically. What does pronunciation have to do with it? The dictionary also gives a guide to pronunciation. You can't look up a word by pronunciation, but only by spelling. The primary purpose of the dictionary is a cross-reference of spelling to meaning for reading comprehension. Illiterates have no use for a dictionary. If the dictionary was indexed by pronunciation then everyone would have to pronounce a word identically to find it efficiently, which would require the elimination of all dialects. So no matter how you look at it, the dictionary is necessarily organized alphabetically, whether that spelling is phonetic or not, and the spelling is correlated with meaning.

: Context is a major component of meaning. Spelling is usually of little importance and deviations from 'correct' spelling are virtually meaningless.

As long as one knows what the correct spelling is, and the meanings associated with the correctly-spelled word.

: Sentences contrived to confuse only demonstrate the problem with a bloated and disorganized vocabulary.

How can one have a "bloated" vocabulary? Vocabulary is the number of words, or word meanings, one understands. Should one not strive for a large vocabularly to be maximally expressive and comprehending? What is a "disorganized" vocabulary? If one hears or reads a word and knows its meaning in context, where is the "disorganization"?

As for "contrived to confuse", whether it is advertising, politicking or academics, having a large vocabulary allows one to see through ponderous verbiage and flim-flam fast-talk.

: It would be cool if you could come up with a new argument.

The glaciers are melting. [1]

: Here's a whole section on it: http://www.nooalf.com/aNTiREFORMDEBUNK.html

[2]

: It's been quite a while since I updated it.

2007- undoubtedly for good reason, such as the net direction in which the glacier is moving.

*****

[1] Quote (robert 46): So, how well is the project going?

Quote (JO 753): Progressing glacially.

[2] Quote (JO 753 @ Nooalf.com): Do you like skeet shooting? Ive never dun it, but it looks kinda fun.

I had a Trius trap and 20ga O/U, and did some informal skeet shooting in my youth. There is a sense of satisfaction in "dusting" a "clay bird" (actually they were made of tar).
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Postby JO 753 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:08 pm

Good idea to move the discussion here; keep things organized.

Point by point.

>The difference is you are trying to justify something that is wrong. Stupid is stupid no matter how many people are doing it or how long it's been going on.

>It only has to do with spelling phoneticly because it flushes that argument against it down the toilet.

>You could be listenning and reading at the same time if there was a consistent link between pronunciation and spelling.

Listen to how some ESL people talk. They will often pronounce words by how they are spelt, either correctly or incorrectly.

>You're saying you never had trouble looking up a word you heard because of the incoherent spelling?

>Saying that you can only look up a word by spelling, not pronunciation is only stating the problem. Certainly no reason against fixing it.

>A big reason there are so many illiterates is because it's unnecessarily difficult to become literate.

>A big reason there are so many dialects is because the spelling does nothing to re-enforce proper pronunciation.

>Who says dictionarys can't have seperate entries for different pronunciations? Or different dictionaries for different dialects?

>You misinterpreted what I meant about a bloated, disorganized vocabulary. I was talking about the language having a million words with very little rythme & reason, not how many words an individual has acquired.

>I think you are trying to divert the point of 'contrived to confuse' by pretending it means something else. You tried to prove that nonphonetic spelling is needed with a sentence that used to, two and too.

>Great! Melting glaciers travel faster!
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Postby robert 46 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:50 pm

: Good idea to move the discussion here; keep things organized.

: Point by point.

>The difference is you are trying to justify something that is wrong. Stupid is stupid no matter how many people are doing it or how long it's been going on.

A common language is too complex to be engineered.

>It only has to do with spelling phoneticly because it flushes that argument against it down the toilet.

People pronounce words differently consequential to regional dialect and personal mannerisms, so there still has to be a standard for spelling a word; which English already has.

>You could be listenning and reading at the same time if there was a consistent link between pronunciation and spelling.

Can't be done. Try listening to the TV and reading a book at the same time. You can't share the focus of attention. If you have a talking book, you are listening. If you have a printed book, you are reading. The only time reading and listening really works is following a recording of opera.

>Listen to how some ESL people talk. They will often pronounce words by how they are spelt, either correctly or incorrectly.

They are not learning English in the proper order: first listen, then speak, then read, then write.

>You're saying you never had trouble looking up a word you heard because of the incoherent spelling?

I look up words I read. It might be hard to find "syzygy" when you first hear it, but if the "s" is clear you look for "si-" then "sy-", and will eventually find it. By the way, how would you pronounce it?

>Saying that you can only look up a word by spelling, not pronunciation is only stating the problem. Certainly no reason against fixing it.

The only way you could look up a word by pronunciation is a talking dictionary with voice to text recognition, and I doubt that will be reliable for all speakers anytime soon.

>A big reason there are so many illiterates is because it's unnecessarily difficult to become literate.

If illiterates do not know the relationship between phonemes and characters, or they identify the wrong phonemes, they'll still have problems. But what if they do find the word? They can't understand what the dictionary says it they don't know the meaning of the words they read. So first they must have a limited vocabulary, and then extend that vocabulary by looking words up in the dictionary to find a definition stated in words they know which are simpler than the word they are trying to understand. However, dictionary entries tend to be circular: "circular: see roundabout", "roundabout: see circular".

The dictionary is not designed for illiterates, but for extending reading comprehension. As English is, it is easy to find the word in the dictionary from its spelling because the dictionary is alphabetically organized.

>A big reason there are so many dialects is because the spelling does nothing to re-enforce proper pronunciation.

There is no such thing as "proper pronunciation". Who gets to define "proper"? It is merely conventional pronunciation. Consider the difference between American and British English. Each thinks their pronunciation is proper (and their spelling).

>Who says dictionarys can't have seperate entries for different pronunciations? Or different dictionaries for different dialects?

Italy had numerous regional languages (still does), about one per city, but Italian was accepted to unify the nation. There are many dialects of Spanish, but Castilian is considered proper by the upper classes. Mandarin is preferred over Cantonese by the Chinese.

>You misinterpreted what I meant about a bloated, disorganized vocabulary. I was talking about the language having a million words with very little rythme & reason, not how many words an individual has acquired.

English is very expressive, and has no qualms at incorporating a word from any other language if it serves a useful purpose. So other language conventions become expressed in English: no wonder it is a smorgasbord.

>I think you are trying to divert the point of 'contrived to confuse' by pretending it means something else. You tried to prove that nonphonetic spelling is needed with a sentence that used to, two and too.

It is needed.

>Great! Melting glaciers travel faster!

No they don't. They travel slower because there is less snowfall to provide weight to push the glacier into the valley. But it doesn't matter. You can be standing on the glacier and see it slowly moving forward, but the headwall is melting backward. So eventually you will fall off the headwall and find yourself on the ground with all of us who have had to accept English the way it is because it isn't changing drastically anytime soon no matter what anyone thinks or wants.
Last edited by robert 46 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JO 753 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:06 pm

Looks like you're done already.

Your dictionary arguments amount to a claim that the way things are done now is the best way. Obvious nonsense.

Refering to other language's situations is, in general, a useless move, and the examples you cited were in my favor.

Statements like

A common language is too complex to be engineered.

There is no such thing as "proper pronunciation". Who gets to define "proper"?


that ignore all the evidence are the debate equivalent of a broken drive shaft in a race; all you can do is make noise.

You should concede honorably.

But from my experience, I don't expect you will.

After going through a few more reiterations of the Bad Lojik arguments, you will simply stop posting and hope this topic doesn't get dredged up again.
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Postby robert 46 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:38 am

JO 753 wrote:Looks like you're done already.

Looks like you have no rebuttal to address the issues.
Your dictionary arguments amount to a claim that the way things are done now is the best way.

No, my dictionary claim means that this is the current state of English as it has evolved, and any further changes will come through evolution- there has to be a consensus, and with some 750 million users of English you don't have it.
Obvious nonsense.

To whom- just you?
Refering to other language's situations is, in general, a useless move, and the examples you cited were in my favor.

How so? Prove it. [1]
Statements like
A common language is too complex to be engineered.

There is no such thing as "proper pronunciation". Who gets to define "proper"?

that ignore all the evidence are the debate equivalent of a broken drive shaft in a race; all you can do is make noise.

Computer languages can be engineered. A common language is many orders of magnitude more complicated.

Where you use the word "vocabulary", I find more appropriate the word "lexicon". Yet there is some overlap. "Vocabulary" should refer to the set of words a person is able to use, whereas "lexicon" is the set of words available.

Consider the word "is". You pronounce it "iz", and so do other English speakers. However, "is" comes directly from the German "ist" which is pronounced phonetically, like "mist". When the "t" was made silent it did not retain the same sound as "is" in "history". To feminists "history" is mostly "his-story". And "his" is also pronounced "hiz". But to change a word's spelling just because the common pronunciation doesn't jibe too well with the spelling is to lose the correspondence between spelling and meaning.

As a commenter on your website said, there is too much written in English over the centuries to radically change the language to make everything previously written unreadable. Can you read Beowulf? Can you understand Shakespeare? These are difficult for many people to read and understand. The slower the language changes, the better because more centuries of writing are understandable by people. Ideally, a common language should not change at all except for the addition of words to describe new concepts.
You should concede honorably.

I can say the same to you.
But from my experience, I don't expect you will.

I don't suppose you will, either.
After going through a few more reiterations of the Bad Lojik arguments, you will simply stop posting and hope this topic doesn't get dredged up again.

I don't have to because you are likely the only person who would bring it up again.

[1] For an overview of the differences between British and American English spelling see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_a ... ifferences
Which is right?
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Postby JO 753 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:08 pm

You deserve credit for at least reading the Skeet pages.

The conservative attitude everybody has to some degree makes us automaticly skeptical of new things that will replace anything we are adapted to. The stuff we have in our heads is particularly difficult and uncomfortable for us to examine.

Although you seem to have read the section, you didn't think about all the points very carefully. This causes you to reiterate arguments that have already been disintegrated.

robert 46 wrote:No, my dictionary claim means that this is the current state of English as it has evolved, and any further changes will come through evolution- there has to be a consensus, and you don't have it.


To be specific, you stated that you can't look up words in the dictionary by their pronunciation.

http://gabbyswordspeller.com/

The argument that the current state of English is a result of evolution and must therefor continue to develop only through evolution is another way to state the slacker's argument. 'My house got messy from junk accumulating gradually, so it's not my fault.'

Just like the slacker's house, it will not gradually clean itself up through natural forces. Organization takes a deliberate effort. Disorganization happens all by itself.

Also dispelled by example.

Spanish, Korean, Boznian and several other languages had their orthographies reorganized.

If you haven't already, your next claim would have been that English is more complex than those languages or otherwise unique in some way that makes reorganization impossible.

Yet here's Nooalf. Plus there are hundreds of other proposed systems, any one of which vaporizes the argument.


Computer languages can be engineered. A common language is many orders of magnitude more complicated.


Complexity and disorganization are not the same thing.

The argument is rediculous. Aside from the sheer bulk of the lexicon (thanks for that) it would not be much of a problem for someone of good intelligence to compose a dictionary that restricted each word to a single meaning, including all prefixes and suffixes. A more concise and consistent system for pluralizing, past/present/future tense would be easy.

Again, contrary examples exist. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua etc.

The argument is also a straw man. Nooalf is not an effort to organize the language. It is only a spelling system to replace a collection.

Consider the word "is". You pronounce it "iz", and so do other English speakers. However, "is" comes directly from the German "ist" which is pronounced phonetically, like "mist".... change spelling just because the common pronunciation doesn't jibe too well with the spelling is to lose the correspondence between spelling and meaning.


Ah, the old etymology argument. Even mixing it together with the A=B=C but A=C ruins A=B argument doesn't help. I'm surprized that you tried it, since it is shown to be so completely rediculous on the 2nd Skeet Shooting page.

I had a few more debunks for that one that I didn't use!

Natives generally learn to speak their language before they learn to write it and they certainly do not attend college courses in Latin, Greek, French, etc. before they start talking.

Your example, for example, would assume that we all have German preprogrammed when we are born! Or at a minimum, that German ESL students would find it impossible to maintain the connection between 'iz' and the definition of 'is' because of their German 'ist' and it's definition.

The slower the language changes, the better because more centuries of writing are understandable by people.


This is still the same argument.

This ignores the continuous cost of maintaining the old spelling. Average Joe X 5 billion has to always write 'thurough' just so professor robert 46 can have his Chaucer? Average Joe Junior X 50 billion has to memorize 30,000 words 1 at a time so that future professor robert 46 JR. can have his Shakespear?

It also assumes that young people are going to take an interest in old stuff. HA!

It also proposes that keeping the old spelling will force them to read really old stuff in it's original form. It also proposes that an efficient new system will prevent anybody who does take an interest in the old stuff from reading any of it.

It will be much more efficient if you read the Skeet pages carefully to be sure that any arguments you come up with aren't actually reiterations. The rest of the site also has subjects and perspectives that will help.
Last edited by JO 753 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JO 753 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:09 pm

:(

The previous post is showing up blank on my screen. But when I hit 'edit' the text is there.

Time for new forum software maybe?

They got one called xenforo for another forum I'm in and its very nice.

Edited to add: My fault! I messed up a tag in that post.
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Postby robert 46 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:09 pm

Here are spelling errors in your recent posts:

phoneticly vs phonetically
listenning vs. listening
dictionarys vs. dictionaries
seperate vs. separate
rythme vs. rhyme (Combines rhyme and rhythm in confusion.)

refering vs referring

automaticly vs. automatically
therefor vs. therefore
rediculous vs. ridiculous
surprized vs. surprised

I call them spelling errors because they do not correspond to standard usage. What you are claiming is that the way you spell should be standard usage, and all others are making spelling errors, not you.

So where the person says, "It works for me!", there is no possible justification for your response, "No. It duznt work for you." because the person is stating an opinion. Conventional English may work for him well enough, and there is nothing more to be said about it; particularly where you are claiming that conventional English doesn't work very well for you.

"Doesn't" has an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter: "does not". Where you write "duznt", it should at least be "duzn't" for "duz not" unless you are claiming "nt" is a word without a vowel, "duz nt"; or "duznt" is a word in itself [1]. Words without vowels are really non-standard, and I strongly recommend against the practice even though it is possible to read many sentences written without vowels. One of the significant positive aspects of a language is redundancy: a limited number of elements can be removed, but the meaning can still be deduced. However, it would be a bad idea to remove all vowels from the alphabet under the mistaken belief that this would be a simplification and the language can do without them. How would you interpret "nt" as meaning "not", "nut", "nit", "note", "neat", etc.,: only by context, which could still have ambiguity.

[1] If "duznt" is a word in itself, it negates the simplifying advantage of a language to combine words in sequence to express meaning. "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is preferred to "the quick brownfox overjumps the lazydog". Pushing words together into one word is a characteristic of German which I particularly disliked.
Last edited by robert 46 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JO 753 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:39 pm

robert 46 wrote:Here are spelling errors in your recent posts:


More evidence in my favor.

I was born in America, have been literate for about 46 years, and make a particular effort in this forum to spell correctly, yet still fail so often.

I call them spelling errors because they do not correspond to standard usage. What you are claiming is that the way you spell should be standard usage, and all others are making spelling errors, not you.


That's not the claim at all! My claim is that spelling needs to be a system, not a disorganized collection; that standard spelling is an unnecessary burden to the world.

So where the person says, "It works for me!", there is no possible justification for your response, "No. It duznt work for you." because the person is stating an opinion. Conventional English may work for him well enough, and there is nothing more to be said about it;


Opinions that ignore the facts are worthless. The debunk is that the entire purpose of all technology is to help us do things. Standard English spelling is not very good at helping us translate the spoken language into a visual form.

Saying that 'it works for him well enough' is true only because everybody is afflicted with the same handicap.

Doesn't" has an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter...


If you add a symbol to indicate a missing symbol there is no abbreviation.
If an engineer was prototyping a product and discovered that a component was superfluous, so eliminated it but added another to show where it was, he would be fired for incompetence.

If "duznt" is a word in itself, it negates the simplifying advantage of a language to combine words in sequence to express meaning.


Maybe your problem is that you are trying to think of Nooalf with whatever 'logic' is in your mind for regular spelling.

Think of each letter as an individual component that performs a single function, like a capacitor, tranzistor, or resistor does for electronics. There are 34 of them that can be assembled in any way needed to represent a spoken word closely enough to be understood by someone who knows Nooalf.

There is no need to catagorize the letters into vowel, consonant, or whatever; each one just makes it's unique sound. You can assemble them any way you need to make a word, just as you would assemble the electronic components to make a radio, calculator, speed control, thermometer, telephone etc.

With this 'lojik' you can spell the entire lexicon, plus much of many foriegn languages, plus any new words you want to invent.

That last part is very important. when you really understand that, you will realize what an utter failiure regular spelling is.

Why do you think much of common speech consists of 'up, down, in, out, over, under' attached to another word? Instead of being able to invent a new word for a new thing, or more commonly, an old thing that has no word, everybody is indoctrinated with this 'correct spelling', 'real word' mindset.

The authority instead of logic 'system' crushes innovation.

There is no evolution going on, therefore revolution is needed.
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Postby robert 46 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:13 am

Quote (JO 753): You deserve credit for at least reading the Skeet pages.

: The conservative attitude everybody has to some degree makes us automaticly skeptical of new things that will replace anything we are adapted to.

This cannot be presumed to be a fault ipso facto.

: The stuff we have in our heads is particularly difficult and uncomfortable for us to examine.

Most likely because other more pressing issues occupy most people's attention than to devote time to such reflections.

: Although you seem to have read the section, you didn't think about all the points very carefully. This causes you to reiterate arguments that have already been disintegrated.

??? Your website has no rebuttals.

: robert 46 wrote: No, my dictionary claim means that this is the current state of English as it has evolved, and any further changes will come through evolution- there has to be a consensus, and you don't have it.

: To be specific, you stated that you can't look up words in the dictionary by their pronunciation.

: http://gabbyswordspeller.com/

All Gabby's does is give a list of candidate words to choose from.

: The argument that the current state of English is a result of evolution and must therefor continue to develop only through evolution is another way to state the slacker's argument.

No, it simply means that a consensus is required for any change to take effect.

: Organization takes a deliberate effort. Disorganization happens all by itself.

This is basically asserting the law of entropy: entropy increases in a closed system, but can decrease in a region of the system. However, the disruption caused by radically reorganizing English may be worse than the intended benefit of the reorganization; and this is to be expected based on the concept of entropy.

: Spanish, Korean, Boznian and several other languages had their orthographies reorganized.

Spanish is generally phonetic, but then so was Latin- a dead language. But if Spanish is so good then why are there so many dialects? The mere fact that only a small percentage of Spanish speaking people speak Castilian shows that a reasonably rational language is not necessarily an accepted language, and has its own share of problems. A great problem with Spanish is that speakers characteristically talk three times faster than English speakers, so conversation sounds like chatter. It is difficult for the learner of Spanish to follow conversation if it is not deliberately slowed down and more clearly enunciated.

: If you haven't already, your next claim would have been that English is more complex than those languages or otherwise unique in some way that makes reorganization impossible.

By importing words, which are not immediately anglicized, from other languages English is unique. The French are very possessive of their language, and resist importing words from other languages. But French has lost much of its international popularity even over recent decades.

: Yet here's Nooalf. Plus there are hundreds of other proposed systems, any one of which vaporizes the argument.

If there are hundreds of proposals it shows how difficult it is to get a consensus.

: robert 46 wrote: Computer languages can be engineered. A common language is many orders of magnitude more complicated.

: Complexity and disorganization are not the same thing.

Why then is the human mind subject to mental defect? Perhaps because it has become too complex to control (and also the brain doesn't come with a user's manual).

: The argument is rediculous. Aside from the sheer bulk of the lexicon (thanks for that) it would not be much of a problem for someone of good intelligence to compose a dictionary that restricted each word to a single meaning,

On the contrary, it would be impossible. There aren't enough unused letter combinations available to make that work without requiring excessively long words.

: including all prefixes and suffixes. A more concise and consistent system for pluralizing, past/present/future tense would be easy.

It wouldn't be as easy as plurals ending in "s" or "es" (occasionally "i": e.g. "alumni"). And "spelled" is better than the alternate "spelt", which form is declining in usage through evolutionary pressure.

: Again, contrary examples exist. Esperanto, Ido, Interlingua etc.

Well, Esperanto is a big flop.

: The argument is also a straw man. Nooalf is not an effort to organize the language. It is only a spelling system to replace a collection.

You may think so, but it would have drastic fallout effects if they ever drop that bomb.

: robert 46 wrote: Consider the word "is". You pronounce it "iz", and so do other English speakers. However, "is" comes directly from the German "ist" which is pronounced phonetically.... [To] change spelling just because the common pronunciation doesn't jibe too well with the spelling is to lose the correspondence between spelling and meaning.

: Ah, the old etymology argument.

No, it is not the "etymology argument". It merely shows what happens when import words are not immediately anglicized.

: Even mixing it together with the A=B=C but A=C ruins A=B argument doesn't help.

You are quite confused about this. Primary is the meaning. Secondary is the symbol assigned to the meaning. It can be the spelled-word in the realm of reading/writing, or the pronounced-word in the realm of hearing/speaking. Any spelled-word can be equated with a pronounced-word such that the spelling and pronunciation are equivalent, independently of whether there are any rules of pronunciation: e.g. by definition "is"=<iz>, "misery"=<mizeree>, "mist"=<mist>, "history"=<historee>, "mystery"=<misteree>. However, if you want a correspondence between pronunciation and spelling based on rules then why not just spell the word like the pronunciation guide shows? In other words: the pronunciation guide and the spelling would be the same. So whenever one saw a word in print it would be the symbolic pronunciation, which is what one would look up in the dictionary to find the word. If children were taught the pronunciation formalism, they could spell the pronunciation upon hearing a word, but only if the word is properly enunciated. And here is the basic problem: people are not accurate at pronouncing words. So the spelled word accepts a moderate distance from a pronounced word because the spelling is more consistent than the pronunciation. Thus the realm of the written/read is intrinsically different from that of the spoken/heard, the former being inherently more formal than the latter.

Children are taught to read out loud to demonstrate an understanding of the defined relationship of pronunciation to spelling. But they are to abandon this method as they grow up. They progress to a stage of lip movement without vocalization. And then are to separate the attempt to speak from the task of reading. All reading should be done without any attempt to verbalize audibly or silently. Some do not get to this stage, and it greatly slows their reading speed. So pure reading has nothing to do with pronunciation: there is a direct link in the mind between written-symbol and meaning.

Similarly the person who listens should not attempt to visualize the appearance of the spelled word (few do) but have a direct link in the mind between the sound-symbol and the meaning.

Thus reading/writing is a separate realm from that of listening/speaking, and an exact correspondence between the two is unnecessary. Meaning can come from the visual path or aural path. A visual-aural path is both unnecessary and largely a hindrance.

Consider the direct article "the". To me this pronounces as <theh> or <thuh>. For example: "Put the kettle on the stove"=<put theh kettle on thuh stove>. I see no need for two spellings. However, the indirect articles are "a" and "an". One should be sufficient, except that it wouldn't sound right. "A aardvark" is particularly awkward, which is why it is "an aardvark"; "an eagle", "an iguana", "an opossum" [1], but "a yak is an ungulate" because "y" is not used as a vowel.

: Natives generally learn to speak their language before they learn to write it and they certainly do not attend college courses in Latin, Greek, French, etc. before they start talking.

: Your example, for example, would assume that we all have German preprogrammed when we are born!

A misinterpretation of what I wrote.

: Or at a minimum, that German ESL students would find it impossible to maintain the connection between 'iz' and the definition of 'is' because of their German 'ist' and it's definition.

The idea of learning a second language is that it is intrinsically different from the native language. However, similarities between German and English may make it easier for the German ESL student, but the lack of similarities between Chinese and English may make it harder for the Chinese ESL student.

: robert 46 wrote: The slower the language changes, the better because more centuries of writing are understandable by people.

: This is still the same argument.

As what? Don't be vague.

: This ignores the continuous cost of maintaining the old spelling. Average Joe X 5 billion has to always write 'thurough' just so professor robert 46 can have his Chaucer? Average Joe Junior X 50 billion has to memorize 30,000 words 1 at a time so that future professor robert 46 JR. can have his Shakespear?

Shakespeare is estimated to have had a vocabulary of 35,000 words. The Elizabethan words are just not used much anymore: egad, forsooth, entreat, yon, parle, bode, gibber, privy, hie, jocund, beteem, cautel, reck, wassail, traduce, plausive, posset, matin, vouchsafe, etc..

: It also assumes that young people are going to take an interest in old stuff. HA!

"Those who cannot learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them." History is intellectual capital.

: It also proposes that keeping the old spelling will force them to read really old stuff in it's original form. It also proposes that an efficient new system will prevent anybody who does take an interest in the old stuff from reading any of it.

Like Sanskrit, which few people read, or even Latin. Yet all European scholarly work was for many centuries written in Latin. I presume currently the majority of scholarly work is written in English. Before WWII one had to know German to keep up with technological advancements- particularly in chemistry. Today, English is the language of commercial aviation and the Internet. There are many more speakers of Chinese and Spanish, but English is more important. It would be a great loss if English goes the way of Sanskrit simply due to tinkering. If it ain't broke, don't fix it; and if it is broke, don't fix it to the point where it ain't never gonna run ag'in. If you get my drift.


[1] "Opossum" is interesting in that I see no reason why it would not be spelled "opposum" consequential to slight differences in pronunciation. It is "oppose" not "opose".
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Postby robert 46 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:27 pm

Quote (JO 753): I was born in America, have been literate for about 46 years, and make a particular effort in this forum to spell correctly, yet still fail so often.

Although most of my errors are from fast typing, I occasionally also make spelling errors.

: My claim is that spelling needs to be a system, not a disorganized collection; that standard spelling is an unnecessary burden to the world.

I tend to agree that spelling can be streamilined in small ways progressively. First thing to do is get the British and Americans to agree on the same dictionary. I highly recommend Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Marilyn also uses it). I don't use Roget's Thesaurus much, but it is valuable; and Word Menu, although incomplete, is helpful.

robert 46 wrote: Conventional English may work for him well enough, and there is nothing more to be said about it;

: Opinions that ignore the facts are worthless.

The fact is that he doesn't see a problem.

: The debunk is that the entire purpose of all technology is to help us do things. Standard English spelling is not very good at helping us translate the spoken language into a visual form.

True to some degree. But if your job is not court reporter, it is not crucial; and they use stenography machines, anyway. What people really want to do is convert a thought into a written form (or spoken form). If this introduces some spelling errors, most people can recognize it and compensate to understand the intended meaning. And if the pronunciation is not too awful, likewise.

: Saying that 'it works for him well enough' is true only because everybody is afflicted with the same handicap.

Gravity keeps our feet on the ground, and we live well enough without wings.

"robert 46 wrote: "Doesn't" has an apostrophe to indicate a missing letter...

: If you add a symbol to indicate a missing symbol there is no abbreviation.

"Doesn't" is not an abbreviation: it is a contraction. One can process "doesn't" faster than "does not". Moreso in speaking/hearing, but also in reading ("doesn't" is slower to type than "does not", however).

: If an engineer was prototyping a product and discovered that a component was superfluous, so eliminated it but added another to show where it was, he would be fired for incompetence.

Contractions are informal. They are unacceptable to many publishers for formal writing. So formal writing mainfests the final "engineered" product.

: robert 46 wrote: If "duznt" is a word in itself, it negates the simplifying advantage of a language to combine words in sequence to express meaning.

: Maybe your problem is that you are trying to think of Nooalf with whatever 'logic' is in your mind for regular spelling.

Maybe Nooalf should drop contractions and only accept "duz not". To have "duz not" and "duznt" is redundant, and the engineer should be fired.

: Think of each letter as an individual component that performs a single function, like a capacitor, tranzistor, or resistor does for electronics. There are 34 of them that can be assembled in any way needed to represent a spoken word closely enough to be understood by someone who knows Nooalf.

Look at English orthography:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_orthography
...to see how daunting the task really is.

: There is no need to catagorize the letters into vowel, consonant, or whatever; each one just makes it's unique sound. You can assemble them any way you need to make a word, just as you would assemble the electronic components to make a radio, calculator, speed control, thermometer, telephone etc.

Various consonantal sounds cannot be strung together without an intervening vowel sound. But the converse is not invalid: "see-ing", "ge-ography". Yet "fire" is like "ire" in "put a log on the fire", but <fi-er> in "firehose".

: With this 'lojik' you can spell the entire lexicon, plus much of many foriegn languages, plus any new words you want to invent.

It is more complicated than you think because "counting the number of phonemes is like counting the number of colors in the rainbow": any phonemic system is necessarily a simplification.

: That last part is very important. when you really understand that, you will realize what an utter failiure regular spelling is.

Sure, if you are an actor who has to recite lines, but then the director will tell you the way he wants you to say it. Otherwise it is not such a big problem as you make it out to be. But it is much more of a daunting task if you expect all languages to adopt your spelling/pronunciation-formalism proposals: which will not work because other languages have significant phonemes which your system is too simple to capture. "Peking", China became "Beijing", China.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing
But no romanization coveys the lilt of Chinese.

: Why do you think much of common speech consists of 'up, down, in, out, over, under' attached to another word? Instead of being able to invent a new word for a new thing, or more commonly, an old thing that has no word, everybody is indoctrinated with this 'correct spelling', 'real word' mindset.

The reason words are crunched together is to create a unitary concept. "Something" is differnt from "some thing"; but "can't" and "cannot" are redundant to "can not".

: The authority instead of logic 'system' crushes innovation.

Find some unclaimed land on the planet, set up your own country where Nooalf is the official language (innovators not welcome), and man the immigration office to process arrivals. (It would help if Nooalfania were also a tax haven.)

: There is no evolution going on, therefore revolution is needed.

There is plenty of evolution going on- it only looks like geologic change. The TV program was Route 66, "route"=<root>. Now "route"=<rout> as in "router" (the woodworking tool, or ethernet hub). The "e" no longer lengthening the preceding vowel. This is not necessarily an advancement, however. Nor "ex-" becoming <eggs->, as "exit"/<eggs-it>. <Ex-> should be as recognizable a sound as <ecks-> as in "wrecks", so why has it degenerated to <eggs->? Are you now going to spell "ex"-words "eks-"? "Eksaggeration"???
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Postby JO 753 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:47 pm

robert 46 wrote:This cannot be presumed to be a fault ipso facto.


A certain amount of skepticism is essential in the real world. All sorts of scams and misleading information come before us regularly.

What do people naturally trust? Why are crooked repairmen, con men, false advertisements, bogus products, psychics and silly religions so succcessful?

The main reason is that people aren't very good at judging things by logic. Instead, they go by a perception of authority, what they already believe and the characteristics of whoever is talking to them - appearence, voice, body language and whatever else makes or breaks a salesman.

What people do not normally do is apply any skepticism to what they think they already know. And the more time and effort they put into learning something, the less willing they are to question it.

Spelling is about the biggest example of this, rivaled only by religion.

??? Your website has no rebuttals.


A successful rebuttal of a debunk would likely constitute another argument, or would you call it a rebunk?

http://gabbyswordspeller.com/

All Gabby's does is give a list of candidate words to choose from.


That's what it's for! Are you claiming that it's not possible to do this with a complete dictionary?

You have no consensus


That's obvious. And it's obviously not a reason to not work on building a consensus. The question for spelling reform has always been how to do that.

Virtually all spelling reformers start with the idea that the 'authorities' have to be convinced to initiate a program. Some in the current batch, seeing how this has consistently failed, shy away from calling it 'spelling reform', yet still work on attempting to influence the educational establishment.

Here's a good example: http://www.childrenofthecode.org/ Although I endorse the work Dave is doing, it is embarrassing that he begins his section on spelling reformers with a disclaimer against reform! It seems cowardly on his part, but much worse, it's an embarrassment to the human race that he felt the need to deny advocacy against replacing our plainly demented orthography.

the disruption caused by radically reorganizing English may be worse than the intended benefit of the reorganization


It's costing the world over 300 billion dollars per year to maintain English spelling.

My plan is costing next to nothing, but I could certainly use a million or a billion to accelerate the transition.

Even though there would eventually be costs for replacing street signs and anything else that hadn't worn out or otherwise come up for replacement, the transition would gradually decrease the squanderage.

Spanish is generally phonetic, but then so was Latin- a dead language. But if Spanish is so good then why are there so many dialects?


I don't know much about the story; just that Spanish was enough of a mess to motivate a person of power to reorganize it. I suspect it wasn't as bad as English is.

I think you have a misconception about Spanish dialects. There are far fewer of them and the variation range is way smaller than for English.

From Wikipedia:

However, some traits of the Spanish spoken in Spain are exclusive to that country, and for this reason, courses of Spanish as a second language often neglect them preferring Mexican Spanish in the United States and Canada whilst European Spanish is taught in Europe. While there is nothing comparable to American and British English spelling differences, grammar and to a lesser extent pronunciation can vary sometimes.


From me: If you haven't already, your next claim would have been that English is more complex than those languages or otherwise unique in some way that makes reorganization impossible.


And there you go:

By importing words, which are not immediately anglicized, from other languages English is unique.


:lol:

Why then is the human mind subject to mental defect?


Maybe, like with computers, loading bad software into our brains screws them up.

Why do you think some people end up blowing themselves up in crowded places?

On the contrary, it would be impossible. There aren't enough unused letter combinations available to make that work without requiring excessively long words.


Whats your word length limit? How many words of the current lexicon are essentially duplicates? How many are no longer used? How many words are needed to communicate perfectly? Whats wrong with on the spot conjunctions?

I believe a sort of 'Esperantified' English is going to become the dominant language of Earth within a century. There are already way more ESL users of English than natives, and they don't have the same emotional attachment to the past that some natives do.

Well, Esperanto is a big flop.


Nonsense. http://www.esperanto-usa.org/

from me:"... A=B=C but A=C ruins A=B" argument doesn't help."

You are quite confused about this......&.........& still more......


The lojik is clear, plus your schpiel is dispelled by the examples of languages with phonetic spelling systems.

robert 46 wrote: The slower the language changes, the better because more centuries of writing are understandable by people.

: This is still the same argument.

As what? Don't be vague.


Its the same excuse the slacker uses to not clean up his house.

Shakespeare is estimated to have had a vocabulary of 35,000 words. The Elizabethan words are just not used much anymore:


He also was not burdened with the requirement of 'correct' spelling and freely created words as they suited the situation.

And why do you think memorizing current standard spellings help understand obsolete words - especially when they aren't always spelled the same?

"Those who cannot learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them." History is intellectual capital.


Those who refuse to acknowledge mistakes are doomed to continue suffering from them.

It would be a great loss if English goes the way of Sanskrit simply due to tinkering. If it ain't broke, don't fix it; and if it is broke, don't fix it to the point where it ain't never gonna run ag'in. If you get my drift.


It would be a great loss if English goes the way of Sanscrit due to neglect.

It is broken!

There's already too much real stuff for people to learn without having to spend 3 critical early years just to become literate. Children are wasting their time learning to read when they could instead be reading to learn.
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Postby robert 46 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:34 pm

JO 753 wrote:There's already too much real stuff for people to learn without having to spend 3 critical early years just to become literate. Children are wasting their time learning to read when they could instead be reading to learn.

It is a critical three year period after birth where a child must become acclimated to a language. This is imperative, and it is before schooling, so any failure to develop is traceable to a failure on the part of the parents.

Whereas you summarily dismiss issues, and focus on digressive trivialities, input on the subject from others is obviously required to meaningfully continue the discussion.
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Postby JO 753 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:33 pm

When did I dismiss issues? What are you calling trivialities?

You are doing your best here, but will have to face the facts soon. Systems work better than goofy collections, so all your arguments will fall to my lojik.
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